Written by Funk Roberts
Over the last couple of weeks we have given you an introduction to Metabolic Resistance Training (MRT) and the benefits of the dumbbell in Are You Missing Out On the Dumbbell? and explained why Metabolic Resistance Training Works in Are You Missing Out on the Shred. Now, we're going to pull together the final piece of the puzzle and let you know what, exactly, it is that MRT brings to YOU.
5 Benefits of Metabolic Resistance Training
So, why do metabolic resistance training? Here are a few reasons.
1. Burns More Calories
If you want to burn calories, most people will jump on a treadmill, elliptical or bicycle for hours, sweat their faces off, and not see results. While conventional cardio exercises will burn calories while you’re working, calorie burn stops when you stop. The other problem with these exercises is that unless you’re doing intervals, you’re working at a constant pace that doesn’t challenge your body.
Steady-state cardio is what most people choose to increase energy expenditure, but if your goal is to burn calories and fat in the least amount of time, ramping up your intensity is how to do it—and MRT is what reigns king. Ample studies show that high-intensity training combined with resistance training is more effective for burning calories than the same amount of time spent doing steady-state exercise. Plus, intervals offer more significant benefits for heart rate, oxygen capacity, and blood lactate concentration.
2. Boosts Metabolic Rate (EPOC + Afterburn)
I mentioned EPOC before and a bit about how it works, but it’s one of the big advantages for HIIT over all other forms of exercise. Essentially, EPOC refers to the amount of oxygen your body requires to restore normal physiological and metabolic function (i.e. return to homeostasis)—and this is what explains how your body can still burn calories even after you’ve stopped exercising.
ATP is the primary fuel that supports intense physical activity and it’s produced with oxygen via aerobic pathways or without oxygen via anaerobic pathways. At the start of exercise, anaerobic pathways and stored ATP fuel your workout. Once you hit a steady state of oxygen consumption, aerobic energy pathways cannot meet the demands required to support training, which means there’s an increased demand for anaerobic generation of ATP. This switching of pathways enhances the the EPOC effect.
But here’s the thing with HIIT and circuit training—hard periods of work combined with short rest intervals require ATP from anaerobic pathways, therefore leading to a significant EPOC effect, and doing a circuit involving both upper and lower body movements increases the demand for ATP from anaerobic pathways, which also places more stress on the aerobic system to replenish ATP during rest periods and post-exercise recovery period.
However, intensity is the biggest predictor of the level of EPOC—not duration. Higher intensities require ATP from anaerobic pathways to crank up your intensity and get going. Going hard for 3-4 minutes will be more effective for boosting the EPOC effect than going slower for longer.
3. Builds Lean Muscle Mass
Exercises like burpees, squats, deadlifts, swings, and the like all get power from your trunk and legs, so building muscle in the lower body is easy, but a lot of HIIT exercises don’t incorporate the upper body, which means gaining upper body strength may be challenging. We’re about to change that game by throwing in a pair of dumbbells. You combine metabolic-based exercises with resistance training to maximize your ROI.
The one downfall of lifting for muscle growth is that if you’re lifting heavy, the lactic acid buildup can cut a workout short unless you have a buffering system that’s capable of ridding the lactic acid. While the body contains an inherent system to do that, it often can’t keep up, so fatigue sets it. When lactic acid accumulates, muscles become acidic, and muscle contractions stall.
However, metabolic resistance training can counteract these adverse effects by buffering lactic acid to prevent accumulation, allowing you to continue work. Plus, working at such high intensities boosts growth hormone releases, which can increase muscle protein synthesis for greater muscle growth.
4. Blasts Fat (Without Compromising Muscle)
When trying to lose fat, most people will hit the cardio machine. While there’s nothing wrong with working on endurance, losing fat with cardio is next to impossible, but it also jeopardizes your muscle mass—we want to avoid that. It doesn’t have to be that way. It is possible to lose fat without losing muscle. When you combine cardio and strength training, you’re getting the benefits of both—fat loss and muscle growth—without having to choose between the two. Studies prove it, too. They’ve found that weight loss with resistance training was more effective for fat loss than weight loss alone or weight loss with aerobic exercise.
5. Improves Endurance
If you want to improve endurance, conventional advice will tell you to run—but I’m telling you, don’t. MRT is the way to go if you want a solid cardiorespiratory system. Oxygen consumption (VO2max) is one of the best measures of endurance that calculates the maximum volume of oxygen the body can use. Steady-state cardio has traditionally been viewed as the best way to improve endurance, but recent studies find that HIIT can produce the same benefits in significantly less time; it could enhance oxygen consumption but nearly 10% after just five weeks of performing HIIT four days per week for 20 minutes.
Remember that steady-state cardio is effective for enhancing endurance capabilities, but if you’re not keen on putting in hours on end to achieve an improvement, MRT will do it in less than half the time—you make the choice.
So, how can you shed fat and get shredded without spending hours in the gym? For Fitclub members, here’s your 30-minute dumbbell shred metabolic workout that’ll light your entire body on fire and give you results you never thought possible. Aren't a fitclub member? Join now.