How to Design a MetCon Circuit for Maximum Weight Loss and Muscle Building

How to Design a MetCon Circuit for Maximum Weight Loss and Muscle Building

Maximum Weight Loss
Maximum Weight Loss

How to Design a MetCon Circuit for Maximum Weight Loss and Muscle Building

If you take a look on YouTube for a workout, you’ll find that they often come in the form of ‘ten-minute whole body routines’ and the like. These are designed as circuits and they usually incorporate a range of exercises such as squats, clapping press ups, bicep curls and tuck jumps.

In theory, this type of workout can be highly beneficial for both building muscle and burning fat. That’s because it comes very close to mimicking a HIIT workout – encouraging short bursts of high intensity, followed by short resting periods. At the same time, the lack of rest increases the intensity and potentially allows for some real muscle damage and metabolic stress in a short amount of time.

But not all of these workouts are made equal and some of them simply don’t work all that well. Be careful when finding workouts online!

Read on and we’ll see how to design a workout that does work, that uses these principles.

How to Burn Fat With a Circuit

Workouts that are designed to use high intensity intervals combined with resistance training and calisthenics are called ‘metcon’. This stands for ‘metabolic conditioning’ and should in theory improve your metabolism.

If you want to create a workout that falls into this category though, then you need to make sure that you are actually fulfilling the criteria of ‘metabolic conditioning’. This means that you need to be reaching 90-100% of your maximum heart rate during your exercise. You’re not going to do that with lunges and sit-ups, so make sure you include something like tuck jumps, like clapping press ups or like high knees.

The other thing to keep in mind though, is that you can’t maintain 90-100% MHR for more than a minute in most cases. Thus it’s important to provide breaks in your workout routine, so that some stations can be considered ‘active recovery’. An example might be to follow something like clapping press ups with something like plank.

More Tips

Another tip is to make sure that your circuit targets as many muscle groups as possible. The more different muscle you involve in your routines, the more you will stimulate the body to produce growth hormone and testosterone, which will lead to more muscle growth, even while you’re sleeping.

Another thing to do is to try and alternate the order that you hit each muscle group in so that you are switching from upper body to legs. This means that the body will have to direct blood from your arms down to your legs and back again – getting your heart to work harder and ultimately burning more calories as a result.

Finally, try to avoid adding any complex multi-joint exercises that are prone to injury at a point in the routine where you’re likely to be tired. If you’re going to perform deadlifts, then make sure that you do so at the start of the workout before you are exhausted. Doing deadlifts tired is a quick way to snap your back!

Read more about it here: HIIT it Hard – high intensity interval training

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How to Burn Fat without Losing Muscle

How to Burn Fat without Losing Muscle

How to Burn Fat
How to Burn Fat

How to Burn Fat without Losing Muscle

A lot of bodybuilders still rely on going through bulking and cutting cycles in order to get the incredible physiques that they display on stage.

This makes sense because it is the quickest and most efficient way to add muscle. Adding muscle means being in a calorie surplus. The more calories you consume, the more anabolic your body will be – the more testosterone will be washing around your body and the less likely you will be to burn muscle for fuel. But of course, eating extra calories makes it even harder not to gain any fat – and especially when you’re getting them from sugar ‘weight gainer’ products and the like.

Fortunately, this isn’t a problem for bodybuilders. They simply follow this period up with a period of dieting hard, which causes their body to burn the fat away from the muscle. A tiny bit of muscle is lost but mainly, it’s fat that will disappear. Hence the ‘bulk and cut’.

But you’re not a bodybuilder (probably). You probably don’t want to spend half the year looking overweight. So how can you use cardio to stay lean and add muscle at the same time?

The Problem With Cardio

The reason that most bodybuilders will stay away from intensive cardio when they’re bulking is that it puts the body once again in a catabolic state. When you run using steady state cardio, your body will supply energy by turning to your blood sugar and your fat stores.

Unfortunately, this means your blood sugar drops. And when your blood sugar drops, your body responds by releasing ghrelin, the hunger hormone. Ghrelin release is always followed by cortisol (the stress hormone) and cortisol is followed by myostatin – a molecule that signals the breakdown of muscle. The more myostatin, the more muscle you lose.

Add to the fact that your body will get 15% of its energy from protein and you have a scenario that is not good for building muscle.

The Answer

There are a few solutions.

One such option is to walk. Walking will allow you to burn energy at a much slower rate and avoid completely depleting your energy stores. This means you never get to the point where you have very low blood sugar and you never start cannibalizing that hard-won muscle.

Another option is to use HIIT. This is High Intensity Interval Training, which means alternating between spurts of sprinting and periods of jogging. The good thing about this is that the sprinting portion doesn’t burn blood sugar or muscle and instead relies on energy stored as glycogen. You’ll spend less time in a catabolic state and lose less muscle as a result – and so many bodybuilders will use HIIT ‘finishers’ following a workout.

Finally, you can also use nutrition to protect yourself and reduce your chances of losing muscle. The best way to do this is by consuming BCAAs – branch chained amino acids. These have been shown to have a very positive effect in reducing muscle breakdown during exercise.

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