Burn Fat. Build Muscle. Metabolic Conditioning Workouts

Metabolic conditioning workouts, also known as metcon, are a great way to add challenge and variety to your workouts. This article will break down how to do a metabolic conditioning workout, the benefits, and also several examples.

Metabolic conditioning workouts aren’t a walk in in the park. The exercise intensity is high and your muscles are overloaded. The overload is what helps trigger protein turnover, protein building, and lean muscle mass.

Your cardiovascular system will also be working because your blood is pumping fast to get oxygen to your muscles as they work. This combination creates a high oxygen demand and means that your body is going to be burning lots of calories.

After your workout your body will need to metabolize additional fuel, replenish energy stores, and reload depleted oxygen stores in the muscle and blood. This means that you will still be burning fat after the workout has ended.


For starters you could pick an exercise that is a compound movement. These will be exercises that target multiple joints and muscle groups. Or you can mix and match exercises and perform them at a higher intensity. This might be a upper body movement followed by lower body, which could then lead into a cardio exercise.

Using resistance like a dumbbell or kettlebell will help you build muscle faster and also add intensity to the movement. Also remember that your own bodyweight will give you added resistance. The best thing is these workouts can be tailored for each person.

Most of time you will see metabolic conditioning workouts written as circuits. Circuits are where you work multiple muscle groups at the same time with limited resting. For example if you are doing a circuit with pushups, squats, and mountain climbers your arms will be resting on the squats so you don’t have to take extra time to rest before going into the mountain climbers.

Set a timer for 20ish minutes and get ready to work. Remember to limit the rest. Try to work consistently for the entire 20 minutes. An easy way to start would be selecting an upper body, lower body, full body, and cardio movement and perform each move for 1 minute. Keep repeating for 20 minutes or change the exercises each time. Not super original but it would totally get the job done.

Be prepared to be challenged. These workouts are tough but are a great way to help build endurance and strength.


Metabolic conditioning improves both aerobic and anaerobic systems a the same time. These workouts push you. You will want to stop but the goal is to keep going. Limit the rest. This is what helps you build muscle and burn fat.

Your heart rate will stay high during these workouts and in turn you will burn more calories more effectively.

These workouts pack a punch. You will get so much done in a shorter amount of time due to compound movements and training at a moderate to high intensity. Most of these workouts can be completed in 20 minutes.


And lastly here are some examples of metabolic conditioning workouts I have done recently with Fit Women’s Weekly Live. Not going to lie the second workout I started dry heaving in the first 8 minutes. It was rough.

Start by doing 10 burpees every minute on the minute (EMOM) for four minutes. The next set is two minutes and you repeat 5 pushups or rows followed by 5 prisoner squats the entire two minutes. The rest of the workout follows the same format. You can rest 1 minute if you like between each section.

And here is the workout that made me dry heave. This one might go slightly over 20 minutes but I know some of you out there can bust this out close to 20. For reference I used a 35 pound kettlebell on the squats, snatches, press, and clean & press. Ugh.

Set a timer for every minute. You might also need a paper to keep track of your numbers. First minute see how many squats you can do, I think I go close to 45 the first time. The next minute do three snatches on each arm. Whatever time you have left over is your rest. Go back to squats keep adding to your number when the minute is over next minute is snatches. You keep repeating this until all 200 squats are done. Each section is done following the same formatting. That first exercise is what determines when you stop that set depending on how quickly you can reach those reps. The second exercise allows you to have a quick breather.

There you have it! A brief breakdown on metabolic conditioning workouts. Thanks for stopping by the blog and reading today!


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