Guidelines for Metabolic Resistance Training

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Make the most of an MRT program to burn calories and boost metabolism.

If you like the idea of burning hundreds of calories in a single workout while also triggering a powerful metabolism-boosting “afterburn” effect, consider metabolic resistance training (MRT). A form of circuit training, MRT combines multijoint exercises (such as pushups, kettlebell swings and Olympic lifts), allowing for just a few seconds’ rest in between. To help make the most of your MRT program, Jason Bonn, CSCS, a coach with Precision Nutrition, suggests the following guidelines:

  • Start with a base of general strength and aerobic conditioning. There aren’t any specific fitness bench- marks a person needs to hit before starting MRT, says Bonn, but people should have control over their bodies and already be engaged in moderate levels of activity. “Sometimes people think this training sounds simple, so they want to jump past foundational stages.”
  • Master  the  movements  for  each  exercise before increasing intensity. Using good form will help you avoid injury and make the most of your workouts. When you’re just starting out, it’s worth investing in a few training sessions with a professional, says Bonn. “A qualified coach or trainer can give you great feedback, because they can see your movements from all angles.”
  • Sequence your exercises for maximum effectiveness. In MRT, you don’t want to work the same group of muscles twice in a row. “You want to progress through a set of exercises that don’t compete with each other,” says Bonn. So instead of two consecutive lower-body moves, like squats and lunges, you might switch between pull-ups and lunges. Also, you might want to avoid putting a highly fatiguing exercise (like high-rep lunges) before highly technical ones (like Olympic lifts). When you’re exhausted, your focus and form might suffer; instead, switch the order.

A qualified pro can evaluate your readiness and help you draw up a good MRT plan. Or, to get started on your own, check out the “Simplicity Complex” workout.