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5 Metabolic Workouts: Fat Burning Exercise

Jade Teta & Keoni Teta

Metabolic conditioning breaks all the rules of fitness completely integrating cardio and weight training into one workout. We are constantly asked what types of metabolic workouts we do. We really are not in any camp and like to use metabolic conditioning in many ways.

Sometimes we use it more as a cardio workout, other times we lean more towards weight training with it, and often we like to fully combine the best of all worlds.

Since workouts are always a popular topic, here are 5 workout examples of metabolic conditioning workouts. We hope you enjoy them, and let us know which ones you like the best.

Metabolic Workouts:

Workout 1 – Compound Cardio

In this workout, you use the large cardiovascular stimulus provided by full body movements. First choose some good compound exercises that use multiple joints and muscles (i.e. a squat) and hybrid exercises that combine two or more exercises into one (i.e. a squat & press movements). Dumbbells are preferable (they allow more freedom of movement) but barbells work too. The exercises for this sample workout are (1) Dumbbell squat/press, (2) Dumbbell step-up/curl, (3) Dumbbell lunge/curl/press, (4) Squat jumps, and (5) Squat thrust.

Now remember, this is not a resistance workout so the weights are going to stay fairly light. Use a weight that can be maintained for a couple of minutes before needing to be dropped. For the average person, somewhere between 3 and 12 pound dumbbells will work fine. But, don’t get too hung up on weight since a good trainer or fitness enthusiast will always know to drop to a lighter weight if needed.

Have a timer ready, and do each exercise for one minute progressing through without stopping, doing one right after the other. You can make this a circuit or simply throw in compound exercises off the top of your head. This workout can change based on goals. For example, if you are going for a steady state cardio response, you will work through the movements slow and deliberately repeating the cycle without stopping. You can also easily turn this routine into a scorching interval routine by going as fast as you can through the movements until you have to rest.

Workout 2 – Tornado Training

With tornado training, the exercise sequences are meant to make the client feel like they just got sucked in a vortex. Admittedly, this workout is best for those that like a lot of variation and can easily turn into a circus workout or distraction course. Pay close attention to what you are doing, and you will get the benefit. In this workout you should be moving in all directions and never know what exercise is coming next and from what direction (this is best done with a trainer, but one way to do this by yourself is taking a deck of cards and designating a card for a movement). An example would be starting out with a push-up row for 20s, followed immediately by rolling over for a chest press/crunch for 20s, followed by 5 reps of barbell power-cleans (Gasp! They just threw a power move in with cardio stuff. Yes we did. Just take your time and watch your form). 20s of bicycles may be next, followed by 5 reps of barbell squats. This type of series is extremely difficult. You will be forced to twist, get up, get down, lift heavy, lift light, and move continuously for a full body stimulus taxing the metabolism completely.

Here is a quick guide to putting together a tornado workout:

1) Choose some exercises involving twisting motions (i.e. pushup/row, Pushup side pike, Russian twists, bicycles, etc.).

2) Choose some exercise combinations that go from standing to the floor (i.e. up/downs, Squat thrusts or burpees, mountain climbers to reverse mountain climbers, or Turkish getups).

3) Sprinkle in some plyometrics, Olympic lifts, bodyweight exercises, and sprint type exercises.

4) Now combine it all in a blender and spit it out in quick succession in whatever order comes to mind. Repeat any exercises whenever you want, and add in any new stuff at anytime.

5) You can use this technique at the beginning of the workout (a starter), at the end of a session (a finisher), or, if you are really cruel, make it last the entire workout.

Workout 3 – Hybrid-Based Workouts

Hybrid workouts are similar to compound cardio except the exercises are ALL hybrid movements. Start off choosing your exercises. A squat/press, lunge/curl, and push-up/row would be a good place to start. In this workout, you use the exercises in a superset where one movement is done for 8 reps and is immediately preceded by the next for 8 reps.

In this way, you create a continuous round-robin circuit that is action packed and will tax the most advanced fitness enthusiasts. The rest periods in the circuit routine will be based off individual fitness and some clients will need rest before others. Use our rest-based training approach reminding yourself to rest whenever you need it, and continue as soon as you are ready right where you left off. This workout is the one we used in our book The Metabolic Effect Diet.

Workout 4 – Metabolic Circuit Training

A 30-minute circuit workout, with a different approach to most. First, skip the machines and opt for free weight full body exercises instead. Choose 3 exercises that will use multiple joints and multiple muscle groups (3 compound movements). Start your stop watch do 8 reps of each exercise and immediately go to the next exercise in superset fashion.

Continue this way for ten minutes. As the weight gets heavy and you can no longer get 8 reps, do not reduce the weight, but rather complete as many reps as you can even if it is only one repetition. This approach will assure you reach both metabolic and mechanical failure and achieve progressive overload.

After the ten minutes is up, choose another three exercises and proceed the same way. Do this one more time for a total of three ten minute segments and nine full body movements.

Workout 5 – The Metabolic Compact Chain Workout

By far the most popular workout developed by us. This workout concept has been published in several magazines, including oxygen magazine. There is an entire blog on this workout HERE.

A Compact Chain (also referred to as compact circuit chains, or metabolic chains by our clients) is just what it sounds like. A long chain of exercises performed back-to-back in one seamless compact movement, but there is one important element that allows targeted muscle growth and progressive resistance. One exercise in the chain has a single repetition added in each round.

Here is an example: With dumbbells in hands do the following sequence of exercises: Squat-thrust with a push-up at the bottom, stand back up, lean over, row the weight, then extend the weight behind the body using the triceps (tricep extension), then reverse that motion bringing the weight forward for a bicep curl while standing upright, and finally press the weight over-head while rising up on the toes for a simultaneous shoulder press and calf raise.

Now, repeat this entire sequence of movements except this time do two push-ups. On the third round, do three pushups. On the fourth round, do 4 push-ups and so on and so forth until you reach 5 push-ups. Now, start over from the beginning doing 1 pushup and slowly work your way back up the compact chain until you do 5 pushups. Then repeat again and again working up the chain to 5 pushups and then start over at 1.

Continue like this for 10 minutes resting whenever it is required and continuing exactly where you left off. At the end of ten minutes stop wherever you are. It is best to record the total number of pushups you completed. This gives you a baseline measure to attempt to beat next time. Now, construct a new chain and choose a new body part of focus. This workout is one of the signature metabolic effect workouts we call metabolic physique conditioning. It is devastatingly effective.


All of these workouts and more can be downloaded and unlimited streaming with our ME Workout Library. As a member you get access to the complete archive of hundreds of workouts. You can have the ME trainers coaching you through your workouts at the gym through your mobile device, at home or a hotel right off your computer. Each workout comes with a streamed video, downloadable video, audio file, and a PDF print and go file.