Metabolic Exercise

Last Updated: March 31, 2017

Metabolic Exercise when done correctly should help you effectively use your time and energy for working out and help you achieve the best results for your health. A study from 2008 Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research (1) compared doing strength and cardio exercises separately compared to doing them together. It found that there were improved results from doing both activities together.


There are 3 systems that are activated by proper metabolic exercise. Exercises for the aerobic system (oxidative), the anaerobic system (glycolitic) and the explosive or power (phosphagen) system all need to be engaged to create a true metabolic workout.

If you can combine work from these three systems all at one time then you can have a more efficient workout and can increase your long term benefits working for longer when your workout ends. If these 3 systems are activated properly there will also be a bonus for you. This is why metabolic exercise should be included in everyone’s regular workout routine.

Your metabolism is controlled by the brain. When it releases hormones to your body it communicates with it. Metabolic exercise when done properly and at the right time of day can leverage your brain’s normal hormone release.

Growth hormone (GH) and testosterone help create lean muscle and they can be activated when cortisol, norepinephrine and epinephrine create a stress response and produce lactic acid in your body from a metabolic exercise. This will activate a higher need for oxygen after your workout and create a furnace that has a high demand to burn fuel. When your demand for fuel in your body goes up then your stored energy (normally fat) will break down and be burned to help your body repair. The process can last for hours to days after you workout. It is called EPOC (excess post-energy oxygen consumption). It forces your body to continue to burn calories after you have finished working out.

If you workout when your cortisol, growth hormone and testosterone levels are high then you can increase the after burn of metabolic exercise. If you correctly take in whey protein before you workout you can also have greater effects from your workout. (2)

Combining these three systems in a workout at the right time and taking a whey protein shake in 30 minutes before you workout does not make working out easier at the time that the workout is done but it usually makes it shorter and more effective than traditional aerobic (think Richard Simmons sweating with the oldies) exercise. It also makes the workout produce multiple effects that last longer after the workout is done when compared to doing traditional workouts.

Sources and References


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