Think of a metabolic circuit as interval training mixed with resistance training. That means you get the fat-burning and heart-busting benefits of intense cardio along with the muscle-building properties of a weight workout. It’s no wonder then that metabolic circuits have been a favorite of sports coaches for years and are now migrating into the workouts of general fitness seekers. Read on and Marc Megna, fitness model, former NFL linebacker, and strength coach, will show you how to set up a metabolic circuit to torch your belly fat and raise your game. HOW TO DO IT “Pick at least four exercises you can do for six to 10 reps each without resting,” says Megna. Give this some thought—you don’t want to end up with moves that are too tough or you’ll burn yourself out fast. You can choose regular weight-training exercises or body-weight moves; or mix both kinds together, and alternate which muscles they work. “Doing something for the upper body and then the lower body, back and forth, allows one group of muscles to relax while you work another one,” says Megna. “You get a lot of work done without terrible muscle soreness later.” When you’re ready to begin, perform six to 10 reps your first time through each exercise. If this is your first time doing a circuit, be conservative and stay closer to six reps. As you improve, you can increase your reps. Rest about 60 seconds, or only as long as it takes before you think you can repeat the exercises with good form— that’s one “round.” Perform one fewer rep each round until you’re down to just one rep (so if you started with eight reps, you’d do seven the second round, six the third, and so on). CONSIDERATIONS If you make your circuit with weight exercises, “don’t use heavy weights,” says Megna. “Go with something light. It’s the volume, or total amount of work done, that’s important here.” In other words, if you tire out too soon and can’t complete the reps, you defeat the purpose. SAMPLE CIRCUIT Try this body-weight circuit—no fancy equipment required *Perform 6–10 reps per move
- 1) Squat 2) Plyopush-up or dive bomber push-up 3) Alternating Lunge Jump: Get into a lunge position, explosively jump up and switch your legs in midair, land, and repeat. 4) Pull-up 5) Burpee with Jump, Turn 180 Degrees at the Top: Squat down, shoot your legs behind you so you end up in push-up position, then come back up and jump. Land facing the opposite direction.
Marc Megna, C.S.C.S., is a Team MuscleTech performance coach. He trains pro athletes at Bommarito Performance Systems in Aventura, FL. marcmegna.com