Metabolic resistance training (MRT) is by far one of the most effective methods for burning fat, building muscle and improving body composition. It burns, it’s hard and it will get you sweating, but it’s all over in 30-40 minutes!
What is MRT?
Metabolic resistance training is a term used to cover various combinations of intense and efficient cardiovascular and muscular training protocols. MRT is a high volume form of training that works a large muscle group or the whole body, resulting in a high exercise cost (burning a large amount of calories and producing many metabolic effects on the body, as outlined below).
MRT should mainly incorporate larger compound movements – using more muscles to maximise the effect, with the concentric (contracting, often lifting) part of the movement being slightly faster than the eccentric (relaxing, often lowering) part of the movement.
MRT can come in the form of: supersets, giant sets, combo sets and circuit training. Circuit training being the most popular form, mainly because it works – the energy cost of a circuit session is very high and therefore you will really reap the benefits when it is performed correctly.
What are the benefits?
MRT is a form of training I use with my clients on a regular basis and the results speak for themselves. But the top reasons I use MRT in my online training programmes are:
Time efficiency: With MRT you’re almost doubling your workout in half the time, which is often key to success when you’re on a tight schedule or have a busy job.
Increased volume: One of the key elements to success and progress with fat loss or muscle building is the volume within your workout, MRT smashes that with it’s incredibly high volume. You are even able to increase the frequency as well as the volume as you can hit each muscle group more than once per week with MRT.
Increased fat burn: The calories burnt during the session are seriously high, due to the intensity of the workout. MRT also causes greater fat burning after the workout for up to 48 hours post workout through excess post–exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC). Often referred to as the after burn effect, this is when your body uses a large amount of energy to get itself back to your normal resting state.
Increased muscle protein synthesis: The high frequency and volume of MRT gives your body multiple signals to increase hypertrophy (muscle growth) and has been shown to stimulate muscle protein synthesis more than training each muscle group once per week.
Improve your fitness with less cardio: MRT is very metabolic (it uses a large amount of energy to build muscle and therefore burns fat) and it needs a large amount of oxygen and recovery between sets. It is therefore great at improving your cardiovascular fitness, meaning you can drastically reduce the cardio you do.
Now, I know your all chomping at the bit for an example of MRT you can take to the gym with you tomorrow to try out, so here I have a full body MRT circuit workout for you to give a go:
In old circuit style fashion, like you used to do in your school PE lessons, have 5-8 stations set up and perform each exercise back to back with no rest until you have completed the circuit, then rest for 1-2 minutes. Perform the circuit 3-4 times though and don’t pass out!
15-20 Goblet squats
15-20 Dumbbell walking lunges
15-20 Barbell bent over rows
15-20 Dumbbell military shoulder press
15-20 Dumbbell chest press
Note: If you want to take most exercises to failure, or close to it, you should work at about 9-10/10 (RPE – Rate of Perceived Exertion). Ensure you set up the stations before you start.
Should you be doing it?
If you’re looking to shape up a little, drop some fat and increase muscle? Then YES, give MRT a go! I swear by it and for this reason use it in my 12-week online training programmes, however there are a few considerations;
It burns, it’s a tough workout and not for the faint hearted, if you’re willing to put the work in you will see the results!
MRT is too energy intensive for some people, if your looking to build muscle only and want to gain a lot then this may actually burn too many calories for you, especially if you struggle to match your calorie intake with the amount you burn.
The amount of weight you can lift may decrease, due to the high volume of MRT. You may not be able to lift the same weight during the MRT sets as you would with normal sets because you are doing back to back exercises – so there is no harm in dropping the weight slightly.
Is MRT a game changer?
Well, the studies and success I have seen on MRT would certainly suggest so, if you are someone looking to burn fat, build muscle and don’t have hours and hours to wander around in the gym then give MRT a go 2-3 times a week. As I always say – MRT is not for everyone, but there is no harm in giving it a go and if you put the work in you sure will see results with MRT.