What is Metabolic Resistance Training?

What is Metabolic Resistance Training?

This is something that I’ve been wanting to do for quite some time.  There’s a lot of “hoopla” about metabolic resistance training recently and there’s also been a lot of questions.

 What exactly is metabolic resistance training?

 What is metabolic conditioning?

 What is a metabolic finisher and when can I use it?

Prepare to get overwhelmed… with awesomeness.

Let’s break it down, piece by piece, so you can understand how metabolic resistance training (also known as MRT) can play a role in your fat loss.

I’ve trained with numerous methods since I’ve been a trainer, and just being transparent, MRT is the most effective way to lose fat and literally transforming your body.  However, it is also the most challenging.


Still with me?  Awesome… you’re such a cool cat.

MRT Explained

Metabolic resistance training is resistance training using non-competing supersets and circuits with incomplete recovery.  It also incorporates mainly big, compound “calorie-expensive” moves like Chest Presses, Rows, Squats, etc., etc.

Say what?  I know, I know.

In other words, below is an example of a MRT circuit:

1A) Squat (8)

1B) DB Row (8/side)

1C) DB Chest Press (10)

Rest 1 minute and repeat 2 more times

You can see obviously, that these moves are quite metabolically demanding, and using them in a circuit fashion with just one minute of rest means you will be training with an elevated heart rate.

Like I said, MRT is very challenging and nowhere close to being easy.  That’s probably why it works so well.

One client simply looked at a MRT program and immediately felt her pants become looser.

No, not really… but c’mon, that would rock.

Just because the example above doesn’t show any bodyweight exercises doesn’t mean that they don’t fall under the MRT umbrella.  Bodyweight exercises can certainly be used in MRT workouts.

Things to Keep in Mind with MRT

The “more difficult” moves should be early on in the workout so you can give them your best effort.  In other words, you wouldn’t perform DB Curls and DB Tricep Extensions followed by Pullups and Squats.

And most of the time, the heavier lifting will be performed early on as well.  As you progress through the program, the moves will typically get “easier”, but the program is still challenging… trust me.

Although I’m talking about circuits, MRT can also be set up with supersets.  Either one is still considered MRT as long as you are using mainly big compound movements and incomplete recovery.  So, a MRT superset might be something like this:

1A) BB Narrow Stance Squat (8)

1B) Pullups (1 rep short of failure)

Rest 1 minute and repeat 2 more times

Your heart will be pumping after just one superset with the right intensity.  What’s the right

MRT is challenging, but it works

intensity?  That’s a whole new discussion.  But here’s a little wisdom nugget – use a weight in which you can only lift for one more rep than prescribed (but don’t train to failure).  That’s the optimized intensity.

Mike, This is the Best Explanation of MRT in All the Land. Can You Tell Me About Metabolic Conditioning Training?

Good gracious.  That’s a freakishly long headline.  Well played.

Metabolic Conditioning Training (MCT) is pretty close to MRT, however, it’s typically in circuit fashion with less resistance.  Most MCT circuits use a mixture of high rep DB/KB/Strap moves, along with bodyweight exercises.

This is the ultimate way to replace cardio.  It can also be a replacement for interval training.  For the most part, it shouldn’t interfere with recovery, but as always, you must listen to your body.

Seeing is believing, so take a look at the circuit below for an example of metabolic conditioning:

1A) Lunge Jumps (10/side)

1B) TRX Inverted Row (15)

1C) Close-Grip Pushups (20)

1D) KB/DB Swings (20)

Rest 1 minute and repeat 3 more times

This MCT circuit has a mixture of bodyweight exercises, TRX and DB/KB moves.  The high reps will get your heart pumping, and just like MRT, you incorporate incomplete recovery.

Many MCT circuits will have a high number of exercises in succession, creating this “cardio” effect.  I hate that word, but it gives you an idea of what it will feel like.  I’ve written and seen MCT circuits have as high as 15 exercises in succession with just one minute of rest.

If that won’t help you get up and down the stairs effortlessly, I don’t know what will.

 Can I Use Both MRT and MCT for Fat Loss?

The cool, hip answer – yeah, mang.

Ha-ha… “mang”.  So fun.

Anyway, yes you certainly can.  Obviously, you don’t want to do an entire MRT workout followed by MCT.  Your nervous system can’t take that.  If you find yourself craving to do some MCT after a MRT session, I have some bad news for you.  You didn’t give the MRT workout the right intensity.

Your most optimal way to set up a MRT and MCT program is a 4-day system with a day of light activity after 2 days of workouts.

What??  Yeah, it’s just easier if I show a great MRT/MCT schedule:

Day 1 (Monday) – MRT workout

Day 2 (Tuesday) – MCT workout

Day 3 (Wednesday) – Off day

Day 4 Thursday) – MRT workout

Day 5 (Friday) – MCT workout

Day 6 (Saturday) – Off day

Day 7 (Sunday) – Off day

This is the ultimate schedule to burn fat and chisel muscle.

 What Should I Do on My Off Day?

 Stay active, but keep the intensity light.  MRT and MCT demands a lot of the body, so you want to recover between workouts so you can give your best effort at each session.

You can go for a 30-minute walk or light jog, or 3 rounds of the bodyweight warm-up you use before each session.  You don’t use a bodyweight warm-up before your workouts?  I’m shaking my head… yet a whole new discussion.

 What About Metabolic Fat Loss Finishers?

 Ohhhh baby, my favorite.  Metabolic Fat Loss Finishers (MFF), also known as a Workout Finisher, is the “grand finale” you plug in at the end of a strength session.

I explain finishers more in detail here, but the short answer is very intense exercise with very short rest periods.  Let’s just say they are designed to “finish” you off.

Here’s the thing – you don’t need a finisher after a MCT session.  MCT and MFF are very similar, however a MFF is much shorter and more intense.  But your nervous system won’t be able to allow you to put in the necessary effort to perform both MCT and MFF with the right intensity.

So, use finishers after MRT or your normal strength session.  I’ve had clients recently use them on off days, and surprisingly, they enjoy that and they told me it keeps them “mentally engaged” with their goals.

If you start using finishers on your “off” days, please let me know your feedback on this blog.  I personally use them after my workouts and my off days are typically long walks getting cool article ideas like this one 🙂

 What are the Benefits of Metabolic Resistance Training?

  •  To me, the best part of MRT training is much like using finishers – they are mentally and physically challenging, allowing you to get addicted to working out.  When you’re addicted, you stay consistent.  Consistency = Fat Loss
  •  Accelerated fat loss (but you have to put in the work)
  •  Gain muscle and lose fat at the same time if that is what your goal is
  •  Improved aerobic capacity and conditioning (you will find yourself getting up and down the stairs effortlessly – which is huge)
  •  Break a fat loss plateau

So, let’s gather in a large circle kids.

What did we learn?

1) The difference between MRT and MCT workouts and how to lay them out in the best optimized schedule

2) When to use and NOT use Metabolic Finishers

3) Why MRT can make such a huge difference in your fat loss

I personally have used Craig Ballantyne’s MRT programs for years, as well as my coaching clients.

It’s hard work, but they did get $4,000 in transformation contest money.  If you’re looking for an easy workout plan, than Craig’s MRT program isn’t for you.

===> Turbulence Training Metabolic Resistance Training 2.0


May you never, EVER, get bored with your workouts,

Mikey, CTT

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Leave A Reply (6 comments so far)

  1. Scott Jones
    11 years ago

    I have started using finishers on off days instead of intervals. Been great for me. I absolutely hated intervals.

  2. Mikey
    11 years ago

    This is great Scott! Thanks for letting me know. That’s the kind of feedback I’m getting from some of my coaching clients, too.

  3. Jennifer Butler
    11 years ago

    Hello, funny person man. I was sent to this website by my friend Deb, who is a fellow motorcyclist and workout fiend. I am excited at what I have read.

    I have had a few surgeries on the chest area, primarily the right lateral breast (hehe breast). Because of this, I am not supposed to work out the chest muscles, really at all. Maybe light light training… but nothing as hefty as what you’ve recommended here. Do you have any ideas on MRT or MCT circuits that do not involve chesticle muscles?

    Any help would be greatly appreciated. x 10.

    • Mikey
      11 years ago

      Thanks for the feedback 🙂 I wish I had a better answer, but I would talk to an injury specialist. I’ll be getting my friend and injury expert Rick Kaselj to provide some cool stuff, so stay tuned!

  4. William
    11 years ago

    Your post was both informative and intriguing…
    and made me laugh like hell.
    Partly for the way you put the word out but mostly at myself for doing some of the things you described in here.
    Not at the same intensity level though.
    I do my best, but age and old injuries keep me slowed down a bit.
    You know the line about “Do the workouts you think is best for you.”
    I did the cardio. I felt like I was imitating my grand-kid’s pet hamster.
    I did the weights. After 15 minutes I was tired of putting my belly back in my pants.
    The worst was after a month of this, I was getting discouraged. Wanted to toss in the towel.
    I recalled seeing something about Craig Ballantyne’s MRT program in my some of my old newsletter files, dug them out and actually read them.

    Make a long story short I can’t do a few of the exercises in the program but can do most of them.

    Ever since I applying some of the workout routines about 2 months back and started eating right…Hey… 20 pounds of fat down big guy and only 50 more to go.
    Most of all I enjoy it. No more monotony or extended belly exposure.

    My apologies for the long comment.

    Us old guys start ramblin’ on sometimes.
    Stay Well, Stay Strong

    • Mikey
      11 years ago

      William, that’s awesome! Congrats on your success and keep hustling! I appreciate the feedback.