Am I reading this Metabolic Workout correctly?

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    Mar 12, 2008 9:28 PM GMT
    The new Metabolic Workout plan seemed like an interesting concept, so I decided to give it a shot today. I feel like I'm missing something here. At 1 minute and 20 seconds per set, including rest time and transit time between machines/stations/swapping weights, I was resting for longer than I do under normal workout conditions (typically I rest like 30 seconds between sets, and somewhere around 30-40second to get to a new machine or swap weights). Am I misreading this, or missing something?
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    Mar 13, 2008 4:09 AM GMT
    Hey MSUBN -

    A couple thoughts...

    While your workout does sound challenging, your recovery time of 30 seconds tells me that it's likely you're not working at 70-75% of your maximum. The kind of weight that allows you to recover within 30 seconds is closer to the kind of weight you'd use for circuit training - another great workout system!

    To get the kind of benefit that this workout provides, you'll need to consider lifting a bit heavier. A good rule of thumb for this type of workout - choose a weight for each exercise that makes that 10th rep feel challenging, but doable. You want to be close to fatigue at rep 10. That should give you sufficient muscle stimulation...and wipe you out a bit.

    One other thing - I'm not clear, based on what you've described, how you're timing your intervals. Do make sure that your set starts at the top of the 1:20 (80 seconds) and your 10 reps and recovery happen within that 80 seconds. This includes your time to transition between exercises as well. Stay on pace.

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    Mar 13, 2008 4:36 AM GMT
    Jeff from RealJock here. BTW, since he didn't introduce himself, the guy above me is Devin, the trainer who developed the Metabolic program. Hi Devin!
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    Mar 13, 2008 5:00 AM GMT
    The workout looks great. It is almost identical to the weight programs we did when training for nationals, or an time really, in swimming. The key is how ou attack your weights. when training for time you have to challenge yourself to keep pace and push the pace of your lifting. Of course keep form to prevent injury. It is very easy to loaf through routine. So mentally prepare to push yourself.c
    Another benefit is that you can switch this up with different exercises. This eans ou can add machines or switch up machines.

    Is this going to be a phased workout that you add on to or does it stand as it is? I think I am going to give it a stab.
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    Mar 13, 2008 5:54 PM GMT
    Hey DJB

    You are right! This is one of the workouts commonly used with athletes to bolster their training program. It is also a great option for anyone looking to increase their fitness by changing their muscle stimulus a bit.

    Currently as it stands, this workout is designed as an optional workout that you can include within your regular workout routine - periodized or otherwise. And again, you are right, in that you can change up this workout by switching out machines (exercises) and changing the muscle stimulus.

    I wouldn’t necessarily create a full periodized program using this plan as your template unless you account for the need for greater recovery time with your heavier sets by adjusting the time appropriately. It’s really designed to give your body a different challenge for say, a week, before resuming your regular workout. Happy lifting!

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    Mar 14, 2008 3:58 AM GMT

    This looks really interesting. I'm looking to get in the best possible shape for my vacation in three weeks. I work out 5-6 days a week right now and my current routine is as follows:
    Day 1: Chest/Back
    Day 2: Legs
    Day 3: Arms/Shoulders
    Day 4: Abs/Yoga
    Day 5: Rest
    Also note that every day I'm in the gym, I do HIIT on the treadmill for 20 minutes or so.

    How would you recommend using the metabolic workout plan and still allowing my different muscle groups to rest? I was thinking about alternating your plan with HIIT from day to day.

    What do you think? I'd really appreciate your advice, as you are quite the expert.

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    Mar 14, 2008 4:42 PM GMT
    Hi UMN

    You have a fairly comprehensive routine, well done. One of the best ways to incorporate this kind of system within your plan is to take one week off of your regular routine and substitute the metabolic workout.

    On Day’s 1, 3 and 5, you could do the full body Metabolic Workout and while on Days 2, 4 and 6, you could extend your cardio sessions - maybe even trying a slightly different type of cardio like taking your run outdoors...or cycling or swimming.

    One note: On your non-lifting days, consider striving for a slightly different approach to cardio - try making the sessions longer, but without the high-intensity. It would make for a nice change.

    Then again, you could also use that time to work on a slightly different aspect of your fitness like flexibility. Yoga, perhaps…? Keep up the good work!

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    Mar 14, 2008 11:32 PM GMT

    Just some shared advice...

    Consider breaking out of your traditional week when looking ato your workout. I operate of off a 8 or 9 day cycle. It allows me to hit more and gives me the opportunity to work in things like the circuit training. For me it helps with boredom. Plus I like to work out without much of a set plan on which body group I am working on dependent on my mind set that day. If you try and cram into a work week, you may be faced with doing a half assed workout cause its time for... say shoulders and you are not up for it. Basically let your work out and mental state set your routine and not the calendar.

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    Mar 18, 2008 5:11 AM GMT
    Devin & DJBens, thanks for the great advice. I love this site-just joined and it's really full of great info and members.
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    Mar 22, 2008 8:00 PM GMT
    So I just did this workout for the first time today and thought I would share my thoughts. Now this was my first time. I am chalking it up as a learning experience and a base to perfect it. Nonetheless, I was left completely worn out.

    First, awesome workout. It is a great way to switch things up and challenge yourself in a different way. I may sound easy but, believe me, it's not for the faint of heart. This workout is about strength, form and mental toughness. I would not recommend doing this on an empty stomach.

    - Leave your ipod at home. The workout requires a good deal of focus in order to keep up with the pace and length of the workout (if you do the full thing is is about 120 mins). I admittedly lost some focus in the bonus round.

    - Don't be fooled by the first round. It may seem easy and you might find yourself wanting to take less rest or use more weight. Stick to the guidelines and you will find your second round is very challenging. You will be wishing you had more rest, especially in the main part of the workout.

    - Keep your form and do not rush. Many circuit and times routines are based on high reps. Endurance athletes especially find themselves in timed circuits where the goal is to bang out as many reps as possible. Keep your form and stick to 10 reps at 70%. You will prevent injury and get more out of your workout. Just cause you are times does not mean you need to rush.

    - Again, this is a workout that focuses on quality and not quantity. It might take a few times to find what amount of weight is right for you. I found the second round I fell into a good zone, but I look forward to trying it again to settle into my 70%.

    - Do this workout at a gym you are familiar with. You may find yourself wasting time looking for the right machine or waiting to use weights. I switched things up and used machines for a good part of it so I could move through the workout and keep my form. I was slightly frustrated when having to wait for a machine.

    - Finally, have fun with it. I substituted some exercises. As I went through and took in what areas I was hitting, I started to think of alternative exercises that would be effective in the future. This also helps during busy times when you need to move on and a machine or bench is taken. Either way it is always good to keep things fresh.

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    Mar 28, 2008 6:43 AM GMT
    Alright, so I did this workout and I am fairly sure I chose the right amount of weight to use 70%. I did the full circuit once, which was squats, bench, cable rows - all 3x10. Then I continued to squats, db flys, and pull downs - all 3x10.

    Do I now have to do all that again?! Seems like a lot. I was wasted already. (And very sweaty)

    I didn't think I did, so I moved on to the bonus circuit and did standing push press, bb curls, and skull crushers, all for 3x10 - then I repeated that for 3x10 again.

    This took me just over an hour and I felt exhausted.

    My question is whether I'm doing this right? Should I have done the first full circuit again, for 6x10 of each exercise? Seems like a lot. 2 hours seems like too much time in the gym.

    Please help me out. I'm still sore everywhere (in a good way), and I am not sure I can work out for 2 full hours?

    I feel I'm missing something (well, besides another full circuit).

    Thanks fellas!

    PS. my level of fitness is above average, though I do have that extra 5% of fat to lose, hence the reason for this workout.
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    Mar 28, 2008 3:51 PM GMT
    You do have to do it again. I was in the same condition the first time. And I found that when I did the bonus round it was not as powerful and my focus was lost. It almost seems like you should do a full round of the main workout and the bonus and then repeat the whole thing.I wonder what the advantage of doing the first twice before doing the bonus is.

    Its a long workout, but it should not be two hours. My calulations might be off. Should be 48 mins for the first part and 24 mins for the bonus.

    so are you sore? I was!
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    Mar 28, 2008 6:26 PM GMT
    Hey Guys –

    Let me see if I can provide a little extra clarity. The great thing about this workout is that (aside from sticking to the clock and intensity levels), this system quite flexible.

    DJBens77 is correct. The full version of this workout takes you through the main group of six exercises twice for a total of 48 minutes. Add in the bonus set which should take 24 minutes, and you have an exhausting 72 minutes (or 1 hour and 12 minutes) workout. This is quite intense. You really have to stay focused to make it through this workout in its entirety.

    If this is a bit much or your want to keep your workout under an hour, you can just go through the main circuit one time which would take 24 minutes and do the bonus circuit for an added 24 minutes, or a total of 48 minutes. It will still be quite an intense workout.

    Another option is to just do the full main circuit twice (48 minutes) and leave the gym with a great workout in under an hour.

    The reason for separating the bonus circuit from the main is to avoid fatiguing your assisting muscles (arms and shoulders) too much before you head back to your main circuit. Though you could add it into your main circuit and augment the blood shunting effects of the workout. You may find that you’ll need to lower the weights on the next run through.

    Whatever version you choose, you’ll get a great workout that will leave you feeling like you took maximum advantage of your time at the gym. I recommend playing with different versions of this circuit as well as the types of exercises to create your own customized workout. Just make sure you stick to the clock and the intensity levels and you’ll be getting cut in no time!

    Keep at it!

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    Mar 29, 2008 1:49 AM GMT
    Thanks for the reply. I guess I did it accurately for what I wanted to do, which is around an hour. It would take me about another half hour to do the circuit once again.

    I think I might be using more than 70% weight though, as I can't possibly do another circuit with that weight.

    Maybe if I lower the weight, I could go faster and complete the circuit twice. It'll take trial and error, but I really enjoyed it, was really sore in all the right places, and drenched in sweat by the end.

    Good routine.
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    Mar 29, 2008 8:19 PM GMT
    Hey Runninghigh79 –

    Thanks. I’m glad you like the workout. I think dropping the weight is a great idea if you’ve been finding that you can’t quite make it through the entire circuit.

    Remember, however, that dropping the weight shouldn’t have any affect on the length of the workout. The length of the workout is tied directly to the 80 second interval and the number of sets overall, so you should be able to predict exactly how long the workout will be before you even start.

    Just set your countdown interval timer to 1 minute 20 seconds and start each set at the top of each interval. Stick to the clock.

    Happy Lifting…

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    Apr 01, 2008 1:54 PM GMT
    So I tried this workout last night, and it was certainly a tough one. It takes a lot for me to sweat, and this made it happen. My plan was to do the regular circuit three times this week (Mon, Wed, Fri) and cardio (Tues, Thurs, and Sat morning- I run for 10mins (sprint, walk, jog), do abs for 5mins, and repeat twice). Would it be overkill to do just the bonus circuit on my cardio days in addition? I always do cardio in the morning, and lift at night, so I figured I'd have enough rest time in between. It will look like this:

    Mon: 10pm Metabolic Circuit (last night)
    Tues: 7am cardio (this morning), 10pm Bonus Circuit
    Wed: 10pm Metabolic Circuit
    Thurs: 7am run, 10pm Bonus Circuit
    Fri: 12pm Metabolic Circuit
    Sat: 7am Run, Bonus Circuit?

    If it goes well, I'd repeat it next week and then go back to another lifting routine the week after.
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    Apr 01, 2008 5:07 PM GMT
    Yalemarine -

    I’m glad to hear this workout was a success for you. Your plan to incorporate the Bonus Circuit on your cardio days makes perfect sense and is a great way to add in that extra punch to your workout. Try it out and let us know how it works.

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    Nov 18, 2008 9:09 AM GMT
    Reviving this thread for a question.

    I decided to try this out last night because I'd gotten a bit bored with my other routine (even doing the Strong and Lean workout, it's sort of the same old thing with different exercises). It was, I must say, a ridiculously hardy workout. If my heart-rate monitor is accurate, I burned over 750 calories in that hour, and I was definitely sweating like crazy the entire time.

    But I'm wondering about the squats portion of this. Are you actually supposed to do squats twice per circuit, for a total of 12 sets of squats during the exercise? Or was that a mistake? If it's not a mistake, then I definitely need to bring down the weights. I was doing 30kg, and was able to get through doing 6 sets total, but definitely couldn't have done another 6 sets at 30kg.
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    Nov 30, 2008 12:25 AM GMT
    Hey CD

    Devin here. You don't have to do extra rounds per circuit. I actually prefer to start with the first exercise (in this case, squats), do my three sets, then move to the next exercise. I usually run throught the list of exercises two times for a total of six sets for each group. At 70% of max weight, it's a pretty challenging workout.

    If you decide you want to do extra sets or added exercises, then I would definitely consider dropping the percentage of max weight. But remember, you'll be shifting the focus of your workout away from strength development and towards endurance.

    Happy lifting,