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The Better Body Group ask us: What is Metcon?

The rise in popularity of the term MetCon has increased exponentially over the past few years, and while it implies a certain level of ‘street cred’ and being in the know, few are actually able to define it and pinpoint its place in the gym. The aim of this article is to expand and educate on what is meant by MetCon, and how it can be used to benefit you.

Danae Van Den Berg, a Better Body Group Exercise Specialist. Danae graduated from Loughborough University with a degree in English and Sports Science and spent her time there training as part of the university’s Powerlifting team.

Metabolic Conditioning
MetCon, made famous by the Crossfit community, stands for Metabolic Conditioning and is classified as your ability to work at an extremely high level of intensity for an extensive period of time. You’ll know you’re witnessing it happen when the athlete moves from exercise to exercise while maintaining a specific rep scheme and quality of movement, with little to no rest.

In other words, if the workout you’re doing is time sensitive, making you nauseous and stealing your soul, you’re probably doing MetCon. Not selling it yet? Bear with me.

MetCon combines strength and cardio conditioning, improving your overall fitness and keeping your heart, lungs and muscles healthy. It’s main selling point is that it trains all three of the body’s energy systems; the phosphogen, the glycolytic and the oxidative systems:

The Phosphogen – This provides your body with immediate energy, sustaining you for your first few seconds or reps.
The Glycolytic – This is the energy for activities that require effort for up to three minutes.
The Oxidative – This is the energy system for longer endurance activities, such as a 20 minute cycle.

Why is this important? Because it allows you to become efficient at using energy during a variety of different activities.

Where does HIIT fit in?
Many immediately know that the term HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training, but cannot pinpoint how it relates to MetCon. HIIT is when you’re working at a high intensity followed by a period of rest for a set amount of intervals. The intensity is classified as aiming for 80% of your maximum pace, or 8/10 at RPE (Rate of Perceived Exertion.)

So where MetCon is a max sustained effort with more weights, HIIT tests you at 80% of your maximum limit, favouring more bodyweight exercises. It is noteworthy that HIIT can be classified as a form of MetCon, but not all MetCons fall under the HIIT category.

Why Metcon?
Here we ask the question, why do Metabolic Conditioning?

  1. It’s efficient – this form of training achieves the effectiveness of a steady state workout in much less time.
  2. It burns calories – not only in the deathly workout itself, but even afterwards as your body tries to return to homeostasis, resulting in an elevated metabolism. This means your body can be burning extra calories for up to 24 hours.
  3. Capacity – training this way can provide increases to your anaerobic and aerobic capacity.

All in all, I highly recommend Metabolic Conditioning to all my clients because not only is it challenging and beneficial, but it’s fun, addictive and gives you a feeling like no other!

That said, I will encourage everyone to do what they enjoy and will stick with, whether that’s HIIT, MetCon, cardio or pilates. But when you want to give something new a go, try out a good dose of Metabolic Conditioning!

• For more information or to book an appointment please call Better Body Group on 01732 451979 or email



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