I’ve been trying to get leaner for awhile. After rucking and losing a lot of weight during deer camp, I put it immediately back on and then some when I returned home. I noticed this also after I did a traditional bodybuilding-style contest diet 10 years ago eating about 1500 calories a day (8 calories per pound) and twice a day steady-state cardio. What happened? I restricted my calories too much to the point my metabolism slowed down. I also did steady-state cardio which slowed it down much further. I turned my metabolism into the equivalent of a 3 cylinder Geo Prism by moving slowly and restricting calories too much when I should’ve turned it into a V12 Ford/Chevy truck by moving fast and feeding my metabolism with more food.
The difference between a long distance runner’s physique and a sprinter’s physique tells you all you need to know. Sprinters – including tight ends and wide receivers – are muscular and shredded while long distance runners look like their own grandfathers. These speed athletes all use speed power without full recovery between reps and don’t monitor their diets much despite maintaining low levels of bodyfat. Scott Abel noticed this and developed Metabolic Enhancement Training using the principles of speed, power, movement complexes, functional training, and minimal rest between movement complexes. He describes it this way:
Power is strength X velocity, but metabolic power is a training protocol designed to repeat bouts of velocity training to enhance power-based endurance. This takes a lot of training fortitude but also will add, to the metabolic demands on a systemic level. So training for power endurance or metabolic power or effect is about not only training fast but circumventing recovery as well, just like in lactate threshold training. So the key here is to not only perform movements for speed and power but to repeat such demands without full recovery between bouts of exertion. This is the key to enhanced metabolism or metabolic effect of training and making training demanding enough to produce adaptive stress all the time.
I have broken down MET into variable systems. One system is a hybrid system of bodybuilding training that employs power, power endurance and speed movements mentioned above, along with specific functional training movements, Olympic lifts and whatever else gets the job done. Until now, most exercises outside traditional bodybuilding implementation have been neglected in the bodybuilding world, but if done properly in the right sequence within a training protocol, can take muscle gains to a new level. There are limitless variations to hybrid training protocol for physique enhancement and cosmetic ends.
I have made circuit training protocols to replace traditional cardio and enhance metabolism in terms of calories burning and post exercise response. The key elements here is that in proper circuit training protocols you can focus on very specific areas as in my abs/core training circuit, or general overall systemic demand. Again, it allows for much variation and a hybrid approach to fat burning and enhanced metabolism. The circuit produces the metabolic demands, and the fat burning on a whole new level and the focus of the circuit targets any key areas that may need addressing in a specific athlete. I have broken these down into 1) systemic; 2) upper body; 3) lower body; 4) abs/core; 5) athletic or sports specific. There can even be “sub” emphasis within a circuit so that a circuit that is aimed at abs/core training could also, within it, have a tremendous rotational emphasis. The applications are limitless.
This training uses several complexes per day according to a strength emphasis for each day. All exercises are done with speed with minimal rest between complexes. Complexes are mini-circuits. For example, on your “chest, quad de-load, abs/core” day, your first complex would be incline DB bench for 12 reps followed immediately by bodyweight speed squats for 25 reps followed by 15-20 swiss ball complete situps. You would repeat this complex 5 more times before you move onto the next complex.
My results have been fantastic. I finally got down to the bodyfat levels I had in college. I’ve never been a shredded guy, but after 4 months of this training, I’m down to 15% bodyfat while adding 10 lbs and maintaining a moderate calories restriction of 10-12 calories per pound bodyweight. The training splits are interesting and require only simple equipment such as dumbells, surgical tubing or bands, swiss balls, an adjustable bench, and gym rings. More importantly, the results last unlike traditional diet and exercise strategies. Go fast; train your metabolism and get lean.