I’m Gonna Get Metabolic On Your A$$!

Are you looking for a way to burn a ton of calories, build some metabolically active muscle,  jack up your metabolic rate and give yourself a huge hormonal boost in under 30 minutes per workout and just 3 times per week? Well, who the hell isn’t…right?

I have a program you have to try…if you have what it takes!  It’s definitely not for the wimpy, I don’t want to sweat or  lift heavy things crowd.  Well, you guys can just keep doing your 3 sets of 12, of a 100 different exercises and 45 minute cardio session’s on the Elliptical and get the same results you’ve been getting…none!  If you’re the type looking for the easy road, you will  struggle to get anywhere…in life and in fitness!

For those of you who want to try something different and your not afraid of a little hard work, this program is definitely worth trying.  Yeah it will probably kick your ass a few times per-week for a few weeks but you will get results and whoever said results come easy?  I think you’ll be surprised by your progress, especially since this program is unlike any program you have followed.

By the way, I don’t suggest you attempt this program unless you have at least 6 months to a year of moderate to heavy (85%-95% 1 rep max) weight lifting experience, you’re injury free and you are very comfortable with the exercises that I’ve chosen for the program.  You can of course supplement some of them with other similar lifts, under certain circumstances, but that’s up to you.

”Circuit training of all types have been the hype for quite some time now, and for good reason…you get more bang for your buck!”

Much research has been done on the effectiveness of resistance based circuit training (or any type of circuit training) for fat-loss, hypertrophy (increase in muscle size), conditioning and my favorite, the strong hormonal response that follows a workout like this. There is just no comparison between aerobic “cardio” sessions that everyone just loves to do to “burn fat”,  and anaerobic resistance circuit training.  It’s your choice.  Burn a limited number of calories on the treadmill, elliptical or whatever, or train your body to BURN FAT ALL DAY LONG in half the time or more.


There are countless ways of circuit training, but the program I developed is likely something most people would not even attempt because of the level of difficulty.  Well, I’m sure there are plenty of people out there training in a similar way, I just happened to put a program together, slap a name on it and post it on my blog .

This is a form of circuit training  I like to call “Maximal Metabolic Resistance Training” or MMRT.  I use the word “Maximal” because you’ll be using heavy, near maximal loads.  You will be working at approximately 80-90% of your 1rm (1 rep max) or in the 3-6 rep range.  I haven’t seen too much research (as a matter of fact I couldn’t find any) on heavy metabolic resistance circuit training  with an incomplete recovery, but I’ve used it in my own training cycles and with many willing clients.  It is effective for fat-loss, building muscle, strength and conditioning. The results you seek are determined by your effort and diet.

Many metabolic circuits tend to be done in the higher rep ranges or for time.  Often these circuits are done using body weight exercises or lighter weights, along with sprinting or plyometric drills.  I’ve seen many machine based, resistance circuits also.

I remember one of the first gyms I ever belonged to didn’t have much equipment, but it did have the entire Nautilus circuit.  That stuff was so big it took up an entire room. I think I was 17 at the time and there was a really buff older guy who showed me his workout.  Basically he did 10 reps on each piece of equipment only resting long enough to get to the next exercise and didn’t stop for like 4 or 5 rounds  He did this just 3 times per week and he was in sick shape.  I tried it a few times, it kicked my ass and I almost threw up.  It was really hard…so I just fell into that 5 day a week split body part training with everyone else.  Ya know the one where you do “chest” on Monday “back” on Tuesday etc. I think the rest periods were around 20 minutes or however long it took my 10 friends to talk about whatever they did or were doing that night and then attempt their 1 rep max with 120% on the bench press.  Come on, we’ve all been there.  But times have changed!

MMRT will have you lifting some pretty heavy weight for 3 exercises with minimal rest between each exercise in the circuit.  The premise of the program is to exhaust the short-term energy system and fast twitch muscle fibers. You will increase the rest period by 1 minute following each circuit. I will discuss this further in the “workout” section.

Since we will do sets of no more than 6 reps, MMRT will primarily use the short-term energy system called the ATP-PC anaerobic pathway.  This is the energy system that feeds those really powerful and explosive fast twitch muscle fibers.  The fast-twitch muscle fibers are the fibers that allow many athlete’s to be lean, fast, powerful and strong; of course with a great diet and overall training program.  The ATP-PC system is basically spent in about 10 seconds.  After that you begin to use another anaerobic pathway called Glycolysis.   This article is not meant to cover human physiology in detail. For more information on cellular metabolism click here.  Don’t be fooled that this or similar programs won’t burn the fat off your body just because you’re not doing “cardio”.  You will be huffing and puffing plenty and your body will be using other energy systems, during your rest periods, in an attempt to replenish and restore what you are burning during each set.  You will burn more fat calories in the hours following your workout as your body attempts to recover.

There is a misconception that the higher rep ranges won’t get you “big or bulky”. This is simply not true!  The opposite is actually true. The higher the volume and the length of time muscle’s spend under tension is what builds muscle. Add genetics, hormones and a whole lot of food to this equation, then you will add bulk!  When you see a big muscular female who looks like a freak, there’s a good chance that she not only wants to look like that, she is likely taking male hormones to look like that.  Building muscle doesn’t happen by accident, especially for women.

The volume and intensity you will use in MMRT is perfect for women and men who are just looking to get lean, strong and fit without building too much muscle (there is plenty you can do with this program to have more of a muscle-building effect, such as add volume with additional exercises after you complete the circuit).  As long as the volume of work isn’t over the top and you’re not eating like an offensive lineman, you will reap the benefits of MMRT. This is not the end all be all of training for lean, strong bodies. But it is  surely one that is in my tool box.  I love to pull a program like this out for a few weeks to change things up and shock the body.  Trust me, it’s a shock! This of course all depends on who I am working with and their goals.  It also greatly depends on what the participant is willing to put into it!  This type of training is tough to sustain for long periods.  That is why I don’t recommend it for longer than two to three 5-week cycles.

let’s get to the program


The exercises I’ve chosen are of course all big, multi-joint movements.  You will do 3 exercises per circuit.  Each circuit is done just 3 times per-week.  You will alternate Circuit A and B each workout.

Circuit A.

  • Deadlift(any variation you choose)
  • Barbell or dumbbell Military Press
  • Pull-up (if you can’t, do a Pull-down or assisted pull-up machine)

Circuit B.

  • Squat(any variation you choose;  Back, front, goblet, zercher)
  • Flat barbell or dumbbell bench press
  • Barbell or dumbbell bent over row or seated row

Spend a session determining your work weight for each lift.  First you will figure out your estimated 1 rep max. This is what I recommend to figure it out.  Choose the exercise you are going to perform.  After a thorough warm-up begin with a light weight and work up.  You are going to do a few sets building up to your 6 rep max.  You know you have reached your maximum when your form begins to break.  You MUST keep your form perfect and I mean perfect.  Once you have determined your 6 rep max you will use it in this equation.


Once you have determined your estimated 1 rep max you are going to subtract 20% from that number. So you will basically be using 75-80% of your 1 rep max.  This is to ensure you will not be using a weight that is too heavy.  This is the new equation;


These will be the weights you will use for each lift for the first 5-week cycle of MMRT.  So make a notation in your journal and plan out your program before you even begin.  You MUST KEEP A TRAINING JOURNAL!

  • A thorough warm-up is required prior to each workout.  Foam roller, dynamic warm-up and some activation exercises (i.e. bridges, planks, Y,T,I’s) are all a part of a good warm-up.  Be sure to do a few lighter sets for each exercise as you build up to your “work weight”.
  • Each circuit (3 main lifts) will be performed for a total of 5 sets (this will remain unchanged for the entire program).  The intensity will increase and the volume will decrease over the 5-week period.
  • There should be a minimal rest period between each exercise in each circuit (no more than 20-30 seconds and that’s only if you really need it).  Rest just enough to move on to the next exercise and complete all designated reps.  This time will likely increase as you get closer to the end of the workout, just be sure to keep it as short as possible.  It won’t be easy but that’s the point!
  • The length of each rest period between circuits will increase by 1 minute after each set. You will begin with a 2 minute rest after your 1st set, then a 3 minute rest after your 2nd set, then a 4 minute rest after your 3rd set…up to 5 minutes after your 4th set.  Once you finish your 5th set, you are done!  If you don’t achieve all designated reps in each circuit, there is a good chance you will need to lower the weight a bit.  A reduction of 20% may not be enough for some people.  You may have to go as high as 25%.
  • You will be using 75-80% or your 1 rm. Remember to change the .80 to .75 when determining your weight for MMRT.

  • You will complete a total of 4 cycles (C4).  4 cycles makes up a “wave” (W).
  • You will alternate circuit A and B twice in an 8 day period, for example M, W, F, M.  This makes up a “cycle” (C).
  • After each cycle is completed you will increase the weight by 5 pounds from your initial calculation for each exercise and decrease the reps by 1.  For instance, for your first cycle (C1) you will complete 5 sets of 6 repetitions.  You will then increase the weight by 5 pounds and complete 5 sets of 5 (C2),  Cycle 3 (C3) increase by 5 pounds and complete 5 sets of 4.   Then finally on cycle 4 (C4) 5 sets of 3.  I have laid out a schedule of the rep scheme for the first wave below.
  •  After you complete all 5-weeks of MMRT, you have the choice of deloading for a week and then begin a second wave.   Just increase the weights from the first C1 (first week) of your first wave by 5 pounds and start over again.

These are the rest periods for each set of your MMRT workouts:

Set #

  1. 2 minutes
  2. 3 minutes
  3. 4 minutes
  4. 5 minutes
  5. After you complete your 5th set you are done with MMRT.


I don’t think you need much Core or Conditioning work during this training cycle.  Maybe some ab wheel or some anti rotation exercises like the Pallof presses or chops.

The exercises I’ve chosen challenge the core and your energy systems plenty for a good conditioning workout.  Save the excess stuff  for another program. 

Focus your energy on the plan…  trust me!


Deloading is an effective and essential part of any progressive training program.  Weeks of intense training is not only wearing on the joints and soft tissues but it is wearing on the central nervous system (CNS).  It is crucial to allow your CNS and the rest of your body a period of complete rest or a period of decreased training intensity and volume (deloading), before beginning another cycle of intense training.

Here is how to deload during this phase of training;

  • Make sure you do plenty of soft tissue work like foam rolling and stretching after your workouts
  • Decrease the your estimated 1 rep max calculation by 50% and use this as your work weight for all of the exercises for one full cycle
  • Increase the rest periods between exercises to approximately 1 minute and between circuits to at least 4 minutes for all circuits.
  • The deloading phase is supposed to be a recovery phase, so don’t push the intensity and volume.
  • Remember, after this period you will come back even stronger and ready to tackle another wave with heavier weights!
  • Warm up appropriately.
  • Stick with the exercises and order that I’ve chosen, or at least a very similar variation.
  • Do your best to use strict form for every rep you complete.  Of course your form may deteriorate a bit toward the end of the workout but try to remain strict.
  • Do not start too heavy. I’d rather you start lighter and increase as needed.  If you cannot complete all designated reps for each set in the first cycle, you need to drop your weight a bit.  Some may need to reduce the estimated 1 rm by 25% not 20%.
  • Remember, you are only increasing the weight you use each week if you complete all designated reps with appropriate rest periods.
  • Set up all the equipment before you begin so you don’t waste anytime once the workout begins.
  • Keep a training journal!
  • Stick with the set rest periods.  It’s an important part of the program.  At certain points you may want to stop or rest longer…don’t…be strong!  What you put in to this is what you’ll get out!!
  • Do not add excess volume (i.e. sets and/or exercises) unless you’re looking to really add muscle mass.  In that case you may want to add calories as well.
  • Give the program a chance, it’s no joke.  You will see results if you train hard, rest appropriately and follow it up with a great diet.  5-weeks may not be enough time for some to get your plan  properly underway. I suggest you run two 5-week waves before you judge the program.

This is the type of innovative programming going on at our club; Core Dynamics Gym in Water Mill, NY.

You can look for that pill or that silly workout with zero intensity and funny movements to get you where you say you want to go.  But the truth of the matter is, it takes hard work, commitment, discipline, a great program and a highly trained, experienced training staff that are not going to lie to you about where you’re going to be in 30 days. 

Because THAT is up to you…not us!

If you’re interested in setting up a program likes this one, please contact us at info@coredynamicsgym.com or call 631.726.6049.  We will be happy to help.

The time for change is now!

Strength For life,

Jim O’Hagan




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s