Burn Baby Burn – Metabolic Finishers To Enhance Your Workout

What We Are Battling Against

The days of the long, boring, rat on a treadmill ways of “burning” fat are over.  At least in my training repertoire.  We have reached a new era and our methods have improved dramatically.  They have also reduced the amount of time spent exercising.  Unless you love that elliptical or treadmill so much that you just keep doing more and more without ever-increasing the intensity.  I know a few people like this, don’t you?

I personally cannot stand long duration, steady state cardio workouts.  However, if  you are a very unconditioned person with a lot of extra weight to lose, then you would need to spend some time developing your aerobic system prior to just jumping into an intense training protocol.  The frequency and duration of those workouts would depend on the individuals current fitness level.

Most people whose goals are to lose fat and improve their fitness level would find using Metabolic Finishers to be an extremely useful tool.  Not to mention it would probably cut hours off of your training time.

“A metabolic finisher is an intense exercise or series of exercises performed at the end of the workout that’s designed to ensure that you’ve burnt every last drop of gas from the tank.”

I walk into the gym and see the same people over and over  moving at a snail’s pace, for what seems like forever.  Their bodies never seem to change and if they do lose a few pounds, it’s usually in the form of lean body mass and it comes back just as fast.  This is what we should be trying to avoid.   We want to increase or at least keep most of our LBM (lean body mass) during a weight loss program.  What’s the sense of dropping weight if you have to eat less to sustain that same weight?  I would rather drop fat and increase LBM, this way I can eat more to sustain the lean body I worked so hard to get, wouldn’t you?

I guess I will just never understand that mentality.  I prefer to go hard for a shorter period of time and you should too.  Unless you have an injury that would prevent this type of training or you are training for a marathon or an event that will require you to work at sub-maximal intensities for longer periods of time.  I see no reason for the majority of your program to be filled with long boring cardio workout’s.   You should be hitting the weight room and doing some strength training, resistance circuits and some “finishers”.  This is how you get that lean, strong body that most of us are striving for but many struggle  to get even close.

Ladies, please stop getting your weight-training advice from “shape” magazine.  Trust me, those pretty pink dumbbells will get you nowhere fast.  I don’t care what Tracy Anderson says.  If you want to look like her you need to stop eating altogether and hire a good plastic surgeon.

Where It Is Going To

The truth be told, training at higher intensities for shorter periods of time will get you to your fitness and weight loss goals much faster than low intensity, long duration cardio or classes that have you using dumbbells that are less than 5 pounds. Guess what?  Your diet needs to be on target as well.

So if you are still doing those long workouts and you think that your intensity is high, think again.  I heard a quote a long time ago that I will never forget;

“You can train hard and you can train long but you cannot train hard for long.”

I absolutely love it. It is not only mentally true but it is also physiologically true.  You only have so much short-term energy stores.  I will explain this in simple, layman’s terms. If you’re training is high intensity (anaerobic) for the most part (ie. strength training, intervals or HIIT circuits) your muscles will begin running low on fuel after a few intense sets.  Then you will be dipping into other pathways to help recover from those sets.  Using “finishers” or really short but really hard intervals following a strength based program will turn on your ability to burn a hell of a lot more fat stores for hours following training.  We are going to make sure that we have expended as much energy in a short period of time as we can.  This in itself will raise your metabolic rate for hours following your workout.  “finishers” tend to last no more that 10 minutes in duration.  So you’d better be giving it your all or you’ll pretty much be wasting 5-10 minutes.  You should not be able to have a conversation about what your plans are for this weekend or any conversation.  Focus on the task at hand…that’s it!

“Metabolic Finishers” For Your Tool Box

Here are a couple of “metabolic finishers” that are simple to design but killer in their effects.  I personally feel the best time for a metabolic finisher is right after your strength program.  You can do them whenever you like and there are just so many things you can do,  just use your imagination.

1.  Barbell Complexes –Begin with a moderate weighted barbell.  This may take some trial and error.  It is not meant to be really heavy.  You need to be able to finish each round with good form.  If your form begins to break you must stop.  You will begin with the bar on the floor and proceed to do 5 rounds of 6 reps of each exercise without ever putting the bar down during each round.  Rest from  1-3 minutes between each round, depending on your intensity.   You should never fully recover.  If your form begins to break or you just need a break, stop (but don’t put the bar down) long enough to complete the rest of your reps with great form.

a.   Romanian Deadlift

b.  Bent-over row

c.   Hanging power clean

d.  Military or Push-press

2.  100 reps for time –  You can do this with any big movement. Doing it with bicep curls is a waste of time.  You need to get your entire body involved.  choose a weight that you can do 20 reps with and proceed to do 100.  You will take breaks intermittently during the workout when your form begins to break or you just need a little rest.  You should never fully recover.  If you begin to break form or just need a rest, stop for a quick rest so you can continue on with good form.  Try to beat your previous best each time.    This is a brutal workout, but be smart…form first.

Here is a list of a few of my favorite exercises to use this with.

a. Kettlebell swings

b. Kettlebell  hang clean or swing snatch

c. Barbell or dumbbell thrusters

d. Deadlifts

e. Front or zercher squats

3. The Tabata protocol – This is basically 8 sets of 20 seconds of work with 10 seconds of rest.  Your goal is to do as many reps, meters or some measurement of distance, depending on what you are doing, in the 20 seconds.   You can choose exercises similar to the ones above. A treadmill or rower (which is my favorite) will also work great.

Here is a good one you could do with the Tabata protocol – complete 2 rounds of these 4 exercises. :20 work/ :10 rest

a. Rower

b. Kettlebell swings

c. Box jumps

d. Push-press

4. Timed or distance SPRINTS and hill sprints (my favorite) –  When was the last time you went down to the local track or nice big hill and ran at about 95% multiple times?  Probably a long time ago, why?  Because its damn hard!

Try this; 5-8 sets of all out sprinting for 15-20 seconds followed by 1-2 minutes rest.  The rest will depend on how HARD you are truly running and your current fitness level.  ALL OUT means ALL OUT.  Not kind of, or almost.  You need to run like Jason and Freddie are right on your ass!!

So there you have a whole other way of burning fat.  You’re probably asking yourself; How can just 5-10 minutes of additional (super intense) exercise (at the end of a great strength program) make that much difference in me losing fat and I will say, “when will you stop doing what you have been doing even though it doesn’t work?”. Try it!  Simply changing up your workout and trying something that you have never done before can make all the difference.

Low intensity, long duration cardio session’s are pretty much out for burning fat and getting truly FIT.  Keep in mind when incorporating a method of training with short/intense intervals like this…fat burning mostly occurs in the hours following your workout.

These methods are the new fat burners.

1. Strength training

2. Metabolic Resistance Training

3. Interval based “cardio” sessions instead of the long boring stuff

4.  Metabolic Finishers to end your workout with a bang

5.  We can never forget diet when we are talking fat-loss – of course a diet that is low in grains and starchy carbohydrates (except for before and after intense workouts) and higher in USDA organic green leafy, cruciferous veggies, animal based proteins and fats actually at every feeding.  Just as long as the meat is from pastured,  grass-fed, hormone and antibiotic FREE animals.  Tons of water, 5-6 feedings daily  and get 8 hours of sleep per-night.

Those are just a quick list of additional recommendations that could take you a long way.  Just try to do the best you can with the organic produce and grass-fed animal meat.  It does make a big difference.

“A great program will always start with a plan of “finishing” strong!

For more info on adding “metabolic finishers” to your workouts or anything else related to training, fitness and nutrition feel free to send an email to jim@coredynamicsgym.com.   You can visit or call  Core Dynamics Gym at 631.726.6049 to set up an appointment to experience a properly designed fitness and nutrition program that targets your specific goals and needs by one of the Core Dynamics fitness coaches.

Strength for Life,

Jim O’Hagan

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