Metabolic Conditioning (MetCon) | Guide to energy systems

Let’s get to know metabolic conditioning (Metcon) better together with this interesting guide.

Contrary to popular belief, the term metabolism is more than the number of calories our body burns each day.

Rather, this terminology refers to every single energy production and consumption reaction that occurs in our body.

What is Metabolic Conditioning

Small lesson in applied science:

The chemical called adenosine triphosphate (ATP) supplies every cell in our body with the energy it needs. To obtain ATP, our body relies on three energy systems: phosphagen, glycolytic and oxidative.

metabolic conditioning is ultimately any form of exercise that increases the efficiency of any energy system.

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The 3 energy systems

The Phosphagen System is fast-acting and responsible for providing ATP for fast, high-intensity exercises, such as sprints and Olympic lifts. But it runs out quickly. After that, a substantial rest period is required to get back into action.

Once the 10 second limit is exceeded, the glycolytic system begins to support the full weight of the work, providing APT for activities such as weightlifting with heavier loads and for longer sprints. long lasting up to a few minutes.

Then the oxidative system (also known as aerobic) resumes relaxation, feeding us through activities of longer duration.

It is important to remember that while the three energy systems work on some sort of continuum, no system ever does all of the work. Rather, they are all working at any given time.

MetCon workouts therefore recruit the three metabolic systems of our body:

  1. Phosphagen
  2. Glycolytic
  3. Oxidative

All systems that play a key role in how our body stores and consumes energy.


This is the first energy system that our body turns to immediately during the first repetitions of an activity such as when performing a few short and quick reps of weight lifting, which fuel muscle contractions.

The phosphagen system delivers this instant energy to our body, through a chemical called ATP (adenosine triphosphate), which is essentially energy that is converted from food.


This second energy system comes into operation after the phosphagen system is depleted, from one to 30 seconds. This system produces ATP rapidly for explosive gestures with longer duration which can range from 1 to 30 seconds.

Oxidative (also known as aerobic)

This energy system requires oxygen and is ideal for endurance activities such as long runs or marathons.

The intensity, the amount of rest and the number of repetitions of an activity determine the use of the systems. In other words, each path dominates at different times depending on the duration of the workout and the cardio-strength ratio of the programming.

The work-rest ratios of workouts depend on the workout itself and the level of fitness.

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MetCon Training

Two of the most popular MetCon workouts are:

  1. AMRAP (as many reps / rounds as possible)
  2. EMOM (every minute per minute).


During an AMRAP workout, as many repetitions as possible of each exercise or round of multiple exercises are performed over a predetermined period of time.


During an EMOM workout, a predetermined amount of repetitions of an exercise are performed at the start of each minute. Once finished, you can rest for the rest of the minute before starting over the next minute.

Although the work-rest ratio for an EMOM workout is a little more pronounced, it still allows for some variations depending on the level of fitness.

Metcon vs HITT

MetCon workout is similar to HIIT workout. It all depends on the type of recovery and the intervals.

But while HIIT training is typically done at 80% or more of your maximum heart rate, MetCon workouts vary by type. In other words, HIIT training itself is a form of MetCon training, but not all metabolic conditioning workouts follow the same rules.

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Benefits of metabolic conditioning

MetCon workouts help build strength with lateral and dynamic movement, training the upper and lower body simultaneously and improving aerobic efficiency throughout the body. Strengthening the upper body improves general fitness and helps improve the performance of the main sport being practiced.

It is very important to pay attention to the overall training load to avoid overlapping it with your training routine and suffering from an overtrainining condition. Incorporating MetCon workouts into your training routine will improve your fitness status and overall performance.

Metcon training equipment

Like other high-intensity activities, metabolic conditioning training uses a whole series of exercises that can be safely used bodyweight weights such as

  1. Barbell
  2. Kettlebells
  3. haltèress
  4. Medicine Ball
  5. Air Bike
  6. Rower

One Person Gym Set

We have thought of enclosing everything you need for your MetCon workouts in a very small space. Our One Person Gym Set.

A 250 cm high vertical column, fixed to the floor, equipped with Pull-Up Bar , a Wall Ball Target and a Plyo Platform. A perfect training station, which allows training at a safe distance and can easily be cleaned after each workout.

Home Gym | One Person Gym Set


Metabolic conditioning is often associated with intense workouts that leave participants completely metabolically exhausted and physically fatigued.

However, to safely perform metabolic conditioning, this method must be approached with time scalability.

Going directly into maximum effort environments without proper setup will eventually lead to burnout. Metabolic conditioning must be strategically implemented to allow your body to adapt.


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