5 fat torching metabolic conditioning workouts wall ball

5 Fat Torching Metabolic Conditioning Workouts

I’ve always considered myself a reasonably fit guy. I’ve played a variety of sports from a young age and upon turning 16, without the bat of an eye, I joined my local gym and took up the sport of lifting weights. In the years since, I have managed to build what I like to think is a better than average physique through bodybuilding and have managed to successfully pack on near 20kg of bodyweight, going from a skinny 68kg to a lean and muscular 87kg.

All well and good then. All, apart from the fact that the more I got into bodybuilding the more I stopped playing sports, in fact over time I just stopped doing cardio altogether.

My gym sessions would be a mixture of bodybuilding and strongman exercises, with a focus on hitting the big compound moves (deadlifts, squats, overhead presses, bench) for 3-6 reps followed by accessory work for 10-15 reps.

That was it.

Workout after workout, year after year.

Cardio didn’t even get the privilege of being an afterthought.

I actually used to believe that any calories burnt doing cardio we’re wasted calories that I could’ve put towards building muscle instead.

Then, one day I realised just how ridiculous my way of thinking for all those years had been and it hit me like a big old cardio slap to the face.

Climbing up flights of stairs is not exactly a pastime of mine, but when the elevator at work breaks down and the only way up to the canteen to climb 20 flights of stairs, It leaves you with little choice.

Well, it only took 5 flights of stairs for all those years of neglecting cardio to catch up on me, to put it kindly, I was struggling to breathe more than a Pug in the Sahara desert.

By the time I got to the top, my quads were on fire,I’m pretty certain a lung had collapsed and my head was ready to explode from the lack of oxygen I was able to process.  

5 fat torching metabolic conditioning workouts curls

Something had to change

No longer could I just obsess on how my body looked, I had to open my mind to other ways of training and think about how my body performed and how I could use fitness to improve my quality of life, not just the quality of my physique.

Now, the problem I’d always had in the past is that I just simply did not enjoy cardio. Jogging on a treadmill or swinging back and forth on a cross trainer for 60 minutes is not my idea of fun (how it is anyone’s I will never know).

What I needed was something that was short and sweet, whilst still managing to get my heart rate up, blood pumping round my body and sweating like mad.

Introducing Metabolic Conditioning

Metabolic Conditioning, commonly just referred to as Metcons, are high-intensity forms of circuit or interval training that usually consists of a group of exercises performed in quick succession for a set period of time or reps that increases heart rate.

Metcons often incorporate the whole body for increased calorie burn, but can be muscle or movement specific.

In recent years, Metcons have gained widespread popularity, mainly due to the quick rise of Crossfit. Most Crossfit workouts are based around the idea of performing 2-5 exercises back to back with little to no rest in between for a sustained period of time.

The idea of which is to build a stronger and more efficient aerobic system and resistance to the build up of lactic acid.


Those aren’t the only benefits of incorporating Metcons into your training however.

The majority of Metcons will generally last a maximum of 20 minutes (this may be dependant of your level of fitness) so they are extremely time efficient. When you consider a normal workout can last the best part of 60-90 minutes, being able to get in and out whilst working up more of a sweat all in under 20 is a godsend for most people.

After all, the most common reason for not working it is not having the time…good luck using that excuse now.

Not only is it quicker, but it’s also more convenient, as a large percentage of Metcons can be done from the comfort of your own home.

It would be beneficial to have a few small pieces of equipment, such as a kettlebell, dumbbells and a medicine ball but you can work up just as good a sweat from doing bodyweight exercises alone, think press ups, squats, burpees, sit ups, lunges, dips and all the endless variations.

Possibly the best thing about Metcons however, is that ANYONE can do them. It doesn’t matter if you are a seasoned pro or just picking up exercise for the first time, anyone can and will benefit.

The important thing to remember is to work at your own pace and to your own abilities, as long as you are personally improving week on week, then that’s all that matters.

Lastly, you have the fact that incorporating these workouts into your routine will help increase your total daily calorie burn, reduce the risk of fat gain, improves the health of your heart and lungs, enhances your mood and even have a direct crossover to being able to last longer in bodybuilding focused workouts, due to improvements in your muscular endurance.

So, now we know all about Metcons, it’s time to stop the chat and get stuck in.

Here are my top 5 personal favourite Metcon Style Workouts.

5 fat torching metabolic conditioning workouts wall ball


Originating in Japan this workout consists of performing exercises with full out effort for 20 seconds, followed by 10 seconds rest, for a total of 4 minutes. These can be done with any group of exercises and can be a combination of weights and cardio.

Perform 3-4 different TABATAS for a high intensity workout that only requires 12-16 minutes of 100% effort.

Barbell Squats (20 seconds)

rest 10 seconds

Press-Ups (20 seconds)

rest 10 seconds

Dumbbell Push Press (20 seconds)

rest 10 seconds

Treadmill Sprint (20 seconds)

rest 10 seconds



This Metcon is to be completed in the quickest possible time. That means you have to push yourself hard, but make sure to get your pacing right so you don’t burn out too quickly in the early stages.

It is typical for the ladders to go down in increments of three, and I like to use a combination of both a cardio specific exercise and a weighted exercise.

Perform both exercises for each number stated before moving down to the next stage of the ladder.


Rowing machine (calories)

Deadlifts (reps)

Want to make it more challenging? Reverse the ladder and work your way up.

3. AMRAP (As Many Rounds As Possible)

Does what it says on the tin. You can pick any number of exercises as you want for this one but I find it best to stick to the 3-4, staying within the 5-20 rep range and you just push for as many rounds as you possible can in the allotted time. Simple.

Again, you can make it more challenging (and fun?) by incorporating both weighted exercises and cardio  elements.

Perform all reps/calories for each exercise before moving onto the next

20 minute time limit:

15 wall balls

10 thrusters

15 wall balls

10 burpees

4. EMOM (Every Minute On the Minute)

This metcon is a staple in the Crossfit training methodology. Generally lasting between 10-30 minutes depending on fitness levels.

EMOM’s are pretty straight forward, set your timer and then on every scheduled minute perform your exercise(s). Once you’ve completed all the reps, simply rest for the remainder of the minute, ready to go again when the next minute rolls around. Simply repeat this method for the allocated time.

Choose weights that will be challenging yet allow you to complete all reps within the minute for the duration of the workout.

15 minute EMOM

1st minute: 12 Push Press

2nd minute: 20 kettlebells swings

3rd minute: 10 Front squats

repeat for 15 minutes.

5 fat torching metabolic conditioning workouts deadlift


Yup, you guessed it, cardio blasters are all about making those lungs burn and the heart pound.  

These are the kind of workouts that make you nervous beforehand but ecstatic afterwards when you can bask in your sweaty glory of achievement.

These will be long distance workouts, but don’t fret you’ll get a “break” in between to perform some bodyweight exercises.

For time:

Ski-Erg*- 2km

every 20 strokes stop and perform 8 burpees and 8 medicine ball slams.

*If you don’t have a ski-erg, use the rowing machine

Slow and steady wins the race

It may sound counter productive to advise taking it easy when doing these workouts, considering the fact they are all about full out effort and intensity.

Whilst you do want to push yourself, keep it within your limits. These workouts are very taxing on the body and its nervous system and if you are not experienced in the training style then it can be extremely easy to burn out.

The majority of these workouts you will be using light loads, around 40-60% of your maxes, but dont be fooled into a false sense of security, these workouts are highly demanding and can take a solid few days to recover from fully.

Start off with 2-3 metcons a week if you’re a beginner (3-5 for advanced trainees) and work slowly on building up your endurance by increasing the duration, weight, reps or number of exercises before adding in more sessions.


Help maximise recovery by staying well hydrated, everyones water intake requirements are different, but as a general guideline look to get at least a couple of litres a day minimum of 3-4 litres a day.

A well hydrated muscle is a well performing muscle.

Getting in an adequate amount of protein is also essential to help speed along recovery and repairing/building muscle tissue . A solid starting point is to go for 1 gram for every pound of body weight so if you weigh 180 lbs then you want to be consuming, yup you guessed it…180g of protein.

Carbohydrates are your next go to. This is your body’s main and preferred energy source and you’ll need plenty to help fuel your intense workouts. The majority should come from nutrient dense sources but don’t be afraid of quick release carbs before and after your workouts.

Last but certainly not least is sleep. This is when your body is going to build and repair the muscle you’ve broken down during your workouts and a good night’s sleep is essential for continued performance improvements. Aim for anywhere of 6-8 hours of decent sleep a night.

Time to Work  

Well, there’s nothing left for it but to get stuck in!

Give the 5 metcons above a shot and see how you do. Even better get together with a group of friends and go up against each other for a bit of “friendly” competition.

Remember to track your results so you can go back and try and beat them week on week.

Have you used Metcons in your training before?

Do you love or hate them?  

Let me know how your fitness and life has improved and if you have any of your own favourite Metcon workouts.


About the Author


If you don't know where to start, training and nutrition can be confusing topics. I'm Matt, and I'm on a mission to bring common sense back into the gym, nutrition and the fitness industry as a whole. Fueled by an overly enthusiastic love for coffee, I aim to give clear, simple advice that works, making crushing your goals a breeze.