With the fast-paced nature of the modern working world, it can be easy to lose yourself in the hustle and bustle of life. Many women in the workforce struggle with juggling their work, family and other commitments. Often, this means that your workout routine can easily take a back seat.
With sedentary lifestyles being associated with cardiovascular and other health ailments, regular exercise can contribute to better health and lower risk factors for preventable diseases1. In this article, we take a closer look at some metabolic workouts that you can consider incorporating into your daily routines.
What are Metabolic Workouts?
Metabolic workouts are a type of high-intensity exercise routine that focuses on maximizing the amount of energy that your body consumes. Research has shown that periods of intense physical activity can result in as much as a 100-fold increase in the body’s demand for energy2.
The high metabolic demand that is brought about by a metabolic workout can often result in increased fat burn and higher levels of calorie consumption for up to ten days after the workout3. Thus, metabolic workouts can be very effective for burning fat and building overall strength. To achieve this, metabolic workouts typically involve numerous muscle groups throughout the body and require full-body involvement. (To help get a workout routine started, you can see Belly Brain's recommendations for best home workout apps here.)
Our Top 6 Metabolic Workouts for Women
If you’re keen on incorporating metabolic workouts into your daily schedule or current exercise routines, here’s a list of six of the most effective metabolic workouts (you can also see our article "Best Workouts for Busy Women" for more ideas):
1. Jump Squats
Jump squats are one of the easiest metabolic workouts that you can do, requiring nothing more than just a small area free of obstruction. The workout is also relatively simple to perform. To do a jump squat, simply squat down with your hands in front of you before returning to a standing position and jumping up with your hands raised. Do 15 to 20 repetitions for three or more sets and you can have an intense cardiovascular workout that activates the muscles in your lower body.
The burpee is another relatively straightforward body-weight workout that you can do without any specialized equipment. To do a burpee, start from a standing position before squatting down, extending your legs backwards and doing a push up. After doing the push-up, return to a squatting position before jumping up to complete a single repetition.
This workout engages the muscle groups in your arms, core and legs. When done repeatedly, it can also be a strenuous activity that can improve your cardiovascular endurance significantly over time.
If you have access to a running track or a stretch of unobstructed road, you can also consider doing sprints as part of your metabolic workout routine. This workout is fairly self-explanatory and involves running a pre-set distance or period as quickly as you can. At the end of each interval, you can take a short break to recover your energy before repeating the process. If done properly, sprints can work out your core and lower body muscles while also increasing your metabolic rate.
4. Mountain Climbers
Mountain climbers are a great metabolic exercise you can consider doing if you don’t have a large space to work out in. This exercise engages your core, arm and lower body muscles. To do mountain climbers, start by entering a push-up position. Then, bring your knees to your chest in quick succession. Keep your back lowered while doing the exercise to avoid injuring your back and repeat the exercise for a period of one to two minutes.
5. Kettlebell Swing
If you work out in a gym or have some kettlebells at home, you can consider adding kettlebell swings to your metabolic workout routine. If you’ve gotten comfortable with body-weight exercises, kettlebell swings can add an additional level of challenge to your workout routine.
To do a kettlebell swing, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and hold a kettlebell in between your legs with your arms fully extended. Bend your knees slightly while keeping your back straight and swing the kettlebell backwards in between your legs. Then, thrust your hip forward and bring the kettlebell up to your chest level while keeping your arms straight.
6. Weighted Jumping Jacks
While many of us may be familiar with jumping jacks, weighted jumping jacks can add an additional level of intensity to this basic exercise. The only difference between weighted jumping jacks and regular jumping jacks is that with the former, you hold dumbells in each of your hands while jumping.
When doing weighted jumping jacks, it can be beneficial to start with lighter dumbells. This can help you ensure that your form and posture remains correct while you get used to doing jumping jacks with weights. Then, as you gradually become more familiar with the exercise and your body strength increases, you can then increase the weight of the dumbells.
Tips for Maximizing the Effectiveness of Your Metabolic Workouts
While metabolic workouts can provide numerous health benefits, it's crucial for you to do them correctly to maximize their effectiveness. Here are some tips that can help you optimize your workouts:
- Work out with a friend or coach: Your friend or coach can watch you as you work out to ensure that you maintain the proper form and posture throughout the exercise. This is essential for ensuring that you don’t unintentionally injure yourself.
- Aim for incremental improvement: When you first start working out, you migh find that you don’t have the stamina to complete multiple high-intensity repttitions of metabolic workouts. If so, you can start at a slower pace and gradually increase the intensity of the workout over time as you build you strength and endurance.
- Have a clear plan: It can also be beneficial for you to have a clear workout plan that details all the exercises that you want to complete in each session. Sticking to this plan and modifying it over time can enable you to track your progress and how your body is benefiting from the workout.