Metabolic conditioning programs such as P90X® or Insanity Workout® are the latest fitness craze designed to burn lots of calories and produce significant results. While we all want to fast track our results, we want to avoid being sidelined by an injury. Here’s some of the lowdown on this trend as well as things to consider.
What are these programs like?
The programs may vary in the exercise choices but they all use swift-paced strength training movements in a circuit style with little or no rest in between. Because of the intensity, most of the workout sessions are relatively short. An example of a circuit may be a jump squat (jump in the air and land in a squat) performed continuously for 30–45 seconds, followed by pushups, same time frame and then by high knees (running in place with your knees high in the air) same time frame. (Keep in mind there are numerous circuits within a workout, this is just an example of one).
Why are they popular?
In a phrase, they work. Not only do the workouts burn lots of calories, the after effect is a plus because your overall metabolism continues to be high for several hours once you have finished. Assuming you finish. In one study, participants burned an extra 770 calories for the 38 hours following their workout. The workout was rough – bench press, power cleans and parallel squats for 30 minutes. If you don’t know what all of these exercises are, just know that they are very difficult.
In addition to the results, these programs are popular because they can be taught in groups. The sense of camaraderie and competition helps individuals get through the workout. Training centers are opening up around the country offering “extreme” workouts. One chain has an iPhone application that includes a Workout of the Day - for example 100 chin-ups, 100 sit-ups and 100 thrusters.
What is the fine line?
These programs are not for everyone, as you can imagine. They require a fair amount of fitness to begin with and are repetitive in nature. This repetition is hard on joints and muscles. At Woman’s Fitness Club we decided to develop our own metabolic program, but in an “intelligent” fashion. Our own Maniac Workout utilizes the science of this type of training with appropriate exercises and a safe progression. One of our Maniac trainers stated, “We know how to safely determine the workload and rest periods. We get the same results, but avoid the injuries. This way, women can find the joy in high intensity workouts.”
Something a little more toned down?
Our Jump Start program is more focused on conditioning and weight loss. All fitness levels can participate. If you are interested in joining our Jump Start workout program register online now. >>