Blast: Metabolic Interval Trainingby Chad Coy
You know what's really cool about powerlifters and strongman competitors? Their necks are wider than their heads. You just gotta love that.
But I'm talking about something else cool about them: They do what works. No bullshit, no endless study-flinging — they just try stuff. If it works, they keep it. If it doesn't, they dump it. It's like survival of the fittest for training methodologies.
That's why we were intrigued when we heard from Chad Coy, a dude who's both a powerlifting champ, a strongman athlete, and a trainer and gym owner. When guys like Chad say something works, they mean it. They've tested it in the real world, and they wouldn't use it if it didn't get them fast results.
This is Chad's method for stripping body fat off in record time. He calls it "Blast." We just call it one hard-ass workout. — CS
Beg, Borrow, and Steal to Get Ripped Fast
Metabolic interval training, or "Blast" as I call my version of it, is an exercise protocol that utilizes the latest science of endocrinology and performance training to totally tax the body's major energy systems. The main focus of Blast is to maximize the use of stored adipose tissue (fat) as a fuel source, both during and after exercise.
Blast is a "beg, borrow, and steal" type of training, taking ideas from every aspect of exercise to make a superior training session that incinerates fat at an incredible rate. In a given session, you could experience a combination of standard resistance training, calisthenics, body-weight training, gymnastics, reactive training — that's plyos for you old-schoolers — Olympic movements, kettlebell training, and strongman events in one integrated interval training session.
These sessions are fast paced, involving intervals of hard work and short rest periods to produce maximum fat loss in the shortest period of time. And don't just think gymrats are the only ones who thinks this works — it's backed up by science.
In a 2008 study presented in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning, metabolic interval-type training had a ten-fold greater fat loss when compared to either aerobic exercise or weight training individually. Numerous other studies found in The Journal of Medicine and Science in Sport, The European Journal of Physiology, The Journal of Sports Nutrition, and The European Journal of Applied Physiology over the last eight years have supported this.
Some research showed that metabolic interval training actually had as much as a 50 percent increase in the use of fat as a fuel source during exercise. One research study showed that this type of training produced EPOC (Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption) that lasted 16 to 48 hours.
As a personal trainer and performance coach, I have to produce results fast or I'll find myself without a job. As an athlete myself, I've trained about every way known to man in the last 30 years, but I'm always looking for more productive ways of doing things. After reading the research, I began working on how to incorporate this type of training into what we do at my gym.
Over the last twelve months I've been working on the Blast training protocols with all my clients: professional and college athletes, bodybuilders, strongmen, MMA fighters, police officers, firefighters, powerlifters, and MILF's (Moms in Love with Fitness — get your mind out of the gutter). Through the use of Polar heart rate monitors and the BodyBugg by APEX, we found that the average client burned 11kcal per minute during exercise and had an elevated metabolism post exercise.
I haven't seen the 16 to 48 hours of EPOCH that some of the science has reported, but my clients have maintained a metabolic "afterburn" of four hours on the average.
One thing that I didn't expect was that this type of training helps aid recovery. Like "feeder" sets, Blast does a great job of flushing out the metabolic garbage from muscles by pumping tons of blood through them. GPP (general physical preparedness) is most assuredly improved by doing metabolic interval training.
Enough science. Time to show you how to do it!
You can work this in as a stand-alone session or build it into your body part splits. I'll give you some loose guidelines of how we do it for a stand-alone session.
Work and Rest
We start with a split of 30 seconds of work to 20 seconds of rest. We'll work up to 45 seconds of work and as little rest as 15 seconds.
Week 1: 30 seconds work / 20 seconds rest / 120 seconds between rounds
Week 2: 35 seconds work / 15 seconds rest / 110 seconds between rounds
Week 3: 40 seconds work / 20 seconds rest / 100 seconds between rounds
Week 4: 45 seconds work / 15 seconds rest / 90 seconds between rounds
Exercise Selection and Load
The bigger the movement the better, but the load doesn't need to be super high. I personally prefer compound movements across as many joints as possible and a load that allows 15 or more reps to be completed in the interval.
Stations and Rounds
Twelve stations and three rounds is what seems to work best. Much more than that and my clients — regardless of their conditioning — seem to just shut down. Our typical session lasts about 45 minutes.
Breaks Between Rounds
We range between 90 and 120 seconds of rest between rounds. That's generally enough time to wipe your face off and get a sip of water.
Note: The rest between rounds can be adjusted depending on condition of those in a training session. Some of our high school teams have gone up to 60 seconds work and 15 seconds rest.
Training sessions per week should be limited to no more than four. Most of my clients lift weights two times per week and then add one to two Blast sessions.
How much effort should you put into each set and every round? I guess that depends on what you want to get out of the training? More effort = better results!
A "Regular Gym" Example
At my facility we have all kinds of specialized equipment. Your gym probably doesn't. Sorry about that. But here's a session example you can do with common equipment that'll leave you sucking gas and dripping sweat.
1. Body weight squats
2. Pulldown with reverse grip
4. Dumbbell high pulls
5. Stationary speed skaters
6. Dumbbell bent-over rows
7. Jump dip. You'll need something to absorb your jump, such as an aerobic step.
8. Hanging leg raise (hold chin bar)
9. Lunge walk while holding plate locked out over your head
10. Ab roll-out
11. Dumbbell stiff-leg deadlifts
12. Standing broad jumps
Fifteen to twenty minutes of good old low- to moderate-intensity cardio. The calories burned during this time period are almost exclusively fat because of the hormonal cascade you set up during the metabolic interval training.
Same Session Blast
Like the idea but aren't super keen on doing an entire separate session? Then just toss it in at the end of your workout.
Start out with no more than three exercises and three rounds at the end of your main training session. I've done the same body parts that I just trained, and I've just worked feeder sets for what I hit the day or two before. Both ways produce great results.
Give this session a shot and let me know what you think!
About Chad Coy
Chad Coy is a strength and conditioning coach, a drug-free powerlifting champion, and a noted strongman competitor. He's currently the owner of ClubFitness24 by Powerhouse Gym and Parisi Speed School, Kokomo, Indiana.
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