Back in the day when I was training dozens of one-on-one clients and bootcamps, I had some “eager” clients that wanted to do something on their off day.
I can understand that. They were getting results so they got excited. They wanted to increase the momentum.
Here’s the thing though (and I think you know this)…more is NOT better.
However, some of my campers and clients were determined and really wanted SOMETHING to do on their off day other than what I would recommend, which would be just to go for a brisk walk or play with your kids.
But if they did yet another workout on top of their regular routine, they would struggle with their strength training and found themselves sluggish.
So that’s when I introduced “Metabolic Conditioning” workouts to my clients. But to prevent over-training, there’s a couple of tricks you can put into place with these workouts so you’re not dragging by mid-week.
Rule # 1 – Metabolic Conditioning Workouts Should Be No More Than 2 Times a Week
This is the “sweet spot”. When I write programs, they are typically 3 days a week (sometimes 4). No matter how much you love the gym, you don’t want to burn yourself out by going 7 days a week… unless you’re a freak. Freaks are ok.
For example, I’m a pancake freak. I could eat at IHop every day and never get burned out. But I can’t because I’ll swell up like the Dirty Bastard in the Austin Power movies within days (I gain weight easily). Random fact – I once yelled, “Get in my belly!” to my pancakes at IHop and embarrassed my wife.
So let’s say you have a workout schedule in which you work out Monday, Wednesday and Friday. You could then schedule your Metabolic Conditioning workouts like this:Monday – Workout Tuesday – Metabolic Conditioning Wednesday – Workout Thursday – OFF Friday – Workout Saturday – Metabolic Conditioning Sunday – OFF and eat pancakes (it’s the right thing to do)
You could keep ALL the workouts within Mon-Fri, just be sure you’re recovering fine. Most of my clients like to plug in a circuit on one of the weekend days (it helped them make better food decisions).
Rule # 2 – Don’t Even Come Close to Training to Failure
This is where it gets tricky. If you’re on a program specifically with Metabolic Conditioning in it, then obviously, you’ll want to really push yourself. But if you’re using Metabolic Conditioning as an off day workout – be sure to not come close to training to failure.
Remember, these “extra credit” workouts are to help you stay active, not destroy you.
Bodyweight Exercises – Typically, you’ll want to choose “easier” bodyweight exercises for your off day metabolic conditioning workouts. So if you find lunge jumps really hard, you’ll want to switch to alternating lunges.
If you plan to do 30 pushups in the circuit, but find yourself failing at 25 – then do 20.
See how this works yet? This way, you stay active, but won’t exhaust yourself so you can really nail your next “real” workout.
Rule # 3 – Yes, Go “Light”
Now when I write “off day” metabolic conditioning workouts, I even throw in some resistance training work, but with higher reps. For example, I would plug in DB Squats (15-25 reps).
But if they are designed for off days, then I would have my client use lighter weight. Yes, this goes against the grain, but remember – these are OFF DAY workouts.
So if you’re knocking out 20 DB Squats, use a weight that you can lift for around 25 reps (maybe even a little more).
This is what I call the “sweet spot” so that you can get a worthy off day workout in but without sacrificing your performance.
The feedback I’ve gotten from my clients and readers…doing these kind of workouts a couple of times a week helps them stay mentally “in the game”. When you’re in “the game”, you’re making better food decisions. #Winning.
Rule # 4 – Keep the Workouts Short
Your “off day” workout should be short… no more than 30 minutes INCLUDING your warm-up.
Stay active yo’… don’t overdo it bro. <== FANTASTIC LINE
So, here’s a sample Metabolic Conditioning Workout. Remember, use the rules above if doing this as an off day workout…1A) KB or DB Swings (20) 1B) DB Row (20/side) 1C) Bodyweight Walking Lunges (12/side) 1D) Alternating DB Chest Press (20/side) 1E) Ab Wheel or Stability Ball Rollout (10) 1F) Total Body Extension (20)
Rest 1 minute and repeat up to 2 more times
Ab Conditioning Circuit2A) Spiderman Climb (8/side) 2B) Plank (30 secs) 2C) Side Plank (30 secs/side)
Rest 30 seconds and repeat up to 2 more times
Boom goes the Metabolic Conditioning Dynamite,
P.S. Based on your feedback, I created a program called, “Crank Conditioning”, which are Metabolic Conditioning workouts designed to be done twice a week. Just be sure to use the rules above… cool?
You can get it as a FREE bonus when you pick up Dan’s go-to resource to boost your performance in and out of the gym right here (and he’s got a special bonus, too):
Grab it from the link above before Friday, then forward your receipt to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll send you Crank Conditioning.
P.P.S. Dan’s 6-minute routine is also a great off day workout to become more flexible and improve your performance.