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The excess fat on your body is a lot like a nut attached to a rusted-out bolt. You want to twist it off. You need to twist it off. Chances are, you’ve tried everything you can think of to unscrew it, but nothing ever seems to work. It’s stuck—and so are you.
When this happens, any machine or auto repair shop worth its salt has just the last-resort solution on hand to get things moving: a blowtorch. When you blowtorch a rusted nut-and-bolt arrangement, the intense heat breaks the bond created by the rust, and it melts things down to a point where the nut can easily be removed.
That’s how it works with fat loss, too. When all else fails—when your diet and cardio “solutions” aren’t solving a blessed thing—it’s time to break out your own blowtorch and get the lard off once and for all. Summer is coming, which means it’s time, yet again, to either show off the work you’ve been doing all winter or hide the fact that you’ve been slacking. We’re about to show you how to round into the homestretch with a healthy dose of intensity by adding metabolic circuit training to your regimen.
You may have heard about excess post-exercise oxygen consumption in the past. EPOC is the gas tank that powers your fat-stripping blowtorch, because when the type of training we’re advocating here induces an “oxygen debt,” it can increase your metabolic rate for up to 16 hours after you train. This means that when you’re done working out—while you’re at school, at work, or sleeping—your body is still looking to consume fuel sources for the oxygen it needs to restore itself to a resting state of equilibrium. The good news for you is that it does this primarily through raiding fat stores.
“The EPOC effect does what steadystate cardio can’t do,” says Ryan Whitton, a strength coach in Austin, TX. “You still need some steady-state in your program to enhance recovery and strengthen your heart, but when it comes to stripping fat off your body, nothing works like circuit training to manipulate the speed at which your metabolism burns.”
Research has shown that the EPOC effect increases along with the intensity level of the type of exercise you’re performing. So, while you may burn more calories during a low-impact 45-minute treadmill session, you’ll affect your metabolic rate in a far more profound way if you throw in two or three short-yet-intense ten minute metabolic circuits per week.
Whether you’re willing to admit it or not, metabolic-style training is fun despite its high degree of difficulty. The workouts move quickly, the exercises are constantly changing, and it forces you to use your entire body as a unit— the way it’s intended to move—instead of performing the same repetitive moves for set periods of time, a la steady-state cardio. You can also train this way anywhere. Whether you’re traveling, pressed for time, or you’d rather wait until you’re home from the gym to receive your metabolic ass kicking, most of the exercises in this set of workouts involve just your body weight—with the rest utilizing dumbbells, the weight of which can remain constant. In other words, you won’t need a ton of time, space, or gear—just the desire to shred those last bits of winter body fat and a plan to complete the job.
“If I showed you someone who trained with these circuits for an extended period of time,” says Whitton, an experienced amateur fighter who favors MMA-style training for his clients, “you’d see how they look and perform and you’d want those types of results for yourself. If you want to be lean for summer, and you want the kinesthetic awareness to control your own body, this is how it’s done.”