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Metabolic Conditioning 101

“Our specialty is not specializing.” - Greg Glassman

Metabolic conditioning is not limited to “cardio”. In fact, you will never be operating in only one metabolic pathway. Long distance runners source the majority of their energy from the oxidative (aerobic) system but still use the anaerobic (glycolytic and phosphagen) systems as well. Likewise, powerlifters operate mainly with the anaerobic energy systems, but they will never operate 100% without the aerobic (oxidative) system.

“Favoring one or two [energy systems] to the exclusion of the others and not recognizing the impact of excessive training in the oxidative pathway are arguably the two most common faults in fitness training.” - Greg Glassman

The key to improving metabolic conditioning across all three energy systems is by varying intensity and time domains. A good example of this is interval training.

“This is very important: with interval training we get all of the cardiovascular benefit of endurance work without the attendant loss of strength, speed, and power.” - Greg Glassman

You do not develop robust "cardio" by slogging through an ever increasing number of miles on the treadmill. Instead, we can develop efficiency across all energy systems through interval training.

Need some ideas for interval training? Pick a mono-structural activity like walking, running, biking, swimming, or rowing and then pick a time domain.


- Row for 20 sec on, 10 off for 8 rounds

- Row for 1 min on, 1 off for 5 rounds

- Row for 6 min on, 2 off for 5 rounds

- Row for 30 seconds at max effort, rest for 90 for 5 rounds

By playing with various work/rest intervals, we develop all three metabolic pathways. It is possible to develop "cardio" without the loss of strength and power.

Ideally, we want to improve all three energy pathways by doing different types of training.  Metabolic Conditioning, Olympic Lifting, and Gymnastic classes all offer very different training stimuli and demands on our energy systems.

Training each energy pathway is important for being a well rounded human being and it gives you the ability to walk 5 miles if your car breaks down, sprint down the hall to evacuate a building, and be of value when your family member needs help moving.

Group Class Programming for Monday, September 4th, 2017:

*Labor Day: 6am and 9am classes only*

1) Dumbbell Split Series

2) Push Press 3x5

3)  5 rounds for time of:


15 Dumbbell Squat Cleans or Dumbbell Squats

15 Elevated Push-ups


15 Squat Cleans or Dumbbell Squat Cleans

15 Elevated Push-ups or Push-ups


15 Squat Cleans (135/95#)

30 Push-ups

*2 minute cap every round for each movement (20 min. total cap)


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