What Is Metabolic Resistance Training (MRT)?

Trends in fitness are like trends in fashion, seasons come and go, and the while purple may be the new black for this year, metabolic resistance training is the newest fitness phrase to hit the magazine stands.

What Is Metabolic Resistance Training (MRT)?

According to Brad Schoenfeld, MS, CSCS, CSPS, NSCA-CPT, MRT is an exercise regimen designed to maximize calorie burn and increase your metabolic rate.

Put it simply, it’s a resistance training workout designed to maximize calorie burn and increase your metabolic rate to torch body fat during and after exercise.

Metabolic resistance training is pretty similar in format to interval training as and such has a few different variables. You have an established number of exercises and you choose to do in a specific sequence with a specific weight. Then you decide whether to do each exercise as a timed exercise, perhaps 1 minute each for a specific exercise and with 10 seconds transition time between exercises.

Another option is to perform the exercises as an AMRAP (as many rounds/reps as possible), where you aim to do as many rounds or total repetitions of each cycle of exercises as possible in a set time period. In each the goal is the same, go as hard as you can with as little rest as possible.

Studies have shown the metabolic boosting effects of resistance training but research¹ by Pamela Swan Ph.D. Director, Physical Activity, Nutrition and Wellness Ph.D. Program at Arizona State University shows that not only are energy expenditure levels (metabolism) elevated after this kind of resistance training but that the body’s fuel preference post resistance exercise is the pesky body fat we’re storing.

No wonder working out harder is better than working out longer!  

Resistance training generally includes bodyweight exercises like push-ups and pull-ups as well as utilizing barbells, dumbbells, kettlebells, sandbags and other forms of added resistance, to ensure the correct fat burning metabolic response you have to lift heavy enough to provide a cardio response.

It’s a whole-body workout, working both aerobic and anaerobic systems.

Types of exercises involved are functional multi-joint movements such as:

  1. kettlebell Swings
  2. squats Thrusts 
  3. Pullups
  4. Jump Pushups
  5. Dumbbell Renegade Rows

Ideally, you should choose 5-8 exercises and then determine your sets/reps.

The frequency of this kind of training is really going to depend on the individual. 

Metabolic Training for Beginners:

Lower weights, fewer exercises, longer rest periods (between exercises or sets) and perhaps just 2-3 times a week is all they will need. Some people may not even be ready for metabolic resistance training, though, like all workouts, it can be scaled down for beginners.


For the experienced exercises choosing different exercises daily is going to be key, CrossFit is a good example of this. Working out 5-6 times a week but changing the focus with each workout.

The key thing to take away from metabolic resistance training is that it’s not about the reps or the time, it’s about reducing the rest between the exercises and reps. You need to be out of breath after the workout, in fact you may want to stop at many points DURING the workout. It’s about not stopping moving and keeping going to the end of the short workout.

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