How to Build a MetCon

Feb 19, 2021

In celebration of American Heart Health Month, I want to talk about a powerful way you can strengthen your heart through a combination or aerobic and anaerobic exercise known as metabolic conditioning (MetCon).

Metabolic conditioning, or MetCon, is based on exercise programs that make use of the immediate and intermediate energy pathways. Metabolic conditioning exercises must be done in a specific time and intensity to use these pathways. With metcon, the body can more efficiently burn fuel by using moderate-intensity to high-intensity interval sessions.” - Healthline

It's my goal today to teach you some ways that you can build your own MetCon to add a little spice and an extra dose of cardiovascular health to your workout routine.

The ingredients

In order to create an effective MetCon, it is best to use exercises that are dynamic and engage as many muscle groups as possible. This can include exercises like burpees, kettlebell clean and press, or jumping jacks. This is because the more muscle groups we engage, the harder we can push our bodies (and heart rates) to work and adapt. Next, it’s important to push yourself to moderate/high levels of intensity during the workout: 7 or 8 out of 10 on the rate of perceived exertion scale. Once you have these main ingredients, you simply need to pick a format and duration.


Here are a couple of ways you can format your own MetCon. 

AMRAP - As Many Reps As Possible. That means that you perform these exercises one after another (focusing on perfect form and steady pace) for a set amount of time (see below sample set at 9 minutes). Once the timer is done, you mark how many total reps you performed for all exercises and that is your score. You can then compete against yourself in order to improve.

ForTime - Instead of having a limited amount of time to perform your exercises, a “ForTime” workout means you will complete a circuit of exercises until the prescribed number or rounds and reps has been accomplished. Likewise, you can compete with yourself and improve by trying to beat your own time the next go around.

As a general rule of thumb, I would recommend starting off with shorter MetCons until you become conditioned. Even then, I would not push a MetCon session past 20-mins.


Here’s a sample MetCon that you can try or modify for yourself. *Please note, it is important that you speak with your primary care physician before beginning any new exercise program. You also have the support of a team of Certified Personal Trainers to consult with if you would like to learn more about how to perform these movements safely and where you should start.

  • 9 Min AMRAP
  • 400m Run
  • 21 Kettlebell Swings
  • 12 Kettlebell Alt. Clean and Press (6 ea arm)

If you tried this workout, I’d love to hear how it went. I’m also available to partner with you on creating your first MetCon. Email me at

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– Andrew Jacobs, CHC, CPT

Personal Trainer

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