How is TABATA different from MetCon3?
Tabata and MetCon3 are specific fitness program protocols designed for metabolic effect.
By the way, thanks, Tony, for reminding me to answer this …
Yes, I’ve been caught up in the New Year’s resolutions of clients. The 1st quarter of every year is one of the busiest times for fitness industry people like me.
Apologies aside, I know that a lot of you take my classes and wonder about the rhyme/reason for changing the class names or programs altogether.
This 1st quarter of 2012, you are most likely seeing a new Equinox signature class called MetCon3, which stands for “Metabolic Conditioning” and the “3″ is to emphasize the different energy pathways that the program challenges, leading to the much-desired metabolic effect: an increased VO2Max, or an increased capacity to use oxygen at higher intensities.
How Does MetCon3 achieve an increased V02 max?
MetCon3 accomplishes this the same way that a Turbulence Training class as described in this infographic on metabolic workouts: Turbulence-training type programs allow for active rest within certain muscle groups or movements, and greater emphasis on total body training.
A typical Turbulence Training circuit will sequence exercises, with either the goal of local muscular fatigue (i.e. can’t keep going because the specific muscles being used for the movement are exhausted), or central/systemic fatigue (i.e. can’t keep going because my overall effort is at max, and I can’t go further).
I say “either” because in general, most people assume local muscular fatigue to also mean central/systemic fatigue, which isn’t necessarily the case.
Think about this as a practical example: If you do push-ups repeatedly, or even bench press with heavy weights to local muscular fatigue (chest/shoulders/arms), the effect is not the same as a central/systemic fatigue that comes from a sprint effort at running, or performing high-intensity calisthenics.
In the bench press, you can probably keep going if your chest/shoulders/arms weren’t toast. In the sprint effort exercise, it’s your heart rate and overall system that’s shot.
Sample MetCon3 Program** as of 2/13/2012, I’ve removed this sample program to protect the program creators’ rights to their format. Take that, program pilferers!
TABATA and other HIIT protocols
I’ve written about Tabata training and High Intensity Interval Training in earlier posts.
In a nutshell, the program design for HIIT uses exercises performed to central/systemic fatigue by pushing to maximum intensity or sprint effort for a specific period of time, followed by either complete rest or low-level active recovery. It’s only via this required rest period that energy is replenished for the next round of high-intensity effort.
More info on Tabata and other HIIT protocols are below:
Comparing MetCon3 to other HIIT protocols
In my experience of teaching these classes, and in students’ reports of their workout readings on their HR monitors and subjective feelings after each class:
1. Tabata and other HIIT protocols probably offer greater exercise post-oxygen consumption (EPOC) and greater overall calorie expenditure, because these are true “rest-based” protocols.
2. MetCon3 offers a more balanced way of programming, as it is based on Equinox’ specifically scripted program design.
3. Both workouts will leave you sweaty and breathless.
So, though seemingly the same, Tabata and other HIIT protocols have their particular differences, and I hope this blog post has clarified that for you.
See you in class!
- The Complete Guide to Interval Training [Infographic] (greatist.com)
- Boring Workout? Rev It Up with Tabata Intervals (greatist.com)
- 10 Interval Training Mobile Apps to Download Right Now (greatist.com)
- HIT, HIIT…or HIIRT? (ancestralmomentum.com)
- Three Types of Interval Training: Tabata, Little, Turbulence (runworkeatsleep.wordpress.com)
- Fitness Challenge Week 8: HIIT, Tabata, and Semantics (itrainthereforeieat.com)