We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Short for Metabolic Conditioning. It's the hip new term for high-intensity, low-rest Calisthenics. It's a similar idea to HIIT but without the anaerobic or the recovery periods. The purpose, supposedly, is that 60-120-second bursts of total body high intensity - or max intensity with only seconds of rest - ramp up your energy systems so that you can be prepared for anything. It's about going all-out almost anaerobically, busting past the phosphagen system and training your body's efficiency in glycolysis, etc.
For those who believe that you can burn fat with exercise (I do not), this format does keep your metabolism elevated for up to one or two hours after finishing. These sorts of things do not build strength. That's not what they are for. They are for energy, agility, and cardio endurance. Some powerlifters like to take the class because, despite their size and strength, they want agility, quickness, and endurance too. They have little of those.
I take a 50-minute class weekly which is basically Met Con but not labeled as such. A typical routine in that class might be a 20-second kettlebell swing followed immediately by 20-seconds of pushups followed by 30 seconds of mountain climbers, then a 5-second rest before repeating 3 times. Then a 30-second rest before going into the next triplet of calisthenics (which might be a similar pattern with 20-seconds of burpees, 30-second rower sprints, and 30-second squat and presses. The timing is everything.
I can testify that this format improves general conditioning, because when I began with it I couldn't really complete the class and stole seconds of rest time. I still steal a couple of seconds of rest time to catch my breath but I can get through the class.
More on the topic below the fold -
Another side effect is an energy level I have not felt since my late 20s or early 30s. I really can not sit around. I need to go do, go move, do something active and I get a little negative feedback for that: "Can't you just relax and watch TV or read once in a while?" "Um, no. I am forced to sit at work and now I need to do something."
As readers know from comments, many people have their own ideas about how to pursue physical fitness. Readers also know that I put my energies into a mix of everything that seems to make sense to me in around 6-7 hours/week (which includes an hour of "long slow," aka "active recovery").
Instead of working out in the gym these days I dseek out jobs that combine physical labor with mindful aerobic exertion thru the day to keep in shape. In my part of Arizona that means farm or ranch or construction work.
One example is vineyard work. The range of motions and perpetual locomotion over long distances that is required to cultivate good grapes throughout the average day is perfect physical therapy.
When I began tending vines four years ago I was stiff and arthritic in my hips, hands and knees. But after just one season of uncountable squats and bows, perhaps 100 miles walked (often uphill) and at least ten thousand pruning cuts performed, the arthritis is completely gone, my hips, hands, spine and knees are flexible and pain-free, my atrophied thighs and calves refilled and I don't hesitate to bend, kneel or duck under the trellis wires anymore like I used to.
The result is, now at 50 years of age I bound out of bed each morning feeling like a young stag at rut. And I have the flexibility to match.
When I started this line of work I was a crotchety 45 year old with the sincere fear that I was doomed to a life of chronic pain, a flabby midriff and an early, ugly demise. But now I am literally a saved man with a new lease on life.
Thanks for all you do at Maggie's Farm, guys. I read you every day religiously, between Belmont Club and Small Dead Animals. You're vitamins for my brain!
Better yet (for those who don’t have to earn a living) : hike the most difficult full pilgrim trail to Santiago de Compostela carrying yr own pack and staying in pilgrim’s hostels. None of this rich tourist hiking a week and having luggage transport and guzzling gourmet meals...but the real deal...a spiritual and physical challenge (what I want to do if I can ever afford to retire).