Metabolic Conditioning in the Pool

Wednesday, September 20 2023


Made popular in gyms by CrossFit, Metabolic Conditioning (MetCon) is also an effective way to train in pool. MetCon workouts are designed to boost metabolism in a shorter amount of time. Join Stephanie T for Metabolic Circuit, a 15-minute energy explosion that combines cardio and strength with nothing more than the power of the water’s resistance.   

Whatever exercise format is popular in the gym always seems to make its way into the pool. This was true of kickboxing, Spinning, Pilates, Tabata and HIIT. MetCon water workouts are ideal for aging bodies because participants can exercise vigorously with big, powerful movements and little impact. If one of your goals is weight management, Metabolic Circuit is the perfect 20-minute video to add to your Poolfit App playlists. Consider combining Metabolic Circuit with other Poolfit water fitness training formats.

What is MetCon? 
Metabolic Conditioning is exercise that is formulated specifically to improve metabolic efficiency by recruiting all three of the body’s energy pathways. On land, MetCon workouts include exercises that combine strength and cardio. In the pool, the same goal is achieved without the need for added equipment thanks to the water’s resistance. These workouts should be difficult but not all-out effort like HIIT and Tabata workouts . The energy expectation is a 7 or 8 on the Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE) scale, but there is less rest and a much longer work period. A MetCon workout should be between 10 to 20 minutes depending on the intensity of the exercise selection. 

MetCon Benefits

  • Greater metabolic efficiency, meaning your body burns calories longer after an energy session.
  • More overall calories are burned in longer duration aerobic exercise, but MetCon taps into fat storage more effectively, which means greater fat loss.
  • Include MetCon training into regular fitness routine to break through plateaus. 
  • Time efficient. Get the fitness results you want in a shorter amount of time.

Below, Stephanie talks more about MetCon and the Metabolic Circuit Workout.



Metabolic Circuit includes a very short warm-up and cooldown and a 15-minute MetCon circuit. In the circuit, six exercises are performed for four rounds with a descending time ratio. In round one, all six exercises are performed for 1-minute, followed by 45 seconds in round two, 30 seconds in round 3 and 15 seconds in round four. The key factor in MetCon training is selecting exercises that Stephanie refers to as “exercise expensive.”  This means choosing exercises that utilize longer levers and combine the use of both the arms and legs. Implementing powerful exercises ensures greater metabolic expenditure. If you like this workout, consider swapping in different exercises over time to keep the results coming in.

Poolfit extends a big thank you to Stephanie for yet another science-backed and expertly designed water workout. Stay tuned for  two more workouts with Stephanie are posting this fall.

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Author: Mark Grevelding is the founder of Fitmotivation. He is also a training specialist and consultant with the Aquatic Exercise Association’s (AEA). Mark has been active in the fitness industry for 22 years as a group fitness instructor, personal trainer, international presenter and a continuing education provider for AEA, AFAA & ACE.