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Fire Up Fat Burning

Burn Fat Fast!

Ketchup or mustard? Flats or heels? The X Factor or The Voice? That eternal fitness face-off—cardio or strength training—is just as perplexing. Cardio is a known calorie crusher, but strength workouts build muscle and rev your metabolism. But you don't have to choose sides: A new regimen experts have dubbed metabolic conditioning offers the best of both.

By combining short, high-intensity work periods, little to no rest between exercises, and big-body movements, metabolic conditioning challenges your strength, power, and cardiovascular endurance in one workout—maximizing calorie burn during and after a sweat session, says Frank Salzone, a group fitness instructor for Equinox in New York City. It also helps improve your muscles' ability to use energy during workouts, so you can push harder and get better results over time.

Sound too good to be true? It's no gimmick: A study in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism found that women who completed a 10-move strength circuit recorded 13 percent higher oxygen consumption levels (or EPOC, which measures the energy used to return your body to a resting state) three hours after their workout than a control group. Plus, their resting metabolic rate (the amount of calories burned at rest) was still elevated 16 hours later.

All this considered, it's no surprise that metabolic conditioning is a growing blueprint for a number of fitness programs—including Equinox's MetCon3 class, which inspired this workout by Salzone. Complete this circuit three days a week: For each exercise, perform as many reps as you can (with proper form) in one minute, moving from one to the next without resting. After all 10 moves, rest for up to two minutes. Repeat the circuit two more times, for a total of three rounds. Choose a weight that allows you to do the moves with proper form but leaves your muscles burning by the end of a minute.

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