The “buzz word” of the day in the fitness industry is “workout finisher.” But unfortunately, most people, including fitness professionals, go about them all wrong, and they do more harm than good.
What are Workout Finishers or Metabolic Finishers?
First, if you haven’t heard the phrase “workout finisher” or “metabolic finisher,” let me explain. I like to call them “intervals on caffeine without cardio equipment,” but that’s just me. By the way, why do I keep putting “quotations” on random “words”? I have “no” idea.
How to Incorporate “Finishers” into your Clients’ Workouts?
Anyway, Rick asked me to give you some information on incorporating finishers with your clients or yourself with your current workout program. That’s part of the beauty of a finisher – you can use them with just about any workout program.
A finisher’s idea is to complement your main program’s efforts. It’s like taking your workout and pouring awesome sauce on it. The awesome sauce will help you burn more calories during your workout, but more importantly, after the training (the cool kids call the “afterburn effect”). Ha-ha, quotes.
A workout finisher typically takes 10 minutes or less, but its effects last for hours. I’ve used metabolic finishers that last just one minute. The variety of them can prevent boredom and plateaus and, most importantly, avoid injuries. I think Rick talks about preventing and getting through injuries on this blog, but I’m unsure. << Ha! Good one, Whitfield.
That’s the key to using finishers with your program – avoiding injuries. It’s essential when you are using exercises with the abs.
That “Abs” Buzz Word
Abs – that’s another one of those buzzwords. 99% of the time, clients want to lose belly fat. My coaching clients know that the more straightforward approach you can use to gain a goal, the more successful you will be in obtaining it. But most people try to lose their gut by doing things with very little investment return (if any). Some people even sabotage their efforts by doing these two everyday things:
- Long, steady-state cardio is their primary workout.
- Crunches, sit-ups, and other exercises that can strain your lower back and neck
The One-Two Punch for Losing Belly Fat SAFELY
Studies have shown you can increase your appetite when doing long, steady-state cardio. So, let’s say you burned 250 calories using cardio, but your need caused you to eat 350 more calories than usual due to your appetite. That’s a surplus of 100 calories each day.
In my professional opinion – that’s NOT awesome sauce.
But there’s good news. Studies have shown that intervals and finishers burn even more calories than steady-state cardio without increasing your appetite. So, by replacing your steady-state cardio with a short ab-focused finisher like the following, you’ve established punch number one against belly fat (in case you didn’t get that – punch number one is using a finisher).
After your main workout, do the following circuit twice, resting for 20 seconds between circuits:
- Lunge Jumps (6 ea)
- Decline Push-ups (10)
- Inverted Rows (8)
- KB/DB Swings (20)
- Cross-Body Mountain Climbers (8 ea)
Using a strategic combination of conditioning moves, core exercises, and incomplete recovery, you have set up your body to burn more fat and safely strengthen your core. As you can see, there are no crunches or sit-ups. This is also better because you spread the effort between different muscle groups, unlike steady-state cardio or intervals. If you perform intervals on a bike, that’s much better than cardio, but your legs are doing all the work with no effort from the upper body. With a finisher like the above, you’re using different muscle groups and doing it in less time. This allows you to burn fat with less risk for injury. That brings me to punch number two.
Safe but Effective Ab Exercises
Your abs were meant to work in unison. With my clients (and myself), I use a variety of movements that challenge your core safely but effectively. This includes a variety of planks, jackknifes, renegade rows, etc. Using crunches; you’re just working the top layer of your abs and possibly putting strain on your back and neck. The risk for reward isn’t worth it.
But here is where it can be tricky. You only have so much time. Using the above moves won’t be enough if you want to work on your waistline. Sure, your abs will get rock solid, but you need to burn the layer of fat on top. It would be like buying an awesome t-shirt and telling your friends about it, but you wear it inside out. Hhmmm, not really. That doesn’t make any sense. And now I’m making this even more awkward by pointing out its oddness. I think I will start a new paragraph like a clean slate.
Wow, that was rough. You can combine the powerful effects of practical core work and a metabolic finisher simultaneously. The key is to use incomplete recovery, practical ab exercises, and conditioning moves in a strategic combination to keep the heart rate up and to be able to manage fatigue. In other words, doing a bunch of boxes jumps over and over can lead to injury and not being the most effective means to burn fat.
I would say the perfect ab finisher is when you feel your core being worked, you love/hate it at the same time, and you feel victorious at the end of your workout, but just before the defeated borderline 🙂 The idea is to finish strong but not zap you so hard that you cannot recover between workouts.
I use finishers to help my clients jump-start their fat loss program or bust them through a weight loss plateau. They are challenging, but they do work. With a solid nutrition program and a professionally designed resistance training program, finishers will help you start seeing a difference in your abs and clothes in no time.
But if it were easy, wouldn’t everyone be doing them? I have 105 reasons I use them with my training programs. I Have Lost 105 lbs Myself
Finish strong, and thanks for having me, Rick!
Mike Whitfield, (AKA “Mikey”), CFNC, CTT
Mike Whitfield, CFNC, CTT (known as “Mikey”) is a Certified Turbulence Trainer who resides in Georgia. After losing 105 lbs, his passion propelled him into the fitness industry. His unique approach of using metabolic resistance training and workout finishers has helped thousands of people lose fat through his online and offline programs. He is known across the fitness industry for his “finishers” and is the author of the Workout Finishers and Ab Finishers programs. He has been seen on the Turbulence Training and Men’s Health Blog and featured in the AJC. You can read his humor and fat loss advice at CrankTraining.com.