612-644-9781 info@crossfitslipstream.com

Why Do We Do “MetCons”?

CrossFit’s methodology rates metabolic conditioning the second most important piece of an athlete’s development after nutrition.  “Metabolic conditioning” is simply physical training focused on developing the human body’s energy pathways (as opposed to trying to build muscle, for example).  However, the term “metcon,” while originally short for “metabolic conditioning,” has come to mean something more specific than that.

Related: The Slipstream Difference: The Meaning of “Fitness”

“Metcons” are not just “cardio.” They have a shorter duration and an emphasis on power and intensity.  This has been shown to increase speed, cardiovascular health, burn fat, and build muscle while decreasing the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and other metabolic diseases (Jeffery 2012, Gerhart 2013).  Unlike traditional steady-state “cardio” training, metcons vary movements, loads, distances, and time domains.  Metcons may or may not involve rest breaks (All High Intensity Interval Training [“HIIT”] workouts are “metcons,” but not all metcons are interval workouts).  In this way, metcons expand the margins of our experience in the gym, just like life outside of the gym.

What’s not to love?  Well, metcons are hard. Think of a workout like Fran (21-15-9 thrusters and pull-ups). It’s 90 total repetitions and is done in less than five minutes. Yikes!  At Slipstream, we focus on “relative intensity.” As in, relative to your readiness right now, in the gym. This includes your experience level and your current physiological and psychological tolerances.  Did you eat well yesterday, get a good night’s sleep, and feel ready to go hard?  Or were you up all night finishing a work project?  Did you indulge at your neighbor’s bar-b-que?

At Slipstream, we focus on “relative intensity.” As in, relative to your readiness right now, in the gym.

That’s why at Slipstream we consider adjusting the workout for every athlete, every time.  We ensure that what we ask of you is challenging but within your abilities.  Once you’re ready for more difficult movements, for heavier loads or go faster, we’re ready too!  With Slipstream, you are getting all the benefits that metcons bring, and stretching your current limits without breaking them – or yourself!

Related: The Slipstream Difference: “Fitness” and Your Goals

No matter who you work with at Slipstream, your coach will focus on mechanics before intensity. Whether you start in our OnRamp program, do personal training, or join our CrossFit and CrossFit Lite classes, you will always receive a high level of care and attention. We ensure that you keep the right level of relative intensity in every metcon, so you get the most from your workout, every time.

To learn more or discuss your personal goals specifically, schedule a free, no-sweat introduction or contact us at info@crossfitslipstream.com today!

–Bryan Rosen


Gerhart, Hayden D. 2013. A comparison of Crossfit training to traditional anaerobic resistance training in terms of selected fitness domains representative of overall athletic performance. M.S. Thesis, Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

Jeffery, Christine. 2012. Crossfit effectiveness on fitness levels and demonstration of successful program objectives. M.S. Thesis, Arkansas State University.