Get Lean Fast: Metabolic Finishers Just Became Your "Bestie"

Get Lean Fast: Metabolic Finishers Just Became Your “Bestie”

Say “hello” to your new friend: “metabolic finisher“. You may also know your new friend as “workout finisher” or on a last name basis, “finisher”. A metabolic finisher is compiled of a single exercise or a series of exercises performed at the end of a strength training session. This exercise or series of exercises are extreme, are intense, are brutal, or you could even call metabolic finishers heart-pounding. The notion is to ensure that if you left the strength training session with some gas in the tank, then the metabolic finisher will indeed “finish” you off (pun intended).

There is only one issue I have found with metabolic finishers — and that is if you do not give it your best, your absolute 100% best, you will not obtain the benefits from the finisher. How do you know if you gave it your best and went all out (in the safest manner possible)?

Well, when you “finish”, you will notice some of the following:

  • The room is silent and all you can hear is your heart pounding

  • Your shirt is soaked

  • You go from an all out effort to the timer buzzing announcing that the finisher is over and you either end up pacing the room to gather yourself, you take a seat, or even lie on the floor

  • The words “that was a good one” is uttered from your mouth after a few minutes of catching your breath

  • You or your teammates are not smiling…initially anyway 🙂

You will know you did not give it everything you got when:

  • You want to take a selfie immediately afterward

  • Yeah, that’s all I got. You’ll just know. 🙂

Oh, the benefits. You may or may not be interested?!? But, if you are interested and are one looking to burn fat (uh, hello, who isn’t?), well, look no further. Your new friend just became your bestie and will indeed help burn fat while keeping your lean muscle looking pretty.

The Why? Metabolic finishers burn fat due to the metabolic demand placed on the body and increase your work capacity, thus improves overall conditioning. In addition, it is not necessarily about the number of calories burned during these finishers, but the number of calories burned in the next 24-72 hours as your body’s metabolism works to replenish itself. But, remember, you have to work at that higher level of intensity mentioned throughout this article.

  • BTW, this is extremely beneficial and much more effective than hopping on a treadmill and jogging for 30+ minutes. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE RUNNING! But, not everyone does nor do I recommend combining your “cardio” session with your strength training session. There is a time and a place for it all. Right now, we are discussing the most effective way to burn fat. Combine metabolic finishers with your strength training session + good nutrition = VOILA!

When Do I Perform? After a strength training session. And no, you can not replace your strength training session with them.

How Long? Good question. Preferentially, there is no reason a single exercise or series should last more than 10 minutes by any means if you are going all out. Much of the time, I will use a Tabata-style approach with my clients. This will consist of one to two exercises for 8 rounds, :20 seconds active (work in which you go as hard as you can), with :10 seconds rest, for a total time of 4 gut-wrenching minutes. Depending on the client’s level of fitness or exercises being used, I will scale the finisher as I see fit. For example, if unconditioned and new to metabolic finishers, I will decrease the number of rounds to 6 and increase the rest period to maybe :15 seconds.

If you need a timer for your finisher, search “interval training” in your smart phone’s app section. I use and am a fan of “Simple Interval Timer” on my Apple device. If you have an apple device, click the link to download: Another app available on iOS or Android is GymBoss. Click here for iOS: and here for Android:

How many exercises? You can simply use one or you can use more than one. I typically use between one and four exercises. If you choose one exercise, make sure it is a good one (Concept2 rower, Airdyne bike, Sprints, Sled, etc) or it will get boring and monotonous real quick. Nonetheless, this is where creativity comes into play. Over time, I ask clients if there is any equipment/tool(s) or exercise(s) they would like to incorporate. Sometimes I will get a creative response, sometimes they like it better when I am creative.

Nonetheless, it is all about having fun in the end and doing something you enjoy — all while emptying the tank. 🙂

What Equipment Should I Use? The possibilities are endless with this one young grasshopper. You can simply use your own bodyweight (which is plenty effective) or use any tool available to you: kettlebells, dumbbells, barbells, resistance bands, suspension systems, tires, battle ropes, Airdyne bike, rower, sleds, medicine balls, plates, boxing, and so forth.

Here Are Some Examples of Metabolic Finishers

Option 1: Mark off 25-40 yards with a cone/water bottle/etc at both ends. Drive as fast as you can for 3-6 sets with :30 seconds rest.

  • Sled Push/Pulls

  • Sprints

  • Tire flips

Option 2: Use any one of the following. Perform 6-8 sets, :20 seconds work, :10 seconds rest. Crank up the resistance if need be for maximum effort.

  • Concept2 Rowing Machine

  • Resistance Band Rows – Give these a try, especially, if at home. Be sure to use a band of heavy tension.

  • Battle Ropes – try some of these variations

  • or the Airdyne Bike

Option 3: Perform 3-4 rounds of A1 – A4, :20 seconds work, :10 seconds rest, :30-:60 seconds rest in between each set.

A1. Push-Ups

A2. Reverse Lunges

A3. Inverse Rows (at home version)

A4. Bodyweight Squats or Jump Squats

Option 4: Perform 3 to 4 rounds of A1 – A4, :20 seconds work, :10 seconds rest, :30-:60 seconds rest in between each set.

A1. Push Planks

A2. Mountain Climbers

A3. Walk-Outs

A4. High Knee Sprints

Option 5: Perform 8 rounds of A1 – A2, :20 seconds work, :10 seconds rest, :30-:60 seconds rest in between each set.

A1. Jump Squat

A2. Push-Ups

Option 6 (Suspension System): Perform 3 to 4 rounds of A1 – A4, :20 seconds work, :10 seconds rest (or enough time it takes you to get your feet in and out of the hoists, :30-:60 seconds rest in between each set.

A1. Suspension System Push-Ups

A2. Suspension System Mountain Climbers

A3. Suspension System Inverted Rows

A4. Suspension System Squat Jumps

Option 7 (Kettlebell): Set a timer for 5 minutes and perform as many rounds as possible of A1 – A3. Rest as needed after completing A1 – A3.

A1. Kettlebell Thrusters – 10 Repetitions

A2. Kettlebell Rows – 10 Repetitions

A3. Kettlebell Two-Handed Swings (Russian Style) – 10 repetitions

Option 8 (Barbell): Set a timer for 8 minutes and perform as many rounds as possible of A1 – A4. Rest as needed after completing A1 – A4.

A1. Barbell Romanian Deadlift – 8 Repetitions

A2. Barbell Bent-Over Row – 8 Repetitions

A3. Barbell Front Squat – 8 Repetitions

A4: Barbell Push Press – 8 Repetitions

Option 9: Perform a ladder starting with 10 repetitions, 9 repetitions, 8 repetitions….1 repetitions

A1. Burpees —- WHAT? 🙂

In conclusion, there is no one specific finisher, with one specific time, or one specific exercise. There are a plethora of ways to perform a finisher. Just remember to be creative, be safe, use good technique, work hard, and use high intensity.

Joshua Reed
Joshua Reed is an Certified Personal Trainer through the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and is the owner of Reed’s Wellness and Fitness Training. He currently operates a small space in Ludlow, Kentucky and travels to see clients in the Northern Kentucky/Cincinnati area. He offers both personal, online, and small group coaching from his location, the client’s home, and/or outdoors. He is a 2012 graduate of Eastern Kentucky University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Adult Fitness and Wellness Management. Joshua currently attends the University of Kentucky’s, where he is earning a Master’s degree in Biomechanics with a concentration in running mechanics and injury prevention.