Metabolic Stacking

Metabolic Stacking: Just another marketing technique?


In the world of health and fitness it seems like everyone and their mother is coming up with new technical terms in fat loss.

HIIT, MRT, MDT, MCT, BMI and they’re just the abbreviated terms. I haven’t even touched on the non-abbreviated ones! Fat loss can get ridiculously confusing, there’s no doubt about it. 

Here at Fat Loss Classroom one of my core principles is simplicity. Complicated topics such as fat loss need to be simple.

There are thousands of people who take one look at fat loss and all the technical terms and think ‘Stuff that!’

And can you blame them?

Today I wanted to clear up up a few things regarding a term I’ve seen thrown about recently.

Metabolic StackingMetabolic Stacking

Metabolic Stacking was as term created by Mike Whitfield – creator of the Workout Finishers program.

It involves combing 4 different elements together in an aim to improve fat loss. So what are these 4 elements?

1. Density

2. Active Recovery

3. Strategic Rest Periods

4. High Volume using unique set and rep schemes


Let’s take a deeper look into each one of those elements.


Interest in density training reached an all-time peak recently due to its effectiveness in a fat loss program. Density training is where you perform more exercise in the same or less amount of time than you would usually.

It involves sacrificing time in your rest periods in order to complete more exercise in a given time frame.

An example of this type training is Tabata workouts which involve exercising for 20 seconds followed by 10 seconds rest. This is then repeated for 4-16 minutes (usually)

Density training defiantly has its place in a fat loss program, however, I do question the recent rise in people claiming that density training alone will get you the body you so much want.

Variety is a key component to fat and heavily relying on density training to reach your goals is a risky tactic.

Active Recovery:

Active recovery is where you’re still putting some sort of physical stress on your body in your ‘rest’ periods.

If we take the bodyweight squat as an example. You would perform the exercise in its entirety for 20 seconds and for your 10 seconds ‘rest’ period you would hold the bottom position of the squat.

The workouts that I create here at Fat Loss Classroom use active recovery periods, and for very good reason – they work the muscles that little bit hard which in turn helps us burn more fat.

A complete beginner may want to stay away from using this tactic however, at least until they have built a foundation of strength around their core muscles.

Strategic Rest Periods:

With all that said about ‘rest’ period being active, there does come a time in a workout where you will need to give your body a period in which it needs to recover – which involve no activity.

All this means is using the correct work to rest periods in your workouts. Now there a very conflicting theories to this and it is often argued which is better – high or low work to rest ratio.

Right listen carefully because is one of those moments things could get confusing – and I like to keep things simple!

6:1 (work:rest): This ratio would involve all out physical activity for 3 minutes for example, with only 30 seconds rest before going back to another solid 3 minutes of exercise. A well-known program by the name of ‘Insanity’ uses this sort of high ratio.

Does it burn fat? Yes it does. Performing this sort of activity in a high intensity format will no doubt burn fat.

But? The massive underlying factor of this type of ratio is that you will eventually pick up an injury. If you end up getting injured this could completely kill your fat loss efforts – physically and psychologically.

So the other alternative to this would be to go on the lower end of the scale.

2/3:1: An example of this type of ratio would involve working out for 60-90 seconds with a 30 second rest period. This is a lot safer.

However, the potential downside to this however is that we could end up burning less fat.

That’s why we combine this high intensity training with some sort of strength training.

High Volume using unique set and rep schemes

Using different set and rep schemes adds variety to your workouts – which if you remember is a key component to fat loss.

You can change the way you perform a single rep. For example here at Fat Loss Classroom one rep scheme I use is something called the 80/20 rep scheme.

Take the bicep curl for example. You would lift the dumbbell 80% of a full contraction, then lower it back down by 20% then finally finish the rep.

The advantage of this type of rep is that you get more out of each rep, consequently working the muscle harder resulting in better fat loss.

The idea behind metabolic stacking

The idea behind Metabolic Stacking is that workouts are designed to incorporate all of the above – density training, active recovery periods, recovery periods and unique set and rep schemes.

By doing this you can effectively burn more fat in less time.

My opinion on Metabolic Stacking

My take on Metabolic Stacking is actually really good. My first impression when I heard the term was Not another marketing technique’ – however after studying it a little deeper I can say that it’s a great way to make your workouts more effective.

Of course there is an element of marketing behind it – the word metabolic itself get thrown about so much these days.

But there’s no denying the effectiveness of it.

The drawback may be the fact it might not be for complete beginners. Individually each element will have its place in a beginner program but all together might be a little too much for some people.

Workout Finishers Review - CoverMetabolic Stacking isn’t the complete answer to fat loss but it is defiantly a fantastic addition to your plan. 

The term was born from the Workout Finisher’s series by Mike Whitield. Workout finishers are small high intensity workouts that by nature are added onto the end of your workouts. 

When used properly they can be a great addition to you workouts. Another use of workout finishers is that can be used on off days. I actually reviewed Workout Finishers a while back which you can see here. 

Should YOU add Metabolic Stacking to your workouts?

This one all depends on what level you are currently at. If you’ve never picked up a weight in your life, or you’re returning to training after years of being inactive then I probably wouldn’t recommend using workout finishers let alone Metabolic Stacking. 

You will need to work on slightly different workout structures to build a solid foundation first. 4-6 weeks of full body workouts specifically tailored to strengthen your core would be the perfect place to start. 

After that you can then look to add workout finishers using the idea of Mike’s Metabolic Staking. 

If however you are already at that level then I think Metabolic Stacking is the perfect addition to your workouts. You’ll be able to push your body just that little bit more, and feel just that little bit better in yourself as you know you’ve had an effective workout.

Workout Finishers– An effective workout equals a happy you.

– A happy you equals a more motivated you. 

– A more motivated you equals unstoppable

Go out there and destroy that fat my friend. 


– Chris


What did you think of today’s post?

If you learned just one thing, then please let me know below! Any questions? I’m here to answer 😉 

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