MetCon3, short for “metabolic conditioning,” is probably one of Equinox’s most well-known classes. Effectively the embodiment of Equinox’s mantra, “commit to something,” the workout combines strength and cardio for an intense, heart-pumping 35-minute workout. Unlike many of Equinox’s newer formats for circuit training, the class doesn’t divide students into teams or pairs. It’s just you, the equipment, and your own strength.
The class is composed of ten one-minute exercises, performed three times each, and ends with three additional exercises performed for a minute each. The exercises alternate between strength (sometimes isolating certain body parts and sometimes compound) and cardio sections. In this class, I like to go heavy. However, if it’s your first time (or even if not!), I would advise keeping an extra set of weights (or two) nearby. You’ll often want different weights depending on which part of the body you’re working out.
QUALITY OF metcon3 WORKOUT: 8.5 (out of 10)
Like many of Equinox’s classes, the quality of this workout will depend on who’s teaching it. While some workouts, such as Firestarter and Playground, have set playlists and/or circuits, MetCon3 is entirely designed by the instructor. Fortunately for me, the incredibly capable Erin Sanders was at the front of the room. She walked around the room throughout most of the exercises, providing encouragement and corrections when needed. While I’ve taken some MetCon3 classes with heavy metal playlists (which isn’t really my thing), Erin’s playlist consisted of pump-up jams that were more to my taste. Most importantly, the exercises she picked made sense together. The workout addressed the entire body and didn’t cause fatigue for any singular part.
My class looked like the below (although the order might be slightly off):
The ten exercises
- Alternating split squats with medicine ball passes
- Alternating standing single-armed rows
- Single-legged burpees
- Push-ups (moving progressively across the mat in both directions)
- Side lunges with a shoulder press
- Weighted squats with alternating leg raises
- Jump squats and jacks with the medicine ball (lifting it up and down)
- Plank rows
- Rainbow medicine ball shuffle
- Medicine ball tabletop extensions
The three exercises
- Planks (on top of a medicine ball)
- Froggers (on top of a medicine ball)
- Skaters with a medicine ball twist
The ten exercises are performed immediately on after the other, with no breaks. In between sets, there’s a 45 second break. Although MetCon3 is called a HIIT class, it doesn’t leave my breathless in the way that Firestarter does, since many of the strength exercises have no cardio component. That’s not to say that this class isn’t challenging . I just find that the balance between strength and cardio allows enough time for recovery during the sets, so I never found that one particular body part got totally exhausted.
SIZE OF CLASS: MEDIUM
Because there are so many different exercises, you need a fair amount of space in this class in order to do it comfortably. On a Sunday at 11:15am, there were probably around twenty students, which I think is the right size for a group fitness class. However, if you’re anything like me, you won’t be paying much attention to the people around you – you’ll just want to get through the half hour to the best of your abilities.
difficulty level: medium
Like many Equinox classes, this one is as hard as you make it. However, this workout is designed to get you to push yourself to your limit. You choose your equipment, but you’ll want to go heavy, since the class is only 35 minutes. The movements are all modifiable, so the barrier to entry is pretty low – even if you have to go on your knees for the push-ups or ditch the medicine ball for the planks, you’ll still be able to perform every movement.
- Pick weights that you know will challenge you, but don’t try too hard to compete with others in the class. Since each student performs the routine on their own, the class is truly all levels.