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September 12, 2023 4 min read

Understanding how our bodies use energy throughout various activities is critical in the realms of fitness and physiology for optimising workouts and sustaining a healthy lifestyle. The Metabolic Equivalent of Task, abbreviated as MET, is a scientific unit that provides insight into the energy consumption associated with various physical activities. In this post, we'll look at the complexities of MET, its importance in determining exercise intensity, and how it might aid you on your fitness quest.


What is the Metabolic Equivalent of Task (MET)? 

The Metabolic Equivalent of Task (MET) is a measure that assesses an individual's energy expenditure during various physical activities. It is a common method of expressing the intensity of activities in relation to the resting metabolic rate (RMR), or the amount of energy expended while at rest. MET is essentially a global language for comparing the energy demands of various activities, regardless of an individual's age, gender, or fitness level.


Understanding MET Values 

Each activity is assigned a MET value depending on the amount of energy required in comparison to the resting metabolic rate, which is defined as one MET. For example, a MET value of 5 activities demands five times the amount of energy as resting. Here are a few examples to help you understand the concept:

Resting: 1 MET

Walking at a comfortable pace: 2-3 METs

Jogging: 5-7 METs

Cycling: 5-12 METs (depending on intensity)

High-intensity interval training (HIIT): 8-12 METs

Weightlifting: 2-5 METs

The Significance of MET in Exercise Intensity


MET values are important tools for determining the intensity of various exercises. They assist consumers in tailoring their workouts to specific goals, such as weight loss, cardiovascular fitness, or muscle building. By selecting activities with higher MET values, you can maximise energy expenditure and make faster progress towards your fitness goals.


Using MET to Plan Workouts

Consider MET values when designing an exercise plan to get a balanced and successful regimen. A mix of low, moderate, and high MET exercises can assist you in targeting multiple energy systems, preventing burnout, and promoting overall well-being.


Calculating Calories Burned with MET 

Estimating the calories burned during an exercise is one of the practical applications of MET. Calories expended per minute can be calculated by multiplying the MET value of the exercise by your weight in kilogrammes and then dividing by 60. For example, if you weigh 70 kilogrammes and engage in a MET value 5 activity, you will burn roughly 5 METs * 70 kg / 60 = 5.83 calories per minute.


Limitations of MET

While MET numbers provide a basic idea of energy expenditure, individual differences in fitness, body composition, and metabolism can all have an impact on real calorie burn. Furthermore, MET numbers do not take into account elements such as exercise efficiency, geography, or external conditions that can influence energy expenditure.


Functional Fitness: Practical Strength in Action

Functional fitness focuses on exercises that mimic real-world movements, preparing your body for the demands of daily life. Functional fitness attempts to improve your body's efficiency and strength in functional tasks such as moving groceries, climbing stairs, or reaching for objects.


Why MET Matters in Functional Fitness

  • Energy Expenditure: Compound motions that utilise many muscle groups are common in functional fitness routines. When compared to solitary exercises, these movements use more energy and have higher MET values. Because of their dynamic and taxing nature, activities such as squats, lunges, and kettlebell swings have higher MET values.
  • Caloric Burn: Higher MET values correspond to higher caloric burn. With their emphasis on full-body activation, functional fitness programmes raise the heart rate and boost calorie expenditure. This corresponds with the aspirations of many people who want to lose weight and enhance their cardiovascular health.
  • Cardiovascular Conditioning: Functional fitness regimens that include interval training and varying intensity are consistent with heart-healthy workout principles. Activities with higher MET values put the cardiovascular system to the test, improving endurance and contributing to overall fitness.

Understanding MET values helps in efficiently organising workouts, much as functional fitness programmes aim to make daily activities easier. By incorporating workouts with varying MET values, you may develop a well-rounded routine that targets various energy systems and muscle areas.

Progress Tracking: MET values make it easier to monitor and track progress. You can track your progress in functional fitness by tracking your capacity to handle activities with greater MET values over time.


Strategic Use of MET in Functional Fitness

Incorporating MET-value-varying activities into your functional fitness routine adds layers of complexity and effectiveness. As your fitness improves, start with foundational motions and gradually include exercises with greater MET values. This methodical technique improves functional strength, agility, and overall performance in daily tasks.


Conclusion: Harnessing the Power of MET in Functional Fitness

Understanding the Metabolic Equivalent of Task (MET) improves our capacity to make informed judgements about exercise intensity, energy expenditure, and the efficacy of our workouts in the ever-changing fitness landscape. As previously discussed, MET values give a scientific framework that transcends individual variances, allowing us to estimate the energy requirements of various activities.

From running to weightlifting, the MET values associated with various workouts let us adjust our fitness regimens to meet our objectives. Whether we want to lose weight, improve our cardiovascular health, or gain strength, MET values help us choose activities that will help us achieve our goals.

The synergy with MET values is especially strong in the field of functional fitness. The key principles of functional fitness—increasing practical strength, exercising numerous muscle groups, and improving overall functionality—align perfectly with MET values, which measure energy expenditure. Squats, lunges, and kettlebell swings are dynamic activities that not only challenge our bodies but also have higher MET values, demonstrating their importance in calorie burn and cardiovascular conditioning.

Consider the insights provided by MET values as you begin your functional fitness journey. Accept a balanced strategy that incorporates activities with varied MET values to produce a well-rounded routine. As your fitness level increases, gradually incorporate activities with greater MET values to ensure a holistic development of strength, agility, and endurance.

MET values are, in essence, more than simply numbers; they are guiding lights that illuminate the route to a fitter, healthier, and more functional person. By combining the science of MET with the practicality of functional fitness, you will gain a thorough understanding of your body's energy dynamics, paving the way for a genuinely transforming fitness experience.

Imanuel Reza Setyo
Imanuel Reza Setyo

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