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What is a MET?

November 2nd, 2011 Interleukin

Eating well and exercise go hand-in-hand when it comes to committing to living a healthier lifestyle. How do know if you’re exercising enough to get the maximum benefit out of your workout? The key lies in tracking your METS. But what the heck is a MET?

A “Metabolic Equivalent of Task” is a way of measuring the amount of exertion expended during different physical activities. Values are assigned to each physical activity as a ratio of the rate of energy consumed during an activity compared to the energy used while your body is at rest. METs are essentially a point system for exercise. The more energy required performing the activity, the higher its MET value will be. For example, sitting and watching television for one hour has a MET value of 1 while running at a pace of six miles per hour has a MET value of 9.8.

Now that you know what a MET is, how do you know how many you need to maximize your fat burning results? The Inherent Health Weight Management Test not only determines whether an individual is likely to respond better to a low-carb, low-fat, or balanced diet based on their genotype, it also places an individual into two groups of exercise needs based on the intensity levels necessary to trigger the fat burning process. We call these two groups Moderate MET and High MET.

Individuals in the Moderate MET group have the luxury of benefiting from virtually any exercise and can still reap results by doing moderate intensity activities in the range of 3 to 5.9 METs for a weekly total of at least 7.5 METs. For example, consider the following exercise log for a Moderate MET individual:

Day 1: Sweeping the garage, sidewalk and outside of house for 30 minutes
MET value of 4 x 0.5 hours = 2 METs

Day 2: Running for 30 minutes at a pace of 4 miles per hour
MET value of 6 x 0.5 hours = 3 METs

Day 3: Taking a water aerobics class for an hour.
MET value of 5.5 x 1 hour = 5.5 METs

Day 4: Walking at less than 2.0 miles per hour for 20 minutes
MET value of 2 x .33 hours = .66 METs. (This activity does not count toward the total because the activity’s MET value of 2 is under the 3 MET minimum)

WEEKLY TOTAL: 10.5 METs and successfully over the minimum of 7.5 METs for the week

Meanwhile, those in the High MET group need to engage in activities that are 6 METs or greater per activity, for a total of 13 METs per week, in order to trigger the fat burning process. For instance:

Day 1: Running for 30 minutes at 5.2 miles per hour
MET value of 9 x 0.5 hours = 4.5 METs

Day 2: Running for one hour at 5.2 miles per hour
MET value of 9 x 1 hour = 9 METs

Day 3: Taking a one hour long pleasure walk
MET Value of 3.5 x 1 hour = 3.5 METs (This activity does not count toward the total because the activity’s MET value of 3.5 is under the 6 MET minimum)

Day 4: Riding a stationary bicycle at 15-20 miles per hour for 30 minutes
MET value of 8.8 x 0.5 hours = 4.4 METs

WEEKLY TOTAL: 17.9 METs and successfully over the minimum of 13 METs for the week

Remember, these are the minimum levels of effort required to trigger the fat burning process—more is always better. If you can’t perform exercises in the MET ranges suggested, start slow and build up to the appropriate MET value for your genotype. If you have a question about the MET value of a particular activity, download the MET Value chart by logging into your account on the Inherent Health Website, or visit the Compendium of Physical Activities for a full list of activities and their corresponding MET values.

Happy Exercising,

Gary Breton
Director, Genetic Test Brands

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