Do You Want To Maximize Your Exercise and Burn More Fat? Here is How…

The Afterburn Effect: How to Burn More Fat After You Exercise

Dr Axe |

Dr Axe

In simplest terms, the “afterburn effect” is essentially the calories you continue to burn after exercising. While many people primarily pay attention to the amount of calories they burn while running, cycling, swimming or lifting weights, there’s a whole other important component to calorie-burning that you might be overlooking.

That’s because our bodies actually use up extra energy (calories) after certain workouts to help us recover, cool down and deal with the hormonal changes that the exercise produced. The scientific name for this process is excess post-exercise oxygen consumption.

What does the research we now have available regarding benefits of the afterburn effect mean for the future of your workouts? If you properly plan your exercise routine so you do the right types of high-intensity workouts several times a week, you’ll gain the ability to burn more fat in less time. Sound too good to be true? Here’s what this phenomenon is all about …

The Afterburn Effect Explained

The key to increasing the afterburn effects of your workouts, so you can burn more calories throughout the whole day, is practicing high-intensity exercises. That’s because the afterburn effect is small following steady-state traditional cardio workouts like jogging but is significantly higher following intense workouts — like sprinting, circuit, strength and burst activities.

If your goals are to lean out, build muscle fast, increase your cardiovascular health and not spend loads of time needing to exercise, then the bottom line is that doing brief, but intense, intermittent bouts of exercise is the way to go. The benefits of high-intensity interval training — HIIT, what it’s commonly referred to — are greater strength, improved speed and better fat burning, all in ways that steady-state cardio workouts simply can’t comparably create.

In general, the more intense the exercise, the greater the afterburn effect is going to be. This means that a workout that’s 20 minutes long involving sprinting (or practicing another form of burst training or intense activity) as fast as you can for 30 seconds, repeated for 10 rounds with 90-second rest periods in between, will have a higher afterburn effect compared to doing steady-state exercises like running moderately for 30 minutes.

How many more calories will the afterburn effect burn through following intense exercise? It’s hard to estimate an exact amount since every person reacts to high-intensity exercise differently. Factors like someone’s current level of fitness, gender, age, training duration and intensity can potentially influence the magnitude of the afterburn.

That being said, one study published in the Journal of Exercise Science showed that the afterburn effect is associated with an elevation in metabolism due to the thermic effect of activity regardless of your current fitness level — and some experts believe that this can cause around a 10-percent increase in calorie expenditure for the day following just 20 minutes of high-intensity exercise.

In other words, if you’re an active woman who normally burns 2,000 calories a day, taking into account your additional energy requirements might mean you’re now burning 2,200!

Here’s the scientific breakdown of the afterburn effect:

HIIT workouts increase your metabolism — in other words, they raise your total energy expenditure, which is the amount of calories your body burns for energy daily. You can think of energy expenditure as the amount of energy a person uses up throughout the entire day performing all bodily activities, whether it’s walking around, showering or bending over. We all use up energy in the form of calories every time we breath, move, digest food and our heart pumps out blood — so most of our READ MORE:


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