When you go to the gym, if you’re only focusing on the calories burned during your workout you’re missing out on a very important benefit known as “afterburn,” or formally “Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption” (EPOC).
Afterburn refers to the number of additional calories your body will burn as it reverts back to its “normal” pre-exercise state, going through such biological processes as replenishing your oxygen levels, lowering your heart rate and body temperature and restoring blood lactate levels. In other words, it’s the number of calories you burn after your workout is completed.
That’s right — depending on what your workout entails you can continue to reap calorie-burning benefits for two, three — even 14 hours after you’re done exercising.
What’s the Key to Maximizing Afterburn?
The key is intensity. The more intense your workout, the greater the afterburn effect will be. Research shows that high-intensity exercises broken up with short periods of rest work best, which is very good news because it means you’ll burn far more calories in a fraction of the time compared to, say, jogging slowly for an hour.
In fact, one study suggested that up to 95 percent of the calories burned during anaerobic exercise can be burned after your workout![i] Another study showed that men who rode a stationary bike for 45 minutes continued to burn calories for 14 hours after the workout ended, and increased their total calories burned by 37 percent.[ii] The key, again, was intensity, as the workout was high-intensity, performed at 70 percent VO2 max, which is the maximum amount of oxygen your body can take in during exercise.
Generally speaking, to increase afterburn you’ll want to exercise at 70-85 percent of your maximum heart rate, but you needn’t go “all out” for 45 minutes straight. Studies have also shown that shorter high-intensity workouts, including high-intensity interval training, will also boost afterburn.[iii]
According to Dr. Christopher Scott, associate professor at the University of Southern Maine and a researcher on the subject:[iv]
“If you want to lose weight, lose body fat, get ripped, I’m under that impression that intermittent bursts of high-intensity activity followed by rest periods, that’s the way to do it. A similar thinking was that if you wanted to burn fat, you would have to do long, slow, distance activity because that’s going to burn the most fat. We’re starting to realize now that in fact it’s the other way around that during really brief, intense intermittent bouts of strength, speed and power-related stuff, I’m under the impression you can burn even more fat.”
What are the Three Best Afterburn Exercises?
3. High-Intensity Bodyweight Exercises
With bodyweight exercises you use the weight of your own body for resistance, making them easy to do anytime and anywhere. When performed at high intensity, they’ll also provide a significant afterburn. Try doing a combination of the following for a total exercise time of about 20 minutes:
- Burpees (start off standing, drop into a squat with your hands on the ground, extend your back feet quickly into a plank position, then quickly return to a squat position and jump up to standing)
- Jump squats
- Mountain climbers
- Bicycle kicks
2. High-Intensity Strength Training
Any strength-training routine (including dumbbell flys, tricep extensions, dumbbell curls, leg raises, dead lifts, etc.) can be modified to increase afterburn if done intensely. This includes:
- Doing one set for each exercise, with 8 reps. The weight should be heavy enough that you work to failure and can’t lift more than 8 reps.
- Do the exercise slowly so that each rep takes about 10 seconds to complete
Another variation is to perform two sets of exercises, one right after the other, with no rest in between. Take a 30-second break then repeat the double set. Repeat this sequence up to five times for a super intense strength-training workout.
1. High-Intensity Interval Training
Pick an aerobic activity you enjoy, such as sprinting, using an elliptical machine, rowing or jumping rope. Perform the activity for 30 seconds, as fast and intensely as you can, then slow to a recovery pace for 30 seconds. Repeat this sequence 10 to 25 times, depending on your fitness level.
For even greater intensity, you can do the sprinting phase for 60 seconds and decrease the recovery phase to 30 seconds in between.
An Added Boost for Your Weight Optimization and Energy Levels
The afterburn exercises above can give you a serious jumpstart when it comes to burning more fat and calories, so you can reach your optimal weight and get the toned body you’re after, faster. Another secret to take your fitness goals to the next level —both boosting fat burning and sending your energy levels through the roof — is ThinMist.
ThinMistâ„¢ is a 100% natural way to safely boost your pituitary gland’s NATURAL release of human growth hormone (HGH) ‘youth hormones.’â€¨You simply take ThinMistâ„¢ three times each day by spraying it under your tongue, and as the ingredients slowly build up in your system, your body NATURALLY begins releasing more youthful levels of HGH, one of your body’s most powerful fat burners to help you lose weight without exercise and dieting.
Research shows that men who supplemented with HGH for six months had a 14.4 percent reduction in fat, and a nearly 9 percent increase in lean body mass.[v] ThinMist’s breakthrough formula contains a uniquely calibrated blend of 7 essential vitamins and amino acids that work together to help boost your body’s ability to produce HGH, naturally. Among them:
- L-Valine: To help muscles heal after strenuous workouts. By speeding the recovery of muscle, lean muscle develops quickly. And the more lean muscle your body has — the more fat-burning power it possesses!
- L-Arginine: Clinically shown to boost your production of creatine in the muscles … increase circulation … improve blood flow … boost sexual desire … and even protect your heart!
- L-Tyrosine: To turbo charge your adrenaline! Also helps suppress your appetite … improve your brain’s ability to focus … relieve headaches and tension … and fight off chronic fatigue!
Try adding ThinMist and afterburn workouts to your day to give your weight optimization and energy a serious BOOST.
Written By: Updated: May 23,2013