The After Burn Effect: Burn Extra Calories By Doing…. Nothing???
You just leave the gym after a grueling workout and are feeling pretty good about yourself. Sweat is dripping down your face, and as you start walking towards your car, although no one else seems to take notice, you feel like you are on top of the world. But does the workout stop there? Does it end right when you leave the gym?
Known as post-exercise oxygen consumption, or EPOC, or the exercise afterburn effect, your body continues to burn calories even after your workout ends.
I do not mean to burst your bubble, but the amount of extra calories burned is not significant enough to start eating extra cheesecakes, but it is enough to talk about.
EPOC is basically the amount of energy it takes your body to get your oxygen levels back to the pre-exercise state. After a tough workout, based on the intensity and duration, your body will continue to burn calories for the next quarter hour to 2 days!
The most important factor is exercise intensity. A study published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology studied exercise intensity’s effect on 16 fit men and women. In both men and women, the greater the intensity, the greater the exercise afterburn.
Another important factor is duration of exercise.
In a study published in the Canadian Journal of Sports Science, the subjects were split up into 3 groups. All groups exercised at 70% of their VO2 max, or maximal ability to perform exercise.
The groups that exercised for the longest duration burned the most calories, via the exercise afterburn effect.
Another study published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology and Occupational Physiology, subjects ran on a treadmill for 2.5 hours at 70% of their maximum capacity. The average EPOC was 162 calories. That is a substantial amount of extra calories!
The best two types of exercise you can do are interval training and resistance training.
Interval training is where you do a sprint at high intensity followed by a jog at a very moderate pace. An example interval training sprint workout is listed below:
(repeat sequence for a total of 10 sprints and 10 jogs).
An interesting study published in the Journal of Applied Sports Science Research compared resistance training to cardio. The first group participated in 40 minutes of circuit training, the second group cycled for 40 minutes, and the third group performed 40 minutes of heavy resistance training.
The results of the study showed that heavy resistance training burned 53 extra calories post-workout, circuit training burned 51 extra calories, and cycling burned 34 extra calories.
Increase your intensity and/or duration of your workouts for optimal effectiveness. The harder your work, the more calories your body will burn trying to get your body back to a pre-exercise state!
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About Danny Maman My name is Danny Maman. I have a real passion for health and fitness and enjoy having a life that revolves around this. I have my bachelor's degree in exercise science with a minor in allied health. I am also a certified personal trainer with ACE and am a former college basketball player.