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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?

Maybe not?

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!

How Can You Improve The Effect Of EPOC?

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!

How Can You Exercise For EPOC?

The best two types of exercise you can do are interval training and resistance training.

Interval training is where you do a at high intensity followed by a jog at a very moderate pace. An example interval training workout is listed below:

  • Sprint for 30 seconds
  • Jog for 45 seconds
  • Sprint for 30 seconds
  • Jog for 45 seconds

(repeat sequence for a total of 10 s 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.

Listed Below Are Seven Types of Workouts To Maximize EPOC:

  1. Tempo Training – Perform aerobic exercise for 30 minutes to 60 minutes consecutively. Try to push it to the limit on this one for the greatest EPOC.
  2. A Moderate-Paced Jog – Perform a 60-minute jog at a casual intensity. This is not as effective as the other options.
  3. Split Workouts – For this type of workout, you would perform 2-4 all-out exercise bouts for about 15-20 minutes with 5 minute rests between sets.
  4. Supramaximal Interval Training – This is the most effective training in regards to the exercise afterburn effect. For this type of workout, you will go all out for one minute of exercise. This means your intensity is at its peak during these workouts. You will then take about a 3-4 minute rest before repeating. Perform about 15-20 sets of this.
  5. Continuous Interval Training – For this workout, you will change between low and high intensity. You will perform at a low intensity, such as walking, for 3 minutes, followed by a high intensity, such as running, for 3 minutes. Continue this sequence for about an hour.
  6. Heavy Weight Lifting – For this type of workout, you will perform 2-5 sets of about 8 exercises for 4-8 repetitions. Perform this at about 85% of your maximum repetition. Take 2-3 minute rests between sets before completing the next set.
  7. Circuit Training – Perform 2-3 circuits of about 8 exercises for about 10 reps. Perform these exercises at about 50% of your maximum repetition. Take a 30 second rest between circuits.

In conclusion,
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.

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