Afterburn Effect. Can it be true?

January 13, 2021

Working hard and pushing through tough High Intensity Workouts has obvious benefits but there are also benefits long after a session that you may not realise or know about.

When we train hard and push ourselves our metabolic rate increases. When we stop it can’t just return to normal immediately but remains elevated for a short time.

This therefore causes an increase in calorie burn long after the cool down, shower, post training snack and drive home.

This additional energy burn is referred to as the Afterburn Effect.

The actual proper title is excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, or EPOC.

The body is desperate to get back to a ‘resting state’. This resting state includes;

  1. restoring oxygen levels
  2. removing lactic acid
  3. repairing muscles and restoring levels of ATP (a molecule that provides the body with energy for processes like exercise)

It is thought that EPOC is highest directly after a workout but continues for some time after.

The more intense your workout the greater EPOC will be because it will take longer for your body to regain its resting state.

It is not believed that duration has a particular effect on EPOC but more thew actual intensity of the workout itself.

Therefore it is believed that in order to induce significant EPOC it is best to partake in high-intensity interval training including HIIT or TABATA style workouts.

The short rounds of high intensity work are combined with the short rest/recovery periods and in turn stimulate a higher EPOC because you consume more oxygen during them. This in turn creates a larger deficit to replace post-workout.

So take the idea of High Intensity Interval Training and utilise this in your day to day activities. It could be a HIIT Workout like the style we do at Active-Rest. Body Weight Sessions at various intervals but always following the HIIT style set-up or TABATA or similar.

You could also apply this to Sprint Training, Cycle Training, Strength Circuits, Swimming or any other sport or physical activity you enjoy.

Short sharp blasts followed by short recovery periods over a short period of time. Fully exert yourself and work hard.

If you follow this structure regularly, listen to your body for signs of fatigue or tiredness, then you should see some great results.

I have been doing these High Intensity Sessions for some time now and I can honestly say they are fantastic.

Forget about thermogenic fat burners and promises of tablets that ‘melt fat’. Just believe in the Afterburn Effect and train clever maximising your results.

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