Burn More Calories AFTER Exercise

Share Button

Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption or EPOC is the formal label for the afterburn effect caused by intense exercise. Short but explosive bouts of exercise use up the glycogen and ATP stores in your muscles and cause an abnormal buildup of lactic acid. Your body must work after your workout to remove this lactic acid and replace your ATP and glycogen stores. This post exercise work requires oxygen and burning calories. Your post workout metabolism will continue to burn calories from 6-12, even 24 hours after training depending on the type of exercise and your exercise intensity.

Three types of exercise promote the greatest afterburn effect:

  • Cardiovascular High Intensity Interval Training or HIIT. Examples include running sprints, swimming intervals, or spinning on a stationary bike. These examples require short bursts of high intensity with brief rest periods in between these bursts.
  • High Intensity Full Body Circuit Training. Simple examples include calisthenics conducted in short intense bursts with little or no rest between sets, or the use of light weights, or your own bodyweight to perform a variety of full-body exercises, repeated several times with little or no rest.
  • High Intensity Resistance Training. Heavy training with heavy weights, weight training that challenges each of your major muscle groups boosts your post-exercise metabolism. Or plyometrics or “box training” will also build strength, speed, endurance and agility.

Intensity – The number of calories burned during and after exercise is directly related to that activity’s intensity. No matter the type or style of exercise you choose, you must attack the exercise with intensity to promote the greatest calorie burn during the resulting afterburn.

Here are five ways to increase that intensity, increase the afterburn and increase the number of calories you burn after your workout:

Full Body Exercises – Multi-joint and compound exercises like squats, Olympic lifts and deadlifts work your major muscle groups and promote afterburn and calorie burn. Skip single joint exercises like curls and instead focus on full body movements.

Heavy Weights – Heavy dumbbells and barbells increase the stress on your body and force it to grow. Heavy weights and mass movements like squats also stimulate testosterone production in male trainees. Choose the heaviest weights you can handle safely.

 Build Lean Muscle – Your body will burn 30% more calories to support lean muscle than it does the same volume of fat. The more muscle mass you have, the harder your metabolism works to maintain it.

Heart Rate – When performing intervals, your goal should be 85-90% of your max heart rate during the short bursts. Training to max heart rate and then allowing it to fall back to resting rate before maxing again is the most effective approach to creating oxygen debt.

Maximal Effort – The breathless state caused by maximal effort is what creates oxygen debt and in turn drives the afterburn effect. There is no “aerobic zone” in interval training, only all out effort followed by a recovery phase and another all out effort.

Intense, full body training performed with heavy weights and maximal effort will force your body to burn calories for many hours after you complete your workout. As you burn fat and calories you will increase your aerobic capacity and endurance and add lean muscle mass that will in turn promote a faster fat burning metabolism.