Is After-Burn Real?
You’ve probably heard that High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) produces an after burn effect, which means your body continues to burn extra calories at an elevated rate for 24 hours after the completion of your workout.
Sure that’s sounds amazing, but is it too good to be true?
The Science of After-Burn
There is a scientific term for after burn: excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPEOC). This refers to the oxygen that your body needs to restore after a heart-pounding workout.
So after-burn is indeed real.
While you exercise your body needs fuel to keep your muscles firing, and this requires oxygen to transport the fuel into the muscles. This causes your metabolism to rev up to an elevated state during and after exercise.
Intense Exercise = Intense After-Burn
Studies show that there is a direct correlation between the intensity of your workout and the amount of calories burned during the after-burn period.
In order to get the most after-burn bang for your buck, you must push yourself to 70-85% of your max heart rate during your workout. The more intense your workout, the more bonus calories you will burn in the hours afterwards.
Intense and vigorous exercise keeps your body burning calories hours after the workout is through. And this is not the only benefit to HIIT workouts – there’s also the bonus of increased muscle tone, fat loss and an increase in your aerobic capacity.
Keep this in mind the next time that you push yourself through a workout. Remember that intensity pays off, and an HIIT workout has more proven benefits than a steady state cardio workout.
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Then use all of your muscles.
To AMP up your after-burn, avoid single joint movements that isolate body parts and instead focus on compound, full body movements. Exercises like squats, lunges and deadlifts work multiple joints and muscles and increase the intensity of your workout, and likewise the intensity of your after-burn effect and the number of calories that you burn.