Maybe you’ve heard the buzz about the “afterburn effect.” Or, maybe you think “afterburn” refers to what you feel after leg day.
Well, either way, I think you might learn a few things from today’s post. We’re going to explore this phenomenon and reveal some myths, explain some facts, and clear up some confusion.
Ready to learn more? Here are four things you should know about afterburn.
WHAT IS AFTERBURN?
Here’s the short version, for those of us who like to keep things simple: vigorous exercise keeps the body burning calories for hours after the workout is over. And this post-workout calorie burn is known as the afterburn effect.
More technically, this so-called “afterburn effect” is more officially known as excess post-exercise oxygen consumption. There’s a strong connection between the intensity of your and the number of calories your body burns after the workout. Essentially, the more intense your exercise, the more oxygen your body consumes afterward (which leads to continual calorie burning).
HOW LONG DO YOU HAVE TO EXERCISE TO ACHIEVE AFTERBURN?
A lot of people believe that you have to workout for over an hour to experience afterburn. This is only partially true, though. While your afterburn will increase along with the duration of your workout, you actually don’t need to work out for a significant amount of time to trigger the effect.
In fact, if you complete a short, high-intensity workout, you can achieve afterburn in just twenty minutes! If you want to increase the amount of calories your burn per workout, try adding an intense, interval based workout or fitness class into your routine. Interval-style workouts that push you to your max heart rate (in short bursts) are the best way to reach afterburn in a short time frame.
DO YOU HAVE TO DO CARDIO TO EXPERIENCE THE AFTERBURN EFFECT?
It’s myth-busting time! You do NOT need to stick to traditional cardio in order to achieve the afterburn effect. Several studies have shown that interval-based weight training can also trigger elevated afterburn—and may even be more effective than cardio training.
If you're new to this type of intense training, try a work-to-rest ratio of 1:2, says Matt Miller, trainer and Greatist expert. For instance: 60 seconds of intense exercise, followed by a two-minute break...rinse and repeat.
HOW OFTEN CAN YOU REACH AFTERBURN?
Technically, you can reach afterburn anytime you practice a high-intensity style of exercise for at least twenty minutes. However, one word of caution: because of the intensity of afterburn-creating workouts, you shouldn’t practice this style of exercise more than two or three times every week. We want you to go hard while still staying safe.
Also, there is one catch: the fitter you are, the faster your body gets you back to a resting metabolism.
What does this mean? The stronger you get, the harder you’ll have to work to achieve afterburn. Don’t be discouraged, though—this is just evidence of your hard-earned fitness progress.
So, are you ready to take your fitness to the next level? Try adding an intense, interval-based workout to your weekly routine. If you want some guidance, come in for one of our interval-style group fitness classes, such as Insanity!