The Science Behind The Afterburn Effect

There are a variety of claims suggesting that you can take simple shortcuts to meet your fitness goals, but most of these claims come from people who can’t back them up with hard evidence. However, there is one way of working out that greatly increases fat loss, and doesn’t involve any kind of questionable supplementation or fancy equipment. The concept in question is known as the Afterburn Effect. It’s something that allows you to burn body fat up to 48 hours after completing your workout, as IDEA, the Health & Fitness Association, reports.

Explanation Of The Afterburn Effect

During exercise your body uses oxygen. Whilst performing aerobic exercises your body will have enough oxygen to provide sufficient energy. However, once you begin to perform anaerobic exercise, such as those involved with high intensity workouts, your body starts to build up an oxygen debt, as Built Lean explains. This means that post exercise your body will continue to use oxygen in order to clear the debt and get the body back to a resting state. During this process calories and fat is burned off.

You must perform anaerobic exercise to get the Afterburn Effect into motion. So, if you go for a light jog, a casual swim or a bike ride at medium pace, it won’t work. Furthermore, if you’re going to cheat on your diet then do it during the Afterburn Effect phase. As Jason Edmonds from Greatist explains, the body will be low in glycogen because it would have been used during exercise. So, if you eat sugary foods the sugar will be used to restore the glycogen deficit. This is a great excuse for eating sugary foods. Just don’t take it too far. 

What Factors Increase The Afterburn Effect

Now that you know what the Afterburn Effect is, you need to know how to push it to the max. Remember that it can last for 15 minutes to 48 hours, and ideally you would want it to last for as long as possible. Here are 3 ways in which you can increase the Afterburn Effect in order to reap its calorie burning benefits:

Intensity: The more intense your workout is, the higher the oxygen debt is going to be post-workout. As a rule of thumb, doing anything that gets you out of breath is good. With the right intensity you can burn as much as 37% on top of the calories you burn during your workout, as a New York Times study reported. In the study the subjects had to ride a bike, and as a result 420 calories were burnt. But then, in the next 14 hours, another 190 calories were burnt due to the Afterburn Effect. The scientists concluded that high intensity exercise was the cause of this Afterburn Effect. The subjects were pushed to 70% of their VO2 max, which is the maximum amount of oxygen a person’s body can consume during exercise.

Length: You don’t need to be a scientist to figure out that more exercise leads to a higher oxygen debt. Therefore, the Afterburn Effect increases the more exercise you complete. However, don’t push yourself too far as you could fatigue your muscles or even injure yourself. As long as you complete 20 to 40 minutes of intense exercise you will get the post-workout fat burning benefits.

Intermittent: Studies carried out by the University Of New Mexico have shown that exercise carried out at intervals produces a bigger Afterburn Effect than doing it all in one go. The study consisted of two versions: one was continuous high intensity exercise for 30 minutes at 70% VO2 max. The other was 20 runs of 1 minute exercises completed at 105% VO2 max. The intermittent exercises produced a 75 calorie burn off, while the non-intermittent was only 35 calories. However, take this study with a grain of salt, because the intensity of the workouts is a 2nd variable that could have remained constant to keep the test fair.

Training Tips To Achieve The Afterburn Effect

One of the easiest ways to put together a workout regime with the Afterburn Effect in mind is to follow a personal trainer who is a big advocate of it. One of the most popular is Mike Chang, who has a variety of Afterburn Effect workouts on his YouTube channel, Six Pack Shortcuts. His ethos is to workout hard, but at short intervals, with plenty of shorter breaks in between. His approach is perfect for maximizing not only the benefits of the Afterburn Effect, but also your workout time.

As NBC News reports, fitness gurus say that longer isn’t always better. So, for those of you currently avoiding high intensity exercise because you think you can get away with, think again. Take your workouts to another level by basing them around the all-important Afterburn Effect.

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