What exactly is the “afterburn” and are you getting any?

Physical exercise

By pH health care professionals

Nowadays, many fitness programs are being marketed with the latest and greatest buzzword, “afterburn.” They say that you too can experience this post-workout phenomenon if you exercise a certain way. And it sounds great, doesn’t it? Who wouldn’t want to burn extra calories long past your sweat session? So let’s take a look at what exactly this afterburn effect is and how you can get it.

So what is the afterburn?

First of all, the afterburn was not invented by a specific fitness guru, nor is it exclusive to a specific program (as much as they would like you to think so!). The afterburn effect is a less official term for “excess post-exercise oxygen consumption,” or EPOC, which is nothing new in the industry of fitness and sports. So whether you call it EPOC or afterburn, the meaning is the same.

Research has shown that both the duration and intensity of the exercise play a role in creating the afterburn effect. The longer and more intense the exercise, the more calories you’ll burn not only during the exercise, but for hours after exercising. You will achieve a higher sustained metabolic rate.

How does it work?

Training at high intensities will increase your heart rate and make you feel out of breath. Your body will require more oxygen in order to perform the workout. More energy is needed to give your body extra oxygen, and this means more calories burned. In recovery, extra oxygen is also needed to help your body return to its normal level of metabolic function. Think of a hot car engine cooling down after parking.

What constitutes intense exercise?

For most people, optimal post-exercise caloric burn will occur when exercising at 70 to 85 percent of their maximum heart rate.

Additionally, the longer the duration of the exercise (up to 60 minutes, in some studies), the stronger the effect will be with a higher number of calories burned during rest. However, 60-minute sessions of high intensity exercise might not be the most appealing, nor attainable, fitness routine for many people. Luckily, shorter high-intensity workouts, like the Tabata protocol (sets of 20 seconds on and 10 seconds off repeated for four minutes) have also been shown to trigger the afterburn effect.

What if you don’t like cardio?

It should be stated that it is not only high-intensity cardio routines that will increase your metabolic rate for hours afterward, but also resistance training. Resistance training performed at a quick pace and/or high intensity will have this effect. In other words, regardless of the particular training regime, performing the activity at a higher duration and intensity will keep you burning calories even after your workout is finished.

It is important to have a different and varied selection of exercise regimes to obtain optimum results. At pH Total Body Fitness, we take into account your personal needs, characteristics, goals, abilities, experience and capabilities, and structure a fitness and health program that will allow you to reach your goals in a manner that is measurable, efficient and rapid.

Call 818-446-6896 to schedule a private appointment with a pH fitness trainer/health specialist. Try a free 30-min. workout and see what the afterburn is really all about.

Enjoy Your Healthy Life!

The pH professional health care team includes recognized experts from a variety of health care and related disciplines, including physicians, attorneys, nutritionists, nurses and certified fitness instructors. This team also includes the members of the pH Medical Advisory Board, which constantly monitors all pH programs, products and services. To learn more about the pH Medical Advisory Board, click here.