The afterburn effect also known as EPOC (Excess Post Oxygen Consumption) occurs whenever you finish exercising. The term itself is used simply to describe the increased metabolism you experience after a workout. In other words, the “afterburn” refers to the additional calories your body will burn during your rest/recovery day.
An Image Is Worth A 1,000 Words
As you can see from the image above, if you did an HIIT workout (which is really good for getting an afterburn) you can raise your metabolic rate by a lot. However, you’ll also notice that the afterburn slowly decreases as time goes by. In other words, it’s not something that lasts forever but if you keep doing it over and over again, it can stack up to give you incredible results.
What Causes This Sudden Metabolic Spike?
Although you don’t need to know this to benefit from the afterburn effect, the reason why your metabolism increases in the first place after a workout is because of several physiological mechanisms employed by your body for recovery purposes, such as:
- oxygen replenishment;
- phosphagen (ATP-PC) resynthesis;
- lactate removal;
- increased ventilation, blood circulation and body temperature
Told you, no need to know this unless you’re really into human biology!
How Long Does EPOC Last?
The afterburn can last anywhere between 15 minutes to 48 hours! It all depends on how you train, which inevitably leads to the following question…
How To Maximize The Afterburn Effect?
Studies have shown that the INTENSITY and DURATION of your workout are the TWO variables you need to pay attention to if you wish to maximize your afterburn. And more importantly, out of these two, INTENSITY should take priority over the other.
In short, the effects of EPOC are mostly dependent on the intensity of your workout. Therefore, the more intense your workout is, the greater the effects of EPOC. But don’t get me wrong, a workout doesn’t have to be like a military boot camp to be intense.
Read my post on afterburn training to find out more about the different ways you can exercise to burn fat.
Intensity can vary from one person to another based on their fitness level. What you may consider intense may be easy for somebody else and vice versa. So it’s crucial that you do not overtrain yourself when trying to maximize the benefits of EPOC. You should only do what your body can handle.
How Can I Increase Intensity?
There are a number of things which can increase the intensity of a workout. They are load (amount of weight used), resting intervals, and speed at which you can complete a workout. Many studies have shown that weight lifting has the greatest effect on EPOC — while interval training has the second best result. And long, steady-state cardio has the least effect.
Iʼve taken these facts and created a report which combines high intensity interval training, weight training, and circuit training into a 30-day workout program guaranteed to make you lose fat (You can get it below! ). This mix-up exponentially enhances results by producing the greatest power and getting you the longest afterburn effect.