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Setting the record straight on “afterburn”

Setting the record straight on afterburn | UPMC Health Plan

New health and fitness trends pop up every day. Among all these trends, “afterburn” workouts seem to be the hot new thing to try. A lot of workouts seem to be targeted at increasing afterburn, but what does the word actually mean?

Afterburn can be summed up as the amount of calories you burn after your workout is over while you catch your breath and start to cool off and recover. In the science world, “afterburn” is called EPOC, or excess post-exercise oxygen consumption. There is a lot of research about afterburn that includes ideas on how to increase it and how long it lasts.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • Research has found that afterburn can be raised for three to 24 hours after exercise, depending on how hard you’re working during your exercise session.
  • High-intensity interval training as well as exercise programs including resistance training can cause increased afterburn compared to a bout of straight cardio.
    • BUT: It is very hard for the average person to reach the level of effort during the intervals that is required to truly maximize afterburn.
  • The amount of calories burned during afterburn will only be about six to 15 percent of the amount burned during the actual exercise session.

So what does all the science mean?

Be skeptical of claims that seem too good to be true. Anything promising a quick fix should be researched a little more. There is no magic bullet when it comes to getting in shape or losing weight. Lots of hard work and dedication is a must!

Regardless of your beliefs about afterburn, interval training and heart rate training can be very beneficial. These types of exercise can help reduce health risks and increase weight loss and/or fitness level. They are also a great way to add variety into your fitness routine!

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17101527

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/02701367.2014.999190