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The popular competitive motto “no pain, no gain” assures greater value rewards as a result of painful or hard work. Ask any athlete or fitness professional and they’ll tell you that suffering is necessary in order to achieve your desired goals. It’s a sign of success, letting you know you’re doing what’s required for excellence. That burning, aching, soreness that occurs during an exercise is proof that you are burning calories with each rep. But what about the afterburn effect? How many calories can you lose following your workout? Well, this all depends on the exercise.

What is an Afterburn Effect?

An afterburn effect refers to the amount of calories your body burns before it reverts back to the pre-workout state. This effect is also known as excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, or EPOC. It occurs when a person’s metabolism increases during an intense exercise, and it remains at its peak even after finishing the workout. The longer your metabolic rate is able to stay active after your workout, the more oxygen your body needs in order to get back to normal. As a result, your body continues to burn extra calories long after you finish exercising. 

Workouts That Maximizes The Afterburn

According to fitness experts, the most effective afterburn workouts are those that consist of high-intensity resistance training, high-intensity interval training or a combination of both. Any high-intensity interval training (HIIT) exercises that utilize full-body compound movements for a considerable amount of time are able to accelerate the afterburn. Here is a list of exercise routines that are proven to facilitate the afterburn effect:

Cycling: A great lower body exercise that boosts your endurance and heart rate for a long lasting afterburn. It only takes 30 minutes of cycling to force your body to lose extra calories even after the workout is finished.

  • 10 min warm up on flat road, slowly increase pace you go
  • 30 sec all out fast pedal
  • 60 sec easy pedal
  • Repeat previous 3 sets four times
  • Pedal easy for 4 minutes
  • Repeat entire sequence 2 more times
  • Rest and cool down for 5 minutes

Swimming: This low-impact full body workout will help you build strength and endurance to easily create an afterburn effect the minute you come out of the water.

  • 200m warm up, freestyle stroke at easy pace
  • Rest 1 min
  • 50m freestyle sprint
  • 25m slow breaststroke + 25m slow freestyle
  • 100m freestyle sprint
  • 100m slow breaststroke + 100m slow freestyle
  • 50m freestyle sprint
  • 25m slow breaststroke + 25m slow freestyle
  • 50m freestyle sprint
  • 25m slow breaststroke + 25m slow freestyle
  • 50m freestyle sprint
  • 25m slow breaststroke + 25m slow freestyle
  • 200m very slow freestyle cool down

Plyometric: Explosive bursts of energy with vigorous jumping is another great HIIT exercise that will surely increase the afterburn effect. Plyometric, commonly know as jump training, comprises exercises that use the body’s maximum force or energy in short intervals of time in order to increase spread and strength.

  • 20 jump squats
  • 20 burpees
  • 20 box jumps
  • 20 frog jumps
  • 30 plank jacks
  • 30 mountain climbers
  • 30 lateral skater jumps
  • Repeat 3x

Strength Circuit Training:  The combination of compound movements and heavy resistance training has been proven to cause a much higher EPOC effect on the body even after completion. Be sure to utilize a weight that will allow you to go through the entire circuit back-to-back without rest. You can always start light and increase the weight if you can handle more.

  • 15 squats
  • 15 dumbbell shoulder presses
  • 15 deadlifts
  • 15 dumbbell rows
  • 20 reverse crunches
  • 15 pushups
  • 20 bicycle crunches
  • Repeat circuit 3x