The afterburn or EPOC (Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption) is basically a measure of the oxygen you consume after a workout to return your body to its resting state.
This breaks down to about 1 liter of oxygen consumed being equivalent to 5 calories burned; more oxygen consumed after a workout the more calories burned after a workout.
Some research has even indicated that this calorie burn can last up to 38 hours after your workout! We all want some of that! To achieve this we have to implement 3 key variables:
1. Maintain a high intensity throughout the workout
2. Exercise for at least 30 minutes
3. Resistance train
Maintain a High Intensity Throughout the Workout
This seems natural that the most important aspect of achieving a high magnitude EPOC is working out at a high to very high intensity.
In one experiment in which participants worked out at either 85% or 45% of their 8 rep max, found the higher intensity cohort had a significantly higher EPOC after their workout was over. There are numerous studies that indicate the same thing; higher intensity workout leads to a higher EPOC.
Exercise for At Least 30 Minutes
Secondly, to achieve a high magnitude EPOC you need to workout at least 30 minutes. The longer you workout the larger your afterburn will be.
This can put us in a predicament because we don’t have endless time to exercise; we need to find a happy medium that allows us to achieve an afterburn in a timely manner.
This can be done in about 30 minutes. While the EPOC effect was higher for the longer exercise duration in a study by Quinn and associates (1994), those that performed the exercise for 20 and 40 minutes still achieved calorie burn after their workout was over!
In fact, although the participants only exercised 1/3 the time (20 minutes) they still achieved over half of the EPOC effect (57%) compared to the longer exercise cohort (60 minutes).
Finally, when it comes to the best type of exercise to achieve the greatest afterburn, research indicates that resistance training is ideal.
Not only does resistance training increase your EPOC more than any other training method, circuits are the best.
Circuits have you resting less than 30 seconds between sets. This doesn’t give your body enough time to return to rest and you stay ramped up the entire time causing your EPOC to be larger after the workout is over!
To perform EPOC training in a timely manner, I recommend resistance training by super setting your exercises (less than 30 seconds rest between sets) for at least 30 minutes.
This should keep your workout at a very high intensity and you will be blasting through calories 38 hours after your workout is over! Feel the burn, feel the afterburn!
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