How to Improve the Afterburn Effect of Your Workouts: for maximum fat burn and muscle gains

Posted by NikH

afterburn-effect There is only one good reason for us to work out — to achieve the physical excellence our body is genetically programmed to have. This genetic potential is present in all of us, and to reach this, we have to make the right lifestyle choices. One of these is the type of physical activity we engage in. For most of us this amounts to what we do during our workouts. To lose excess fat and build muscle is the best outcome of a good workout regime. When this actually happens, you will find that your body looks better in general. Most of the time, you’ll also feel healthier as well. Experts in exercise physiology can tell you that good results can be achieved with the right type of workout.

The Afterburn Effectwhat is a calorie

We burn calories all the time. When we don’t move, we burn calories, when we move, we burn more calories.  It is therefore a fact that the more we move the more calories our body burns. Exercise is moving the body, sometimes to exertion. This causes an increase in calories burned. When we burn calories, we lose fat. But this depends on how much we eat also. If you need to lose excess fat, and you are able to eat sensibly,  the best exercises that you can do is that which has an ‘afterburn’ effect. Read also: What does it Really Mean to Burn Calories? During exercise, we burn more calories than when we are at rest. The movement of our muscles uses ATP  — the sources of energy. When you run for a longer time, you burn more calories — logic. The afterburn effect is a phenomenon that occurs when the body continues to consume ATP (and hence burn calories) hours after the exercise is over. In order to get the best out of our exercise we have to work in a way that achieves that afterburn effect.  The benefits of such exercise is that we continue to reap the benefits of the workout hours after the session, while at rest.

Afterburn Effect Workouts

What kind of exercises lead to lasting afterburn effect? Some workouts are more effective than others. People who know how to exercise to get maximum afterburn effect, see more improvement in their body composition than others. This is because for the same amount of time they exercise, they make more gains. If you want to be one of those who see to spend less time in the gym, while seeing more improvement in your physique, read on. All exercises will give you an afterburn effect, but how long that effect lasts depends on the intensity. Workouts that lead to hours of elevated calorie expenditure, i.e. with significant afterburn effect, have these properties:

  • the exercises are intense in speed : you work fast till you get so out of breath you cannot do another rep.
  • the exercises are  intense  in load : you lift, pull, push or hold with the intensity till the muscles start to burn and fatigue.

how-hard-workoutIntensity is the key. During a workout, your body increases it consumption of oxygen. You breathe faster because the muscles need more oxygen. When your activity gets intense, the body “suffers” an oxygen debt. The muscles need more oxygen than the blood can supply to it at that time. During intense exercise, where there is oxygen debt, the body undergoes anaerobic respiration. This  is producing ATP by breaking down glucose without oxygen. Anaerobic respiration has a by-product called lactic acid. Lactic acid accumulation in muscles cause a burning feeling when you move a limb hard and fast. Eventually it’ll be too painful to carry on moving — you fatigue. Lactic acid also accumulates when you do intense resistance exercise (lifting, pulling, pushing or holding). Intense means to work your muscles to failure, till you cannot make another rep, or till you cannot hold a position because your muscles are burning. Afterburn effect workouts include all HIIT workouts and slow strength training workouts that are done with one condition: that they are intense enough. They do not need to be long, in fact they have to be short and intense.

How does the Afterburn Effect Work?

Studies have shown your metabolism can be elevated by as much as 20 percent for up to 48 hours, sometimes 72 hours after your workout. This is the afterburn effect. How does that work? the increase in metabolism occurs because the body is utilizing more energy after the workout. This energy is used because there are biochemical processes going on in the body that are initiated by the workout.  These energy-consuming processes include:

  • replenishing glycogen stores.
  • removing lactic acid from the muscles.
  • repairing damaged muscle tissues (post intense strength training), through inflammation and healing.
  • building more muscle tissue to over-compensate for load carried.

These processes occur very slowly, consumes lots of calories, and takes place while your body is resting.

Going Forward


This is as simple an explanation as I can give on the afterburn effect. I hope you will rethink the way you workout, for maximum returns. The afterburn effect burns fat while you sleep. Proper exercise guarantees that. Certainly, your diet also plays a big part in your progress. Read these articles on diet and nutrition. Intense exercise not only improves fat burning, it also increases muscle mass. This increases your metabolism beyond the afterburn effect. Read these books to learn more :