How to Keep Burning Calories After a Workout

You’ll burn more calories after a high-intensity workout like sprinting, but you don’t have to overdo it. Photograph courtesy of Flickr user bleublogger.

It’s a question everyone wants to know the answer to: Can I keep burning more calories after a workout?

The short answer, says personal trainer Grant Hill, is yes.

Excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, better known as the afterburn effect, is the number of calories burned after a workout, when the body expends energy to return to resting level. “When you’re working out, your body’s breaking down and utilizing fuel, muscles are getting torn, and everything has to regenerate for the body to return to homeostasis,” Hill explains. In order for the body to do that, it has to use what calories are left for energy.

The afterburn effect does exist, Hill says, but “the conflict in the research is how to maximize it.”

Study after study has found mixed results on what type, length, and intensity of exercise cause the body to burn the most calories post-workout. Plenty of research has proven that high-intensity exercise results in more extra calories burned post-workout. One study found that men who cycled at high intensity for 45 minutes—to the point where they couldn’t hold a conversation—burned an extra 190 calories over the next 14 hours.

However, a study published in the Journal of Sports Medicine this past January found that doing low-intensity resistance exercises slowly burned the same amount of calories 180 minutes after the workout as doing high- or low-intensity exercises at a normal pace.

The results make sense, says Hill. “Our bodies prefer to be in low-intensity movement most of the time. Physiologically, that’s how we’re built and made.”

That said, when creating a workout plan, one of the worst things you can do is go into every single workout with maximum intensity for, say, 35 to 60 minutes. “Your body will be overtrained, it’ll break down, and you’ll get injured,” says Hill.

Instead, the best way to maximize your afterburn effect is by combining both high-intensity and low-intensity training. Try a high-intensity workout two to three days a week, such as weight training, cycling, or sprints. Use the rest of the days to do low-intensity training, like walking or a leisurely run or swim.

Of course, this doesn’t mean you can be totally sedentary the rest of the day and still expect to torch more calories. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way, Hill says. “It’s a nice benefit to say, ‘I put in 30 minutes and gave everything I got,’” but you should still get up from your desk often and move at least 30 to 60 minutes a day to ensure even more efficient calorie burn.

“If you want to optimize your body now,” Hill says, “you want to find ways to be moving as much as possible.”

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7 Weight-Loss Tips to Burn More Calories After Every Workout

Just keep in mind that while specific exercise strategies can help you boost your post-workout calorie burn, they aren’t meant to act as a substitute for a healthy, balanced diet (or to counteract poor eating habits with exercise). Though the exact amount varies per person and activity, research in the Journal of Sports Science suggests EPOC can increase calorie burn by 6 to 15 percent. In other words, if you burned 300 calories during your workout, you may only burn an additional 18 to 45 calories via the afterburn. That said, the cumulative effects of EPOC can make a significant difference if weight loss is your goal. Exercising three times could mean you burn an additional 54 to 135 calories, which can add up-and over time improve your overall fitness and metabolism.

There’s one catch that comes along with this progress: As you become stronger and fitter, you’ll need to work harder to keep your EPOC elevated. So be sure to continue challenging yourself by upping the intensity of different workout variables (speed, resistance, frequency, or duration).

On board? Thought so. You can boost your post-workout afterburn with one of these expert-approved strategies.

1. Prioritize compound exercises.

If you’re looking to get the most bang for your post-workout buck, prioritize bigger compound exercises like chest presses over isolation moves like biceps curls. Compound movements recruit a number of larger muscle groups and joints, thereby upping the demand on your body both during and after the workout, says Noam Tamir, C.S.C.S., founder of TS Fitness. The barbell back squat, for example, works your quads, glutes, hamstrings, and core. (Related: The Essential Barbell Exercises Every Woman Should Master)

And these effects aren’t limited to strength training. People who run for 60 minutes may get a 37 percent higher afterburn effect than people who cycle for 60 minutes, according to a recent study in the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport. The reason? Running recruits more muscles than cycling.

Do it: Incorporate exercises that involve multiple muscle groups, such as push-ups, pull-ups, squats, and lunges into your workouts as much as possible.

2. Lift heavy (or heavier).

Lifting heavy weights not only makes you feel like Superwoman, it also spikes your afterburn. This is thanks to the stress hormone cortisol and human growth hormone, which kicks in to help you lift those barbells, kettlebells, or dumbbells, says Tamir. As a result of these hormonal responses-along with the usual wear-and-tear your muscles experience from strength training-it can take up to 38 hours for EPOC to subside and for your body to fully recover from that heavy lifting session, says Tamir. That might mean more time with sore muscles, but that’s more time to reap the afterburn effects. (Related: The Best New Recovery Tools for When Your Muscles Are Sore AF)

Do it: Heavy strength training is best left to compound exercises (squats, bench presses, deadlifts). Perform for three to five sets of three to five reps, and rest three to five minutes between sets, says Tamir.

3. Don’t skip high-intensity interval training (HIIT).

Many HIIT workouts are shorter than your average moderate-intensity session and push you to work harder, offering an effective, time-efficient method to keep your body burning calories long after you’ve cooled down. “Your body needs to take in more oxygen to recover from that kind of workout versus a steady-state cardio workout, so you’ll see a longer elevated calorie burn,” says Tamir. HIIT workouts recruit more muscles, while the short bursts of high-intensity effort followed by quick rest intervals get your anaerobic system working overtime. (Discover more benefits of high-intensity interval training.)

Bonus: You can burn an impressive 15 calories per minute during a Tabata-style HIIT workout (20 seconds of intense work followed by 10 seconds of rest for a total of eight rounds), according to a study out of the University of Wisconsin–La Crosse.

Do it (cardio-lovers): Warm up for five to 10 minutes. Then, pick a cardio equipment of choice (e.g., treadmill, stationary bike, elliptical) and alternate 10- to 60-second sprints with one to three minutes of recovery for a total of 20 minutes. On a scale of rate of perceived exertion (RPE), aim to hit between a 6 and a 9 during hard intervals, and a 4 or 5 during recovery periods, says Tamir. Finish up with a five- to 10-minute cooldown.

Do it (iron maidens): Warm up for five to 10 minutes. Then, pick four exercises to target your full body (e.g., jump squats, push-ups, dumbbell deadlifts, and planks). Perform the first move for 40 seconds, take 20 seconds to recover and transition to the next exercise, then perform the second move for 40 seconds, and so on. Tamir recommends running through the four exercises for three to four sets. Cool down for five to 10 minutes.

4. Try metabolic resistance training.

Much like HIIT, metabolic resistance training burns fat and challenges your muscles and anaerobic system, says Tamir. You’ll also keep your heart rate elevated by taking short rest periods (think 30 seconds) between sets. The biggest difference between the two workout styles, though, is that HIIT is typically cardio-centric and performed with light weights (or bodyweight-only) for higher reps, and metabolic resistance training calls for lifting moderately heavy weights for 10 to 12 reps, explains Tamir. Once your session is over, your body will have to work overtime to rebuild muscle, restore glycogen (carbohydrates stored in the body as energy), and lower body temperature, which all contribute to that afterburn effect, says Tamir.

Do it: While you can perform an entire metabolic resistance workout, Campbell likes to create quick finishers to be done at the end of a regular strength routine. “I think of it as flushing out any fuel that’s left in your system,” he says. Choose two exercises: one lower-body and one upper-body compound exercise, such as back squats and dumbbell chest presses. Perform eight to 12 reps of the first exercise, take a quick recovery break for 15 to 30 seconds, and then perform eight to 12 reps of the second exercise. Continue for a total of three to four rounds. (Related: How to Boost Your Metabolism Using Just a Pair of Dumbbells)

5. Listen to your body.

One great way to ensure you’re continually challenging yourself during your workout-and thereby maximizing your calorie burn during and after-is to use heart-rate-based interval training. With this method, you alternate between bouts of work at a challenging pace (84 to 91 percent of maximum heart rate) with ones at an uncomfortable-but-doable pace (71 to 83 percent of maximum heart rate). The only caveat is that you’ll need a heart-rate monitor to use this training method, but many of the latest fitness trackers come equipped with this technology and studios such as Orangetheory Fitness use them during their row-run-strength training classes.

Do it: Hop on a treadmill, elliptical, stationary bike or another piece of cardio equipment. After a five- to 10-minute warm-up, increase speed or resistance until your heart rate reaches 84 to 91 percent of its max, says Ellen Latham, M.S., cofounder of Orangetheory. (Learn how to find and train in your personal heart-rate zones.) Then, reduce speed or resistance until your heart rate reaches 71 to 83 percent max. If you’re new to heart-rate-based training, start with a six- to eight-minute time block where you alternate between these two paces, and make the last minute as hard as possible. After a few sessions, you’ll get a better sense of which speeds and resistance levels will jack up your heart rate, and which will bring it back down, says Latham.

6. Work in superset exercises.

You can increase the intensity-and efficiency-of any strength-training routine by using supersets (performing two exercises back-to-back), says Campbell. While there are a few different types of supersets, a smart option to max out your burn is to pair two exercises that target the same muscle groups (e.g., deadlifts and kettlebell swings, which both target the hamstrings), as this compounds the stress on those muscles and connective tissues, he says. This, in turn, increases the demand for EPOC during the recovery period. The result? You burn more energy both during and after your workout than you would have burned if you’d stuck to straight sets.

Do it: Choose two moves that target the same muscle groups (e.g., jump squat and kettlebell goblet squat, which both target the quads and glutes), suggests Campbell. Perform the first exercise for the prescribed reps or time, then move right into the second exercise. Rest 30 to 60 seconds and repeat.

7. Max out with finishers.

Another simple strategy to make your strength-training session more challenging-thereby boosting EPOC-is to use weights heavy enough to make the last few reps challenging. “When you lift heavier weights, you exert yourself at a level that’s uncomfortable,” says Latham. That little bit of added discomfort increases the demand on your energy systems, as well as the wear-and-tear on your muscles, ultimately helping you burn more calories overall.

Do it: Swap out your weights for slightly heavier ones, she says. For example, if you’re using 12-pound dumbbells for a set of walking lunges, move up to 15-pound dumbbells.

  • By By Lauren Bedosky

Keep Burning Fat After Exercise Using These 5 Tips

You already know that when you exercise, your metabolism gets boosted, leading you to burn calories and eat up your fat stores. What you may not know is after you finish your workout, your body is working to recover itself, which is when the afterburn effect takes place. This calorie and fat-eating phenomenon is more officially called “excess post-exercise oxygen consumption,” or EPOC.

This term refers to the amount of oxygen needed to restore your body to its normal, resting level of metabolic function. Your body is using more calories as it works to return to its normal state. In one study, subjects who cycled 45 minutes burned an average of 190 more calories in the hours after exercise than on days when they didn’t work out at all.

If you’re looking to get rid of your beer belly or those embarrassing love handles, these tips and tricks will increase your EPOC levels to burn more calories post-exercise. Read, practice, and enjoy the results.

1. Warm up

Never skip your warm up. |

Your metabolism is what works to convert the nutrients you’ve consumed to adenosine triphosphate, also called ATP, which is the fuel your body needs for muscular activity. It’s produced with oxygen using the aerobic pathways or without oxygen using the anaerobic pathways. When you first step on that treadmill or do the first set of bicep curls, your body uses stored ATP in the anaerobic pathways, which doesn’t require steady levels of oxygen. It takes five to eight minutes before you can efficiently use the aerobic pathways, which require a steady state of oxygen and provide your body with ATP. Use these five to eight minutes to warm up so you can maximize your oxygen and energy use. Exercise that places a greater demand on the anaerobic energy pathways increases the need for oxygen, thereby enhancing the EPOC effect.

2. Up the intensity

Make your workout extra intense. |

Rather than worrying about the length of time you worked out, focus on the intensity. High-intensity workouts like Tabata or a HIIT routine (high-intensity interval training) get your heart rate pumping quickly and efficiently. Alternatively, circuit training can provide a similar effect. Vigorous exercise puts more strain on the body, keeping the body burning calories for hours after the workout is over. Not only will you enjoy an increased EPOC level, but you may also lose weight faster, build muscle quicker, and increase your aerobic capacity.

3. Eat several small meals daily

Eat smaller meals. |

Like most people, you may be conditioned to eat three large meals a day. If you want to rev up your metabolism and burn fat, this is one habit you’ll want to rethink. Every time you eat, your body’s metabolism increases slightly, so the more often you eat, the higher number of times your metabolism jumps up. This doesn’t mean you should eat three full meals plus three daily snacks. You should focus on spreading out the three meals you normally consume into six to eight smaller meals. Eating multiple small meals a day will surge your metabolism, leading to a higher calorie burn. Muscle & Fitness recommends eating each mini meal every two to three hours, ensuring you never go longer than three hours without eating.

4. Pump some serious iron

Always incorporate strength training. |

We already talked about how intense cardio sessions can spur EPOC, so now let’s look at what strength training can do. According to Greatist, lifting heavy weights with relativity short recovery periods between increases demand on your body in a similar way. And the best way to achieve this effect is through compound moves, which challenge multiple muscle groups at the same time.

You really do want to aim for short rest periods to reap the greatest rewards, though, so you’ll do best if you force yourself to be honest by using a stopwatch. Otherwise, you can easily find yourself wasting time between sets.

5. Opt for protein after a workout

Get that protein into your diet. |

After you’ve completed your exercise for the day, eat a protein-filled snack. Protein, particularly whey protein, ensures your metabolism levels remain high after your workout. Protein takes more energy for your body to digest and absorb than sugars and carbohydrates, leaving your body in overdrive as it works to break down the food. This ramped up process leads to a higher calorie and fat burn in the hours ahead. Plus, if you’re looking to replace fat with lean muscle, protein helps your body get there.

We’ve all heard a trainer or group instructor talk about how the workout we’re doing will keep us burning calories for days after we’re done. Sounds like a weight-loss dream come true. But how legit is this mythical afterburn effect? We talked to the experts to drill down what’s going on inside our bodies and how to get the most out of each and every workout.

What exactly does “afterburn” mean?

The afterburn effect is formally called EPOC, meaning excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, Cris Dobrosielski C.S.C.S., C.P.T., spokesperson for the American Council on Exercise (ACE) and founder of Monumental Results, tells SELF. After working out at a high intensity, your body needs to take in oxygen at a higher rate than it did pre-exercise so it can cool down, repair itself, and return to its resting state. “This requires the body and metabolism to work at a higher rate, so it continues to burn calories,” Dobrosielski explains. The exact amount will vary for each person, but research from ACE notes that EPOC can increase calorie burn by six to 15 percent.

What workouts boost afterburn the most?

High-intensity resistance training or high-intensity interval training (HIIT) are the most effective for upping caloric burn post-workout. “Fundamentally, the most effective moves are multi-joint compound exercises,” Dobrosielski says. So rather than doing just a bicep curl, do a squat plus a curl, making it a compound exercise. Burpees, squats with a lateral raise, and jump lunges or jump squats are all good examples of dynamic, compound moves. What makes these moves effective is the level of exertion they require (spoiler: a lot). If you’re healthy, work out regularly, and aren’t injured, “a general gauge is you need to be somewhere between level eight and 10 on a perceived exertion scale,” Dobrosielski says. That means reaching that point where you don’t think you can even bang out one more rep you’re so spent.

Doing high-intensity cardio intervals (like these fat-burning stationary bike workouts) can also produce EPOC similarly to high-intensity resistance training. “There are a lot of people that have the misconception that HIIT means you have to do burpees and squat jumps and high-impact moves, but there’s a lot of research on the benefits of HIIT with cycling and running or even on the elliptical,” Heather Milton, M.S., exercise physiologist at NYU Langone’s Sports Performance Center, tells SELF. She recommends focusing on your heart rate to measure exertion. “If you’re working at 80 percent or more of your maximum heart rate, you know you’re working close to and are maximizing the afterburn effect.”

How long does afterburn last?

Your body can continue burning calories at this increased rate anywhere from a few hours to well beyond 24 hours after exercise, depending on the person, Dobrosielski says. “It can even be 48 hours, which is why we recommend people don’t do these kinds of workouts back to back, and that you take 48 hours between workouts to make sure the body has time to repair,” he adds. That doesn’t mean you can’t work out in between HIIT days—active recovery workouts, like jogging and swimming, are ideal. “There are a number of restorative properties to that and it allows a nice cross-section of training.” Pushing yourself through too many high-intensity workouts without adequate time to repair in between can lead to overtraining and burnout, which can actually decrease your performance. Stick to two or three days a week, with less intense endurance work in between, to keep your metabolism revving full-speed-ahead all week long.

You may also like: A Simple Fat-Burning Workout You Can Do At Home

A different study, also using a metabolic chamber, tested the effects of moderate exercise and found no afterburn. Those subjects exercised at 50 percent of their VO2 max, a level that still allows conversation.

Claude Bouchard, a scientist at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, La., along with other researchers, investigated the exercise effect with conventional methods using a mouthpiece and nose clip or a ventilated hood to determine oxygen used and carbon dioxide exhaled. From those measures, researchers can calculate calories burned.

They find, he says, that when studies are done properly (many are not), extra calories are burned in the hours after exercise — but only if subjects exercise at least as hard and long as Dr. Knab’s subjects. And if they exercise even harder, they burn even more calories afterward.

A recent book that Dr. Bouchard and a colleague edited notes two studies that found this effect. The researchers found that if subjects ran at 70 percent of their VO2 max or cycled at 75 percent of it, they could burn 300 to 700 extra calories after the exercise was over, though 700 calories was unusual.

It is not clear why extra calories should be burned after a bout of intense exercise, Dr. Bouchard says. Part of the effect may be due to post-exercise energy metabolism: the body starts using more fat and less carbohydrate after a hard exercise session. Several hormones that are released during exercise remain elevated in the blood afterward, increasing metabolism. And extra calories may be burned when the body replenishes glycogen, the sugar stored in muscles. But for the most part, the effect remains a mystery.

Whatever the cause, researchers say, the extra calories burned after exercise can help people lose weight. Unfortunately, those who may have the most to lose may have the hardest time doing the sort of exercise that gives them a calorie-burning bonus.

The usual guideline for general health is 30 minutes of moderate exercise most days of the week. That’s doable for most people and should increase heart health, even if it provides no calorie bonus.

But that sort of moderate exercise, Dr. Bouchard said, “is what we recommend — that’s the target.”

Burn Notice — Why It Matters
The concept of burning calories after intense exercise is known as “excess post-exercise oxygen consumption” (or EPOC for short). At the onset of vigorous cardiovascular exercise (read: killing it), the body accumulates an “oxygen debt,” forcing it to work overtime — even after leaving the gym — to repay that debt. Working overtime ramps up the metabolism as the body tries to get back to an even playing ground. That means more calories burned while slugging a post-workout shake or kicking up those feet on the couch.
And studies show hoisting heavy weights may also keep the metabolism going long after the barbell is dropped (err, gently placed back down). In one study, subjects tried two different approaches to weight training: traditional (one set after another of the same exercise), and superset (putting different exercises back to back). After hitting their 10-repetition max for six different exercises, researchers found both methods yielded an afterburn effect, jacking up metabolism beyond an hour post-workout. Another study looking at men performing five sets of leg press demonstrated that they were still burning calories for 40 minutes after re-racking the iron.
Hesitant to go heavy? Consider this: When comparing heavy lifting to lightening the load, research suggests that going the heavy route may just pay off. In fact, two sets of eight reps at 85 percent could mean increased metabolism levels for up to two hours post-workout, significantly larger calorie burns than lighter-lifting comrades.
Heavy Stuff — The Answer/Debate
Keeping metabolism up will require more than just the random trip to the dumbbell rack, though. Research suggests certain lifting methods may fair better than others in the calorie-burning department. In general, exercises targeting larger muscle groups like the quads and hamstrings will burn more calories post-workout than the more isolated alternatives (yes, even curls in the squat rack!). To maximize the burn (and save time), try exercises that work opposite muscle groups back-to-back (for instance: chest/back or quads/hamstrings).
Rest between sets could also factor into that afterburn effect — although the research is a little stickier. A few studies show that shorter breaks will lead to greater calorie burn, while others lobby for longer trips to the water fountain to get the most out of each exercise. One possible action plan: Keep rest periods long enough to maintain intensity levels during the actual sets (around 85 percent) and continue back up once mostly recovered. Any longer and the afterburn effect starts to decrease.
Keep in mind that fitness level may play a role as well. Trained subjects that have been participating in a lifting routine for at least four to six months will recover from workouts faster (thus burn less post-workout) than gym newbies. (When trying something new, be sure to put safety first of course, and enlist a spotter, too.)
Finally, remember that EPOC isn’t the cure-all for weight loss. In fact, the majority of calorie burn through working out occurs during the workout, not afterwards. Still, the afterburn effect can capitalize on the numerous benefits of a weight-training program, so if going big is the goal (we’re talking calorie burn not necessarily muscle size), it can’t hurt to maximize the burn!
The Takeaway
High-intensity lifting sessions can create a larger calorie afterburn post-workout — just remember the majority of calories are burned during the workout rather than afterwards.
For more on fitness and exercise, .

During an exercise session, vigorous cardiovascular workouts such as running or biking can typically torch more calories than resistance or strength training.

But what happens once the workout is over?

Exercise scientists have long debated the wondrous notion of an exercise afterburn, or the body’s ability to keep burning calories even after you’ve showered and returned to your desk. Meanwhile, if such an effect exists, it is not clear which form of exercise — cardio or strength training — has a greater metabolism-boosting potential.

Studies have shown post-exercise calorie burn varies quite a bit, largely because of differing study designs and methodologies. Some research has suggested that moderate exercise of any type has little, if any, effect on fat burning after a workout, in part because it doesn’t push the body far enough from its comfort zone, which would then require an increase in metabolism.

By contrast, a recent, carefully controlled study by North Carolina researchers showed 45 minutes of intense exercise boosted the metabolic rate in male participants for a whopping 14 hours.

Researchers don’t exactly know how post-exercise calorie burning can occur. It is calculated by measuring the increase in oxygen consumption (or metabolism) after a bout of exercise. If your oxygen consumption is above your normal level after exercise, you’re burning more calories.

The secret to triggering the effect may lie in the workout’s intensity and duration, according to the North Carolina study, which was published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise in 2011.

“What matters is exercising at a high, unrelenting intensity for a prolonged period of time,” said study co-author David Nieman, a professor of health and exercise science at Appalachian State University. Nieman, a cardio proponent, believes the study results help settle the debate. “Vigorous sweat gets the hormones cycling and can alter the body’s temperature and ability to store fuel. It takes a long time for the body to get back to normal,” he said.

Short-duration, high-intensity exercises, meanwhile, have a high post-exercise bump in oxygen consumption that quickly falls to normal, Nieman said.

The study differed from most other research in that Nieman and his team asked volunteers to spend two 24-hour periods in a metabolic chamber, a small lablike room, large enough to house a desk, bed, toilet, laptop, telephone and bike or treadmill. The chamber, which had two air locks, allowed tight control over the environment, including spontaneous activity, sleep, diet and other factors that could influence the results.

During one day, the participants sat, ate and slept; during the second day, they remained inactive with the exception of a vigorous 45-minute cycling exercise. On the exercise day, they were given extra food to keep their energy levels in balance.

Based on previous work, the researchers expected metabolism to be elevated for an hour or two after the workout. To their surprise, “every single subject had an extended increase in their metabolism after their vigorous cycling, an average 14.2 hours,” said Nieman, director of the Human Performance Lab at the North Carolina Research Campus in Kannapolis. The net energy expenditure was about 193 extra calories above the rest stage. This increase could have implications for weight loss and management, the study found, especially when combined with the more than 500 extra calories burned during the 45-minute cycling bout.

Still, others say it is important not to overlook the hidden benefits of strength or resistance exercise, which builds muscle and greatly improves body composition.

Both resistance training and high-intensity exercise causes normal, small-scale damage to muscle tissues. Repairing this damage requires energy, which increases metabolism. Moreover, simply sustaining a larger amount of muscle mass raises your metabolic rate.

There are also hormone and inflammatory responses, said Mark Schuenke, an assistant professor of anatomy at the University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine.

“In the early post-exercise stages, you also consume extra oxygen in an attempt to bring your body temperature, heart rate and blood oxygen levels back to resting levels,” he said.

Schuenke co-wrote a 2002 study that showed that the body’s oxygen consumption rate stayed elevated for at least 36 hours after an intense, whole-body resistance workout. The study used several multijoint exercises — power cleans, squats, bench press — that were so intense that some subjects became nauseated. Other resistance-training studies have used more sustainable workouts that resulted in less but still significant excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, he said.

“In terms of body adaptations, excess post-exercise oxygen consumption is all about recovery and growth,” said Schuenke. “The more strenuous — and the more novel — the exercise, the more (muscle) microtears (that) need repair.”

Another benefit of strength training: Each additional pound of muscle increases your metabolism a slight 15 calories a day, which works out to be a pound and a half per year.

Experts say if you’re trying to lose weight and have 20 minutes a day, try to burn as many calories as you can in that time period. “But energy intake cannot be ignored,” warned Edward Melanson, an associate professor in the division of endocrinology, metabolism, and diabetes at the University of Colorado. His research has shown that while exercise does burn fat, the effect doesn’t carry over if the calories expended during exercise are replaced.

“It’s not a good idea to think that you can eat anything you want just because you exercised for 20 minutes,” he said. “Even with 30 to 40 minutes of exercise, most people only expend 200 to 400 calories, and this can be easily undone by one extra high-calorie snack per day.”

What you can do

Associate professor Edward Melanson says more studies need to be done before the post-exercise calorie burn question can be answered definitively. In the meantime, if you want to improve your overall health and body composition, experts suggest focusing on a combination of more rigorous cardio (three days a week) and resistance training (three days a week).

The bottom line on exercise intensity depends on your goals, Melanson said. “There are certainly many health benefits to low- to moderate-intensity exercise, but higher-intensity training expends more calories and has greater effects on aerobic capacity,” he said.

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Aerobic exercise burns more calories.

If you’re exercising to burn calories, then you’ll love the idea of continued fat-burning after a workout.

Let me introduce you to EPOC—Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption. This is the process that burns through extra calories as a result of your exercise session. Many people focus on the calories they burn during a workout, but your body continues to burn calories long after you leave the gym.

Regular readers will know there are plenty of reasons to love exercise. But if you’re looking to burn fat, then thinking about EPOC can keep you motivated during a session. The equation is simple: the harder you work out, the more energy your body needs to recover—and that means you’re burning more calories.

It’s easier to approach a workout when you know what you want to achieve, and a basic knowledge of your body lets you understand how best to reach your goals. Different training methods will give you different results. If you want to burn fat, then you need to tailor your workout in a different way than if you want to improve flexibility, for example.

Burn calories while sitting still?

If you want to benefit from EPOC fat-burning, then you need to put the effort in first. Even though all of us would love to blast through calories while sitting at our desks, I’m sorry to say that just isn’t going to happen. And one of the reasons you may not have heard of EPOC before is because only certain types of exercise trigger it.

Your body burns calories when it is recovering, and a hard and fast session will require more recovery than a softer, less intense workout. Recovery is the catch-all term for all the processes your body implements after a workout—such as replenishing energy supplies, sending new glycogen to your muscles, converting lactic acid back into pyruvic acid, etc. This internal process requires fuel, and your body’s preferred fuel choice is your stored excess fat.

Exercises that provide the most EPOC fat-burning benefits

Your body needs to recover after all types of exercise, but you really need anaerobic and aerobic exercise to benefit from EPOC. You will need to tune into your body to understand what is most effective for you, but these are my five favorite exercise types that promote EPOC fat-burning.

1. HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training)

HIIT is known to burn a lot of calories in a short amount of time. The intense nature of this workout will have your body recovering throughout the day.

2. Spinning

A good static cycling class provides an aerobic zone workout combined with spurts of fast anaerobic work. Spinning classes are low impact and you can control the intensity of your personal workout

3. Weight Training

Lifting weights and strength training puts stress on your muscles, especially when lifting to gain muscle using slow and controlled movements. Your body will require energy to repair itself after a hard weights session.

4. Sprinting

A typical sprinting session is anaerobic and high in intensity. Obviously, this is my all-time favorite session for feeling the after-burn.

5. Aerobics class

An intense dance class or step class that is moderate in intensity, but high in impact and lasts for about an hour, will burn a lot of calories during the class and will help you burn through even more calories once you’re back at home. Try and find a class that involves jumping, kicking, and anything that makes you lift both feet off the ground.


With so many workout options, try to include a high intensity session a few times a week. Make sure you plan rest days and, as always, listen to your own body. It’s fine to push yourself, but never go to the point of pain.

I stand by my philosophy that slow and steady wins the race when it comes to getting fit and healthy. But if you’re looking to burn excess calories, then you can use EPOC to your advantage. And now that you know about EPOC calorie burning, you’ll be able to rest easy after your gym session knowing that your body is still burning through extra fat stores.

How many insanity calories burned in your workout?

Insanity is an intense workout system which promises real results in 60 days. It is hard work but rewarding if you stick with it.

One of the top questions people ask when they start using the Insanity workouts is “How many insanity calories burned doing this?”

Some resources say you can burn “up to” 1000 calories during a workout – but is that what YOU are burning?

On forums you can see how many Insanity calories burned by various people for different workouts. And if you are the same weight as them and working out to the same intensity for the same length of time then that will answer your question – but what if your weight is completely different or they do not say how hard they were working, or for how long?

Everyone is different so you have to factor in your weight, how hard you work, how long the activity and what the activity itself consists of. The most accurate way to measure Insanity calories burned is to use a heart rate monitor, however if you don’t have a heart rate monitor the Insanity calories calculator estimates the calories burned, based on average metabolic rates per intensity.

How do I know the intensity of my workout?

To select the appropriate Insanity work out intensity:

  • Low: You could sing while doing your Insanity workout
  • Mid: You could talk while doing your Insanity workout
  • High: You are out of breath and could not talk while doing your Insanity workout

Calculate your Insanity calories burned

Below is a simple to use calculator: if you fill in the information required you can find out how many calories YOU have burned.

If you are looking to calculate your calories for a T25 check out the T25 Calories Burned Calculator

What Dr. Melinda Ratini Says:

This is a serious workout for people who are already fit.

It’s not for the fitness newbie. With high intensity comes greater risk of injury. To avoid injury, you will have to know the correct form and technique for each move. You really need to know what you’re doing and listen to your body.

It is very intense, so be ready to give it your all when you are ready to take the plunge. Working out at that level means results in much less time. The rewards will be some serious cardio along with calorie burning and muscle sculpting.

High-intensity interval training programs like this are not for everyone. If you have any medical problems or take any meds, talk to your doctor before starting this workout.

Is It Good for Me If I Have a Health Condition?

You are sure to lose weight and build muscle with Insanity. Along with the weight loss comes a drop in blood sugar, blood pressure, and “bad” LDL cholesterol.

But you have to be in great shape already to tackle this high-powered workout. Do not attempt Insanity if you have heart disease or any heart disease risk factors unless your doctor says you can. There are more moderate workouts that can help you reach your fitness goals.

Insanity is not for you if you have back or knee pain or arthritis. Instead, choose a program that is more joint-friendly. This high intensity/high-impact approach to fitness is very challenging and not for you if you have any physical limitations.

If you are pregnant, this is not the time to start Insanity workouts. If you are in top form, and your doctor approves, then you might be able to continue with Insanity for a time if it is already a part of your fitness routine.

You will need to listen closely to your body and make changes as your pregnancy continues. Your joints will become looser, so avoid jumping, lunging, and other moves that put you at risk for injury. Tone it down if you are becoming breathless or uncomfortable. Drink water, don’t get overheated, and don’t do any moves that have you lying on your back during the last two trimesters. Be prepared to switch to an easier program as your baby and belly grow.

Insanity Reviews: Core Cardio & Balance

Congratulations are in order! If you are reading this Insanity Review, then you have made it to the halfway point of this program. If you are still “on the fence” about Insanity. Go get it! Core Cardio & Balance is the Recovery Week workout, and will be completed a total of six times if you follow the schedule. But don’t be misled, just because its a Recovery Week program, does not mean it’s easy. The purpose of this recovery week is to give your muscles a chance to recover, but you’re still working out. Now this DVD is not as difficult or challenging as the previous workouts, but it still causing you to break a sweat, and burn some calories! I will admit, it’s a refreshing change to lower down a gear. But I’m afraid it’s short lived, next week, the Max workouts are on the lineup, and I have a feeling we will all be wishing for Recovery Week again!! But we made it this far, we’ll make it all the way! Here we go…

Insanity Review: Core Cardio & Balance

This workout is a total of 37 minutes in length. You start out with your warm up, which takes around 7 minutes or so. Even the warm up is scaled down a notch. You have a total of 6 exercises, about 1 minute each. Then you move on to the stretch. The 6 warm up exercises are:

  • Switch Heel Kicks (Kind of like a slow/medium jump rope motion).
  • Mummy Kicks
  • Football Shuffles (Side to side).
  • Over the Log (Run in Place, then jump “over the log” Run in Place, repeat).
  • 8 High Knees/8 Power Jacks
  • 8 Fast Feet/8 Hooks

Following the warm up is the stretch. The stretch is just a good solid stretch, not as intense as the stretches in the first few DVDs, but a a good stretch nonetheless. The stretch lasts about 5 minutes, which is followed by a 30 second water break. When you return from the water break, you notice that you have about 25 minutes left on the clock.

Now we get into the main workout. I actually like this workout quite a bit. It’s not so INSANE that you couldn’t work it in to any other program. It could be on a slower day, or on a doubles day for extra cardio, etc. It definitely has merit. Of course all the videos will become a part of my fitness arsenal once I’m finished with the 60 days. I can easily see these DVDs as cardio substitutes to other programs like P90X, Chalean Extreme, or Tony Horton’s new One on One.

These next 10 moves are all about 1 minute in length. Shaun T always gives a brief description about each move, so you get about a 10-15 second break in between each. I want you to get an idea of the workout, this is not necessarily to get you through the workout. 🙂

  • Moving Ski Hops (Jumping 4 hops to the left, and then 4 back to the right, repeat).
  • Hit the Floor (Pick up speed about halfway through).
  • Level 1 Drills (4 push ups, 8 run in place, repeat).
  • Heisman (Pick up speed about halfway through).
  • 8 Switch Kicks/8 Hop Squats
  • High Jumps (Standing stationary, jumping as high as you can each jump).
  • Moving Plank Walk (in a push up stance, walking to the left, maintaining plank, then back again, repeat).
  • 8 Elbows/4 Suicide Drills
  • 4 & 4 Hops (on one leg, one knee up, hop 4 times, jump over, and repeat on the other leg).
  • 8 Jabs/Jumps & Turn/8 Jabs

This next exercise is going to burn a little. It’s called Hip Flexor Burners. It’s a 3 part exercise. The first move has you raising your knee, parallel with your waist, then back down to the ground. Repeating for 30 seconds. The next move has you doing the same thing, but it’s called “pulses” and your foot never touches the ground. And then the last move is a kick added to the end. Each section is 30 seconds. Once you complete one leg, you switch to the other. Feel the burn. 🙂 I like to place one hand on my abs, to feel the contraction. Squeeze the abs as you do the exercise and get some ab work in too!

Now you get a 30 second water break. Almost done….

Oblique Knee Lifts. Arm Up, raise your knee (out and to the side) and bring your elbow down at the same time. 30 seconds each side.

Shoulder Burners in Plie. Deep squat, with your knees wide, toes pointing outward. Arms are straight out. Move your arms in an up and down motion for 30 seconds. (Picture flapping your arms like a bird, but your arms are straight out.) Next, your straight arms go from the sides to the front, back to the sides. This is followed by your arms going straight up over head. Almost done, and don’t forget to stay in your deep squat. Now you begin backwards circles, and then forwards. DONE. About 3 minutes total.

Welcome to the cool down and stretch which lasts about 2 minutes.

I have now finished my recovery week. My 3rd Fit Test has been completed (results are posted on my Fit Test Review), and tomorrow, I start the 2nd half of the program. I have a feeling I’ll be crazy sore next week!

Thanks for reading another one of my Insanity Reviews. I hope you will come back again, for some updates, or feel free to subscribe to the blog. I look forward to your emails, and as always, feel free to contact me or comment below. See ya next time.

Burning calories after workout

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