Mind & Body

The Afterburn Effect Torches Calories After A Workout, And There Are Ways To Make It Happen

The afterburn effect describes the way your body continues to burn calories after—sometimes long after—you're done working out.

Why You Should Care

Most people think of the human body like a car: while it's running, it burns fuel in the form of calories, and while it's at rest, it doesn't. In reality, the human body is much more complex than that. Not only do you burn calories just by being alive, exercise can also burn calories long after you've left the gym.

The scientific term for the afterburn effect is excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, or EPOC, and the research says the more intense the exercise, the more it kicks in. One study found that participants burned more calories in just the 14 hours after an intense workout than they did for an entire rest day. Another study showed that even though you burn more calories during cardio workouts than weight training, the calories you burn after each workout are roughly the same.

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Why This Matters

With the way people talk about diet and exercise, it seems like a good workout can be completely ruined by a single donut. The afterburn effect demonstrates how false this thinking is. Exercise has an impact that goes far beyond a few extra calories, which is why it's important to make it a regular part of your life.

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Key Facts In This Video

  1. When you eat too much protein or carbs, your body converts it and stores it as fat. 00:28

  2. According to a study published by the British Medical Journal, most of the fat you burn turns into carbon dioxide and water. 01:32

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Written by Ashley Hamer December 16, 2016