This is why the afterburn effect lets you burn calories even after your workout.

You just closed from the gym, it was a really hard workout, panting all over like a pregnant fish — that “No Pain No Gain” euphoria. You probably burned 1,000 calories at least. Good job! Do you know you could still be burning calories, even long after you’re done with your workout. This is a physiological phenomenon known as the afterburn effect.

You’re What You Eat

They often say, “calories in, calories out.” Sounds fair enough, but wait, if you really burn the same amount of calories during your workout as you consumed, then you’ll never gain weight, right? In theory, that’s true, but in practice, its a bit complicated. How much calories do you burn? If you think the number on your treadmill or your exercise watch is accurate, spoiler, you got it all wrong. 

As you exercise, you really don’t burn calories right in the moment of your workout. Enter the afterburn effect: it describes the way your body continues to burn calories long after you’re done with your workout — and even some workouts burn more calories than others.

Burn Out

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Most people think that the human anatomy is just like a combustion engine: while it runs, it burns fuel in the form of calories, and while at rest, it doesn’t. Spoiler alert: you’re not an engine, Okay! In reality, the human anatomy is pretty much complicated than you thought — you’re quite a magnificent beast. You do burn calories when you’re at rest, but your exercise can also speed up the burning rate, even long after you’re done with your workout.

Scientifically, the afterburn effect is called excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), and research says the more intense your workout, the more the aftereffect. 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.

Don’t Burn It All

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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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Written by: Nana Kwadwo, Mon, Jul 01, 2019.

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