Do you do different types of strength and endurance sports? Then you have certainly come across the myth about the afterburn effect. Here you can find out what it is all about and how it works.
After training, lie on the couch for a while, give your exhausted muscles their well-deserved break and still continue to burn calories. Lose weight and define without doing more? Sounds too good to be true? But it really is. Thanks to the afterburn effect.
The afterburn effect is the increased calorie consumption after the actual workout. Scientifically, it is called “Excess post-excercise oxygen consumption” – or EPOC for short.
Sounds pretty complicated, doesn’t it? But it is not, we promise.
Once you start exercising, your muscles need more energy. In addition to carbohydrates and fats, you primarily need oxygen to provide the energy. This is why your breathing becomes more intense when you exercise. Your heart beats faster and your pulse rises to supply your muscles with sufficient oxygen. In short: all parts of your body have to work harder than when they are at rest. This also increases your calorie consumption.
Afterburn effect: pulse and calorie consumption are related
Depending on how hard and how long you train or what sport you do, both your pulse and your calorie consumption increase to different degrees. Casual jogging doesn’t push your body to its limits so quickly. The calorie consumption is then also relatively low.
But if you do very strenuous endurance training, such as HIIT or Tabata, your heart rate rises quickly and reaches its maximum. After these intense stresses, it takes your body a long time to return everything to normal. This reset means work. This burns calories. This is what creates the afterburn effect.
The amount of the afterburn effect depends on the training load
How big the afterburn effect is always depends on the respective load during training. The afterburn effect is particularly evident in HIIT training, for example. This is a workout in which you train in high-intensity intervals.
In total, you burn more calories than when you simply go run and your fat burning is in full swing.
Our tip: A booster before the workout also helps to get your circulation going during the workout, because the caffeine it contains pushes you to push yourself to your limits.
Sequence of the afterburn effect
The afterburn effect comes into play in the 48 hours after training. It is divided into 3 phases in which your body continues to burn more calories.
- Phase 1: This is the phase immediately after the intense exercise and takes about 1 hour. Your body is now full of stress hormones. Its busy getting your circulation back to normal. This includes breathing, cardiovascular and normal metabolism.
- Phase 2: Your metabolism has finally calmed down again. Now your stressed muscles will be rebuilt. In doing so, you use more calories to process proteins for your muscles.
- Phase 3: The afterburn effect lasts up to 48 hours after exercise. This is primarily due to the increased muscle tension that you cause through your training. The calorie consumption is only slightly increased during this period.
What to eat for the afterburn effect?
A myth goes: “Carbohydrates stop the afterburn effect”
This is wrong. It doesn’t matter whether you consume carbohydrates after your workout or not. The afterburning effect remains. The myth arose from the fact that the afterburn effect was mistaken for fat metabolism.
It is true that carbohydrates have a negative effect on fat metabolism after training. Proteins, on the other hand, are important for building muscle after training. You should consume around 20g after training. The body cannot process much more at once.
Depending on your goal, you should also plan your meal after training. Do you want to gain weight? But are you usually not hungry after training? Then a whey protein shake will help you to provide you with protein for muscle building. You should still make sure to consume enough calories.
If you want to lose weight, it definitely makes sense to eat fewer carbohydrates after your workout to save calories.
A quick and easy way to save calories and still get the protein you need after training is a shake with a delicious whey protein. It provides you with 24 g of protein and just 113 kcal per shake. This makes it the ideal dietary supplement and alternative to unhealthy snacks after training.
That's what the afterburn effect really does
Exactly how many calories are burned by the afterburn effect depends on many different factors. Your age, height, weight, gender and how well trained you are all play an important role. The most important factors to influence the afterburn effect decisively and to use it for you are the duration and the intensity with which you train.
As a rough guide, the afterburn effect is around 10% of your calorie expenditure during exercise. So if you burn 500 calories during your workout, there would be an additional 50 calories that you then burn through the afterburn effect. That doesn’t sound like much at first. But it pays off.
For example, if you only have 3 workouts a week and burn 50 extra calories each time, you get 150 calories a week. That makes 600 calories a month and a total of 7200 calories a year. If you eat a healthy and low-calorie diet, you end up with a whole kilogram on the scales.
Conclusion: Afterburn Effect
- The afterburn effect averages 10% of the calorie expenditure during training.
- Lasts up to 48 hours after training.
- The afterburn effect is relatively minor at first.
- Only becomes noticeable in the long term.
- Useful to burn extra calories without extra work.