Losing weight is actually a very simple thing. You just have to burn more calories than you eat. And anyone who has ever tried to achieve this goal, especially through cardio training, knows how long it takes to burn even the equivalent of a piece of cake.
Would not it be great if there was a way for the body to burn extra calories by itself without much effort? And what should we say, this possibility exists. This is the afterburn, How it works and how you can promote it is explained in the following article.
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What is the afterburn effect?
The afterburn effect is a fascinating mechanism that starts after a hard workout session and keeps you burning calories after training. Even if you're lazy on the couch and watch a few episodes of your favorite series on Netflix.
The afterburn effect works best after particularly intensive training sessions such as high intensity interval training (HIIT). This training ensures that your metabolism is still active at a significantly higher level long after the end of the session and continues to burn calories. But how exactly does it work?
In strenuous workouts, your body has an increased need for oxygen to adequately supply the muscles. Only in this way can the musculature ever muster the necessary energy for such intensive training. However, the amount of oxygen consumed during the workout is higher than the amount you can get into the muscles through breathing. As a result, your body enters into a so-called oxygen debt.
This deficit must be reduced by the body after the end of the training session to return to the normal metabolic state. Since the organism needs energy for this regulation, you continue to burn extra calories after your workout until your metabolism reaches normal levels and the oxygen debt is settled.
The three phases of the afterburning effect
Phase 1 - The first phase starts immediately after you have finished the training. Now your body is particularly receptive to energy or nutrients and does everything it can to get energy reserves. This requires the organism to initiate regeneration. During this phase, which lasts about 60 to 90 minutes after exercise, energy consumption is still particularly high, as metabolism, respiration, and heart rate are at an elevated level. You'll notice that after an intense workout, it can take an hour or two to get close to your usual resting heartbeat.
Phase 2 - About two hours after the end of the training, muscle recovery begins in the second phase. Here the repair of the damaged protein structures in the musculature has the highest priority for the organism. The body needs proteins for reconstruction. In order to extract these proteins from the food, to convert them and to build them in the necessary places, the organism also needs energy.
Phase 3 - The third phase starts about 12 to 24 hours after the end of the training. The musculature, which is still under slight tension, often shows signs of muscle soreness as a result of the hard workouts. In order to repair these micro-fine cracks in the muscle fibers and to continue to drive regeneration at a high level, the energy requirement here is also significantly increased. The result: additional calories are burned.
How long does the effect last?
The afterburning effect runs like a flattening mathematical curve. Immediately after training, the effect of energy consumption is highest. After about 90 minutes, the curve begins to flatten significantly. Once all metabolic processes have returned to normal levels and regeneration is complete, the post-combustion curve reaches zero. From then on, it's over with the added calories.
How long exactly it takes until this point is reached, that is controversial in sports science. On average, however, you can count on about 36 hours. How long the effect lasts depends on the intensity of the workout. An intensive power circle based on the HIIT principle, for example, has about three times as much after-burn effect as constant jogging or cycling.
How many calories can I burn in addition?
Based on sports science research, it has come to the conclusion that as part of the afterburning effect on your workout up to 15 percent additional calories are burned. So, if you do an intense HIIT workout and burn 600 calories, you can use the afterburning effect to burn another 90 calories without having to bruise your finger. That may not sound like much.
But suppose you train three times a week. At 52 weeks a year, it makes a whopping 14,040 calories. That's pretty much the equivalent of 2 kilograms of body fat. If that is not motivation then.
Do not forget the regeneration
The afterburning effect is a great thing. However, you should not overdo it with the high intensity workouts. Because what your body needs between these units is recovery. Only when he can recover, you remain permanently resilient and can safely reach your destination. Three intense HIIT workouts per week are definitely enough and will give you enough air to regenerate. If you still notice warning signs such as increased susceptibility to infections, muscle cramps or a prolonged unusual daytime fatigue, you should reduce the amount of exercise.