You’ve probably heard that High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) produces an afterburn effect, which means your body continues to burn extra calories at an elevated rate for 24 hours after the completion of your workout.
Sure that’s sounds amazing, but is it too good to be true?
The Science of Afterburn
There is a scientific term for afterburn: excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPEOC). This refers to the oxygen that your body needs to restore after a heart-pounding workout.
So afterburn is indeed real.
While you exercise your body needs fuel to keep your muscles firing, and this requires oxygen to transport the fuel into the muscles. This causes your metabolism to rev up to an elevated state during and after exercise.
Intense Exercise = Intense Afterburn
Studies show that there is a direct correlation between the intensity of your workout and the amount of calories burned during the afterburn period.
In order to get the most afterburn bang for your buck, you must push yourself to 70-85% of your max heart rate during your workout. The more intense your workout, the more bonus calories you will burn in the hours afterwards.
Intense and vigorous exercise keeps your body burning calories hours after the workout is through. And this is not the only benefit to HIIT workouts – there’s also the bonus of increased muscle tone, fat loss and an increase in your aerobic capacity.
Keep this in mind the next time that you push yourself through a workout. Remember that intensity pays off, and a HIIT workout has more proven benefits than a steady state cardio workout.