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The After-Burn Effect

Benefits of a HIIT Workout

(Photo by alive)

High intensity interval training (HIIT) isn’t a newly discovered phenomenon in the world of fitness, however if it’s added into our workout regimen once or twice a week we could benefit from the after-burn effect. It seems obvious that the more vigorous our workout is the more calories we burn, so let’s break it down a bit more and discover why that's the case.

The duration of the workout is not what is most important, it’s the intensity that we put into it. For example a HIIT workout with a work to rest ratio of sprinting for 20 seconds and resting for 10 seconds repeated six to eight times is just what we need to get our heart rate and body temperature up, stimulating the after-burn effect. Weight lifting with a minimal rest period would all suffice as HIIT. No matter the length of the workout we should be pushing ourselves to 70-85% of our maximum heart rate. A HIIT workout means our bodies need more oxygen, which is what burns the excess calories.

After a HIIT workout our body is in overdrive trying to restore itself to a resting metabolic rate (called homeostasis). In order for this to happen it uses more oxygen than usual. Excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC) is the process where our body takes in more oxygen, which boosts our metabolism and burns more calories. The benefits of HIIT and EPOC are not limited to extra calories being burned post workout, they also help increase our aerobic capacity and assist in muscle growth.

Next time we find ourselves with a quick turn around at the airport we’ll be sure to squeeze in a HIIT workout. What could be better than feeling relaxed from our post-exercise endorphin high and continuing to burn some extra calories while sitting on the plane?

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