Three Types of Workouts That Will Raise Your Post-Exercise Metabolism

Three Types of Workouts That Will Raise Your Post-Exercise Metabolism

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Home Page > Sports and Fitness > Fitness > Three Types of Workouts That Will Raise Your Post-Exercise Metabolism

Three Types of Workouts That Will Raise Your Post-Exercise Metabolism

Posted: Apr 19, 2012 |

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In the last few years the idea of doing “afterburn” exercises has become quite popular. The term “afterburn” refers to the additional energy that your body consumes in the hours following particular types of exercise. It’s also known more formally as EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption) or simply as having a “raised metabolism” after you exercise. In any case, by doing the sorts of exercises that create afterburn, you can raise your overall calorie burn by a few percentage points. This may not sound like much, but over time it adds up. For example, if you can burn an extra fifty calories per day, that’s the equivalent of five additional pounds of fat loss per year.

Afterburn exercise routines can be broadly categorized into three types:

Cardio High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). This is where you pick an aerobic/cardio exercise and repeatedly perform short bursts of high intensity with brief rest periods in between.
High Intensity Full Body Circuit Training. This is where you use light or medium weights, or your own body weight, to perform a series of different full-body exercises, and repeat the series a number of times with minimal rest.
High Intensity Resistance Training. This is where you perform intense weight training that seriously challenges each of your major muscle groups.

As well as boosting your post-exercise metabolism, these sorts of exercises have added benefits, including improved strength, endurance and agility.

Choosing the Right Kind of Exercise

The degree to which you use some or all of these types of workout depends on your goals. For example, let’s say you’re aiming for an athletic degree of fitness, and the appearance that goes with it. In this case you should do a combination of two or three different types of afterburn exercises, either on different days, or combined into each workout session.The high intensity cardio will give you plenty of endurance; the full body circuits will give develop your power, agility, and functional strength; and the resistance training will increase your strength and flexibility. All of them will generate after burn. On the other hand, maybe you’re a bodybuilder wanting to shed an extra few percent of body fat. It’s safe to assume you’re already lifting intensely, and generating plenty of afterburn as a result. In addition to this, you may want to switch out your regular cardio sessions and do high intensity cardio intervals instead. This will add a bit more afterburn and increase your endurance. Or perhaps you don’t really enjoy exercise at all, and the only reason you’re exercising is so you can lose weight. In this case, cardio high-intensity interval training is probably the best exercise choice. Just pick a cardio exercise that you don’t mind doing (elliptical, treadmill, bike, rowing machine, running outdoors, jump rope, whatever), and rather than doing a normal cardio workout, do a workout consisting of high-intensity intervals. This will burn some calories while you do it, improve your general fitness and give you an after-burn bonus that’ll help burn some fat.

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Cardio High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

The beauty of Cardio HIIT is that it’s very accessible: most people can do it, as long as they don’t have health issues. And once you get into good shape, HIIT is an amazing workout. Just pick a form of cardio exercise that you’re comfortable with. For example, if you’re athletic, you may want to run outdoors or on a treadmill; if you’re carrying extra weight or have knee issues, a lower-impact option like cycling or elliptical may be better. Rowing machines are great if you have access to one, and jump rope is an option for limited space if you have the ceiling height. Try this pattern to begin with:

30 seconds as fast as you can manage
30 seconds at a slow recovery pace
Repeat for between 10 and 25 minutes, depending on your fitness.

For something more challenging, increase the length of each interval to 45 or 60 seconds. This will challenge your endurance. For even more of a challenge, increase the length of time you’re exerting yourself (e.g. 45 or 60 seconds), while reducing the recovery time (e.g. 15 or 20 seconds). Always warm up beforehand with a few minutes of moderate cardio. In addition to afterburn, intense cardio also burns a lot of calories during the workout, which will help with fat loss.

High Intensity Full-Body Circuit Training

The idea with this sort of circuit workout is to use body weight or free weights (e.g. dumbbells) to provide resistance and thereby increase the amount of work you’re doing. You’ll perform large movements in a fluid, controlled manner, while minimizing rest periods in order to maximize intensity. This will develop functional strength, power and endurance. It will burn plenty of calories during the workout, and will generate a solid afterburn. The basic formula is to pick three or four different exercises that work different parts of your body, and repeat them with minimal rest periods, for about 20-25 minutes. For example, repeat this cycle as many times as you can in 20 minutes:

12 Burpees (from a standing position, fluidly jump in the air, drop to a crouch with your hands on the floor, pop your legs out behind you into a pushup position, do a pushup, pop your legs back into the crouch, and jump in the air again)
12 Squats with dumbbell press-ups (hold a pair of dumbbells at shoulder height, with feet apart, squat till thighs are parallel to the floor, push up again to a standing position while at the same time pushing the dumbbells above your head, lower the dumbbells as you go into the next squat)
6 Pull ups (assisted pull-ups or pull-downs are fine substitutes)

High Intensity Resistance Training

There are a lot of different approaches to doing resistance training, and many of them are already very intense. The particular routine you choose depends on your goals, the amount of time you have to spend, and how developed you are as a weight trainer. Here’s one approach I like because it relies on intensity, doesn’t take a lot of time, and you don’t need to be an experienced weight trainer to do it:

Pick 8-10 different weight-training exercises that work different body parts (back squats, curls, rows, etc), and do one intense set of each exercise.
Each set should be around 8 reps. If you can’t do 6 reps, the weight is too heavy. If you can do more than 10, it’s too light, or you’re going too fast.
Each rep should be around 7-10 seconds long: a 3-4 second contraction/lifting, a 1-2 second squeeze, a 3-4 second extension/lowering.
Each set should end in failure. This is critical. If you can do another rep at the end of the set, you’re not done: do another rep.

In Conclusion

As you can see from these examples, the key to generating good afterburn from a workout is to maintain high intensity and engage as much of the body as you can. Using these basic principles, you should be able to come up with an endless supply of workouts that will not only increase your power and endurance, but also help you burn extra calories while you recover, helping you get leaner sooner.

About the Author:
The author, Robert Brown is an amateur fitness enthusiast who’s made it his mission to gain the knowledge and experience to understand what works when it comes to losing flab and getting fit. He’s not a muscle-bound gym junkie. He’s a regular person with a regular lifestyle, who’s been successful at achieving health and fitness in his life.
He channels his fitness experience into his Athletic Workout Review web site. Given that this is generally drawn from his own experience and research, he pleads guilty to being unconsciously biased towards his own interests, but tries to consider all perspectives. His site reviews plenty of programs that make use of the afterburn effect. For two good examples, he suggests looking at his Max Workouts review and his The Truth About Six Pack Abs review.
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