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Want an Exercise Afterburn? Get Intense!

By Laurel-Lea Shannon

Exercise afterburnDoes exercise provide a calorie afterburn effect? The question has been debated for decades with no clear answer, until now. Recently, the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise published a study by Dr. Amy A. Knab at Appalachian State University on the afterburn effect.

The study comprised 10 men aged 21 to 23, who spent one completely sedentary day (24 hours) in a small isolated room where their daily calorie burn, averaging 2,400 calories, was measured. Two days later, the experiment was repeated, with one difference. For 45 minutes a day, the subjects rode a stationary bike at 70% of their VO2 Max, a pace  just above the comfort zone (i.e., you can’t have a conversation but you can maintain the pace for a long time.)

The results astounded Dr. Knab. The spinning burned an extra 480 calories, but over the next 14 hours the men burned an additional 190 calories while just lying about. The exercise increased their calorie burn by a whopping 37%.

But here’s the clincher: this strategy  won’t work if you cycle at only 50 or 65% of your VO2 Max. It has to be 70% or more. So, if you need to drop a few pounds, combine your slower, fat-burning rides with some short intense rides. You’ll lose weight while you sleep. What could be easier than that?

Source: NY Times

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