How to Keep On Losing Calories after a Workout

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Moderate exercising can help you burn calories during a workout, but vigorous exercising will make your body burn them even some time after you’re done with physical activity. Not only does vigorous exercising help you melt fat after a workout, but it also makes you burn more calories altogether.

The Afterburn Effect and How to Trigger It

After an intense workout our body experiences the “afterburn effect” also known as “excess post-exercise oxygen consumption”, and the more intensely you workout the more oxygen your body will consume after the workout. Since with better oxygen consumption, our metabolism improves and our body burns more calories, it seems that it might be better to do a shorter high-intensity workout than a long moderate one, if we want to achieve this effect. However, we cannot specifically tell you how many calories you will burn during or after a workout, because that varies among individuals, but you will burn the most calories if you reach 70-85% of your maximum heart rate during your workout. Moreover, the longer the high-intensity exercising lasts, the more calories you will burn during and after the workout according to the authors of Postexercise oxygen consumption in trained females: effect of exercise duration, from the University of New Hampshire, Department of Kinesiology.

In order to complete the routine, during a workout, your body uses the energy from the calories it had stored. When it comes to aerobic exercises, calories keep burning after you are done, but when you do a high-intensity strength training, your body keeps burning calories afterwards, as with aerobic training, but it also becomes more able to burn more calories in general, while at the same time maintaining muscle strength and helping you look lean and sculpted.


Aerobic exercises, like swimming, running, cycling and such make your body burn calories as you move the parts of your body in a somewhat rhythmic manner for some period. Obviously, a high-intensity workout makes you burn more calories than a low intensity one, but the difference is drastic, especially when it comes to after-workout-calorie-burning. When it comes to moderate, light aerobic exercises, after you are done your body returns to its normal state, while with high intensity exercises your body burns more calories and this continues even while you are resting, for several hours.

When it comes to strength training, you burn fewer calories than when you do cardio. For instance, during intense cardio training, your body can burn up to 1400 calories in one hour, while that number goes only up to 266 calories (according to Harvard Medical School) when it comes to strength training. BUT, when you do strength training, your muscle mass increases, and the more muscle you have the more fat and calories your body burns to meet its energy demands. Every pound of muscle burns around 35-38 calories in one day, so it is in your best interest to have more muscle on your body to burn more calories. 

Combine Intense Cardio and Strength Training to Maximize the Positive Effects

The Centers for Disease Control and Preventions suggest doing a combination of these two types of exercising because that way you can achieve the best effect when it comes to burning calories and controlling your weight. They recommend doing strength training at least twice a week, and at least 150 minutes of cardio training per week, which you can spread into half an hour of intense cardio 5 days a week. However, this is the optimal time of exercising and you probably won’t be able to start like this all at once. It would be best, in order to keep your motivation and not have your body suddenly stressed, to start moderately at least the first week and then increase the intensity of your workouts and maybe even exercise for a longer time.

These days, there are so many workout options, and you can chose if your routine will be low or high intensity. If you want your body to burn calories even when you are resting after exercising, choose vigorous exercising such as spinning, sprinting, weight training or an intense aerobic class, and you will see the results quickly. However, you should also have in mind that your body needs rest in order to recover and function well. So plan your workouts equally diligently as your resting time.