How to set your metabolism ablaze for a ‘round-the-clock, full-body burn

News flash: burning calories isn’t a gym-exclusive activity. In fact, if you do the right kind of work during your time at the gym, you can continue sending calories to the incinerator long after your last rep. This phenomenon, which seems to have finally taken hold in the fitness mainstream, is referred to as excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC). I like to refer to it as the afterburn. Here’s your quick guide on what it is, what it does for your body and how to put it to use.


When you workout, the effort creates a disturbance in your nervous system and metabolism. And the greater the effort, the greater the disturbance. You might not realize it, but you are literally creating microscopic tears to muscles, depleting stored fuel and pounding on joints. So it shouldn’t surprise you to learn that even though you’re burning calories in the gym, this isn’t where results happen. Results happen as your body recovers from it all. EPOC is when your body takes in excess oxygen for after your workout to support the aerobic burning of fat and the energy needed to get your body back to its normal, resting state, or stasis. This process essentially helps you burn calories for days – by some studies, up to 72 hours – after your last rep.


HIIT, or high-intensity interval training, causes large fluctuations in your heart rate, from high to low, which in turn, creates a large disturbance in your metabolism. The larger the disturbance in your metabolism, the more aerobic energy (read: calories from fat) is required to bring your body back to normal after you train. The best thing is that these workouts don’t have to be very long. Because you’re working at higher intensities, workouts usually take less than 30 minutes. Say what? Say goodbye to your 90-minute gym session, that’s what.

But it goes beyond time economy. Short, intense workouts prevent you from wasting time, but they also help you develop a functional, very athletic physique because they help you develop and strengthen metabolic muscle. That’s something that you just can’t get from training slow all the time. One vivid example is the difference between sprinters and distance runners. Sprinters train explosively and over short distances, giving their bodies a lean, muscular appearance. Marathoners, on the other hand, have a harder time holding on to muscle — their bodies are trained for economy of movement over 26.2 miles. So the way you train greatly affects your physical outcomes and, if you’re concerned with building metabolic muscle, it’s better to go at it with more of a sprinter’s mentality. 



Sold on the benefits of the burn? Good. Now, it’s time to drop some science on you. One study from the University of Western Ontario (London, Ontario) found that people who ran four to six 30-second sprints with four minutes of rest between sprints burned double the amount of body fat compared to a group that ran 30-60 minutes at a steady pace. The sprinting group was getting leaner and stronger, with workouts that took less time.          

One of the earliest studies in the 90s by researchers at Laval University (Ste-Foy, Quebec, Canada) found that a sprinting group also burned more body fat than a steady-state cardio group…despite burning 15,000 calories less. Another head-to-head comparison in an eight-week study at East Tennessee State University in 2001 showed that the high-intensity interval group dropped 2 percent body fat while the steady runners lost no body fat. And finally, a recent Australian study found that females who did a 20-minute HIIT program lost six times more body fat than a peer group that did a 40-minute cardio routine.


So…harder, shorter workouts equate to a longer, better burn. You can save time, while also increasing your get-lean rate like never before. A workout lasting 20 minutes or less can help you burn fat for as long as three days after. That’s a pretty good return on investment, wouldn’t you say?

Are you ready to feel the burn? You know what time it is, join me for a FREE 20 minute body workout and get ready to sweat!

The 20 Minute Body is designed to maximize the afterburn effects within 20 minutes. This fitness program is created with busy people in mind, and you can workout anywhere with minimum space, as long as you have 20 minutes to spare.