Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Burning More Calories All Day Long...Thank You 'After-Burn' Effect!

Now, if you've been following this blog for a bit (and of course I know you all are! hehe) you have probably come across a reference to the 'after-burn effect.' Usually this term will come up when we're describing the additional benefits of more intense workouts, lifting weights, plyometrics, or intervals, and what it refers to is how your metabolism is revved up in the hours AFTER you've already finished your workout. It's kind of like a double-perk, you can burn more calories during the workout and then long after you've showered off.

There are still ongoing studies into this topic, and the reasons for this kind of 'after-burn' effect are still up for debate...but what it comes down to is that those who exercise get the double whammy of health over those couch potatoes. Well, I came across another article related to this phenomenon and it seems that while the more intense kinds of workouts up the metabolic rate more, even those steady cardio sessions will do the trick, albeit to a lesser degree.

What's also interesting is that those who are in better shape reap the most rewards...yet another testament that it's best to be a REGULAR exerciser! The more efficient your body is, cardiovascularly and muscularly, you'll be able to make the most out of your workouts. That doesn't really come as much of a shock, though. Something can also be said that the better shape you are in the more likely you'll be be able to workout longer than beginners.

Now the article here touts that even a short bout of 10 minutes can give you lasting rewards in the hour after finishing your workout. That's great, and it should be motivation for people who claim they simply have NO TIME at all to can't find a measly 10 minutes?! Though you really should aim for more than just that; and if your workout is that short it better be intense. You can see some examples of awesome workouts that ARE designed short at the website, and those will get your heart pumping. My point is only that those minutes can't be leisurely strolls around the block.

The article wraps up though on a point that I'm not all too thrilled about, but it eludes to the fact that much of overweight America is looking for a magic bullet, or quick fix to their weight woes. It cites how scientists are using their findings to try to design a way to mimic the results of exercise. I know that research into such a pill is hardly new, or that there aren't already of plethora of 'fat burning' pills and such already inundating the market. But the whole thing is a bit of a sticking point for me. All the time, energy, and resources that people pour into finding the 'quick fix' for fatloss, couldn't it be better spent elsewhere? It may sound harsh, but being active and eating healthfully isn't exactly rocket science.

At any rate, I apologize for a bit of a rant there, but I think the couple points I'd like to get across are these:

  1. Working out has a myriad of benefits- for your health, your mind, your energy levels...and yea, there are the physical perks of looking hot too! :)
  2. The 'after-burn' effect- yet another awesome reason to not only workout regularly, but to do the kinds of exercises that ramp the metabolism up the most...even in the hours after you've finished.
  3. Don't bank on a pill- popping a pill couldn't possibly give you ALL the rewards of exercise. Even if they find one that does help burn fat, it cheats you out of the feeling of accomplishment you'd get after kicking butt in a tough workout and watching yourself improve.

On that note...who got it their workouts today?? :)

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