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Are you experiencing the AFTERBURN?

Posted by Joel Marion

In the last update I talked to you about the massive shortcomings of “slow-go” aerobic exercise for fat loss and began to briefly touch on the benefits of something much more effective – short duration, high intensity exercise.

Simply put, if you are looking for the fastest fat loss results, high intensity exercise is a MUST.

Short duration, high intensity exercise comes in two major forms: metabolic resistance training and interval training. Today, I want to take a DEEP look into the benefits of each.

First up, metabolic resistance training:

As mentioned in my previous post, metabolic resistance training is simply “cardio with weights”, and when speaking of the most effective form of exercise for the fastest possible fat loss, this is it.

A couple of studies to support this that my buddy Alwyn Cosgrove dug up:

Schuenke MD, Mikat RP, McBride JM.
Effect of an acute period of resistance exercise on excess post-exercise oxygen consumption: implications for body mass management.
Eur J Appl Physiol. 2002 Mar;86(5):411-7. Epub 2002 Jan 29.

In this study a 30-minute circuit style metabolic resistance training session was put to the test. The result was a 38 hour increase in metabolism – massive AFTERBURN.

Let’s put this in perspective: Say that you worked out at 8AM on Friday. By way of metabolic resistance training, you’d still be burning calories from that workout while out at the movies on Saturday night.

You want to burn calories by watching Wolverine? Now you can.

Here’s another:

Kramer, Volek et al.
Influence of exercise training on physiological and performance changes with weight loss in men.
Med. Sci. Sports Exerc., Vol. 31, No. 9, pp. 1320-1329, 1999.

This study showed that those who added metabolic resistance training to a reduced calorie diet burned up to 44% more fat than those who dieted alone.

Don’t get me wrong, diet is the NUMBER ONE component of the fat loss puzzle, but once you’ve got that down, metabolic resistance training can really take your results to a whole new level.

And here’s one more:

Bryner RW, Ullrich IH, Sauers J, Donley D, Hornsby G, Kolar M, Yeater R.
Effects of resistance vs. aerobic training combined with an 800 calorie liquid diet on lean body mass and resting metabolic rate.
J Am Coll Nutr. 1999 Apr;18(2):115-21.

This study compared “slow-go” aerobic exercise to metabolic resistance training and found that the resistance group lost significantly more fat without losing ANY lean muscle even at an extremely low calorie intake (not so for the aerobic group).

In fact, believe it or not, while the aerobic group experienced a decrease in metabolism (and lost muscle), the resistance training group actually increased overall metabolic rate.

THAT’S the power of metabolic resistance training.

Convinced that metabolic resistance training flat out WORKS? Good. Next up, interval training:

Interval training is simply a form of high intensity cardio in which you alternate back and forth between periods of high effort and periods of active recovery.

For example, you may run very hard for a period of one minute and then follow it up with walking for one minute, repeating 8-10 times for a less-than-20-minute workout.

Does it work?

Tremblay A, Simoneau JA, Bouchard C.
Impact of exercise intensity on body fatness and skeletal muscle metabolism.
Metabolism. 1994 Jul;43(7):814-8

Are you sitting down? If not, take a seat.

You want to know what happened when this research group compared 20 weeks of endurance training vs. 15 weeks of interval training?

While the aerobic/endurance group actually managed to burn more total calories during exercise, the interval training group lost NINE TIMES more body fat. NINE TIMES.

Nine times more fat loss in half the time? The clear choice for fat loss is interval training.

And it all comes down to elevated metabolism after your workout is completed – the afterburn.

Are you experiencing the afterburn?

Give me at least 700 comments and I’ll be back tomorrow with some sample interval training workouts and a post you won’t want to miss!

Talk to you in the comments section!


P.S.  Every so often, something crosses my desk that’s just too good not to share with you.  Well, my buddy and uber nutritionist Kyle Leon is at it again:

==> Metabolism trick to OVERCOME your genetics (actually works)


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835 comments - add yours
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I have been doing the HIIT and it is amazing….lost 14 lbs last month and actually gained muscle doing your Extreme program. Can’t wait to hear more from you. You are my hero! THX!! :)

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bring it on…PLEASE

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I do something close to this now but not very organized. Would love to see a plan.

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Can’t wait to see the workouts! I’m struggling to get motivated… maybe seeing it illustrated will help :)

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I started the HIIT on a treadmill a few months ago. I alternate between running and walking. I could only start with 30 seconds of each. Now I’m up to 1 min 15 sec run and 45 sec walk. It’s a fast intense workout – I’m covered in sweat and it only takes 30 minutes instead of an hour of aerobics.

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There is no doubt the superb benefits to interval training. It’s hard for me to understand why people still feel the need to run for an hour in the gym when they can be finished in 20 minutes.

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Dr Mercola espouses ‘Peak 8s” as an HIIT program. I did it three times weekly for the winter months. I used a treadmill. I set it at 8% grade, warm up with ten minutes of walking then ramp the speed up to 6:20 pace for thirty seconds, then go back to walking for 90 seconds, then repeat for a total of eight. Now when I first started this I was at 4% grade, 10:00 pace. The point is to get your heart rate to its maximum the fastest way. For me using the treadmill at a steep incline worked the best. The effort reminds me of football practice wind sprints from thirty years ago.

Now that it’s summer I don’t want to be anywhere near a gym or treadmill. I just want to be running out in the sun. I can approximate the peak 8s by running on a steep hill that’s near my house.


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I could not help hoticing that your research articles are a bit on the elderly side. Are there any more recent articles on the subject? These are good cites, but with all the sports medicine research going on these days, it seems that there should be something more current to confirm what you are saying.

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What I understood from this article is that we do HIIT after MRT? I did it before and it worked. Thanks for the info.

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Just wanted to comment on interval training. I use to do 30-45 minutes of basic cardio. I now switched to only 15-20 minutes of interval training. I was amazed how much of a workout and how I was sweating. Im losing more fat and actually hanging on to the mucsle I gained. Also heard cardio should be done after weight training and from the results I believe it. Some are asking what I’m doing. I said I want to maximize results and in less time. Thanks joel for your information

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I always thought that, for me, intense cardio was the only way to lose fat. I’ve been doing metabolic resistance training and find that not only do I sweat my butt off, but I build muscle, too. Plus, it’s much easier to mix things up. Less boredom = more intensity during workouts!

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cant wait!!!

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I know this works. I started out about 6 months ago at over 250 pounds. I combine weight training with HIIT, running sprints at least 5 days a week. I went from a 44 inch waist to a 32 inch waist, and when I weighed this morning, I came in at 161 pounds. My muscle def is a whole lot better, and I am working on getting rid of that last 3 or 4 pounds right around the belly button. That last bit is hell to get rid of… and I only eat chicken, turkey, veggies, and lots of fruit. No fried foods, very little sugar, no junk food, and a small amount of sprouted bread. Interval training has helped me meet my goals: I lost 87 pounds in four months, so, yes, it does work. Now all I need is to work on increasing the muscle mass…

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great im waiting for details

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Send us the workouts

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I have read other discussions on the effect of afterburn. No one seems to doubt that the afterburn effect exists, but there seems to be a lot of controversy concerning the size of the effect. Some sources consider the actual amount in terms of extra calories burned post exercise to be so small as to be negligible unless the workout is much longer and much more intense than the amount of exercise you are talking about. Do you have any data concerning the number of extra calories burned due to afterburn?

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Hi Joel,

Just so I know EXACTLY what metabolic resistance training is….

I started to take a class at the gym, almost boot camp like, but with weights and resistance. It’s hard core cardio, we change exercises every couple of minutes and use dumb bells, resistance bands and bar weights for the exercises. IS THAT CONSIDERED MRT?

Or is MRT running around the weight room in a circuit going from weight machine to weight machine with short bursts cardio in-between machines?

Please let me know. (First time commenter, who wants to tone up and has about 20 pounds of vanity weight to lose to fit back into my size 4 clothes.) Angela

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Thanks for all the great info!

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I LOVE intervals but need new ideas, please help!!!

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Hey Joel. What do you say to people like Scott Tousignant and Tom Venturo who claim that the after burn effect us not as great as you claim? They say the daily after burn is actually only about 50 calories and that the study showing the 9x fat loss was actually only 0.2 lbs if fat in the 20weeks. Personally I do a bit of HIIT training but since I do long distance triathlons I also do lots if slow cardio. I enjoy my long bike and run sessions. I have heard it said that long distance running looses more than sweat. You also loose stress and tension and frustrations as you enjoy your long runs or bikes. I think it is sad that you don’t enjoy long cardio sessions because I think they are great and with there help I have lost about 30 lbs of fat in the last 10 weeks

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I’m doing the 4mins tabata, 3 times a day. I’m curious about metabolic resistance training though. Is it the superset training?

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Hi Joel,

I’m a part-time dancer which means that when I’m not working (full-time), I’m usually at the dance studio taking classes and/or rehearsing for the next upcoming performance. As you can imagine this means mos of my exercise comes from dancing – ballet and jazz. The thing with dancers is they HAVE to be thin and as a part-time dancer (as opposed to professional dancer spending 8 hours a day in the studio), I’ve always struggled with weight maintenance cause I suspect dancing is not enough exercise or maybe my body is used to it a this point and I don’t have that much extra time to hit the gym. The other thing is I’m not sure what type of exercise ballet and jazz are considered to be – aerobic, interval, other ??? – and therefore what I should be supplementing with to maintain my weight and burn fat when I do get to go to the gym and/or how to adapt my eating plan (I’ve been following the CYWT programs for the last few weeks with great results, 15 pounds lost, but I never have problems losing weight, it’s keeping it off that’s the problem). Do you have any thoughts?

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Hi Jeol i think this is the way forward, i never tried long haul training (running etc) but do swim quite a lot, best results i get are from high rep low weight high intensity workouts, lasting about half an hour or so.

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This is excellent! I think with this I could really have THE best body if it wheren’t for the fact that I CAN’T CONTROL MY SWEET TOOTH!!!!!!!!!!!!! Even so, with resistance training and intervals I manage to keep my body more than OK. Help me! I can’t stop eating sugary stuff (chocolate, ice cream, cakes, etc….)

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Since I do heavy weight training, i vary the rest time between sets on different days to keep my body guessing. Most often when I have finished my work out my muscles are pumped and exhausted but my mind and motivation are amped up. I dont really crash from my workouts for 2 days. Guess I am on afterburn and did not know it.

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