Mandatory Music: you must play The Trammps while reading this post. Go on, press the button:
So, good news: turns out that if you exercise with great intensity—seriously break a sweat—for a good chunk of time (45 minutes), you’ll keep burning calories for another 14 hours. Another 37% of the calories burned while exercising, that is, even while just sitting around. As Runner’s World columnist Amby Burfoot puts it: “If you burn 500 calories by running about 5 miles, you can gain almost another 2 miles of running through your after-burn calories. Thus, 5 miles becomes 7 miles, at least in terms of calorie-burning.”
Now, the precise, technical description is that you want to “exercise at an intensity roughly equal to 70 percent of your vo2 max,” aka “homeostatic disturbance.” Don’t know what that is? The researcher guy uses this description:
The exercise has to be enough to make you work up a good sweat. It’s exercise you can handle, but it feels somewhat hard. It will have a fairly significant effect on your body temperature, and your heart rate and blood pressure. It will deplete your glycogen stores. It will raise your stress-hormone levels. When a workout does all these things, it will take your body quite a while to get itself back to homeostasis.
Fun fact: homeostasis is my very favorite word learned in 10th grade biology. Use it in a sentence today!
The researcher noted that he predicted the 10 dudes exercising for science—including 3 obese dudes—would experience EPOC (excess post oxygen consumption) for about an hour afterward and was surprised to find it actually went on 14 hours total, resulting in another 190 calories burned. Here’s his suggestion for making the most of this effect:
if people will do a workout like this just twice one week, and three times the next week, they’re going to lose a pound of body fat in two weeks. Of course, they have to be careful not to overcompensate in their eating. You always have that. People always have to practice some restraint in their food consumption.
Well, there you have it. Go forth and use this knowledge for good (not evil).