After exercise the body is left with an oxygen debt from oxygen uptake not being proportional to heat expenditure. In other words, too much heat and not enough oxygen. Oxygen is also used to return the body to its resting state and repair the damage caused by exercise. All of this contributes to EPOC.
After anaerobic exercise, short bursts of exercise without oxygen, there is an excess ATP expenditure (ATP is the fuel used by your muscles). Recent research suggests that this excess ATP turnover should not be excluded from the amount of calories that contribute to the fat burning after effect.
How Many Calories Are Burned As Part Of The Fat Burning After Effect?
The amount of calories burned during the fat burning after effect is very difficult to estimate but one thing that’s certain is its much greater after anaerobic exercise like short bursts of high intensity and resistance training with free weights than it is after steady state cardio.
Why Are So Many Calories Burned After Anaerobic Exercise?
During anaerobic exercise your body recruits the glycolotic energy system which uses glycogen (carbohydrates from the food you eat) stored within the muscles and liver from anywhere between 5 to 40 seconds. At this point, provided you have worked hard enough, you will be forced to rest and it is here that your body tries to recover and recruits the oxidative system, your fat stores.
During this rest period your body is desperately trying to restore the energy levels within the muscle and it’s trying to repair the damage caused by the intense exercise. These jobs require an extremely large number of calories which would normally be recruited from the remaining glycogen. As you have depleted this store with the intense exercise you just did, your body must turn to the next energy store… FAT.
Something To Think About
The body will only turn to muscle as a source of fuel in extreme circumstances. It will NOT eat and reduce the size of your muscles which is a common misconception among bodybuilding communities.
The research sourced for that statement supports the current scientific theories based around the after burn effect, in that your muscles will utilise fat as a source of fuel when your muscles are completely depleted of glycogen.
As I was writing that article it didn’t occur to me that high intensity anaerobic interval training might be the best way of burning fat for fuel during and after exercise.
Something Else To Think About
If you and I were to sit down together and try to identify 10 things you could change to have a happier, healthy lifestyle, 6-7 of those things would be nutritional. You can train your ass off all day long, until one is blue in the face, until the cows come home... you decide, but you won't make any lasting lifestyle changes unless you include nutrition. Exercising alone, although commendable and a step in the right direction, is not enough.
Remember, the fuel for any goal is information. You can't fix a flat tyre without knowing what tools you will need and which way to turn the bolts. Get educated. If you need answers please use the comments box below.
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