DR Christopher Scott PHD Afterburn

I have an interview below with Dr. Christopher Scott, PHD, who is an exercise physiology professor at the University of Southern Maine and one of the world’s foremost experts on the Afterburn Effect, which is calorie burn AFTER exercise.

At BuiltLean, we think the afterburn effect is so important that we created our strength circuitsTM method to help increase the afterburn effect so you can burn more calories for days.

Surprisingly, very few people in the exercise physiology community and more generally in the fitness industry have acknowledged his pivotal research and its potential to change public health policy and your ability to burn more fat in less time.

I was able to get Chris on the phone and record a 40 minute conversation with him. You can play the audio of our conversation below, download the 20-Page transcript, or view the summary and highlights I put together below.

Click the image below to view/play, or right click to download

Audio MP3

(40 minutes)

Written Transcript

(20 Pages)

Afterburn Effect of Exercise

Document Type: pdf, Size = 0.36MB

Afterburn Effect Summary

What is the Afterburn Effect?

In short, the afterburn effect is calorie burn AFTER exercise. The afterburn effect is difficult to estimate as you’ll learn in a moment. The more intense the exercise, the greater the afterburn effect. For example, sprinting as fast as you can for 30 seconds for 5 rounds will have a much larger afterburn effect compared to jogging for 30 minutes.

What is Energy Expenditure?

Energy expenditure is the total amount of calories you burn. More specifically, energy expenditure refers to the amount of energy a person uses during all bodily activities from movement, to blood circulation, to breathing, to digestion. When it comes to exercise, energy expenditure is the total measure of calorie burn during and after exercise.

What is Aerobic vs. Anaerobic Exercise?

Aerobic exercise is a type of activity marked by long distances and slow paces like running, or cycling. Anaerobic exercise is marked by activities that require strength, speed, and power like weight lifting, or sprinting.

Energy Expenditure From Exercise: 3 Components

While total energy expenditure is the sum of the following 3 components, the Afterburn Effect is the sum of #2 and #3 components:
Afterburn Effect of Exercise 1

1) Calories Burned During Exercise (O2) – This is the amount of calories you burn during a workout. A metabolic cart can accurately measure you calorie burn aerobically during exercise. This is because oxygen uptake (how much oxygen your body uses) is proportional to heat expenditure (calorie burn) for aerobic activities. This component is NOT part of the afterburn effect.

2) Calories Burned AFTER Exercise (EPOC) – At higher exercise intensities, oxygen uptake is NOT proportional to heat expenditure. An oxygen debt is created, where EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption) is used to help restore the body to a resting state and adapt it to the exercise just performed, which requires energy. This component is part of the afterburn effect.

3) Lactic Acid Contribution of ExerciseEPOC is NOT enough to fully account for anaerobic contribution of exercise to total energy expenditure. This is a VERY important point and what differentiates Chris’ research. Chris has proposed that by measuring blood lactate reasonable estimates of rapid glycolitic ATP turnover are available and should not be omitted from the estimation of energy expenditure from anaerobic exercise, especially when anaerobic contributions are large. This component is part of the afterburn effect.

The Afterburn Effect Can Be BIG

Energy Expenditure component #2 is typically referred to as the “Afterburn Effect”, when it should really be #2 and #3. The afterburn effect is minimal for traditional cardio, but can be significant for strength and power related activities.

In his first major study, Chris proposed that as much as 95% of the calorie cost of intense anaerobic exercise can come AFTER exercise! While Chris says the numbers are not perfect estimates and were used to help highlight the importance of anaerobic contribution to exercise, they are still revealing.

Why Most Exercise Physiologists Estimate The Afterburn Effect Incorrectly

One reason may be that the exercise industry is dominated by aerobic exercisers like runners, cyclists, and triathletes:

“I think that the way scientists have started the origins of exercise physiology are pretty much all aerobic exercise. That’s what it is. Now many people are applying aerobic exercise concepts like long-distance running and cycling, and they’re using what they found there and applying it to resistance training and weight lifting. That’s where I pretty much have drawn the line. I’m not going to do that.”

A Possible 4th Component of Energy Expenditure – Hypertrophy

While Chris did not separate out the effects of Hypertrophy as a possible 4th component of total energy expenditure and 3rd component of the afterburn effect, he did note that it does require energy and that it’s not being estimated/measured.

“If you’re working your muscle to the point where you’re causing damage at the microscopic level, it’s going to take energy to repair that… breaking proteins and laying down new proteins, that is most certainly going to be raising your energy expenditure…There’s also medical issues, if you will, that increase energy expenditure, and the largest one is burns. If you’re a burn victim, you can literally double your resting metabolic rate with severe burns. The reason why is you look at your skin, which is mostly protein, you’re laying down new protein. Your nutritional demands are literally off the chart.”

High Intensity Anaerobic Exercise Burns More Fat Than Cardio

“There was a study I saw years ago, and I still quote it, and they were doing these six-second bursts of all-out cycling. It was 10, 15 sets of this, and they found this unheard of amount of free fatty acids that were broken down from fat stores within the muscle. It begs the question why, during an anaerobic activity that clearly utilizes glucose as a fuel, why is so much fat being broken down?

The answer appears to be, well, the exercise component is six seconds long, and that’s using glucose, but however long the recovery component is, that’s when you’re burning fat. If you add all these intermittent periods together…you’re primarily burning lactate and fatty acids, and that’s where the body composition stuff comes in.

If you want to lose weight, lose body fat, get ripped, I’m under that impression that intermittent bursts of high-intensity activity followed by rest periods, that’s the way to do it.”

And one more add on:

“A similar thinking [by many health organizations] was that if you wanted to burn fat, you would have to do long, slow, distance activity because that’s going to burn the most fat. We’re starting to realize now that in fact it’s the other way around that during really brief, intense intermittent bouts of strength, speed and power-related stuff, I’m under the impression you can burn even more fat.”

Nutrition Is Still King For Losing Fat

“Then another thing I always tell people – I’m not a nutritionist, obviously, but I know a little bit about it – if you really were to come to me and wanted to lose weight, and we made a list of ten things, one through seven of them would be dietary, watching what you eat. Then eight, nine and ten would be exercise.”

The Afterburn Effect: Research Still Has a LONG Way to Go

“We have a long way to go before we understand this, and that there are times when it’s almost – for me, from a scientific standpoint – it’s almost overwhelming because we’re finding out that isotonic contractions are different than isometric, that are different from isokinetic. Then you add different one repetition maximums or ten repetition maximum, how much exercise time’s involved, number of reps, the number of sets, the number of rest periods in between sets.

We have a long way to go before we find the perfect exercise program, if you will. The truth of the matter is there’s probably not one perfect program. There’s probably dozens of perfect programs. Again, it all goes down to the independence of the person that’s involved. What’s actually best for them?

The bottom line, though, I think, though, Marc, and again, from anecdotal evidence that I’ve heard from you and others, is that when you really start doing the intermittent large muscle group, high-intensity-type exercise, that’s when people start getting into these ripped, cut, nice body composition adjustments.”

About Dr. Christopher Scott, PHD

DR Christopher Scott PHD Afterburn Small

Dr Christopher Scott is an Associate Professor at the University of Southern Maine. Dr. Scott has been called a “pioneer” for his research focusing on the determination of energy expenditure for strength, speed, and power related activities, both during and after exercise. He has been a professor of exercise physiology for 9 years and is the sole author of the 5-star ranked textbook “A Primer for the Exercise and Nutrition Sciences: Thermodynamics, Bioenergetics, Metabolism”.

For a longer bio, Curriculaem Vitae, and Publications, you can visit Dr. Scott’s website at http://www.anaerobicenergyexpenditure.com.



  1. profile avatar
    Hank Jun 29, 2011 - 20:54 #

    The afterburn concept makes it easy to understand why sprinters have great builds and long distance runners look frail. Burst exercises make a lot of sense but how long should the work-out be in terms of maximum benefit of the afterburn effect. Also what types of exercises would work best.

  2. profile avatar
    Marc Perry Jun 30, 2011 - 14:19 #

    @Hank – that’s a great question. I think it ultimately depends on your exercise level, what equipment you have access to, and what you can sustain. We know that sprinting, interval cycling (100% effort), and strength training with large muscle groups at a fast pace creates the largest afterburn effect. It’s tough to say if sprinting vs. strength training has a larger afterburn effect.

    The better shape you are in the less you need to rest between exercises, the more intensely you can exercise, and the larger the afterburn effect you can create in less time. I guess it’s a catch 22 of exercise; you need to be in solid shape to really benefit fully from the afterburn effect, while people who are out of shape and overweight need it the most!

    For example, you can do 30 seconds of sprinting with 30 seconds rest for 5 to 10 cycles. That’s an intense workout that will create a serious afterburn effect. Another is “metabolic” strength training, such as here: https://www.builtlean.com/2011/05/30/get-cardiovascular-benefits-without-doing-cardio-heres-how/.

    Thanks for the question!

  3. profile avatar
    Sara Jul 04, 2011 - 09:54 #

    Very interesting but I didn’t understand something at the very end. Dr. Scott talked about using low weights for the most repetitions – muscular endurance. Was he saying that this will kick in the afterburn effect? Would this be comparable to short sets of much heavier weights?

    I am trying to decide where to take my fitness routine. I am an instructor for group fitness and absolutely love aerobics. But for strength training, my gym offers Body Pump, which is low weights for many reps, or I could follow my own routine using free weights or machines. I participate in an hour of intense cardio every day, and I still have more body fat than I’d like.

    1. profile avatar
      Marc Perry Jul 04, 2011 - 20:47 #

      @Sara – That’s a GREAT question and something that tripped me up as well. In the context of exercise physiology and the afterburn effect, muscular endurance simply means strength training. Dr. Scott believes that sprinting for example can lead to significant calorie burn and yes, it’s low weight and high reps, BUT the plyometric impact and muscular forces can be HUGE. I do strongly believe that heavier weights in the 12 rep or less are superior for strength and hypertrophy and should be an emphasis in a strength training program. I think ideally (I’m about to write an article about this in more depth) I think when it comes to strength training, the most important effect for the average person is to improve function (proper squatting etc.), then strength, keep muscle, then burn calories and/or build muscle. That’s my opinion. In terms of burning the most calories, lifting heavier but at a fast pace using large muscle groups certainly will burn the most calories, but it may not be sustainable, and your group fitness devotees my get nauseous, or burned out. It’s a fine line.

      One thing I’ve been experimenting with is starting with more traditional strength training exercises but supersetting them, or doing trisets using large muscle groups (opposing, or lower/upper body), then doing more metabolic training with lower weight and higher reps. My goal with the metabolic training is to get a great sweat, get a lung burn, get my muscles to burn, without having to run for 10 miles. For example, even doing a round of bench step ups with weight, then jump step ups (I’m going to show these soon), then kettlebell swings can be a pretty killer circuit that will burn a serious amount of calories.

      Finally, as the owner of a personal training practice, I often stress about creating the perfect workout that burns the maximum number of calories, but I realized that I wouldn’t be in business very long if I really created a workout that burned the absolute max amount of calories because it would be miserable and everyone would hate it. I think the key is finding that balance between something that is dynamic, improves overall strength and cardiovascular health, and most importantly, your group fitness exercisers enjoy. At the end of the day, calorie burn is certainly important, but nutrition is 10x more important for body composition goals so it’s not worth stressing about it!

      1. profile avatar
        Jason Feb 20, 2012 - 08:06 #

        This is an interesting thread and is adding description to what I think many people have known, maybe without fully realising it for some time.

        For many years I’ve taken the view that my training should be a combination first of heavy basic lifting (presses, squats etc) for low reps followed by (I train instinctively so my sessions are rarely the same to keep my body guessing) with what I’d call ‘finishing exercises that are smaller more focused movements hith lower weight for higher reps. I often do these on the same body part i.e. heavy barbell curls followed by hammer curls for 20 reps or millitary press followed by front lateralls, so that I’ve already pre-fatigued the muscle and I can really make it burn without injury because of the light weight used to finish to failure.

        The objective being to get a real sweat on such that I’m out breath post-exercise. I do no CV apart from some occasional bag work and I’ve found when mixed with a good diet supplemented with additional protein only that this works well to control weight an aid muscle definition. It also keeps my workouts interesting which is key in terms of maintinaing training.


      2. profile avatar
        Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT Feb 20, 2012 - 20:37 #

        @Jason – sounds like you have a very sensible plan. I tend to move on to more isolation work, or mobility types of exercises after focusing on the core lifts as well. My take is that in the beginning of your workout, your fresh so might as well do the most challenging exercises first, or the one’s where you get the most bang for your buck, then move on from there.

  4. profile avatar
    Oli Jul 24, 2011 - 17:21 #

    Hi. Im interested in knowing the affect on a long term basis. When emptying your energy from the cells, usually makes a bigger ”tank” needs , wich would probably mean that if you dont work out the same forever you will probably get fatter in the end because your body/cell function has been forced to indrease the amount of energy it needs to be able to do the same on a long term basis ! Now im almost guessing , but could i be right ? Are there some reaserches that show results on this matter over a long period of time ?

    1. profile avatar
      Marc Perry Jul 24, 2011 - 20:45 #

      @Oli – I think I understand conceptually what you are saying, but I’m not sure scientifically what you are saying is accurate. If I understand correctly, you are hinting at the concept of aerobic adaptation, which means that over time your body gets used to certain types of exercise and in effect burns less calories. Then you are asking if aerobic adaptation where your body gets used to this intense exercise will promote fat accumulation if a person stops exercising so intensely? If this is what you mean, I don’t think your body would gain fat any faster if you stopped exercising after bring in great shape from anaerobic exercise. If anything, you would gain fat slower because your muscles would likely be “insulin sensitive” and your metabolism would likely be healthy from all the exercise. Intense anaerobic exercise does not lead to nearly the same aerobic adaptation as traditional aerobic exercise, so it’s still possible to keep calorie burn higher. I’m sure I could go into more depth, but that’s the basics. Thanks for the comment!

  5. profile avatar
    Oli Aug 16, 2011 - 09:23 #

    Hi again. Sorry for my bad English 😉 but, in most cases in nature animals/humans seem to collect/store as much energy as possible in there bodys to be able to survive through harder periodes. So my thought was if i exercise harder (more energy burn) then i make a bigger storage place/bigger needs in my muscels,cells,body. Therefor i think , if the person who now is exercising with the highest intesity, to burn the most. Isnt it fair to say that if that person reduces the ammount of exercises or intensity, to a minumum or zero , then the person has made a bigger (storage in the muscle/body/cells) to collect the most possible calories/energy into the empty storage, to regain or fill up the need. Wich in case in nature works like animals who eat as much as they can(get fatter) before the winter ? I hope you understand my thought. Our genes in case work like in other animals, but we dont have any lack of food so we have enough calories and energy, but with hard training then we make the body react like its (wintertime like for animals) And therefore in case we are making a bigger need for calories, and when we stop or decrease our burn,then we are actually risking to get fatter and heavyer then we were before. So my point islots of ppl exercise for short time , effective, and then stop for several months, and then they start aain because they are gaining more weight than they did before. So in my mind it would maby be more common cense to minimise the afterburn affect ? Wouldnt it be fair to say that if i burn more calories, then i need more ? Anyway hope you dont get fustrated to try to understand what im trying to say. Have a nice day sir 😉

    1. profile avatar
      Marc Perry Aug 17, 2011 - 08:53 #

      @Oli – I stand by my previous comment. What you are proposing fortunately is not physiologically accurate. I understand your concern, but I don’t think it’s valid.

  6. profile avatar
    Daniel Hartley Oct 05, 2011 - 15:37 #

    @Oli- Animals get fatter befor winter so they have more energy to keep their core body temp up as the enviromental temp drops lower. When in the artic we need to consume 5000 calarise to keep our core temp level and maintain our body waight without exersize.

  7. profile avatar
    Dee Oct 05, 2011 - 20:04 #

    Hey Marc,

    I am new at this. I weighed 311, now I am 296. Six weeks ago, I decided to get healthy. I changed my diet, eliminated eating out 5 days a week and started incoporating vegs, low protein meats, etc. My question is I have worked my way to doing 45 min to hr on eliptical. I am eating 1200 – 1600 cal a day. My workout buddy tells me that I have to eat back everything I burn or I will lose muscle…..is this true? I am confused, my goal is to be healthy and leave obesity behing…..advise…thanks

    1. profile avatar
      Marc Perry Oct 10, 2011 - 14:42 #

      @Dee – I’m sorry for the late response! I’ve been running around all over the place!

      Ok, so first off, I’m THRILLED to see you are improving your health and experiencing some excellent results. Regarding your question, “I have to eat back everything I burn or I will lose muscle…..is this true?”. The answer is a resounding “NO”.

      You can create a calorie deficit (which means you burning more calories than you eat) by (1) eating less, (2) exercising more to burn more calories, or (3) doing both (which is ideal). If you eat too little food and exercise too much, it is possible to start losing muscle. That usually doesn’t happen to a significant degree until you get leaner. With that said, the amount of calories you are eating looks on the low me, but with that said, if your energy levels are stable and mental acuity is unaffected, it may be ok. Of course, check with your doctor.

      Hope that answers your question and keep up the great work!

  8. profile avatar
    Daniel Hartley Oct 11, 2011 - 17:03 #

    I have been woundering if the after burn effect can be acheved with swimming. I know it is primarily aerobic exercise unless you sprinting. My question is, if you swimm normaly to warm up, then do say 100m sprint, then a relaxed length of the pool, then another 100m sprint and so on for half an hour to an hour, would it genarate an afterburn affect?

    1. profile avatar
      Marc Perry Oct 13, 2011 - 13:09 #

      @Daniel Hartley – The short answer is “Yes”, you definitely can create an afterburn effect from swim sprints. With that said, the afterburn effect largely depends on the intensity of the exercise, NOT on volume. For example, when I do swimming sprints, I do 2 laps as fast I as I can (100% energy), then I rest (no swimming) for around 30 seconds to catch my breadth, than do it again. At most, I do 4 laps very intensely, but always stop swimming to rest. I then repeat for 10 cycles or more, depending on how I’m feeling. this type of workout can take literally 10-15 minutes. Hope that’s helpful!

  9. profile avatar
    jay Oct 15, 2011 - 19:31 #

    hey marc, is jumping ropes exercise effective?
    i do 500 jumps a day.

    1. profile avatar
      Marc Perry Oct 16, 2011 - 11:44 #

      @Jay – I think jump roping can be a very effective workout for sure. In fact, just yesterday I did a jump roping workout.

      I’ve written a couple articles on jumping rope that you can check out. Ideally, you want to increase the intensity over time. Maybe you could start doing 500 every day, but 1, or 2 days a week, you do 1000. Anyways, here are a couple articles to check out:

      3 Jump Rope Workouts:

      7 Jump Rope Tricks

  10. profile avatar
    JAY Oct 19, 2011 - 07:56 #

    @marc. tnx a lot marc. ! its really really a great help for me. :))

  11. profile avatar
    STEVE Oct 24, 2011 - 11:19 #

    I don’t have that bad of a body, in fact the only thing i need to lose is my gut and my love handles(you know the stubborn fat) but im having trouble doing that. Any advice on workouts i could do to change that?

    1. profile avatar
      Marc Perry Oct 24, 2011 - 22:04 #

      @Steve – I think your workouts should be focused on short burst of intense activity as Professor Scott has talked about. I’ve written a lot about this topic on my website, so please do search around. In addition, my BuiltLean Program is well structured to aid in serious fat/calorie burning.

      With that said, I would definitely not rely on exercise to get rid of the “stubborn” fat. Losing fat is primarily a nutritional challenge. I agree with Dr. Scott when he says that of the 10 most important things about losing fat 1 through 7 are nutrition.

      I highly recommend tracking your nutrition intake, even for a few days. Check out this article for more info: https://www.builtlean.com/2011/10/11/how-to-count-calories-to-lose-fat-weight/

      Here’s another article which will teach you more in depth about how foods you eat affect your ability to lose fat: https://www.builtlean.com/2010/09/07/the-new-5-food-groups-to-get-lean-healthy/

      Thanks for your participation!

  12. profile avatar
    Ruth Oct 27, 2011 - 13:24 #

    Sometimes my muscles ache more after certain workouts (I think it’s called circuit training, you know, the machines that target one area at a time). Almost like a “jelly” feeling, (not the aches that take two days to get rid of). Is this part of afterburn?

    When I use the treadmill I try to incorporate intervals of incline. Once my heartrate hits about 135-140 for a few minutes I either slow down, slow speed, or both. I’ve found that I can keep my heartrate around 127-130 (I’m almost 40 and just started working out again about three weeks ago) by either walking slower at a higher incline compared to walking faster at little/no incline. It seems much easier for me to continue the lower speed/higher incline which produces the same heart rate. Am I losing out on some after burn by taking the more comfortable rate? The treadmill gives a calorie count that shows calories burned are always higher for this higher incline/lower speed. How can I burn more calories, keep my heart rate up and be more comfortable than the faster/no incline speed? Which is better for afterburn?

    1. profile avatar
      Marc Perry Oct 28, 2011 - 16:06 #

      @Ruth – Here are the answers to your questions:

      1) I think it is accurate to say fatigue in your muscles is part of the afterburn effect. A shock to your body that requires extra calories after you workout to bring the body back to homeostasis is part of the “afterburn”.

      2) This is an interesting question. Heart rate is only one measure of exercise intensity and is not perfect. If you get nervous, your heart rate goes up, but are you getting a good workout? Intense bouts of exercise create a greater afterburn effect than less intense and longer duration. In addition to your hear rate, I would consider how hard you are breathing/exercising (technically ratings of perceived exertion) + how hard your muscles are working. If you can sustain whatever exercise you are doing for more than a couple minutes, then it’s interval training. In fact, sometimes the shorter/more intense, the better. Even 30 seconds.

      Because you just started working out only 3 weeks ago, I would be careful with higher intensity exercise, The afterburn effect is not something you will be able to maximize in a few weeks. Will take months! That’s the catch 22 of fitness; the shorter, very intense exercise can create superior results, but in order to do the very intense exercise, you need to be in really good shape! Getting in shape is about taking baby steps. It has nothing to do with trying to kill yourself. Fitness journey is a marathon, not a sprint. The sad reality is most exercisers are “yoyo” exercisers because they don’t understand this concept.

      hope this is helpful and good luck!

  13. profile avatar
    Chris Oct 31, 2011 - 22:38 #


    Just a few questions, when you have time:

    1. I prefer resistance training vs cardio, but I still force myself to do HIIT and basic cardio. How can I maximize EPOC when performing regular strength lifts such as benchpress, deadlifts, overhead press, squats, etc?

    2. Am I correct in assuming that as long as maximum intensity is reached for a short time, followed by a rest period, then repeated…any cardio exercise would be good for a high EPOC?

    3. Is there a minimum amount of time (because you said that intensity is more important than volume) that hi intensity cardio should be performed to maximize EPOC? I read a few studies, and they reported that the longer the high intensity cardio, the higher EPOC (calorie burn) was measured.

    Thanks! Im very interested in your work!

    1. profile avatar
      Marc Perry Nov 02, 2011 - 18:53 #

      @Chris – Check out my answers below:

      1. I prefer resistance training vs cardio, but I still force myself to do HIIT and basic cardio. How can I maximize EPOC when performing regular strength lifts such as benchpress, deadlifts, overhead press, squats, etc?
      I’m the same way. I prefer lifting over HIIT. With that said, one method I use to get a CRAZY cardio/muscle burn is supersetting leg movements. For example, you can do Squats superetted with forward lunges. The lung burn you get will be unbelievable and my guess is the EPOC effect is huge, but because your legs are a strong muscle group, they should be able to handle the intensity of very little rest. So you can squat then with almost no rest, do a set of forward lunges with weight if you can. This is one of the methods I use in my BuiltLean Program. If you’ve never done this training before, be careful the first time. I consider my leg workout a “cardio” workout as well. Kill two birds with one stone. I also like doing supersets and trisets in general, just need to be mindful that around 6 reps it’s going to be really tough to keep up the pace. Around 8-12 you can get a great cardio workout while lifting weights. Finally, while there are less strength benefits, circuits of 4-5 exercises with less weight can work as well.

      2. Am I correct in assuming that as long as maximum intensity is reached for a short time, followed by a rest period, then repeated…any cardio exercise would be good for a high EPOC?
      Kind of. Generally higher impact full body type of cardio like sprints would create a higher afterburn effect than let’s say cycling, but both would be great. You are right to think about intensity, which is what it’s all about. Just be careful not to burn yourself out mentally/physically.

      3. Is there a minimum amount of time (because you said that intensity is more important than volume) that hi intensity cardio should be performed to maximize EPOC? I read a few studies, and they reported that the longer the high intensity cardio, the higher EPOC (calorie burn) was measured.
      That’s a great question and one that depends on an individual and there fitness level. In general, I would argue it’s the amount where you start getting a great sweat. In terms of maximizing overall afterburn effect + hormonal benefits, it’s doing enough volume so that you just couldn’t stand to do another round of whatever it is you are doing. Your muscles are fatigued, you have a great lung burn, and your body is shot.

      At the end of the day, afterburn effect and EPOC are important, but for fat loss, there is no question nutrition is far more important!

  14. profile avatar
    venkat Rm Nov 06, 2011 - 12:46 #

    hi Marc, straight to the point !!
    i am quite thin but still have some fat around my ab section ,as i came to know that before going to get six pack i should decrease my body fat from 16% to 7-8% so i changed my diet as it is very important than exercise for fat loss ,it making some effect but i want to speed up my fat loss so i preferred to choose running in morning session for 2 miles (2minutes break between each mile at medium speed but not slow as jogging) .
    It will not be possible for me to do exercise at evening session so i would like to do after running session that too afterburn exercise !!!
    now i want to know that
    1. Can i do after burn exercise after running session ,if yes
    2. am i have to do warmups for my body again as by running i will get my body heat
    i will complete running in 20 minutes so how much time (maximum) i should have to do afterburn exercises ??
    3. i don’t know how much time i should have to do afternurn exercises in home if i dint go to gym in some days??
    please help regarding these i am not getting answers any where else hope i will get those from you people

    1. profile avatar
      Marc Perry Nov 07, 2011 - 21:40 #

      @venkat –

      1. Can i do after burn exercise after running session ,if yes – Sure, why not? Short intense body weight circuits can work, plyometrics etc. Try out this short exampe: Metabolic Conditioning Circuit
      2. am i have to do warmups for my body again as by running i will get my body heat – Running should be plenty warm up. May want to also do some dynamic stretching before, or after running before metabolic circuits.
      i will complete running in 20 minutes so how much time (maximum) i should have to do afterburn exercises ?? 10-15 minutes? Depends on intensity.
      3. i don’t know how much time i should have to do afternurn exercises in home if i dint go to gym in some days?? I don’t know either. You should have a general routine of plan that you follow.

      Please keep in mind strength training is critical to help you maintain muscle. Nutrition is the major difference. In short, lifting weights + calorie deficit = lean body. cardio (while it can have benefits) is wildly overrated as a fat loss tool.

  15. profile avatar
    Raymond Nov 11, 2011 - 12:36 #

    Hey Marc,

    After I read Dr Christopher post on After burn effect, I tried it out in the gym today. I am just a beginner lifter and I faced some difficulties in gym today along with some confusions.

    Here’s my questions.

    1) Can EPOC be fully utilize if the weight lift is not intense enough to sweat in the gym? Most of the time, I gym alone and did not have any spotters. Therefore, I could not go higher intensity weight lifting and could not break much sweat. Can EPOC still be achieved at the end of the workout?

    2) Can EPOC be maximize if I combined High intensity weight lifting and high intensity sprinting? For example, I lift 6-8 reps heavy compound lifting. Then do a couple sets of sprinting at the track to maximize the EPOC. Will it be mazimised? Or am I just wasting unnecessary energy on sprinting after workout.

    Thank you in advance for taking time to read and clarifying my doubts. I am glad that I found this website.

    1. profile avatar
      Marc Perry Nov 11, 2011 - 18:33 #

      @Raymond – Thanks for the question.

      In my opinion, because you are a beginner lifter, trying to leverage the “afterburn effect” is not appropriate. That’s the catch 22 of exercise; the better shape you are in and more experience you have, the more intense you can workout, the greater the afterburn effect that can be created, and the less time you need to workout.

      I know it’s difficult, but I would be patient if you are just starting out. Focus on learning perfect exercise form on all exercises, improving your cardiovascular capacity (very important), and improving any muscle/movement/flexibility imbalances. Over time, you will be able to make the workouts more intense to fully leverage the afterburn effect. In the meantime, just doing full body workouts 2-3x per week will certainly create an afterburn effect (have an article on full body workouts vs. split routines).

      1) Can EPOC be fully utilized if the weight lift is not intense enough to sweat in the gym? Most of the time, I gym alone and did not have any spotters. Therefore, I could not go higher intensity weight lifting and could not break much sweat. Can EPOC still be achieved at the end of the workout?
      -I think it can be achieved but probably will be around 20-30% of the total amount it could be if the exercise session was more intense.

      2) Can EPOC be maximized if I combined High intensity weight lifting and high intensity sprinting? For example, I lift 6-8 reps heavy compound lifting. Then do a couple sets of sprinting at the track to maximize the EPOC. Will it be mazimised? Or am I just wasting unnecessary energy on sprinting after workout.
      -That could definitely work well. In fact, that’s a similar protocol I use in my BuiltLean Program. You sound like a good candidate for it, so I would strongly consider purchasing it if I were you. I’ve been working out since I was 12 years old (17+ years) and all my knowledge and experience is reflected in my program. I’ve made all the mistakes so you don’t have to.

      Good luck!

  16. profile avatar
    Raymond Nov 12, 2011 - 04:03 #

    Thanks for the answers, Marc.

    I will follow your advice and start off with 3x a week (alternative day) gym to certain of having afterburn effect. I noticed in the gym that 80% of lifters are not sweating much. 20% of people are sweating like some beasts in the gym. I have always wanted to sweat too. I guess I am one of the 80% lifter and my body fats is 17%.

    1) will it be better if I have spotter if I i were to full body workout 3x per week?

    2) how many serving of whey protein and consumption hour is optimum to recover and
    repair muscle fast?

    Will looking forward to your reply post.

  17. profile avatar
    haziq Nov 17, 2011 - 08:35 #

    hi Marc,

    I’m lost and i have a few questions. Firstly, can EPOC lose fat and gain packs fast? If so, what are the workouts that would do so? Also,would EPOC be triggered by doing any type of exercise?

    Thanks for taking time to read it and I’d be eagerly waiting for your reply!! 😀

    1. profile avatar
      Marc Perry Nov 17, 2011 - 19:56 #

      @Haziq – I don’t understand what you mean by gain “packs”. Do you mean get a six pack? Will answer your other questions when I understand this one.

  18. profile avatar
    haziq Nov 18, 2011 - 01:39 #

    hey marc,

    sorry,by saying packs i meant six pack. hope you understand now.
    will be waiting for your reply.thanks

    1. profile avatar
      Marc Perry Nov 20, 2011 - 20:39 #

      @haziq – Oh, ok. Please find my answers below:

      I’m lost and i have a few questions. Firstly, can EPOC lose fat and gain packs fast?
      EPOC can aid in fat loss and towards the achievement of a six pack, but as Dr. Scott duly noted, nutrition is MUCH more important than exercise for getting lean and getting a six pack.

      If so, what are the workouts that would do so? Also,would EPOC be triggered by doing any type of exercise?
      EPOC is all about intensity. The more intense the workout, the greater the EPOC. Keep in mind a truly intense workout doesn’t need to last more than 20 minutes (excluding warm up/cool down) if it is truly intense. At the same time, if you are just starting out, you need to be careful with intensity as it’s something that can be increased as you get in better shape. Plyometric exercises, compound leg exercise, and combination exercises create the greatest afterburn effect. In terms of the workouts, I have some great one’s in my BuiltLean program. Generally, full body workouts and workouts that combine intense intervals create the largest afterburn effect.

  19. profile avatar
    Red Nov 18, 2011 - 11:31 #


    Hey there!~ I have a question to ask. I have been doing High intensity exercises almost everyday after 30mins of weightlifting+pushups. How much (Roughly) does the afterburn effect burn? And I have been reducing sugar and fats intake , how long will I be able to see the results?
    Thanks! 😛

    1. profile avatar
      Marc Perry Nov 20, 2011 - 20:47 #

      @Red – I think a good goal if you are going for fat loss is 0.5%-1.0% of your body weight in fat loss per week. Reducing sugar is awesome and reducing fat can help lower calories, so that sounds sensible. The afterburn is very difficult to predict for the reasons stated in this article, but it really depends on (1) your body mass and (2) the intensity of your workouts and how much weight your lifting. Keep in mind that the afterburn effect simply helps aid in fat loss, but ultimately abs are made in the kitchen!

  20. profile avatar
    Red Nov 21, 2011 - 01:11 #

    @Marc – Thank you for the detailed response! I realised some of my pants are getting a little bit looser , I hope thats the case of me losing some body fats! Oh by the way , now I have one problem at hand. So , recently , I applied for a job (Part time as waiter) , I’m going to work for at least 10 hours a day , and I will reach home at maybe around 9-10pm? So , I am only given one off day a week (Which I can exercise) , I need to lose fats , so how do I make use of the time (Roughly 30-45mins) when I reach home? Because my job is going to be tiring and I need some rest. So , that means I cant really do weightlifting + HIIT together daily? Any suggestions? Thanks a lot (:
    PS: I love your website , it helped me a lot!

    1. profile avatar
      Marc Perry Nov 25, 2011 - 10:04 #

      @Red – It sounds like while you will be working 10 hours per day, you may have some time to workout in the morning? All it takes is 30 minutes. In terms of weight lifting and hiit together, it depends on your time constraints. For example, if you only have 30 minutes 3x per week, then you could lift 3x and add “finishers” at the end of your workout for 5 minutes like this Metabolic Conditioning Circuit: https://www.builtlean.com/2011/03/24/metabolic-conditioning-circuit-for-burning-fat/. If you have 5x per week for 30 minutes, than you could lift 3x and do 2 HIIT workouts.

      If you are unable to get up early enough to workout, than lift at night for 30 minutes. It should not effect the quality of your sleep if you workout 2-3 hours before bed. It’s worth testing out to see if it works for you, but mornings are preferable.

  21. profile avatar
    Kato Nov 21, 2011 - 09:18 #

    How many days should I rest after my next workout? or can I do daily workouts ?

    1. profile avatar
      Marc Perry Nov 25, 2011 - 10:18 #

      @Kato – It really depends is the short answer. I think you can think about your workout broadly as “strength” based, or “cardio” based. With strength based, that means you are taxing your muscular system. How much you tax your muscular system depends on the type of lifting you are doing. Cardio based means you are not taxing the muscular system as much as the cardiovascular system. If you are doing very intense strength work, it could take anywhere from 1-5 days to recover, it depends on how you feel. Generally speaking, you can do daily workouts by alternating between strength and cardio workouts. It all depends on intensity, which is the theme of this afterburn article. Finally, if you are stretching and foam folling (myofascial release), that can help you recover more fully and workout more frequently without any issues.

  22. profile avatar
    julz Nov 21, 2011 - 11:36 #

    hi, i am trying to lose wait. i have changed my diet from junk food to well balanced diet including lots of vegetables and water. i am currently weighing 105kgs and i want to get to lose atleast 35kgs. i am also at an area where i cannot access exercise equipment but i want to work out. which are the best workouts for me so that i can lose fat and be lean as fast as possible? thank you

    1. profile avatar
      Marc Perry Nov 25, 2011 - 10:24 #

      @julz – I would reconsider how fast you want to lose the weight, as in my experience, weight loss is a marathon not a sprint. If you are rushing the process, you may become frustrated or dejected. Losing 0.5%-1.0% of your weight in fat per week is a solid goal. You can then extrapolate those numbers for a certain number of months, or certain amount of weight.

      Regarding access to equipment, it sounds like you could use some bodyweight exercises. Squats, Lunges, Pushups (on your knees, or incline to make them easier), rows, and planks could really help you. Check out this circuit workout. The guidelines/framework I use is VERY powerful and you can fill in body weight exercises into this framework: https://www.builtlean.com/2010/09/11/20-minute-full-body-circuit-training-workout/. You could even do a metabolic conditioning circuit as you get in better shape: https://www.builtlean.com/2011/03/24/metabolic-conditioning-circuit-for-burning-fat/.

      Keep in mind exercise will help aid in burning fat because it can help raise your metabolism, improve hormonal profile, maintain muscle etc., but smart nutrition is what will help you lose weight the fastest!

  23. profile avatar
    Mani Nov 23, 2011 - 18:14 #

    Hi Marc,

    I really want to try to get an afterburn effect,
    by doing so I would have to do short, intense workouts.
    Here’s my thought of it,
    Sprinting as fast as you can, for 30 seconds, then stop for 30 seconds to catch your breath.
    Then repeat that for about 10 times. do this 3-4 times a week.
    Also eating healthy, small meals.
    Will this help me at all?
    thank you 😀

    1. profile avatar
      Marc Perry Nov 26, 2011 - 12:39 #

      @Mani – Yes, that should be very helpful. Just be careful to stretch properly so you don’t develop any muscle imbalances/tightness. In addition, if you don’t have any strength component to your exercise routine, I highly recommend it. For more information, check out the BuiltLean Facebook page (if you are on facebook) http://www.facebook.com/builtlean. I have a video there with very helpful information.

  24. profile avatar
    Paulo Nov 24, 2011 - 13:41 #

    Ok, i’m a little confuse! I used to be fat, and when i mean fat, i mean, really really fat, i used to have 1.30 KG, and now 75 KG, i’m also 20! I started to be thin with 18 Years, and what i’m trying to say with this is, i got some loose skin, when i was doing my diet that took me over a year and like 2 months or something, i didn’t do any gym or exercises with machines i used to Run only!
    I lost a lot of muscule and i’m in a gym now for like 2 months, i also have a exercise bike in my home, and i really want to put my body in the right place, the thing is am i able to loose this skin since i’m still young!
    As for the after effect, how much time should i work before do that? I usualy do 1 Hour of of Bike in home, and in the Gym i run for like 15 Min (Before do all the machines) is the 1 Hour of bike ok and then do the After effect work? Sorry for all the questions in one but, i’m still a little confuse with all this, and i’m really trying to get all the info i can to get away from surgery cause i really some loose skin!
    Also, sorry for my english, is not my mother language!
    I Will wait for an aswer, Thank You!

    1. profile avatar
      Marc Perry Nov 26, 2011 - 12:54 #

      Paulo – Thanks for your questions. Here are my answers:

      1) “Am i able to loose this skin since i’m still young!”
      I don’t know the answer to that question, but my hope is that because you are young, your skin has more elasticity and can firm up over time with consistent weight lifting. How fast it will take to firm up and if it does I cannot answer. Here’s a great article to learn more about excess skin: http://weightloss.about.com/od/obesityhealth/a/blexcessskin.htm.

      2) “As for the after effect, how much time should i work before do that? I usualy do 1 Hour of of Bike in home, and in the Gym i run for like 15 Min (Before do all the machines) is the 1 Hour of bike ok and then do the After effect work?”
      Paulo, the afterburn effect is not about the total amount of time you are working out, it’s about intensity. So theoretically, you could have a very effective and intense workout while only spending 5-10 minutes actually exercising. Think about sprinters who only spend maybe 5 minutes of their running workout actually running/sprinting, yet they have incredible physiques.

      For more learning about what I’m talking about, check out the 2 articles below:

      Check out this article on High Intensity Interval Training: https://www.builtlean.com/2010/06/04/high-intensity-interval-training-hiit-best-cardio-to-burn-fat/

      Check out this article on Metabolic Conditioning: https://www.builtlean.com/2011/03/24/metabolic-conditioning-circuit-for-burning-fat/

      Finally, it’s very important to have a “strength” component to your routine where you are lifting weights, or lifting your body weight. I have a great video on my facebook page (if you are on facebook) right here: http://www.facebook.com/builtlean

  25. profile avatar
    sara Nov 25, 2011 - 10:31 #

    Hey Marc, I just wanted to say THANK YOU for being a reliable source of accurate information. I am so sick of reading people’s uninformed mis-information about exercise, fat loss etc. I am grateful to have somewhere I can come for science based proper information. You really understand fitness and there’s no bull.

    1. profile avatar
      Marc Perry Nov 25, 2011 - 11:27 #

      @sara – Thanks sara. Really appreciate the comment!

  26. profile avatar
    Red Nov 25, 2011 - 20:39 #

    @Marc Thanks! Yeah , on average it is about 8 hours , and I am doing a lot of labour work. It is kinda tiring , something like a gym. I have to carry heavy things (More than 5kg) up and down and at the end of the day , I will become very tired and sore. Will these things count as litte ‘exercises’ ?

  27. profile avatar
    Harris Nov 26, 2011 - 11:19 #

    Hey marc…Thank you. I have slimmed down thanks to ur brilliant methods.I am 14 yrs old and i want to know how can I get six packs too.Even though i am doing leg lifts,sit ups and the normal stuff…i just cant get it!!Please help me out

    1. profile avatar
      Marc Perry Nov 26, 2011 - 12:57 #

      @Harris – really happy to hear you are improving your body by following the guidelines on BuiltLean. That’s fantastic.

      Keep in mind abs are made in the kitchen, not in the gym. In other words, you really need to get a low enough body fat percentage to see your abs, which is primarily nutrition. Second, the way to get abs is to work everything but your abs! Working out your entire body will help you get leaner so you can see your abs. Once you can see your abs, then it’s worth doing more abs exercises to help make the six pack bigger.

  28. profile avatar
    Paulo Nov 26, 2011 - 13:20 #

    Thank U so much Marc 🙂
    I really appreciated your help

  29. profile avatar
    Ssq Nov 28, 2011 - 22:38 #

    Hi, Mark,

    Thank you for an interesting article and your replies to so many questions. I have a situation here for you which I hope you can answer.

    I do not exercise much – mostly I trek halfway up a small hill in my neighbourhood twice or thrice a week – but I wouldn’t consider myself tubby. Maybe some flab around the waist and that’s about all. My weight is about 74kg and height 5’7″. My doctor claims my body mass index is a little on the high side, though, and asks me to reduce my weight., which I also want to do so. However, I don’t want to reduce my weight until I look skinny and sorry. I’d definitely would like to bulk up a little too and get a bit of better body definition. Unfortunately, age is not in my favour, having crossed my 57th birthday. What would you recommend vis-a-vis afterburn? Regards….

    1. profile avatar
      Marc Perry Nov 28, 2011 - 23:34 #

      @SSQ – I would recommend checking out my Get Lean Guide. I think that’s a great place for you to start. Keep in mind it may take a few months for you to fully leverage the afterburn effect as the better shape you get in, the larger the afterburn effect you can create in a short period of exercise.

  30. profile avatar
    bumbbleb Feb 03, 2012 - 22:16 #

    I would like to know what exercise I can do in place of Burpees when doing afterburn workout. The reason for this being, I had operation on my knee and still have issues with them.

    Please assist.

    1. profile avatar
      Marc Perry Feb 05, 2012 - 12:32 #

      @bumbblep – I’m not the biggest fan of burpees because they are not a fun exercise. In fact, they are often used as a disciplinary tool in the armed forces. I think the short answer is you shouldn’t worry about creating an afterburn effect if you are recovering from knee surgery. The afterburn effect is created by very intense exercises and workouts, which are inappropriate for someone recovering from an injury. With that said, however, if your goal is fat loss, eating well is MUCH more important than creating an afterburn effect.

  31. profile avatar
    Jacqueline Feb 07, 2012 - 14:00 #

    Can you tell me the basic exercises I need to do to get a flat stomach. I’m not looking for abs (im a girl) I just dont want a fat belly. What do you suggest I should do?

    1. profile avatar
      Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT Feb 07, 2012 - 19:18 #

      @Jaqueline – The short answer is don’t worry about abs exercises. Focus on compound exercises like squats, lunges, pushing exercises, pulling exercises, exercises that require multiple muscle ans joints which burn the most calories and create a favorable hormonal response. To see your abs, you need to lose body fat, not necessarily improve the strength, or contour of your abs. If you haven’t checked out my Get Lean Guide, I would read it right away.

  32. profile avatar
    Knightwind Feb 10, 2012 - 09:52 #

    I reached this site surfing for the afterburn effect. These queation answer sessions have been very informative. you have even gone to lengths to repeat previously mentioned answers and tailoring them to individual needs. I am a doctor and these are some of the best answers out there. the “afterburn effect” is indeed a scientifically sound principle.

    thank you..

    1. profile avatar
      Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT Feb 10, 2012 - 14:46 #

      @Kightwind – Very happy you enjoyed the interview!

  33. profile avatar
    raul Feb 11, 2012 - 15:43 #

    I wanna know what exercisses i must do please reply

    1. profile avatar
      Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT Feb 13, 2012 - 22:45 #

      @raul – afterburn exercises should include basic movements done with little rest and greater intensity. In other words, while the exercises are important, the intensity with which the exercises are completed are even more important! Doing multi-joint movements like squats, lunges, deadlifts, pushing/pulling movements can do the trick. You can also consider sprints as a simple option to help create the afterburn effect.

  34. profile avatar
    atef Feb 15, 2012 - 14:44 #

    Marc i have seen some of your replays i can see that you know lot about exercising,in my village i exercise at the gym,i wanna ask you if there effect if i stopped or rest between exercises like i trained in Monday and i stopped until Wednesday and i didn’t do anything or trained between these days..!do it have effect?

    1. profile avatar
      Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT Feb 16, 2012 - 19:54 #

      @atef – taking a day off from exercising is completely fine. In fact, even elite athletes, fitness models, and bodybuilders can take 1-2 days off to rest per week.

      1. profile avatar
        atef Feb 17, 2012 - 12:46 #

        Oh,Tell me if i had a pain on my back,when i do the (back training) is there a problem on my back?i really need an answer! and i do the training correct…the pain only happens with 1 Instrument.

      2. profile avatar
        Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT Feb 19, 2012 - 21:59 #

        @atef – that’s a question that is best answered by your doctor, or a physical therapist.

  35. profile avatar
    Gemma Mar 03, 2012 - 16:06 #

    Thanks for the post. It was this post in particular that made me choose a HIIT program as a core exercise for my weight loss regime, that after I tried it out, I got my sister into it too. She’s hooked and loves it. But as you say, exercise is only the half of it.

    Though I have a question, does HIIT increase metabolism with calorie restriction? You spoke about hypertrophy. If hypertrophy is caused by HIIT, then I can see where a more permenant increase in metabolism will come from, but I’m also worried about eating paleo or primal and having a lack of energy. HIIT seems like a great way of making me more energetic.

    1. profile avatar
      Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT Mar 10, 2012 - 17:13 #

      @Gemma – Very happy to hear you are enjoying HIIT. I find it’s one of the best ways to get a great workout in very little time. HIIT can certainly create an afterburn effect and burn more calories after you workout. But does it increase metabolism during calorie restriction? Wow, that’s a tough one as metabolism from anaerobic exercise is very tricky to estimate, but my best guess is yes, your metabolism will be increased, but your metabolism may be slightly lower in general because you are eating less food. If you are trying to lose fat, HIIT should only help your metabolism.

  36. profile avatar
    john bernard davila julve Mar 03, 2012 - 23:52 #

    great work marc… nice replies… good read… learned a lot… incorporated your teachings in my workout and it feels great… dont know if the after burn is really high but the change of pace is really refreshing… nice! dont really have a question… just keep up the good work… more power and god bless!

  37. profile avatar
    Mike Mar 04, 2012 - 01:34 #

    Marc, first of all thank you for all the information you’ve given. Very helpful. Heres my situation: Im 30 years old, and in pretty good shape. Been eating right and exercising regularly for a few years now so id consider myself a good candidate for the optimal after burn effect. My only question is in this article i see many references made to HIIT. Well im at a point where i can run at a very high intensity for 30+ mins straight keeping my heart rate about 165-175. Are u suggesting the HIIT is a better cardio routine by comparison? Thanks again.

  38. profile avatar
    Mushrur Mar 13, 2012 - 13:58 #

    Hi Marc

    I need some advice. I jog everyday about 20 mins on an average pace. Should i start sprinting rather than jogging or should i jog first then start sprinting for the after burn effect . Pls give a solution .

    1. profile avatar
      Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT Mar 13, 2012 - 20:43 #

      @Mushrur – I would jog first to get your body warmed up, then sprint. Should also help maximize afterburn effect.

  39. profile avatar
    Ryan Mar 13, 2012 - 23:26 #

    I’m trying to gain muscle mass. I’m 6’2 and I’ve weighed around one 165 for the past 2 years. My goal is to reach at least 180. What are your thoughts on protein drinks?

    1. profile avatar
      Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT Mar 15, 2012 - 17:46 #

      @Ryan – Protein drinks are a convenient way to consume protein, but they don’t do anything magical or special. I tell people to think of a protein shake as a liquid grilled chicken breast. Nothing more, nothing less…well actually when trying to lose weight a chicken breast is superior. The other thing is you can add peanut/almond butter and other fruit to the shake to boost the calorie level. Frankly, it’s very difficult for me to gain weight without drinking protein shakes and essentially filling them up with calories. It’s tough to eat enough good calories to support the muscle growth. With that said, 180lb is reasonable, but I think a better way to think about gaining muscle is in terms of muscle measurements. Unless you’ve seen what 1lb of muscle looks like, my guess is you don’t know what 15lb will look like on your body. Maybe you only need 7lb in the right places. Just a thought.

  40. profile avatar
    sumit Mar 14, 2012 - 13:19 #


    please can u tell me some exercise which produce a lot of afterburn effect and is the amount of calories we burn during exercise is less than the calories we burn due to afterburn effect.

    1. profile avatar
      Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT Mar 15, 2012 - 17:55 #

      @sumit – I already answered this in another comment, but basically heavy lifting with little rest between sets using compound, multi-joint exercises. Squats, lunges, deadlifts, jump lunges with weight, jump squats with weight, kettlebell swings are some examples.

      1. profile avatar
        Tom Mar 19, 2012 - 08:30 #

        Hi Marc

        I do intense spriting and other exercises with high intesity for about 5-8 minutes in the morning , I eat healthy and only drink water, also some weight training in the afternoon, If i keep this up for a month do you think I could see a big diffrence in my weight? thanks!

      2. profile avatar
        Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT Mar 25, 2012 - 22:08 #

        @Tom – I certainly think so. Focus on eating natural, unprocessed foods which will make eating less calories easier. Ultimately if you eat less calories than you burn, you will lose weight!

  41. profile avatar
    Zach Mar 16, 2012 - 13:42 #

    Hey Marc,

    I love your website and all that your doing for everyone and how you take your time to answer everyones questions and write all of these fantastic articles! My question (I know it sounds stupid) – I’m a cross country/track runner and I’m 15. Is it a bad thing that I stick to your nutrition plans and exercise plans or should I really just be eating normal foods and only do workouts that my coach makes us do at practice? He’s never really talked to us about nutrition. Once again, thanks for taking your time to answer this

    1. profile avatar
      Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT Mar 25, 2012 - 22:01 #

      @Zach – Thanks for the kind words regarding my site and I apologize for the late response! I think the concept of eating whole, unprocessed foods is certainly what you should strive for. The thing is when you are a young athlete you can eat a lot more than the average person and be very lean. I would look into Precision Nutrition which I think has a nutrition program for athletes, that could help you out a lot.

  42. profile avatar
    momo Mar 17, 2012 - 06:41 #

    i tryed everything now i bought a book it says sprinting 30 sec and 1 min rest between each sprint….omg it really works and i have a six pack LOOL its brutal will make u dead tired but it works ofc i didnt start at 30 sec sprint right away i started at 12 lol now 21 sec without getting 2 30sec i got six pack HAHA sprinting fking beautifull i just feel like a feather now im also able to do 100 meter sprint in 11,73 imagine that for a normal guy from the street lol u guys all go if u dont trust me buy that little machine u put on ur finger to calculate ur heart rate and try different excercises pick the highest rate routine but im telling u all go for sprinting 🙂 ofc i do full speed sprint…good luck to all have a nice life

  43. profile avatar
    Charity Mar 19, 2012 - 11:27 #

    Hi Marc,

    I am 24 and used to weigh 260lbs. Yikes right! I am down to 190 and I can’t drop another pound. I am doing HIIT cardio on the treadmill for 15 min (I used to smoke so I’m still building my lung capacity) where I sprint for 45 and then rest for a min. Free weights make me nervous, (doing the incorrect form) but I am working on push-ups and doing body-weight exercises 3 times a week.
    My diet is pretty balanced and I don’t drink pop or eat a lot of sugar. I’m getting ready to graduate college in May and I need to lose 20lbs to qualify for the military. Could you give me some pointers on how to get passed my plateau?


    Charity 🙂

    1. profile avatar
      Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT Mar 25, 2012 - 22:17 #

      @Charity – Congrats on losing 70lb, that’s amazing! I would definitely increase the volume on the body weight exercises and tighten up your nutrition intake. Avoiding sugar and and not drinking pop is helpful, but ultimately you need to eat less calories than you burn. So even if you are eating “healthy” does not necessarily mean you are eating less calories than you burn. If you emphasize proteins and eat a ton of veggies, that should help you decrease your calorie intake while keeping you satisfied.

  44. profile avatar
    JeremyK Mar 19, 2012 - 14:41 #


    I have a question, Everyone says to do intense 5min workouts only 2-3 times a week, But could I do it everyday if I could? Or do I need to rest for a day to get the full affect of the afterburn?

    1. profile avatar
      Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT Mar 25, 2012 - 22:18 #

      @jeremyK – It all depends on what the 5 minute workout consists of. If you are doing heavy squats for 5 minutes, than probably 1-2x per week is all you should do, but again, it’s an impossible question to answer without understanding the composition of the workout.

  45. profile avatar
    jyzakiii Mar 20, 2012 - 19:34 #

    what i dont get is when you have done the intensive workout. what do you have to do after it to get the after burn effect

    1. profile avatar
      Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT Mar 25, 2012 - 22:26 #

      Nothing, that’s the whole point! If your workout is sufficiently intense, you will burn more calories as you rest.

  46. profile avatar
    Nathan Mar 28, 2012 - 10:50 #

    Hi Marc,

    I was just wondering if, after you’ve worked out intensely on higher weights with lower amounts of reps, can you still eat the same amounts as normal or do you have to eat less? Today I tried those recommended sprints for 30 seconds before having a short break and I did that 5 times. I then bumped up my weights on the machines significantly so that it was difficult to go past 4 reps. I did 3-4 sets with as little rest in between as possible. Am I on the right track towards triggering the afterburn?

    Many thanks,


    1. profile avatar
      Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT Apr 01, 2012 - 12:52 #

      @Nathan – It depends on what your goals are. If you are trying to lose fat, you generally need to keep your calories lower even with the extra exercise. If you are using machines, try the 8-12 rep range, which should work better and stimulate your muscles to a greater degree. 4 reps is more neuromuscular.

  47. profile avatar
    D'Ann Mar 29, 2012 - 12:04 #

    Hey Marc, i googled afterburn and found your site. I think you are awesome and i hope you can help me with my new exercise plans. Long story short: Ive been an athlete all my life and was slim and strong till about 5 years ago. I am female, 58 years old with a petite build and excellent health. I need to lose 40 lbs. I am working on the nutrition part. A month ago, i started brisk walks for a mile, once a day. i now feel ready to do that twice a day. I cant see myself sprinting around this neighborhood for the afterburn, lol. So am wondering if you think jumping rope would do it for me. i read the comment above about doing same. I admire you greatly for what you are doing to help people! Thanks in advance!

    1. profile avatar
      Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT Apr 01, 2012 - 13:02 #

      @D’Ann – Thank you for the very kind comment! I think there are a lot of exercise options that can help improve your health and well-being. Jump rope can certainly help, brisk walks, stationary cycling, or riding a bicycle, swimming is awesome, the methods are endless. You could also try walking up a hill to increase the intensity without making the exercise much higher impact. I would try to find an exercise method that you enjoy. If it’s jumping rope and it doesn’t hurt your joints, then go for it!

  48. profile avatar
    stu Mar 30, 2012 - 01:08 #

    Hi, I’ve been looking into this concept to get more lean. And reduce my body fat% to under 10% (I’m currently at 12%).

    How would diet effect afterburn and EPOC?

    I plan to do metabolic strength exercises and skipping but I just want to know what my approach should be regarding carbs.

    Is there a certain amount you should include in your diet that will be more effective to burning body fat?

    1. profile avatar
      Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT Apr 01, 2012 - 13:04 #

      @Stu – check out this article which should answer your questions – How to Get Ripped & Cut

  49. profile avatar
    vodin Apr 02, 2012 - 10:26 #

    so what we have to do when we finish our exercise?

    1. profile avatar
      Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT Apr 08, 2012 - 14:54 #

      @vodin – Nothing. That’s the whole point of the afterburn effect. Workout intensely, then rest.

  50. profile avatar
    JakeE Apr 02, 2012 - 16:23 #

    This kind of work for an afterburn effect sounds very legit for burning off fat and calories, but my question is does this kind of workout make it hard/impossible to gain muscle mass? My logic is that it takes calories to bulk up your muscles and gain size. I want to know if there is a happy-medium where fat can be cut and size can be achieved.

    1. profile avatar
      Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT Apr 08, 2012 - 14:56 #

      @JakeE – check out this article – Can You Lose Fat & Build Muscle At the Same Time?. I think you should choose either losing fat without losing muscle, or trying to gain muscle without gaining fat, but not both at the same time.

  51. profile avatar
    luigi Apr 06, 2012 - 04:13 #

    Hello Mark:

    I am a biology and chemistry teacher and I also practice brazilian jiu jitsu. I also have a program to work out with parallel bars and other gymnastic kind of excercises. I have a few questions if you don’t mind.

    1. When it talks about ATP you mean the actual intake of glucose/sugar from outside of the cell and its subsequent transformation into energy? (glycosis*)?

    2. On the subject of afterburn, can brazilian Jiu Jitsu with its extensive output of 02 and C02 obtain afterburn within the cell?(muscle cells) How does ATP fit into it?

    3. Can both brazilian jiu jitsu and gymnastics (kettlebelts also come to mind) be considered aerobic and anaerobic excercises. and most importantly how beneficial are they for afterburn and subsequently losing body fat and avoid complete muscle burn out.

    for the layman reading, I apologize if I got too tecnical, but was needed to make the question shoter.

    I appreciate a response via email , or a notification if you could kindly do it. Happy Easter..

    (*Glycogen must be oxidized to pyruvate, lactate and CO2 to provide the ATP required for muscle activity. )

  52. profile avatar
    Norm Apr 10, 2012 - 00:12 #

    Hi–some great content here. I just found this site tonight. It is rather late so I will just post a quick question for now, although I have a couple of others that I will post later. I have jsust ately been doing some HIIT workouts in order to maximize fat burning, and besides I really enjoy the intensity. Re running I have a base of 3 months running 3 times a week at an average distance of 4 miles. So, I have just transitioned into doing sprint intervals. I have done 3 workouts so far. I started with 250 meters x 8, then 200 meters x 10, and my last workout I did 100 meters x 20 repeats with a 50 second jogging recovery between each sprint. During the workout I felt pretty good, and experienced no pain whatsoever. I actually did my last sprint one second faster by getting my arms more into it. However, 4 hours later I had fairly severe knee pain. I realized the next morning that it was actually a hamstring strain. I immediately began icing, using a compression bandage, and also did some stretching. I continued this regimen today, and by tonight the pain is almost completely gone–whew!! I really dread any injury like a serious muscle tear that would lay me up. So I am wondering what would constitute a proper warm up routine before sprinting? Prior to the last workout I took my dogs for a 2 1/2 mile walk, and then after 15 mins. to gear up went for a 1/2 mile jog. Then straight into the sprints. I am also wondering how long I should wait before sprinting again if I am fully pain free in a couple more days (which would be time for my next sprint session). Thanks for any suggestions.

    1. profile avatar
      Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT Apr 15, 2012 - 22:52 #

      @Norm – Regarding the second question of how long you should wait, that probably best for an orthopedic doctor, or physical therapist. I just can’t answer that as I write on my computer. Regarding your first question about warm ups, here’s your answer:

      1) Warm Up
      a. Foam Rolling + Massage Ball – Myofascial Release – 5 minutes (you can also do this at your home, possibly daily)
      b. Dynamic Stretching – 5 minutes
      c. Run a couple laps

      2) You probably have posture problems
      Close to 99% of people have posture problems. Here are the 5 most common posture problems and how to fix them. Here’s another video with some extra squat corrective exercises and ways to identify any posture problems you have.

      Good luck!

  53. profile avatar
    F.M. Apr 11, 2012 - 04:46 #

    hi mac , i have a bit of dilema
    i m 28yrs of age , i have abnormally large man boobs ,m fat , i can not afford surgery ,and really cant afford gym , as i have my young brothers to look after ,
    i want to excercise and inspire young fellas like me , with boobs , what excercise routines can i try on ,? and how many times a day ?
    thanks to everyone who has asked all the above questions it helps others who do not know as well , above all thanks mac in advance

    1. profile avatar
      kanye Apr 11, 2012 - 04:48 #

      i have the same problems as F.M.,
      man boobs , what can we do to reduce them

      1. profile avatar
        Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT Apr 15, 2012 - 23:04 #

        @kanye – Focus on losing fat without losing muscle, that’s the only healthy way to go about it. A good place to start is by checking out my free Get Lean Guide.

    2. profile avatar
      Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT Apr 15, 2012 - 23:03 #

      @F.M. – The only option it sounds like is to focus on your nutrition and start doing bodyweight workouts. Here are a couple Push Up Workout + Metabolic Conditioning.

  54. profile avatar
    William Shoucair Apr 11, 2012 - 11:01 #

    Hey, Marc.

    Thanks for the great post on the afterburn effect. I’m a huge fan of Tabata drills and typically wrap up my workout with one an intense 4 minute burst cardio session on the elliptical or rower.

    Have you found any particular exercises that work best for Tabata?


    1. profile avatar
      Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT Apr 15, 2012 - 23:07 #

      @William – The other exercise to consider is the stationary bike, and an elliptical where you hop off of the it and stradle the sides as your rest. Of course, tabata can be applied to just about any type of exercise because it’s based on timed intervals.

  55. profile avatar
    jonny Apr 13, 2012 - 03:46 #

    Hi Marc
    Its really nice to see your work. I still have some confusion about all this. In short if i want to be thin but muscular, what should i do? Light weight with 50 reps OR Heavy weight with 15 reps?
    Also m taking low calories diet.

    1. profile avatar
      Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT Apr 15, 2012 - 23:18 #

      @jonny – I suggest you check out my free Get Lean Guide. That should help you. Just focus on losing fat without losing muscle and everything will take care of itself. The number of reps you lift does not necessarily have any impact on how much muscle you will gain/lose. For example, you can lift very heavy weights all the time and never gain a pound of muscle if you don’t eat more calories than you burn.

  56. profile avatar
    Tom Apr 13, 2012 - 05:30 #

    Hi Marc, great site thanks. I have a long commute to work (about 1.5 hours each way). I only get to work out at night so I get home and straight to my weights. I then have a protein shake and then dinner. I then have about 90 minutes till bed time. My question is whether its better to work out first then eat dinner or eat dinner and then do my weights?

    Its the same on my cardio days – home – exercise – eat.



    1. profile avatar
      Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT Apr 15, 2012 - 23:20 #

      @Tom – I think it’s a personal preference, but I personally would rather get it out of the way, then eat dinner before. I would also reconsider the purpose of your protein shake if you are trying to lose weight if your meal is within an hour of your workout.

  57. profile avatar
    joe Apr 15, 2012 - 14:33 #

    Hey Marc!!! iv always had an interest in losing some of my body fat(mostly around my stomach) and iv done exercises from sprinting,crunches,ab workouts, stationary bikes. I am able to workout everyday of the week but im lost on what workouts i should be doing for how long and how often

    please reply!!!—Joe

    1. profile avatar
      Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT Apr 15, 2012 - 23:26 #

      @joe – I think a good place to start if you are very confused is downloading my free Get Lean Guide. You just have to add your email to access the report. Should be able to get you on the right track. If you want a structured plan, my Builtlean Program will not disappoint!

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