The Afterburn Effect


by Brent Haydey



Maximize Your Afterburn!

To release weight and live forever looking and feeling the way you truly know is the real you.  Is this your goal?  It is for a great many people.  For most, however it has become an eternal struggle and a problem unsolved.  The afterburn effect is a big part of the solution.

For decades you’ve heard about the target heart rate zone as a measure of your workouts.  You’ve been told that the “fat burning zone” was at a moderate intensity that was to be sustained for a longer period of cardiovascular exercise.  As with all actions and messages that are repeated over and over and over and over it became your new normal.  It simply was.  You probably never really questioned why it was.

Well the why was so that the masses would become more active.  Simple as that.  In your experience you have probably had moments where increased intensity of exercise was very de-motivating to you, especially if you did not care much for the activity being done. Moments like that may have led to quitting a program or activity and cursing “I hate exercise”.  You’re not alone with this one.  The goal, once again, was to get the masses more active.  If it was fun and not too intense it might work, and I think it did at the time.  Through the 70’s and 80’s the running and fitness movements were in full swing.  The participaction campaign was underway in Canada and we were getting more active.

So, what’s so bad about this.  Well, nothing.  In fact it has had a very positive effect on those who sustained regular consistent and progressive activity.  Epidemiological studies show great improvements in reducing lifestyle related illness risk in going from little or no activity to moderate regular activity.  This is where the greatest benefit occurs and is vitally important to my mission of ending the growing epidemic of largely preventable lifestyle related illness.

Where is falls short is for those who want to release weight.  Intensity matters! Low to moderate intensity cardiovascular activity alone simply does not lead to very much more weight loss than effective nutritional changes alone.  It DOES lead to some but generally not enough for most people’s goals.

So what is one to do.  Well, first and foremost is to address nutrition and to embrace healthy natural eating and the key factors in this area needed to support your goal (and to work on overcoming the factors tripping you up).  Then, and only then, will the factors of physical activity add even more to the success of your efforts.

In physical activity we expend energy during it and after it.  Both are important when wanting to release weight.  Progressively increasing intensity towards high intensity exercise leads to one aspect of the solution.  Another comes after exercise when your body continues to burn energy; the afterburn effect.  In essence the intensity of your activity (along with frequency and duration) impacts the amount and duration of your afterburn and that impacts the total energy expenditure you experience with each exercise session.

This little tidbit of knowledge can lead to tremendous results in releasing weight and finally achieving the goals you desire.

Your afterburn can remain high for several hours post exercise and along with effective nutritional changes can increase the weight you release by as much as 25% over nutritional changes and low to moderate cardiovascular exercise.

So when considering your physical activity program remember that…

  • Higher intensity cardiovascular intervals are better than low to moderate continuous cardiovascular exercise
  • Two shorter workouts are better than one longer one
  • Higher intensity combined strength and cardiovascular workouts are better than cardiovascular alone
  • Higher intensity strength workouts by themselves are better than cardiovascular ones alone

Now, having heard this remember that all of the reasons you have been repeating your unconscious lifestyle loop and not achieving the results you desire are likely to still be in place.  The external factors of “life” that regularly act as convenient excuses to lower yourself and your health down the priority list will still act on you. Your inner limiting beliefs, perhaps still unconsciously deep within, will also continue to play their part in knocking you off track.

Remember even the BEST programs available will FAIL in the long term if these factors are not addressed.

Finally, gradually progressing into this type of exercise is highly recommended.  Do this for safe health and motivational reasons and if you have lifestyle related illness consulting your physician before starting this is recommended.  Effective warm up and cool down are absolutely necessary.  Finally, consulting a professional trainer to design and/or supervise your program to ensure it progresses properly and is well balanced will lead to optimum results safely and effectively.

Embrace your afterburn and your Thriving Health!

In health,



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About the Author

Brent Haydey Profile PhotoBeginning with a degree in exercise science and kinesiology, Brent Haydey has evolved over thirty years as an entrepreneur; building four businesses, and as a health, executive, and life coach.
Learn more about Brent >

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