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Maximizing the Afterburn Effect

early morning workout benefitsThere are many different theories about the best time of day to workout. Many people choose their workout regimen based on their work schedule, but this could result in not getting the most out of your workout.

While you need to get motivated to exercise, the time of day can also be important. Exercising in the morning is the best way to burn fat and lose weight because of what is called the afterburn effect.

This article will examine how working out in the morning is the best time of day, the most effective exercises you can do, and how the afterburn of the workout keeps your body burning calories for the rest of the day.

Why Morning Workouts

Exercising at any time of the day is better than not, but the best time to workout is in the morning. If you don’t exercise in the morning then there are any number of reasons that can pile up during the day resulting in a missed trip to the gym.

The official name for afterburn is Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption, or EPOC. This means that your body will still be burning calories for an extended period of time after you stop exercising. If you workout in the morning, the body will be energized throughout the rest of the day.

Conversely, if you exercise at night your body will not get back into rest mode for a good night’s sleep. Since your body will still be trying to burn calories, your sleep can be affected.


Most studies say that by doing short, intense exercises instead of longer, endurance ones, people will have a greater afterburn and continue to burn calories much longer. These exercises include:

  • Burst exercises – Burst exercises are short intense exercises such as sprinting that you do for as long and hard as you can followed by a short rest.
  • Tabata – This is named after a Japanese doctor Izumi Tabata, who developed them for training speed skaters. Some of these exercises include: burpees, lunges, sprints, and rowing for 20 seconds followed by 10 seconds of rest.
  • The Little Method – High intensity workouts that you do at 95% of your capacity for 60 seconds followed by 75 seconds of low intensity.
  • The 10-20-30 Method – This is 30 seconds at a jogging pace, 20 seconds at a slightly higher level and then 10 seconds at a full sprint, covering as much ground as possible.

These methods can be quite intense so if you are just starting out with this type of training, you may want to stick to a basic 1 to 2 ratio of exercise and rest.

By doing a sprint for 30 seconds followed by one minute of rest and repeating this 8 to 10 times, you will still get a great workout in much less time than an endurance based workout. These burst exercises will give you the best workout with the maximum afterburn in order to continue losing weight throughout the day. Also, make sure you do a thorough warm-up and cool down because this type of exercise can be prone to injury.

These exercises mainly work so well because your body doesn’t manage to get back to its resting state. The result is that the body then burns calories at a much higher rate because of the afterburn of these intense workouts.

Weight Training

By adding weights to your workouts you will greatly increase your weight loss chances as well as increasing the time your body has afterburn. This is because the body uses more energy to get muscles back to their resting state, rather than fatty tissue.

Another benefit of having more muscle than fat is that after intense exercising, the body’s muscle is low on glycogen. Glycogen is what your muscles use as fuel for these types of exercises. Therefore having a snack or meal that is high in sugars or starches will more likely be stored in muscles rather than fat. So after weight training and burst exercises you are allowed a cheat meal!

By doing short, intense exercises for 20 to 30 minutes per day every other day, you will be giving your body all the energy it needs to burn calories and lose weight effectively. The best time of day to do these exercises is in the morning so that you can feel energized for the rest of the day, rather than feeling restless after exercising at night.

These types of burst exercises give the body afterburn, so you can still burn calories even when you are no longer exercising!

About Joseph Giove

Joseph R Giove is a MindBody Wellness Coach, biomedical engineer and clinical hypnotist. For over 30 years he has helped people in all areas of health and fitness including weight loss, exercise physiology, addiction, stress and anxiety, insomnia, depression, diabetes, nutrition, chronic pain, and more. He offers a unique understanding of the mind and body to help you renew, recover from illness, and live optimally with vitality and vigor.

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