5 Tips to Maximize Post-Workout Calorie Burn

Leanna Olbinsky

Wouldn’t it be great if you could keep burning calories after leaving the gym?  Believe it or not, it is possible.  There are some workouts, like interval training, that can keep your body burning calories throughout the cooldown and during muscle recovery.  However, if you’re looking to lose weight or build muscle, there’s no getting around eating healthy and moderating your caloric intake.  If your diet is under control and you’re just looking for a bit of an edge, here are some tips to bump up that post-workout calorie burn. 

1. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

High-intensity interval training proves that you don’t have to spend hours in the gym to get a good workout.  HIIT workouts combine short intervals of intense exercise meant to push your body to the limit, followed by a short rest period.  These sessions are great for those wishing to get in a tough and effective workout in a short amount of time.

HIIT workouts typically involve both strength training and cardio, which forces the body to use more oxygen.  In return, more calories are burned while your body is in the recovery period.

Full length portrait of a young female in sportswear lifting weights at home

2. Lift heavy weights

Weight lifting has become a popular workout recently, and for good reason.  Lifting heavy can increase your metabolism and cause your body to burn more calories long after you rack ’em up.  This is in part to two hormones in the body, cortisol, and human growth hormone. Both are needed to effectively lift heavy weights and contribute to the “afterburn,” or post-workout calorie burn that can help you lose weight when you’re resting.

3. Incorporate multiple muscle groups

Incorporating multiple muscle groups in your workouts burns more calories.  Consider this:  A pushup is a very effective overall body workout, which is why it’s used in various exercises.  But why?  The reason is simple — a pushup is a compound exercise.  It incorporates different muscle groups (chest, shoulders, triceps, and abdominals) all at once.  Working several muscles at one time is both time-efficient and afterburn effective.

4. Change-up workouts

While high-intensity interval training and heavy lifting are great workouts and can help burn calories long after you’re done, recent studies have found that changing up routines could have a significant impact on the afterburn.

The study concluded that doing both high and low-intensity training is the most effective way to burn calories after the workout.  This means your body can get the most post-calorie workout burn by doing high-intensity workouts like sprinting or weight lifting two or three days a week followed by low-intensity exercises like walking or swimming the other days.

The thought process behind this is to give your body time to recover.  Going all-in and training at a high intensity back-to-back can lead to overtraining, exhaustion, and potential injury.

5. Try an app

Do you sometimes find yourself in an exercise slump?  If you’re looking to maximize your calorie burn both during and after a workout, plus try something new, there are different fitness apps, like Sworkit, that can customize a training plan for you and keep the afterburn going.

Fitness apps are convenient, community-driven, and have a variety of workouts to choose from to help stay on track.  Sworkit includes a list of maximum calorie burner workouts that users can choose from that will challenge, increase stamina, and provide more calorie burn during and after the exercise.   

If you’re trying to lose weight, incorporating a combination of interval training and heavy lifting, along with a healthy diet, is key to burning calories both during and after workouts.  If you’re looking for new exercises to give your normal routine a boost, try Sworkit’s Maximum Calorie Burner Workouts to blast away fat, build muscle, and work towards a healthier life.

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