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How to maximize your afterburn so you slash more calories after a workout

Sure, that meditative, long-distance evening run might be nice — but if you’re looking to blast fat, you may want to kick it up a notch.

We burn calories all day. Every time your heart beats, your stomach churns and your lungs expand, you burn energy. Exercising adds to the calorie burn — but that doesn’t necessarily mean that when your workout is over your body stops the additional calorie burn.

More: 10 easy ways to burn an extra 100 calories every day

Instead, your body can continue to burn calories at a higher rate up to 24 hours after exercising, according to the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism.

Studies continue to conclude that the more intense your workout is, the higher the afterburn will be. A powerful workout depletes oxygen in muscles, so the body works harder than usual after the workout to replenish the missing oxygen. This EPOC, or excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, boosts your metabolism and burns calories.

More: 5 high-intensity workouts guaranteed to get your heart pumping

A well-known study from Appalachian State University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill measured the afterburn effect of 10 men aged 22 to 33. Dr. David Nieman, lead investigator of the study, found, “45 minutes of vigorous exercise caused 190 additional calories to be burned later in the day while the participant was at rest.” You will generally get a healthy dose of EPOC if you work out at 70 to 85 percent of your maximum heart rate.

But, be sure to understand this: Research varies due to the varying intensities of exercise and because, of course, we are all different. We could both go to a spin class for an hour, and you could burn 700 calories while I only burn 500. Thus, my afterburn would most likely be lower than yours. Also, you should never push your body into an extreme workout you aren’t physically prepared for just to get the afterburn effects.

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