Saturday, August 02, 2008

The afterburn effect

Being the owner of a copy of Alwyn Cosgrove's Afterburn program, I receive regular email newsletters and updates from the man. This morning's message reminded me of another reason why I don't count exercise calories. Here's an extract:

In the past - fitness professionals and researchers have looked at how much fat is burned during the exercise session itself. This is extremely short-sighted.As my colleague Alan Aragon said:

"Caring how much fat is burned during training makes as much sense as caring how much muscle is built during training."

Think about that. If we looked at a weight training session that started at 9am and finished at 10am - how much muscle would we see built if we stopped looking at 10am? None.

In fact - we'd see muscle damage. We could make the conclusion that weight training does not increase muscle - in fact it decreases muscle right? It's only when we look at the big picture - and look at the recovery from the session - that we find the reverse is true - weight training builds muscle.

Fat loss training is the same way. Someone talking about the benefits of the "fat burning zones" or "fasted cardio" is a sure sign that the individual has stopped looking at the end of the exercise session. They have come to the conclusion that fasted, lower intensity steady state exercise burns the most fat and made a massive leap of faith to suggest it is best for real world fat loss.

Using that same logic these same people would suggest avoiding weight training if you want to grow muscle.

Take home message - focus on the
Afterburn effect, not just what happens during the exercise session.

The email references a study, which looked into the effect of an acute period of resistance exercise on excess post-exercise oxygen consumption: implications for body mass management.

So if you're madly calculating, recording, subtracting exercise calories from your daily food calories, trying to figure out your basal metabolic rate and scratching your head wondering why it all doesn't seem to correlate with what the scales or tape measure are telling you, maybe it's time to retire your spreadsheets or calculator.

I love that using the right training methods (and eating enough good food) manages to turn up the dial on your metabolism to red-hot. I swear, I can actually feel my body burning fat while I'm sitting doing nothing.

Allow me my delusions.... a little positive visualisation is always a good thing. :o)


sparklingmerlot said...

What an obviously brilliant way of looking at exercise - once it's pointed out to you!! What a shame too many people only focus on the calories used during exercise. And use that to justify the extra tim tam.

Debstar said...

Thanks Kek, great post. As if your body stops burning calories the minute you step off the treadmill.

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