For years the trend was aerobics and slow steady state cardiovascular training. People just assumed that by running slowly for a longer period of time they were being more productive than if they were to participate in a shorter more intense training session.
This process of thinking changed quickly in the early 90’s when a scientific study suggested that resistance training is more beneficial than slow steady state cardiovascular training when it comes to burning calories. The study explained that resistance training can stroke metabolism for up to 36 hours after completing the training session (recent studies say up to 48 hours). This means more calories are being burned at rest during that period of time after your workout than if you were to just run on a treadmill or use the elliptical for your session.
This revved up metabolism is a result of the oxygen debt created after intense exercise often referred to by trainers as afterburn, which is basically gym terminology for EPOC— Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption.
EPOC is simply the extra work that your body must do to return its systems to homeostasis after intense training. The more intensely you train, the more stress you place on your body, the longer your body takes to return to normal. This increase in resting metabolic rate is much greater with resistance training than with traditional cardio, but the same principles can be applied with interval training.
In short– The harder you train, the more calories you burn after your training…
This is an important concept to grasp when you’re reaching for your fitness goals. There’s no easy way to results, just proper programming and hard work.