Have you heard a lot about the ‘afterburner effect’ lately? What exactly is it and how do you use it? Do you have to buy anything? Of course not. It’s simple and easy to activate your fat afterburner. To lose fat you either have to eat less, or you can increase how much your body burns. I don’t know about you but I like eating so I’d much rather increase how much my body burns. As it turns out, it’s really quite easy to get your body to turn on its metabolic afterburners and burn more calories.

We’ve all seen the activity calculators, the ones that say if you jog for 30 minutes you burn off 325 calories – these are very misleading and pessimistic. Back in 1918, researchers James Arthur Harris and Francis Gano Benedict, discovered that doing cardio caused the body to burn up way more calories than these charts predicted. Doing cardio puts the body’s metabolism into overdrive so that it continues to burn more calories for around 24 hours after the exercise stops. Harris and Benedict came up with some formulas which predict the how much these fat afterburners will burn up, which is what my calorie calculator is based on.

Note that doing cardio 20 minutes a day, is negligible but when you up it to 35 minutes a day it really starts to kick in. By 50 minutes a day, the fat afterburner is in overdrive chomping up 580 calories a day while you sit and do nothing.

So, what’s happening here? Nothing complicated, mysterious, or fancy as many would have you believe. It’s just that cardio raises your metabolic rate. Just as hibernation lowers metabolic rate to near zero, high activity sends the metabolic rate through the roof. Interesting question, what qualifies as cardio? Definitely traditional steady state cardiovascular exercise like walking, jogging, swimming, and biking. Perhaps interval training, it’s unclear.

The Tabata (a type of high intensity interval training) supporters would have you think that four minutes of Tabata is all you need to do. Personally, I feel that is some very wishful thinking. At best I would say that 20 minutes of intervals is like 35 minutes of running. One thing that is clear, you must do the cardio daily for the afterburner effect. The afterburner effect only seems to last about 24 hours, so you need to do cardio daily if you want the effect.

Doing a seven-hour run on Sunday burns off fewer calories than doing a 30-minute jog each day and the seven-hour run is quite impossible.

Now you see why doing cardio is very important to losing fat and getting 6-pack abs. It’s not so much the calories burned during the cardio that is important but the fact that the cardio puts your metabolism into overdrive to burn up fat.

People always ask if they can lose fat and get 6-pack abs without doing cardio, and the answer is yes, but it’s really, really hard. Why struggle? Use your fat afterburners.

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