Your body burns extra fat after hard exercise. It’s called excess post-exercise consumption – or EPOC. EPOC happens as you burn fat to refuel tired muscles and replace oxygen in red blood cells.
You need to exercise at moderate or high intensity to get the effect. This means hitting at least 7 out of 10 on how hard the session feels. If you’ve got a heart rate monitor – aim for 65-80% of your maximum heart rate.
The longer you exercise – the longer your after burn. In an experiment – people who cycled at high intensity for 80 minutes – got 10.5 hours worth of after burn.
This is because carbonated drinks have been shown to stimulate our bodies to release more of the hormone ghrelin. Ghrelin increases appetite, which can be annoying if you’re trying to cut calories. So, if you’re watching what you eat, and trying to control hunger pangs, then you might find things a little easier if you steer clear of fizzy drinks.
It’s a myth that caffeine causes dehydration. Research shows that coffee has the same hydrating properties as water. People who consume a moderate amount of coffee – about 4 cups a day – have the same total body water as those who drink the same amount of water.
If you’re active and normal weight then drinking 150kcal of casein protein before bed will increase the number of calories you burn off at rest the following day. Casein has also been shown to repair muscle more effectively overnight than other protein supplements. You can get Casein protein in any good sports supplement shop. Milk contains casein protein but you need to drink a lot of it to get 150kcal worth of protein.
If you’re trying to lose fat by exercising then avoid sports drinks if you’ll be exercising for less than an hour. Popular sports drinks contain about the same number of calories as you’ll burn off in a typical moderate intensity exercise session. And, taking in extra carbs discourages your body from burning fat to fuel your exercise and recovery. If you want a little performance boost then just swilling and spitting a sports drink has been shown to trick your body into working a bit harder – but without it actually taking in extra calories.
The fitter you are the better you’ll be at burning fat at rest and during exercise. This is because your body is expecting to be pushed regularly and wants to save carbs for when things get more intense. Remember, your fitness will improve more quickly, and more effectively if you combine aerobic exercise (like jogging, dancing, swimming or cycling) with strength training (like push ups, sit-ups or squats).
Your protein supplements might be a waste of money. Studies show that people doing lots of endurance training need about 1.2 – 1.4g of protein per kg of body weight; and people who focus on strength training need about 1.4 – 1.8g per kg of body weight. There are no health or performance benefits from more than 2g of protein per kg of body weight. So, a normal healthy diet will provide enough protein for the average size person. Also, your body can’t absorb more than about 25g of protein in one go.