Photography by Paul Buceta
Routine by Jaclyn Phillips, Master Trainer, RYT300, PN1

The coveted “afterburn” effect, or excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), refers to the increase in calories your body burns even after you’re done exercising. During an afterburn workout, your metabolic rate increases in response to the demands of the workout, and doesn’t return to your resting metabolic rate immediately after exercising. Instead, it stays elevated, expending more energy just to return your body back to its resting state. This energy is used to help restore oxygen levels, remove lactic acid, and level out your body’s energy stores. In other words, your body burns extra calories in order to re-establish homeostasis. 

So how can you achieve this magical state? Generally, high-intensity workouts result in the greatest EPOC. The more intense your workout is, the greater the requirement to restore your body to its resting state. Furthermore, research shows that the length of the workout doesn’t impact EPOC as greatly as intensity, so if afterburn is the goal, intensity should be your focus rather than length. A combination of bodyweight exercises and high-intensity cardio is the perfect combo for an afterburn workout. 

The Workout

Perform each exercise for 40 seconds, resting 20 seconds between each exercise. Repeat this circuit three times, resting one minute between each round.  

Sprint/High Knees

Start with feet hip-width apart. Driving the right knee high up and swinging the arms, begin running on the spot, alternating each knee while keeping your chest lifted and core engaged.

Squat with Pulse

Start with feet hip- to shoulder-width apart and chest lifted (A). Shift your weight into your heels and bend the knees, squatting low for a count of three (B). Press up halfway (C), then sink low again for one count before pressing all the way up to the start position.

Downward Dog Push-Up

Start in a downward dog position (A). Shift forward into plank (B), then lower into a push-up to just above the floor (C). Keep elbows in at a 45-degree angle. Press back up to high plank position, keeping the core active and braced, then lift the hips back to downward dog. That’s one rep.


Start with your weight on your right foot in a low stance. Drive the ground away with your right foot, bounding to the left. Land gently on your left foot, swinging the right foot behind you, then use momentum to push back to the right. 

MODIFICATION: Not up for the jump? From standing with feet together, step out to lunge to the right, sinking the hips back. Return to standing and repeat on the other side.

Plank Jack

Start in a high plank position (A). Keeping the core braced, jump your feet out and in as you would in a jumping jack (B).

MODIFICATION: Slow this down by stepping one foot out at a time. This exercise can also be performed from your forearms to give your wrists a break.   

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