What is Exercise Afterburn?

High-intensity training is all the rage. One personal trainer with an annoying voice and ridiculous hair who has amassed a small fortune from his misinformation to the masses about nutrition, along with his complicated meal plan and joint busting workouts has made this style of working out very popular.

He has alluded to this type of exercise creating the afterburn. And whilst technically this is true, it is very exaggerated. Like the monthly interest on your bank gives you is not going to have any impact on your account the afterburn has the same inconsequential impact on your calorie expenditure

We could go into how your oxygen respiratory exchange rate puts the brakes on this after only on a few hours but that would be boring and you knowing that this afterburn is the calorie equivalent to one grape per hour for only a few hours after the session would be more impactful

Here’s the kicker…

if you are overweight and looking to shed some body fat performing the high impact exercises that Mr Vidal Sassoon demonstrates is going to be detrimental to your joints

Your body is designed to carry a certain amount of weight when you jump up and down you put seven times the force of that weight through your joints so that increased force is going to exacerbate joint issues. Your bones and joints will not thank you

So use high-intensity training for the right reason; To improve cardiovascular health

Forget about the afterburn it’s redundant

You’re right life is not fair

You maybe sat there drinking your tea or coffee tapping away arbitrarily on your keyboard reading this whilst you should be working on the project that has landed on your desk.

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Now you didn’t ask for said project/task it just landed on your desk, it could’ve landed on Gemma’s desk or it could have landed on Karen’s desk but as luck would have it your line manager randomly selected you for this crap.

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I can already hear the words coming out of your mouth, reverberating around in your head “it’s not fair’.

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I’m sure you’ve heard it all before that well known saying that ‘life is not fair’, no I’m not going to tell you that life is not fair, you already know that. However what I am going to tell you is that may not be your fault it’s happened to you but it is your responsibility.

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It’s not your fault that you’ve been burdened with this extra workload, it’s not your fault that you have an underactive thyroid which means you can’t have as many doughnuts as Debbie in compliance (who seems to get away with eating whatever she wants and not put on weight) without putting on weight. But it is your responsibility.

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The uninsured driver that hits your car, the jury duty letter comes through post, the weight you’ve put on from the butter diet that was recommended to you by Lynn in accounts (well, that could is your fault as I’ve already warned you) these things are now your responsibility!

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You are now responsible, chose to accept it and deal with it. Fighting against it will just expend energy and time. Accept that this is something you have to deal with and get it done. Screaming at the universe for this injustice that has been bestowed upon you is going to get you nowhere and will probably make the situation worse.

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Put on your big boy pants and accept it, deal with it, move on and forget about it!

The first time

Yesterday I had the pleasure of meeting up with Phil Learney who is one of the most respected trainers in the industry he was putting on a Q&A session at a gym in Croydon and I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to pick his brains on his experience of over two decades in the fitness industry.

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The gym he was hosting his Q&A at was a very well-known gym in the bodybuilding circle. As I parked up and walked towards the gym it was apparent that this was not your typical leisure centre/health club! It was a raw bodybuilding Mecca. A far cry from the health and leisure club is where are usually matriculated. The converted warehouse set up, tractor tires in the car park, graffiti on the walls, the steel shutters spray-painted with the gym logo on them, the loud music coming from inside. This made me feel a little out of sorts I was a little out of my comfort zone.

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Even for experienced gym goer like myself it still felt a little daunting walking into this establishment. It took me back to when I first felt apprehensive about going into the gym environment.

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A lot of people go through this apprehension time and time again when they first start the gym. More than likely it’s a negative experience at PE in school and the thought of exercise is quite daunting to them and because they didn’t enjoy it then, they make the assumption that they won’t enjoy it now. Plus you are entering into an unfamiliar environment and this can be quite daunting and you can feel quite conspicuous, as I did when I walked into this gym.

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However, as soon as I walked in I was greeted by a friendly lady at reception who was very helpful and welcoming and showed me where everything was. Surrounded by people who looked very serious about their weight lifting I began to feel like an outsider, like I didn’t belong, however, this was quashed when a member, who was twice the size of me asked me and had muscles on muscles, asked me if I was new and if I needed to know where anything was just to give him a shout!
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I had created this worry in my head from judging a book by its cover and my preconception about bodybuilding gyms! The people there were friendly and too focused on their own weight training to be looking at me. And it is this attitude that you will find in most gyms, it’s a positive environment and people are genuinely helpful. It’s just a little daunting the first time.

Average is acceptable

Have you ever noticed that it’s the extremes that we hear about in the media? The genetic freaks and statistical outliers.

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We are led to believe that these extremes are normality and what we should be striving for. When in reality most of our lives are spent in the average which, is perfectly acceptable.

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Because when we believe that when we should be striving for these extremes and we fall short we are left wanting.

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The very notion that we are wanting or trying to attain something like wealth or happiness etc makes us think that we don’t already have it. We are convincing ourselves we are devoid of it! This leads to a negative mindset.

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As Gandhi said ‘everything we do in life is irrelevant, but it’s very important that we do it.’

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Think about doing what’s best for you, not comparing yourself to the outliers or the extremes, it’s not reality! Try being grateful and spending your life in the average it’s a nice place to be!

Keep your guard up

Of the few injuries people have told me about, all of them have been from doing something stupid.

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Lifting weights, running, exercising correctly has never been the reason someone has injured themselves. It’s when you’re not doing it properly that you get yourself into trouble.

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The injuries you’re more than likely to experience are when you are running with poor form, that’s 7 x the force of your body weight through your knees/ankles in an unfavourable position.

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Or during weight training and you are taking weights off the rack or picking them off the floor when you are in between exercises or have finished an exercise. I’ve seen people execute perfect technique when performing an exercise, then go to pick up a weight for their next exercise and display absolutely no consideration for their back or knees. I wince as I think about the strain they are putting on their back and other joints from not taking the little bit of care in picking said item up.

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People then make the incorrect assumption that it is an exercise that has caused the injury not the piss poor technique that they have used to pick something up off the ground or run poorly.

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It is the same reason why more people die on the way down from the mountain as apposed to ascending it. Because they experience complacency. They have achieved what they set out to do and then the focus switches off. Relaxed and complacent they make mistakes, which at that altitude are very serious.

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Stay safe out there, think technique in and outside of exercise.