This article is an adaptation of  a monthly issue of Health Confidential, by Dr Al Sears. May 2011, Issue No. 62

Today I want to share with you about this concept of “afterburn”.

The afterburn that I'm referring to, more than just jet engines!

Not the extra component added to jet engines, but the “afterburn”, that I’m referring to, is a way to describe all the energy your body uses to recover from your workout. Essentially, it’s how you prepare to meet the challenge of what you’re asking your body to do.

And it’s the key to transforming your body with PACE – Progressively Accelerated Cardiopulmonary Exertion.

PACE is designed to help you exceed your aerobic energy limit and tap the power of what Dr Al Sears call supra-aerobics.

By shedding the aerobics dogma and training yourself to find your supra-aerobic zone, you’re going to restore the body nature meant for you remarkably fast.

– I’ll share more about the supra-aerobic zone in future posts. Meanwhile, do follow me on twitter, @chewmark, to see the exercises that I’ve done to follow the PACE workout, in less than 20mins daily (total work-out time including rest)

The idea of exerting yourself with progressive intensity, instead of increasing the time spent, focuses on the notion that afterburn is triggered.

And a funny thing happens during afterburn, having nothing to do with “melting calories,” which is all aerobics gurus want you to focus on.

A supra-aerobic workout depletes the stored glycogen your muscles use to make energy. And when that happens, you release a little molecule called AMPk.

AMPk “takes the temperature” of your cells to see how much energy you have. When you deplete glycogen during the course of physical activity, AMPk swings into full effect.

It tells your muscles to stop using up all the glycogen, and start soaking up a lot more blood sugar to store as energy. Your muscles want the energy available for the next time you ask them to do a similar kind of exertion.

AMPk also makes you start breaking down fatty acids to make up for the energy shortfall.

Your body effectively starts to use insulin better. Instead of making fat, the insulin signals your muscles to become giant engines of transformation. You start to favor building muscles over storing fat.

AMPk also causes cells to melt fat for energy, instead of storing it there. That means your blood sugar from the food you eat is being stored away as glycogen for muscle energy, while fats are used to fuel your cells.

And this happens when your workout is over – while you rest and recover – during afterburn. It’s not about melting calories. It’s about transforming your body.

Counting Calories Doesn’t Matter

Trainers and other so-called experts criticize the effects of afterburn. They say things like, “You’ll only melt an extra few calories,” or “You melt way more calories during aerobics.”

But the so-called experts are missing the point . . .

Because they’re still counting calories. How many calories you eat and how many you burn is just a way the people who make the mistake of doing hours of aerobics keep score.

The point of triggering afterburn is that it changes the way your body uses the food you eat. A PACE workout tells your cells it’s okay to get rid of the fat they’ve stored. Aerobics does the opposite.

PACE trains your body to store energy in your muscles instead of storing it as fat, making you lean, and keeping you that way.

PACE helps you break through your body’s comfort zone. And you grow stronger to meet the challenge the next time you work out.

You also raise your metabolism, breathing rate, blood circulation and temperature, which all need to return to normal. This takes energy, which is why you melt calories long after a PACE workout. And it takes even more energy to replenish oxygen and rebuild your muscles.

This is afterburn. And it’s why with PACE, you can accomplish an incredible body transformation in a relatively short period of time.

But remember, the real change is not in the extra calories you melt to accomplish all this. PACE is designed to help you transform your body by tipping the scales in favor of muscle, and not fat.

You can’t accomplish this through aerobics.

In the next posting, I will share with you, what Dr Al Sears feels about “aerobics”. Stay tuned!

1 Schünemann, Holger J., MD, PhD et al, “Pulmonary Function Is a Long-term Predictor of Mortality in the General Population,” Chest Sept. 2000; 118( 3): 656-664

Live Free!



Chew Mark is the Author of Discover Your Leadership Style, a Business Developer, and Leadership Coach. You may contact him via


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