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Which Workouts Burn the Most Calories


So far I have covered the history of HIIT, Metabolic Resistance Training, and how underwhelming EPOC is for most types of exercise.

I also have recommended that you focus on calories burned during the workout and think of anything after the workout as a “bonus”.

(Here are links to part 1, part 2, part 3, and part 4).

At this point there is still a ton to learn when it comes to calories burned after a workout. 

With the way we are currently measuring it, it doesn’t look like a significant amount of calories are burned after a workout is completed.

There are a couple isolated studies that show promise, but the bulk of research make it look less than what we have been led to believe.

In my opinion, relying on the “afterburn effect” is a gamble.

You might burn enough extra calories after the workout to get as lean as you desire…

…we just don’t know enough about it right now to bet on it.

With that in mind, how do you burn a lot of calories during your workout?

There are countless approaches, so I’ll just cover a few.

*** Lifting weights for hours each day with no time limits.

The movie Pumping Iron is a prime example of this. Arnold and the bodybuilders back then lifted weights for 2+ hours per day.

These guys got lean without cardio or anything resembling MRT. The calorie burn was massive each day due to the crazy amount of volume.

*** A large amount of work compressed into a shorter time-frame, by reducing rest periods.

For this approach to work best, I’d recommend sets to last around 40-60 seconds. This will ensure the lactic acid system gets worked…especially with short (30-40 second) rest periods.

This approach burns a lot of calories without cardio or HIIT.

Working one muscle group while a different muscle group is recovering.

This is an even faster way to burn calories compared to simply shortening the rest periods between sets. This approach practically eliminates rest periods altogether and is the best if lack of time is an issue.

When lactic acid is clearing out of one muscle group, you are building it up in another. A steady flow of calorie burning for the entire time you are training.

A lot of these approaches will string together a few exercises back-to-back, followed by short rest periods.

This is probably what most people envision when hearing the term Metabolic Resistance Training.

*** Strength training followed by HIIT.

This is my preferred method. It is also the method I teach in all of myVisual Impact Fitness Courses.

I like training for maximum tension and hard muscle contractions with each set and rep.

This creates dense, angular muscles without adding a lot of excess size. Great for men and women who want to get in exceptional shape while still fitting into stylish clothes (my specialty).

When rest is cut too short, the nervous system won’t be able to deliver maximum voltage to the muscle being worked on the following set.

Because of this…I prefer to spend 30-45 minutes doing low rep strength training with a lot of rest between sets, followed by 15-30 minutes of HIIT for calorie burn.

The downside to this is that workouts will take longer than time-compressed metabolic resistance training workouts. The upside is that you

will gain strength and density better with my approach.

There are countless effective workout variations for fat loss.

This has been a pretty in-depth 5 part article.

I’d like to end it with a few guidelines…

Guidelines to Follow if Fat Loss is Your Goal

This is not even close to an exhaustive list of fat loss approaches. I could outline out dozens of other scenarios for losing fat.


We still have much to learn when it comes to the Afterburn Effect.

The good news is we know that uncomfortable interval-style training burns a lot of calories…and is an efficient way to train.

It may or may not produce the a large amount of EPOC…

but it does get the job done for burning calories to get lean.

I will add updates as more is discovered about the Afterburn Effect.

I’ll revisit this post every few months and add updates as needed.

Science still has a long way to go to figure out how many total calories are burned from various activities.

If we had everything figured out, there would be no need for research.

I’m excited to see what we learn over the next 10+ years.


-Rusty Moore

As a former fitness coach to fashion models, I can teach you how to increase muscle definition without adding size.

Click Here to check out my premium courses.