We probably don’t need to tell you the harder the workout, the more calories burned. We might not even need to tell you that developing more muscle over time will allow the body to burn more calories. But it turns out the intensity of your workout could determine how many calories your body will burn over the course of the whole day. An intense cycling class may burn an average of 500+ calories, but research suggests such a workout can also increase calorie burn over the course of the entire day— 190 more calories (than without any exercise), to be exact!

This extra boost is thanks to an effect known as excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC— yeah, we wish it was called EPIC, too). The gist? If you really work it at the gym, your body’s oxygen consumption will be higher for hours afterward. That higher oxygen intake leads to increased metabolism and more calories burned.

The Takeaway: To burn more calories following a workout, try “vigorous” exercise.

Whoa, that’s intense, man

So what exactly does “vigorous” mean? It depends on the person, but the “talk test” may be a good way to figure it out! At moderate intensity, you should be able to recite something— say, the Pledge of Allegiance— comfortably. Up the ante to “vigorous,” and speaking will become increasingly difficult.

Fun Fact:

Counting calories? The first diet book ever to consider those pesky numbers was released in 1918— “Diet and Health, with the Key to the Calories,” by Lulu Hunt Peters. Foreseeing the potential pitfalls of weight loss, Dr. Lulu even provided advice, like how to deal with a jealous hubby.