After a good workout your body continues to burn calories. You would have experienced it as the buzz you get after an intense workout, when it takes a while for your breathing and heart rate to return to normal. This feel good phenomenon is known as Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC). You might have also heard this referred to as oxygen debt.
What exactly is EPOC?
EPOC is equivalent to the amount of oxygen that your body needs to return to homeostasis (its normal level of metabolism when at rest). In other words, while you are cooling down your body will continue to consume more oxygen and burn more energy (i.e. calories) until your body it as rest and has reached homeostasis.
Fortunately you don’t need to understand all the biochemical processes to take full advantage of this, and get even more out of your gym sessions. In short, if you induce EPOC you will burn more calories and get better results in less time.
Use EPOC to your advantage and burn MORE calories during every workout!
- Needing to consume more oxygen during and after your workout means that you’ll burn more calories. This is the effect you want to create in your workouts.
- The type of training that enhances EPOC: high intensity interval training (HIIT), Tabata, circuit training, heavy resistance training, and weightlifting circuits with short rests.
- Quality above quantity: focus on the intensity rather than the duration of your training to enhance the EPOC effect.
- Your aim should be to work out at 70 to 80% of your maximum heart rate.
- As an added bonus, over time these high intensity workouts that are geared towards amping up your oxygen consumption will vastly improve your endurance.
Remember that your body will require more time to recover fully from more intense workouts (which is the point in this case). In fact, your body might take as long as 48 hours to recover fully. So before you rush into this, don’t plan on completing such incredibly intense sessions on a daily basis. (No, that doesn’t mean you get an excuse to skip a day at the gym!) It means that you need a properly tailored workout plan to get maximum results. Not sure how to do that? Ask me for advice about how to safely and effectively introduce EPOC into your training and help you burn more calories!