A Simple explanation of Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC) and its benefits for FAT LOSS and MUSCLE GAIN*

Wednesday, 27 February 2019, By Nicolas Rouco

EPOC (Excess post-exercise oxygen consumption)

What is EPOC?

Excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC, informally called afterburn or oxygen debt) is a measurably increased rate of oxygen intake following strenuous activity.

Like a car engine after you have reached your destination, it stays warm until it gradually cools down. The same thing happens with our bodies after exercise. Your body's metabolism can continue to burn more calories than when at complete rest. This physiological effect is called Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption, this is the amount of oxygen required to restore your body to its normal resting metabolic rate (Homeostasis). EPOC is the greatest immediately after exercise. Some studies have found that EPOC lasts up to 24 hours.

How would it benefit me?

Fat loss: High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is the most effective way to stimulate the EPOC effect. We can only sustain high-intensity activity for a brief period of time as we simply run out of energy. This is due to production of energy being provided by anaerobic pathways as it is much quicker. Anaerobic metabolism is when the body exclusively uses glucose (and glycogen) as a fuel in the absence of oxygen or more specifically when energy is needed at rate that exceed aerobic metabolism, anaerobic exercise can last for up to 2 minutes.

Build Lean Muscle: Heavy training loads or shorter recovery intervals increase the demand on the anaerobic system during exercise. Control throughout the whole duration of the exercise is a must and short rest such as 30 seconds between sets. This is so that you do not recover fully from the previous working set. The reason why I would recommend completing weighted/resistance exercises controlled is because the muscles that are being targeted are going to be under tension for at least 48 second, in this time muscle fibres are going to have micro fibre tears to them then this matched with a high protein rich and healthy diet and stretching sequence will aid in making sure that those muscle fibres will repair not only as quick as possible but stronger than they were before, this will be why you may find you are able to lift a heavier weight the next time. 

What are a few signs of EPOC?

  • Increased heart rate post exercise
  • Out of breath post exercise
  • Increased sweating post exercise
  • Increased appetite post exercise
    • These are all signs that your body is still working to cool you down, restore your body and create balance again post exercise.

So, to conclude, if you would like to increase your efficiency in fat loss and muscle gain EPOC can be responsible for your success based on a few points mentioned above. For more information contact our studio today to talk with one of our expert trainers.

Stay Healthy!

*Disclaimer: Individual results vary based on agreed goals. Click here for details.

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