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Fitness Simplified: EPOC

17th October 2012
Fitness Simplified: EPOC

Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption is the term used to describe the number of calories burned after exercise is completed, and is commonly referred to as the Afterburn Effect. There is a lot of research being done concerning this topic, and it can get pretty overwhelming. Here is my simplified explanation for what it is and how to use it to your advantage.

Basically, during exercise you put stress on your body, which is why your heart rate increases, you breathe much faster, and your muscles burn. After you have completed your workout, your body uses energy (burns calories) to repair the stress and get back to a pre-workout resting state. In other words, after a strenuous workout your body increases it’s metabolism for as long as it takes to return your body to homeostasis. Some research suggests that EPOC can last for up to 48 hours!

So how can you use this to your advantage? Research done on EPOC has concluded that the more intense the exercise, the greater amount of calories you will burn afterwards. For example, doing burpees using the Tabata Method of interval training  will burn more calories post-workout than a steady state jog. This doesn’t mean that you should eliminate steady state cardio from your exercise regimen. It means that you should mix up your workouts in order to include more intense bouts of exercise. You can make your workouts more intense by increasing weight, reps, & speed. You can also decrease rest periods between exercises.

Now this is a very simple explanation of the Afterburn Effect, but if you are a geek like me, you can click on the links below to read a more scientific explanation of what is happening inside your body after your workout.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Excess_post-exercise_oxygen_consumption

http://www.drlenkravitz.com/Articles/epoc.html

http://www.builtlean.com/2011/06/29/afterburn-effect-of-exercise-qa-with-dr-christopher-scott-phd/

 

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