What is EPOC, you might ask? Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption.
That’s what EPOC stands for. What it is can be very important for those looking to lose a bit of weight, get in better shape, or both. It’s the body trying to return to normal after you’re done exercising. Ever go for a nice hard run? The body continues to sweat long after you’re done running. Part of that is the EPOC effect. Your body will intake more oxygen until it returns to its natural resting state. This can last for a few hours after exercise, and some say up to 48 hours after a hard resistance training workout.
This is why athletes and non-athletes need to understand the effect of EPOC. When you’re finished your exercise, the body doesn’t just quit. It is still working, getting stronger and faster with increased metabolism. Aerobic activity is said to raise your metabolism for a few hours after exercise. An intense resistance training or anaerobic work is said to raise your metabolism up to 48 hours after! The oxygen the body needs is what helps burn the calories. And the body needing more oxygen means the body will burn more calories. A raised metabolism will help that.
The more oxygen required by the body then, the more calories will be burned. That statement leads one to think that aerobic activity is where it’s at if you’re looking to lose weight. But that’s not the whole story. Resistance training and anaerobic interval training are key in getting that.
Anaerobic training is tough. When I say anaerobic interval training, I may sound a little redundant. That’s because if you’re working in one of the two anaerobic energy systems, you’ll have to do intervals. The key point is that you’ll need to tap into the anaerobic energy systems for the greatest EPOC effect.
I’ll try not to sound too scientific, but the two anaerobic energy systems are important for you to understand if you want to experience the best EPOC effect. The phosphagen and the glycolytic energy systems are the two anaerobic systems that I’m talking about. The phosphagen system is the one that you use first and lasts about 10 seconds. Think of the 100m or 200m sprint. The glycolytic system lasts for up to 2 minutes. Think about the 400m or 800m sprint. Try doing intervals with those distances: complete one, short rest, and complete another one.
To get good resistance training for your goals, go for exercises that involve large muscle groups, and require more muscles. These types of exercises are called complex exercises. Want to work the triceps? Stay away from tricep pulldowns and try push-ups, which also work the core and the chest. Time to work the legs, head for the back squat, which will work the core, glutes, and quads.
While resistance training has been shown to increase the EPOC effect more than steady-state aerobic activity, the EPOC effect is also shown to be influenced by the intensity of the exercise. It’s not just doing exercise for the sake of doing exercise. It’s doing exercise with a bit of intensity. You need to make yourself sweat and breathe heavy. Use those rest periods wisely during interval training or resistance training. Recover, get a little bit of your energy back, and go again. This goes for everyone, including athletes and non-athletes. That’s how we get better!
If you’d like to get some use of that EPOC effect in the best way, try one of the programs below and give me a call.
Scott Paul, Driving Force Sports Performance Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist, Performance Enhancement Specialist 289-228-4424 [email protected]
If you’d like to get some use of that EPOC effect in the best way, try one of my programs below and give me a call.