“Ever heard me say on certain high intensity exercises that you will keep burning more energy after the session Well here’s the science behind that;
“Can you feel the Burn ”…. Most of us would have experienced the burning sensation you get in your muscles whilst working out, Well, that’s our muscles’ oxygen depletion and lactic acid build-up. For our body to recover, we owe it oxygen. This is where the magic happens – This is known as the EPOC affect.
What is EPOC?
EPOC, otherwise known as ‘afterburn‘, is the increased rate of oxygen your body consumes after strenuous exercise. High intensity work forces the body to replenish its oxygen stores and remove the lactic acid in your muscles in the hours after you work out. For anything between 8 – 24 hours after a high intensity session, your body can be burning calories at a higher rate while it goes through this process of replenishing.
Regular exercise will create more muscle and more muscle burns more fat. That is well known. But did you know that a brief, but intense exercise could cause you to continue to burn fat up to 48 hours after your training? This is thanks to the Excess Post Oxygen Consumption Process (EPOC).
Why do we experience this effect?
After a bout of exercise, our body has to restore itself to homeostasis, or its resting state. This recovery process requires energy, which is why we see an increase in calories expended post-exercise compared to pre-exercise.
How long does EPOC last?
While it has been stated that the body can take 15 minutes to 48 hours to fully recover from exercise research does not definitively answer this question. The majority of studies we reviewed measured oxygen consumption within 24 hours post-exercise. That said, previous research has indicated that oxygen consumption (and thus, caloric expenditure) may be increased up to 24 hours after exercise.
How much does EPOC increase our caloric expenditure?
This is where things start to get a little tricky. Again, research has yielded mixed results on the overall effect of EPOC following a single bout of exercise, as many factors contribute to this elevated caloric expenditure (think: mode of exercise, intensity & duration of exercise, exerciser fitness level, gender, research methodology, etc.). In general, most research we reviewed showed an additional energy expenditure of 50 – 200 calories due to EPOC following resistance training and interval training. Keep in mind that a greater amount of calories were expended during the actual exercise session.
How does exercise affect EPOC?
High-intensity and/or longer duration cardiorespiratory and resistance exercise seem to elicit the greatest EPOC response. A general rule of thumb is that the higher the intensity (and the more the exercise disrupts our homeostasis), the greater the magnitude and duration of EPOC following exercise. MYZONE makes it easy for us to gauge the intensity of our workouts – we can think of exercise in the YELLOW and RED zones as having the greatest effect on EPOC.
Though longer exercise sessions have been show to elicit a greater EPOC response compared to shorter sessions, exercise intensity is suggested to be the main contributor to EPOC.
This is why a recent trend in HIIT workouts has taken off, this high intensity interval training is proven to burn fat hours after completing the exercises.
Increased oxygen uptake
During a workout, your body requires more oxygen. When you're done with your workout the extra oxygen required does not drop immediately. That above normal oxygen consumption is called EPOC. The goal is to achieve a higher oxygen intake that persists as long as possible in order to enjoy the beneficial effects, even during your day of rest.
A higher EPOC value thanks to a HIIT workout
Why is this theory so important to know? Well... Studies have shown that EPOC values increase faster with (short) intense workouts rather than with longer, but less intensive training. An intense HIIT workout of 12 minutes can therefore equal or even surpass the after-burn effect of a longer training.
Don’t forget to rest
Because of all adrenaline and motivation we sometimes give our body not enough time to rest and recover. The days we rest are just as important as the days we exercise. Because of the higher oxygen intake your body recovers faster, your hormonal system is brought up to standard quicker, the energy stock is replenished and cells are repaired.
Consistency in training is key, but don’t forget to mix it up try a HIIT workout there are variations for all abilities With a little dedication, I promise you are going to notice a massive difference in your results. Having a stronger metabolism through the EPOC effect will ensure that you burn more calories than usual, and reach your goals that much faster.