September 25, 2023

While you’re in the midst of a exercise, you’ll be able to really feel your physique working onerous: you sweat, you shake, you breathe heavier. If somebody asks whether or not you’re burning energy in the midst of an intense health club session, you’d say sure, in fact!

However what about after your settle down? Do you assume you’re burning energy then? In keeping with the rules of extra post-exercise oxygen consumption, or EPOC, you in all probability are.


What Is EPOC?

EPOC refers back to the extra energy your physique burns following sure forms of train, above and past what it burns in the course of the exercise itself. In some circles, it’s been held up because the Holy Grail of train: it may be an environment friendly mechanism for chiseling fats out of your body, even after you permit the health club.

Typically you would possibly hear EPOC referred to as the “afterburn impact.” This refers back to the energy which can be burned after a exercise when your physique is repairing itself and getting again to its regular resting state.


Why Does EPOC Occur?

Give it some thought like this: while you flip your oven off after baking a sheet of chocolate-chip cookies, the oven stays sizzling for a while afterward. The warmer it was while you turned it off, the longer it’ll keep sizzling.

The identical precept applies to train: After you exercise, your physique stays “sizzling” for awhile, and takes a while to return to “room temperature”— which means your regular resting state, or resting “metabolic” charge.

What’s taking place on this post-workout window? Like a NASCAR pit crew, your physique is scrambling round like mad: it’s dialing your respiration and coronary heart charge again to regular, clearing waste out of your muscle mass and refilling them with gasoline, re-oxygenating your blood, and repairing broken muscle and connective tissue.

All that repair-and-recoup exercise requires your physique to make the most of extra energy and use extra oxygen than it usually does. And that’s the EPOC definition in it’s most elementary sense: it’s the extra power you burn as your physique restores and repairs itself following a troublesome exercise.


How Lengthy Does EPOC Final?

The scale and length of EPOC is set by each the duration and intensity of your workout. The longer and more durable you’re employed out, the larger EPOC ranges you’ll see.

“Repairing mechanical harm to muscle mass and replenishing power programs can take 48 to 72 hours, relying in your bodily conditioning and the type of exercise you accomplished,” says NASM efficiency enhancement specialist Cody Braun, CPT.


What Exercises Set off the Best EPOC Ranges?

Since it is a measure of the oxygen you eat — and never coronary heart charge — you’ll be able to solely measure it inside a lab. That makes it troublesome to pinpoint precisely how a lot EPOC is produced from any given exercise.

However usually, brief, intense coaching classes (like HIIT) can produce extra EPOC per minute of train than steady-state coaching (like distance working).

For instance, in case you go on a brief, simple jog, EPOC could solely final a couple of minutes. However in case you do a strength-training session utilizing brief relaxation intervals and difficult weights, it may final for much longer. Equally, circuit coaching produces considerably extra EPOC than commonplace coaching; quick biking produces extra EPOC than gradual biking.

A recent study discovered that 20 minutes of interval coaching burned about as many complete energy over 24 hours as a 50-minute steady-state session. And another study nonetheless discovered that each resistance train and interval coaching produced extra EPOC than steady-state coaching.

It’s simple to see why EPOC is such an interesting thought: it appears to vow an ideal answer for time-strapped exercisers trying to tighten their waistlines. For those who put in a fast, high-intensity exercise Monday morning, then the science appears to say you can burn further energy all through breakfast on Wednesday.


How Does EPOC Burn Fats, and How A lot Fats Can It Burn?

In contrast to most fitness myths, EPOC is, the truth is, an actual impact that contributes to caloric expenditure. Nonetheless, this doesn’t completely translate to fats loss — though it may assist.

The quantity of fats you burn in the end is determined by a number of elements, like how a lot fats it’s a must to begin with and your metabolic charge. So once we’re speaking about EPOC “burning” issues, we’re taking about burning energy, which can in flip burn fats for some individuals.

With that cleared up, what number of energy does EPOC burn?

Sadly, essentially the most up-to-date analysis signifies that, no matter whether or not you dash or jog, raise or cycle, the overwhelming majority of power you burn from train happens throughout the exercise itself — not after. EPOC can account for a further six to 15 percent power burn after your exercise, however hardly ever greater than that.

That signifies that the EPOC following an especially powerful lifting and interval coaching exercise throughout which you burn 400 energy, would possibly solely be 60 energy, or roughly the energy in a few unflavored rice truffles.

However that’s not dangerous! Churn by three to 4 exercises like that in every week and that provides as much as fairly a number of rice truffles. Nonetheless, it’s hardly a license to binge: For those who chow down on a single cupcake, that may add as much as (or surpass) any extra energy you may need burned on account of EPOC, even in case you labored out at very excessive depth each time you exercised.

However every particular person is completely different — all of it is determined by the dimensions of the particular person and what number of energy they actively burn.

“The largest thought to remove from EPOC is that coaching with a better depth a number of instances every week can add some optimistic muscular harm in addition to extra energy burned,” Braun says. “It’s not the be all, finish all, however for individuals trying to lose physique fats, it should solely enhance their probability of success.”

This brings us again to an oft-repeated level: Train, in all its kinds, is invaluable for cardiovascular health, sustaining muscle mass, power, and all manners of athletic efficiency. It boosts your temper, will increase confidence, and might help you look higher — nevertheless you outline it.

So in case you’re going to place your religion in one thing that may undoubtedly enable you to lose fats, it will be a well-designed exercise plan that’s carried out diligently, a number of days every week. EPOC is only a good serving to hand.