What if you could keep burning calories even after your workout is over? Well, good news: the EPOC effect says you can. 

Otherwise known as the ‘exercise afterburn effect,’ EPOC has been linked to increased weight loss and muscle gain. By working out harder, increasing your heart rate and consuming more oxygen, you can keep your metabolism running far after you’ve left the gym. 

So, what exactly is EPOC and how can you make it work for you?

What is the EPOC effect? 

First off, what does EPOC stand for? The EPOC acronym stands for excess post-exercise oxygen consumption and has been linked to heightened metabolic rate and increased caloric burn. It refers to the amount of oxygen required to revert your body back to its resting metabolic state after a strenuous and intense workout.

Your metabolism converts nutrients into a chemical compound called adenosine triphosphate (ATP) and uses it as fuel during muscular activity. To experience the EPOC effect, you must exert energy using your ATP reserve rather than a steady flow of oxygen. 

The more oxygen your body needs to restore itself to its normal resting state, the more calories you burn. After an intense workout, your body uses oxygen to restore ATP and repair damaged muscles and cells, which will allow you to burn more calories over an extended period of time. But, your routine jog won’t push your body enough. You have to increase your heart rate through intense exercise to achieve a state of prolonged caloric burn. 

Key takeaways:  

  • The harder you work out, the more ATP you use and the more oxygen you’ll need to restore ATP levels after your workout. 
  • The more oxygen your body needs to restore itself to its normal resting state, the more calories you burn. 

How to stimulate the EPOC effect:

Choosing the right EPOC exercises, among a few other variables, can help you reach a heightened metabolic state. So, let’s jump into everything you need to know about EPOC and how it can create results for you. 

1. The best after burn exercise 

You have to workout intensely to the point of fatigue to experience the EPOC effect. But, not any ol’ workout will do. Here’s a list of afterburn workouts that will help you continue to burn calories after your workout. 

  • Fast twitch exercises
    • Fast twitch exercises, like lifting and plyometrics, focus on strength. They require more power in quick intervals, creating denser and bigger muscles which require more ATP during your workout. 
  • Circuit and heavy resistance training
    • You can tap into ATP as an energy source by doing compound strength training in circuits with minimal recovery time, which will increase your oxygen intake during your recovery intervals and post workout.
  • HIIT workouts
    • High intensity interval training (HIIT) is the best EPOC workout. It incorporates fast twitch exercises, circuits and resistance training, creating the perfect combination for the best EPOC results. By doing intense intervals with minimal recovery time, you’re able to deplete the oxygen in your body quicker and onset EPOC after your workout. 

2. Focus more on intensity than duration

The length of your workout doesn’t matter, but the intensity does. Focus on exhausting yourself in a short amount of time, so your body requires more oxygen intake during recovery and burns more calories. 

3. Intervals vs steady state exercising 

If your goal is to experience EPOC and continue to burn calories after your workout, then it’s crucial to focus on intervals rather than steady state exercising. That means training with speed intervals rather than long distance running. 

4. More oxygen = more calories burned

Lastly, the more oxygen you need to replenish your body after your workout, the more calories you will continue to burn. So, focus on intense workouts that leave your body feeling fatigued. However, you shouldn’t train like this all week. A good rule of thumb is to train intensely about three times per week and incorporate other less intense workouts so your body can recover and avoid injury. 

Tracking the intensity of your workout

If you want to track the intensity of your workouts, then Accuro’s heart rate monitors and app are here to help you get the job done. Effortlessly track your heart rate, calories burned, training zones and intensity while you exercise to give you optimal opportunity to reach the EPOC state.