When you’re in the middle of a workout, you can feel your body working hard: you sweat, you tremble, you breathe harder. If someone asks you if you burn calories in the middle of an intense gym session, you say yes, of course!
But what about after your chill? Do you think you are burning calories then? According to the principles of excessive oxygen consumption after exerciseor EPOC, you probably are.
What is EPOC?
EPOC refers to the extra calories your body burns after certain types of exercise, beyond what it burns during the workout itself. In some circles, it’s been touted as the holy grail of exercise: it can be an effective mechanism for chiseling fat from your body, even after leaving the gym.
Sometimes you might hear EPOC referred to as “the afterburner effect”. This refers to the calories burned after a workout as your body repairs itself and returns to its normal resting state.
Why does EPOC occur?
Think of it like this: when you turn off your oven after baking a sheet of chocolate chip cookies, the oven stays hot for a while afterwards. The hotter it was when you turned it off, the longer it will stay hot.
The same principle applies to exercise: after your workout, your body stays “warm” for a while and takes a while to return to “room temperature”, i.e. your resting state. normal or your “metabolic” rate at rest.
What happens in this post-workout window? Like a NASCAR pit team, your body is hustling like crazy: bringing your breathing and heart rate back to normal, removing waste from your muscles and refueling them, re-oxygenating your blood and repairing muscles and joints. damaged connective tissues.
All of this repair and recovery activity requires your body to use more calories and use more oxygen than it normally does. And that’s the definition of EPOC in its most basic sense: it’s the extra energy you burn as your body regenerates and repairs itself after an intense workout.
How long does EPOC last?
The size and duration of EPOC are determined by both the duration and intensity of your training. The longer and harder you train, the higher levels of EPOC you will see.
“Repairing mechanical damage to muscles and rebuilding energy systems can take 48 to 72 hours, depending on your physical condition and the style of training you’ve been doing,” says Cody Braun, CPT, Muscle Enhancement Specialist. NASM performance.
Which workouts trigger the highest EPOC levels?
Since it’s a measure of the oxygen you’re consuming – not heart rate – you can only measure it inside a lab. It is therefore difficult to determine exactly how much EPOC is produced from a given workout.
But usually short, intense workouts (like HIIT) can produce more EPOC per minute of exercise than steady-state training (such as running).
For example, if you take a short, easy jog, EPOC may only last a few minutes. But if you do a weight training session using short rest intervals and hard weights, it can last. much longer. Likewise, circuit training produces significantly more EPOC than standard training; a fast cycle produces more EPOC than a slow cycle.
A recent study found that 20 minutes of interval training burned about as many total calories over 24 hours as a 50-minute steady-state session. And another study further found that resistance exercise and interval training produced more EPOC than steady-state training.
It’s easy to see why EPOC is such an appealing idea: it seems to promise a perfect solution for time-pressed athletes looking to tighten their waistlines. If you train fast and at high intensity on Monday morning, science seems to say that you can burn extra calories throughout breakfast on Wednesday.
How does EPOC burn fat and how much fat can it burn?
unlike most fitness myths, EPOC is, in fact, an actual effect that contributes to calorie expenditure. However, this doesn’t translate perfectly to fat loss, although it can help.
How much fat you burn ultimately depends on a few things, like how much fat you have to start with and your metabolic rate. So when we talk about EPOC “burning” things, we are talking about burning calories, which in turn can burn fat for some people.
With that cleared up, how much calories Does EPOC burn?
Unfortunately, the most recent research indicates that whether you’re sprinting or jogging, lifting weights or riding a bike, the vast majority of the energy you burn from exercise occurs during the workout itself – not after. EPOC may represent an additional six to 15 percent burn energy after your workout, but rarely more than that.
This means that the EPOC after an extremely difficult lifting and interval training workout in which you burn 400 calories, may be only 60 calories, or about the calories of a few flavorless rice cakes.
But it’s not bad! Do three to four workouts like this in a week and that’s a lot of rice cakes. However, this is not a license to binge: if you eat just one cupcake, it can add (or exceed) any extra calories you may have burned due to EPOC, even if you train very hard. high intensity every time you exercised.
But each person is different – it all depends on the size of the person and the number of calories he is actively burning.
“The biggest takeaway from EPOC is that training with a higher intensity a few times a week can add positive muscle damage as well as additional calories burned,” Braun says. “That’s not all, but for people looking to lose body fat, it will only increase their chances of success.”
This brings us back to an oft-repeated point: exercise, in any form, is invaluable for cardiovascular fitness, maintaining muscle mass, strength, and all forms of athletic performance. It improves your mood, boosts your confidence, and can help you look better, no matter how defined you are.
So, if you want to trust something that will undoubtedly help you lose fat, it would be a well-designed workout plan that is diligently executed, several days a week. EPOC is just a good helping hand.