Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption, also known as EPOC, is the calories you burn after working out. It’s your body trying to get back to its normal resting state. It’s also referred to as afterburn, for obvious reasons. While there are various studies that try to identify how long afterburn lasts by measuring how much oxygen is consumed, the results vary as widely as 15 minutes to 48 hours. Most studies suggest its approximately 24 hours. That difference comes from the fact that not only is each person’s physiology different, they type of exercise they do, the intensity and the duration makes a difference.
Intensity makes a huge difference.
The higher the intensity, the higher the EPOC response. Here are a few easy ways to measure the intensity of your workout. The easiest one is the talk test. If you can easily carry on a conversation and sing while you’re exercising, it’s low intensity. When talking is easy, but singing is out of the question, it’s medium. If you find it hard to say more than just a word or two as you workout, that’s high intensity. If only gasps come out when you try to talk and no words come out, dial it back a bit, it’s too high for long term workouts. Monitoring your heart rate is another method of identifying the intensity of the workout.
You get more results for the time spent when you have a high EPOC result.
Sure you’ll burn loads of calories while you workout, but when you choose specific exercises that have a high EPOC effect, you’ll continue to burn extra calories even after you’ve quit your workout. That’s like getting a two for one bargain or a great after gift. Knowing the right exercises to do helps you achieve that extra afterburn. That’s why we focus on those for people who want to shed pounds.
When you do interval training, you get more benefits in several ways.
You simply burn more calories in a shorter time frame when you do high intensity training, so you workout for a shorter period than steady state training and reap the same benefits. The afterburn is a bonus. Interval training is intense and not recommended for longer periods, but exceptional when monitored and done correctly.
- Just because interval training is good, it doesn’t mean you should give up your bike ride when you’re not at the gym or skip taking a run. It’s all good. Staying active is what its all about, whether you’re trying to keep fit, lose weight or prevent those joints from “rusting.”
- Circuit resistance training will boost the afterburn, just as interval training does.
- You can create your own “mini” interval sessions by taking the stairs instead of the elevator. Run up one flight, walk the next two. Use the talk test or wear a heart monitor to track your progress.
- Before you start any program of exercise, always check with your health care professional.