Getting in shape and losing fat is not an easy task, and it’s certainly not something that happens overnight. People seem to think that all that’s involved is eating less, and doing more exercise, but the reality is that it’s a far more complex procedure than that, with a great deal of science and body chemistry involved. One method of training which has been getting a lot of attention, and has so far yielded pretty impressive fitness and fat-loss results, is one which is known as EPOC (Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption) training, and it is this which we’ll be looking at here.
What is EPOC?
EPOC (or Excess Post Exercise Oxygen Consumption) training, sometimes referred to as ‘afterburn’ refers to an increased rate of oxygen intake and consumption following strenuous activity, such as exercise, when compared with oxygen consumed when the body is in a more docile and resting state. If this so far means nothing to you, let’s clarify and go into more detail.
When we begin any form of physical exercise or activity, our bodies are actually forced to make a decision as to which type of energy they’ll use, to supply us with the necessary energy required to get us through whatever it is that we’re doing. The body will make this decision based on the intensity of the exercise and activity that we’re putting it through. The body requires a certain amount of oxygen to get us through various types of exercise, and as we progress through our workouts, these oxygen demands will eventually be met. How long it takes for these demands to be met will depend on just how intensely we happen to be working out.
When we stop working out, the body’s needs for higher amounts of energy will be reduced, yet the body will still continue to consume extra oxygen, even though it no longer requires as much. This amount of excess oxygen is known as EPOC, which is oxygen used by the body to help it recover after a bout of strenuous physical activity.
So, why is this important, and how can EPOC training help?
After we exercise, our bodies continue to burn energy in order to allow our various energy systems to recover. The harder we train, the longer the body will continue to expend energy to aid our recovery. The longer the recovery period lasts, the more energy the body will burn.
For this reason, you can actually use your own body as a fat burning vessel, allowing you to burn calories and excess body fat, even when you’re “resting” and not working out. As we said, the more intensely we train, the more energy the body will require to aid our recovery, for this reason, we can incorporate high intensity workouts into our weekly training routine, meaning that not only will we burn more calories during the actual workouts, but we’ll also temporarily be able to increase our metabolisms, allowing us to burn more calories during our initial recovery periods too.
A higher intensity form of training means a bigger oxygen deficit and a longer recovery period following the workout. This in turn will result in more calories being burned, even whilst we rest and recover following the workout.
What are some typical training examples?
A great method of training to really maximize your post-workout calorie burning potential is what is known as High Intensity, Interval Training, or HIIT for short. This method of training can be incorporated into a variety of different activities, including cardio on a treadmill.
Rather than simply walking or lightly jogging at a steady speed on the treadmill for an hour or so, HIIT requires you to alternate between periods of high intensity, and low intensity exercise, so for example:
– You’d begin by walking or lightly jogging on a treadmill at a steady pace for around two minutes.
– After two minutes, you’d increase the speed and would sprint as fast as you can for around 30 – 60 seconds, before slowing down to a steady pace once more.
– You’d repeat this process several more times, typically between 7 – 12 times further, and you should find that by the end of your workout after 20 minutes or so, you’ll have burnt more calories than you would have done in an entire hour whilst training at a steady pace.
– Not only that, but as the exercise is so intense, you’ll also be burning calories long after you complete your workout.
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