Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC) vs. Calories Burned
research of weight
training and EPOC has noted a
relationship between exercise intensity and
rate. As weight lifting intensity
increases, the EPOC duration also increases.
According to a study by Osterberg, K. L. & Melby, C. L., 2000. (Effect of acute
resistance exercise on postexercise oxygen consumption and resting metabolic
rate in young women. International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise
Metabolism, 10 (1), 71-81.) EPOC was found elevated by 13%
higher than pre-exercise baseline
oxygen consumption (VO2)
throughout the three-hour post-exercise measurement phase and was measured every
Seven females, with an average age of 27 years, height of 66 inches, weight of
141.5 pounds and body
fat of 18.3 percent, participated
in this research study. Subjects were required to maintain body-weight
stability, defined as no gain or loss
of weight greater than 2
kilograms (4.4 pounds) in the last six months. All subjects’ meals were
standardized prior to and during the exercise intervention.
The exercise program consisted of five sets of 10 different exercises.
The exercises were performed in agonist/antagonist pairs (push/pull sequence),
with 10 to 15 repetitions per set. Opposing muscle groups were paired together
to avoid premature failure due to muscular fatigue, and the last two sets of
each exercise were
performed to failure. The exercise groupings consisted of bench
press and bent-over
extension and leg
curl; military press and sit-ups; biceps
triceps extension and lunges and lateral
raises. The subjects were given a four-minute time period to perform the
exercise pairs and could rest for the remainder of the time if they finished
before the four minutes expired. The subjects’ average RMR was 4.2 percent
higher 16 hours following exercise, when compared to the pre-workout RMR. It was
concluded that intense resistance training produces modest, but prolonged
elevation of post-exercise metabolic rate in women.
What is EPOC?
Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC)
or "exercise afterburn.” is a measure of increased oxygen consumption after
exercise or strenuous activity. For
a person on a 2000 calorie diet, a 5 percent increase in VO2 over 24 hours would
result in an extra 25 calories being burned as a result of the EPOC effect.
One of the reasons for this occurrence is that after exercise your body is
restoring its depleted glycogen (carbohydrate)
reserves, therefore, it turns to fat for its primary fuel source! In
addition, lactate, molecule produced during more intense exercise, is converted
to pyruvate for fuel utilization. The body begin work on restoration of the
muscle glycogen (a stored form of glucose) that has been used during the
During EPOC, the body forced to expend energy to return to the normal core
body temperature, thus more molecular utilization. Re oxygenation of blood is
carried out post workout previously used to break down food substrates for
To sum up:
After exercise the body is made to:
Replenish energy stores (such as ATP and muscle glycogen)
Re-oxygenate the blood
Restore body temperature levels to a pre-exercise state
Restore pre-exercise breathing and heart-rate levels
All of these processes require the consumption of additional oxygen, as well as
energy, after exercise. A fact that stands true is that, by
maximizing the amount of oxygen you can burn more calories. Even
though the amount of energy expenditure post-exercise is small, it could be
argued that small increases over an extended period of time can amount to
significant calories burned. Adherence to exercise, both aerobic as well as
strength training, supported with prolonged EPOC can help one achieve long
A single 20-minute strength-training
workout burns as many calories as
25 miles of running.
Tips to maximize your EPOC:
Interval Training - shake up your workout by throwing in some high intensity
intervals. Not only will they help you burn more calories while you are
performing them, they can also crank up your EPOC levels, not to mention making
squats a little bit less boring.
Lift Heavy - Begin lifting some real iron. Choose weights that
make it a challenge (but not impossible) to complete 8-10 reps. Some studies
have shown that heavy resistance training can have an even greater overall
effect on EPOC than aerobic or cardiovascular exercise.
Reduce Your Resting time - Another simple yet highly effective way to increase
your EPOC is to reduce your rest intervals in between sets while working out.
Instead of taking 1-2 mins between sets cut it down to 45 seconds, and use a
timer to keep you on track. Shorter rest basically gives you less time for
recovery thus requiring more time after the workout to replenish the overall
oxygen consumed during the workout.
Force your body to work harder.
Dated 16 August 2012