EPOC: The secret weapon to getting fit!
By: Robert Maalouf BS, CSCS, FMSC, CPT, CF-L1
In the past few decades it has become commonly accepted that exercise helps us with weight management, getting fit and staying healthy. Long gone are the days where people thought exercise was detrimental to your health. That being said, there have been many debates and controversies over what kinds of workouts are most effective for attaining results.
I am sure you have been bombarded with information from magazines and the internet with the latest and best workout trends, but it is important for us to understand why certain kinds of workouts might be more effective. Once we understand why certain workouts will yield better results than others, we can learn how to apply those principles and get better results in less time.
Do you think you need to spend 3 hours at the gym to get in shape? Well, thankfully that’s not the case. I personally train for about 45min-1hr, 4-5 days per week and stay in great shape, with abs throughout the year. Additionally my clients train with me about 2-3 days per week for 1hr long sessions and achieve great results and stay in shape.
What’s the secret? EPOC.
EPOC stands for excess post-exercise oxygen consumption and it is increased intake of oxygen consumption following strenuous physical activity. In simple terms, we refer to EPOC as the “afterburn” effect. In essence this means that even after you have finished your workout, your body will be burning calories at a higher than normal rate for up to 36 hours. Studies suggest that EPOC occurs after both, aerobic exercise (walking, cycling..) and anaerobic exercise (weight training, sprinting…), however the effect is greatest when training aerobically specially when training with High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).
To obtain the greatest EPOC effect we must truly exert ourselves while exercising, for example sprinting 100 meters and resting for 1 minute and repeating 10-15 times. What we must always remember is that the more strenuous the activity the greater the EPOC effect which in turns means more calories burned when you are not working out. It may take a while to get accustomed to training at high intensities specially if you are used to long bouts of steady state cardio. Take some time to let your body adapt to higher training intensities so that you may begin to reap the benefits of EPOC. I think we can all agree to burning more calories after our workout while doing nothing is a GREAT thing. The next time you are working out, remember to push yourself in order to achieve high levels of EPOC! If you want more specific pointers, or a custom made training plan to maximize your training efficiency check out our online training options.
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