What is EPOC?
When we train we need energy. The intensity of our training session determines where our body derives this energy.
During a training session your body will normally use your aerobic pathway. You use oxygen to produce ATP (Adenosine triphosphate), which is the fuel your body needs for muscular activity.
If you up your training intensity, then your energy demands will also increase. Your body will produce ATP anaerobically (ie without oxygen). It increases the need for oxygen after your workout and is called Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC), or the oxygen debt.
Thank you, Homeostasis
EPOC is the amount of oxygen required to restore your body to its normal, resting level of metabolic function. It is the reason your body will continue to burn calories long after you have finished your workout.
After training, oxygen is used for a number of functions:
- Producing ATP to replenish stores used during the session
- Restoring body temperature back to normal
- Re-synthesis of muscle glycogen from lactate in the liver during a process known as Gluconeogenesis
- Restoring oxygen levels in your venous blood, muscle blood and myoglobin
- Working with protein to repair tissue damaged during training
When it comes to losing body fat, research has shown that the more oxygen that is burnt during and after a session, the more calories expended. Burn more calories, drop more body fat!
How do I increase EPOC?
Training for a longer period of time does not mean that EPOC will be greater. It is the intensity of the session that affects EPOC. High intensity training such as lifting heavy weights, HIIT sessions and circuit training are all ways of increasing the amount of oxygen your body needs and therefore increasing EPOC. It is important to focus on keeping rest periods short and weights heavy.
Advanced intense training methods
The advanced training world loves German Body Composition (GBC) training. It is characterised by short rest intervals and the use of multi-joint exercises to stimulate Growth hormone production.
Give GBC a try and I can guarantee your EPOC will be higher than it has ever been before.