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The Best Way To Burn Fat: EPOC

Excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC, informally called afterburn) is a measurably increased rate of oxygen intake following strenuous activity intended to erase the body’s “oxygen deficit”. In fact, the term “oxygen debt” is still widely used to this day. In recovery, oxygen (EPOC) is used in the processes that restore the body to a resting state and adapt it to the exercise just performed. Another use of EPOC is to fuel the body’s increased metabolism from the increase in body temperature which occurs during exercise. EPOC is accompanied by an elevated consumption of fuel. THAT FUEL IS FAT!

The EPOC effect is greatest soon after the exercise is completed and decays to a lower level over time. Anaerobic exercise in the form of high-intensity interval training was also found in one study to result in greater loss of subcutaneous fat, even though the subjects expended fewer than half as many calories during exercise! In a 1992 Purdue study, results showed that high intensity, anaerobic type exercise resulted in a significantly greater magnitude of EPOC than aerobic exercise of equal work output.

OK, Clint! Enough of the exercise lingo! What does that mean to me?!?! It means, if your workouts are short and intense, you will continue to burn fat via EPOC for up to 38 hours after you finish. If you do LSD (steady state exercise on a treadmill, outside, elliptical, etc.) EPOC ends very shortly after you’re done!

OK, fitness boy?! How the heck do I do that?! The easiest way to attain and maintain intensity is interval (fast/rest) training. Interval is the best of cardio and Tabata (20 seconds hard exercise/10 seconds rest) is the King intervals!!!!

By the way, there is a way to get the EPOC effect in your resistance training (lifting), too. Weight lifting using compound lifts, which means multijoint weightlifting exercises performing a weightlifting circuit that alternates between upper- and lower-body exercises will place a greater demand on the involved muscles for Adenosine triphosphate, or ATP for short. ATP is a high-energy molecule found in every cell. Its job is to store and supply the cell with needed energy. Increased demand for anaerobic ATP also causes a greater demand on the aerobic system to resupply the muscles with ATP during the rest periods and during exercise recovery.

So what does all this mean? It means that intensity is more important than duration. Exercise sessions need to be short, fast and hard. Cardio needs to be high intensity intervals, whether it is body-weight circuits, sprints, or some type of machine like elliptical or treadmill. Lifting must favor compound exercises such as squats, deadlifts, bench press, over isolation exercises like curls or leg extensions. The cardio sessions alone will give you the EPOC effect for up to 36 hours after exercise is over!

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