EPOC After-Burn

Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption, or EPOC is the increased amount of oxygen that your body uses to return to its normal rate of metabolism, or homeostasis, following a workout.  This process is also known informally as the after-burn.  Most fitness enthusiasts measure the after-burn in terms of calories burned within a certain amount of time immediately following the workout.  For HOTWORX, the after-burn is measured during the 1 hour time period immediately following the workout.  It is important to note that EPOC and, therefore, calories burned within a certain time period immediately after a workout vary greatly depending on the intensity of the workout and body composition of the individual.

Calories are interlinked with EPOC.  Calories are units of measure that determine the level of oxygen processed by your body.  The website dictionary.com provides a more formal definition of a calorie below.

A nutritionist’s calorie is:  “A unit of energy-producing potential supplied by food and released upon oxidation by the body, equal to the amount of energy required to raise the temperature of 1 kilogram of water by 1°C at one atmosphere pressure.”  http://www.dictionary.com/browse/calorie

Oxygen consumption is also the best measure of workout effort.  Oxygen that is consumed by your body is measured by volume.  This is known as VO2 which stands for volume (V) of oxygen (O2).

“In essence, VO2 is the best indicator of exercise intensity because it is tied closely to energy expenditure. The higher the intensity, the more oxygen clients consume and the more calories they burn.” http://www.ideafit.com/fitness-library/calculating-caloric-expenditure-0

Adenosine Triphosphate, or ATP is the energy molecules used by your cells.  The food that you eat is converted into ATP for use as energy.  VO2 determines your body’s ability to generate ATP.  ATP provides energy to your muscles for your workouts.  Your VO2max, or your maximum level of oxygen consumption capability is the ultimate factor in determining your cardio fitness level.

VO2max can be improved, and one of the most effective ways to improve it is through HIIT.  HIIT, or high intensity interval training, is a proven training method for elite athletes enabling them to achieve the highest levels of VO2max.  HIIT can be used by fitness beginners as well so long as they approach a HIIT workout by going at their own best pace to achieve progress.

“Depending on the nature of the training program adopted, an unfit person can improve their VO2max from 5% to 30%.” http://www.shapesense.com/fitness-exercise/articles/vo2-and-vo2max.shtml

Steady-state oxygen consumption aerobics, such as normal treadmill activity, uses the aerobic pathways to produce ATP.  When ATP is derived from anaerobic pathways, however, the need for post-workout oxygen is increased and can raise the level of the after-burn, or EPOC effect.  Please recognize that this fact can create a false negative set of data when a person is relying on a device that measures calorie burning based primarily on heart rate.  Note that the result of a HIIT session might be even more effective than the calorie burn reading that is displayed on your Apple Watch or your FitBit might suggest.

Exercise that places a greater demand on the anaerobic energy pathways during the workout can increase the need for oxygen after the workout, thereby enhancing the EPOC.

The EPOC effect is caused by the workout recovery process that includes: ATP production, muscle glycogen resynthesis, blood oxygen restoration, muscle repair with protein, and body temperature restoration.

If you are looking for a quality EPOC, try the HOTWORX HIIT with the 15 minute Hot Cycle or Hot Row.

I’ll end this blog post with two quotes from the American Council on Exercise:


“HIGH-INTENSITY INTERVAL TRAINING (HIIT) IS THE MOST EFFECTIVE WAY TO STIMULATE THE EPOC EFFECT.”  https://www.acefitness.org/blog/5008/7-things-to-know-about-excess-post-exercise-oxygen-consumption-epoc

Stephen P. Smith, MA
CEO and Creator of HOTWORX, Author, Former National Collegiate Bodybuilding Champion and Arena Football Player, Certified Professional Trainer