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EPOC: Excess Post Oxygen Consumption; Huh?

Jan 14, 2012


Is this just another esoteric acronym? Not so much. I did have a student believing that it was 2pacs evil twin, but that only lasted for a few days. EPOC isn't precisely rocket science either. When you break it down, it means exactly what it says – the extra consumption of oxygen after exercise. I am going to elaborate in order to teach you what this term means and why it could be your best friend for 2012. What is it? EPOC is the physiological response that your body undergoes after a resistance training session and/or high intense interval training (HIIT) i.e., sprinting at 100%. Tiny microscopic tears have been induced at a cellular level to the muscle tissue and they must repair to adapt to further stresses – this mechanical and chemical inflammation is what produces muscle soreness, not lactic acid. What's the big hype with Mr. EPOC? To induce this positive effect, one needs to take into consideration a few different factors: age, genetics and intensity levels. Studies have shown that to maximize the post oxygen consumption, intensities need to replicate that of high intense circuits, high volume weight training and/or above 70% of your VO2 max. How many more calories am I burning? The studies do vary with how many calories are actually burned in the aftermath from as few as 50kcals to as many as additional 250kcals at rest. But most importantly, your body is building when you are not working, which takes energy and an increase in your metabolism. Think of it like this. Running at 7.0 mph can burn up to 300 kcals in 30 minutes. That's all you get. Doing a circuit with lunges, squats, bench press, pull-ups and jumping jacks might burn 300kcals or maybe even a little more. Enter EPOC. Your body needs to repair the damage in your legs, chest and back; this requires energy which means calories will be burned at rest and the end result is a higher amount of muscle and metabolism (some studies say that you will be building for up to 72 hrs after your workout.)

Here are a few recommendations. Change your routine. It's the New Year and unless you are completely content with your physique, it's most likely that your body is bored with your current routine. Check out the circuit below. You need to constantly change the principal of FITT (Frequency of your workouts, Intensity, Time/Duration and Type.) If you have never worked with a personal trainer, Show up Fitness can help change that! We will teach you how to exercise correctly by designing workouts with intense circuits that will yield the best results you have seen in years. The following workout should take between 30-45 minutes. Rest when needed and if you ever experience dizziness or chest pains, stop immediately and consult your physician. Circuit #1: 10 Spiderman push-ups, 10 Burpees, 30 seconds of mountain climbers, 10 bosu ball squats into a band row, 10 push-jerks. 10 aussie pull-ups. Remember FITT. If that is too easy, go to 25 reps or try going for time i.e. push-ups for 30 seconds then Burpees etc. SHAKE AND BAKE!!!

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