You have noticed that after cooking when you turn the stove off, it’s not cool immediately – it takes some time for it to return to its normal state. The same thing happens with our body when we exercises – it takes some time for our body to restore the balance and return to its resting state. During the recovery time, we need more oxygen so that our bodies could function properly, and it might take as long as 48 hours for our bodies to recover fully. This recovery period can actually help you burn more calories as EPOC comes on the scene.
Understand the concept of EPOC
EPOC stands for excess post-exercise oxygen consumption and it is the amount of oxygen your body needs to get back to normal state and it is excess compared to the amount of oxygen you needed before doing exercises. When your body is in post-exercise state, there are a lot of processes going on which require oxygen, and thus you burn calories even when you’ve stopped working out.
Before you start doing exercises, your body is at resting state, and doesn’t require excess oxygen levels. Once you start with your training, your muscles fill with lactic acid and we use up our oxygen supplies, which need to be replenished in the period following our training session. To recover, our body needs energy, so we spend more calories during post-exercise period than we did during pre-exercise period. Research suggests  that more intense exercises that maximize excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, or EPOC, have a positive effect on weight loss.
How long does the process last?
When having high-intensity trainings, your body uses more oxygen, and therefore your body needs to restore its oxygen supplies and it needs to work much harder compared to after less intense workouts. All this is happening 16-24 hours after your training session has ended, as indicated by research . This means that once you have stopped working out, your body is still working for up to 24 hours to restore balance, and therefore consuming energy.
The math is simple – the more intense training session, the more oxygen your body will need afterwards, and therefore more calories will be burnt. Researchers from National Institute of Occupational Health  found that when training at 75% of your maximal oxygen consumption can result in much more EPOC, compared to training at 50% of your maximal oxygen consumption.
How many calories you can burn during the resting period depends on a number of factors, but an estimated number is up to 5 extra calories for every liter of oxygen your body consumes. A study at Appalachian State University  concluded that participants who cycled vigorously for 45 minutes burned extra 190 calories during the 14-hour post-exercise period compared to the days without any workout.
Which types of workouts most stimulate EPOC?
HIIT is high-intensity interval training and it is designed in way to make your body work harder. During HIIT workouts, you do short intervals of high-intensity exercises where you give your maximum and push yourself to the limit, followed by short periods of active rest. When you are alternating between such intense intervals and short periods of rest, it increases your heart rate, and when you are working out at 70-80% of your maximum heart rate, that’s when you maximize the EPOC effect.
This type of training doesn’t need to be time consuming, and there are plenty of short 10-minute training sessions available, and you can make a HIIT training with almost any exercises. Some simple HIIT trainings include:
- Walk and sprint: walk for 30 seconds, then sprint for 30 seconds. Repeat 8-10 times.
- Pushups: Do 10 pushups, then rest for 30 seconds. If you want to make it even more difficult, rest for 15 seconds.
- Squats: Do 10 squats, then rest for 30 second. You can repeat as long as you like.
This type of training can be very appealing to people who get bored with one type of exercise easily. It is very fast paced and it involves doing one exercise for 30 seconds to 5 minutes, and then you move on to the next exercise. Circuit training improves your strength and muscle endurance, and you can put different groups of muscles to work during one session. Circuit training has a similar effect as HIIT training – it creates increasing demand on your heart, therefore, you take more from your oxygen supplies. Moving from one type of exercise to another without rest, puts your body under pressure, thus it takes more time for your body to recover afterwards.
The best thing about circuit training is that you can do it at home without any equipment. You can create your own circuit training routine. First, you need to select your time limit – the ideal time span is from 10-45 minutes. Next select an upper-body exercise, then lower-body exercise, followed by a compound exercise, then choose a cardio for 1 minute. Rest for one minute and repeat.
Resistance training is a type of training where your body is working against some external force that causes your muscles to contract, which increases your strength and endurance. Various research confirm  that resistance training has s greater EPOC effect compared, for example aerobic exercise. You put an increasing demand on your muscles during a resistance training, therefore, your body is also in a greater demand to restore the balance – thus more oxygen is needed.
You can go to the gym and try out resistance training on various machines, or you can train at home as well – you can use dumbbells, different types of resistance bands, even bricks or other heavy objects you have at home, or even your own body weight.
Featured photo credit: https://pixabay.com/ via pixabay.com