When it comes to losing weight, everyone is curious about speeding up their metabolism – and for good reason! Who wouldn’t want their metabolism jacked-up all day like when you were young… or younger? The advice here may not be so helpful to those trying to gain weight. However, this article will help make losing weight so much easier!
Besides the supplements that you see everywhere, there are NATURAL ways to get your metabolism ramped up – including thermogenic foods and exercise. When it comes to exercise, there is a training method that will have you busting through calories over 38 hours after your workout is finished (Schuenke et al 2002)! I’m talking about burning over 150 extra calories (Bahr & Sejersted 1991)! This method is called EPOC training.
Remember to get examined by you physician before beginning any exercise program. Make sure you are cleared for this sort of physical activity.
EPOC (Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption) is also commonly referred to as the afterburn effect. During this process your body attempts to return itself to how it was before your workout (commonly called your natural resting state) as quickly as possible. This includes energy re-synthesis, muscle repair, and lactic acid removal – all of which require energy. Basically, EPOC is measured by the extra oxygen you consume to perform these tasks. This breaks down to roughly 5 calories burned for every extra liter of oxygen you consume (Vella & Kravitz 2004).
Do you want to boost your metabolism long after your workout is over via the EPOC effect? Well, in order to elicit a decent EPOC response we need to focus on:
- Workout Intensity
- Workout Duration
- Training Method
EPOC is all about intensity; which makes complete sense considering that EPOC is all about returning your body to its resting state. The higher the intensity of your workouts, the greater the magnitude of your EPOC effect will be. You might ask, “What exactly constitutes high-intensity?” Well, that’s a great question! Let’s delve into some answers.
A simple way to tell if you are working out at a high enough intensity is to refer to science. In 1990 Kaminsky and associates found that an EPOC response was elicited when exercising at a 70% to 75% of your VO2 max. Of course it could also be elicited at a lower VO2 max, but we will go with the proven one. VO2 max is an overall indicator of your physical fitness. In other words, the higher your VO2 max is, the more “fit” you are. This is normally determined by intricate lab equipment, which I doubt you will be using at your local gym. So you will need a way to determine our VO2 max easily during our workout.
Thankfully, there is a super easy way to determine your heart rate that is correlated to that specific VO2 max. Although it isn’t 100% accurate, it’s still a good estimate. You can do this using this calculator which will determine the heart-rate you need to maintain during your workout. This heart-rate is quite high because we are going for super high-intensity and therefore a bigger EPOC effect.
The second variable that we need to monitor (in order to induce a massive EPOC effect) is maintaining your high-intensity for at least 20 minutes. We get this number from a 1994 Quinn and associates study which found that an EPOC effect was induced when people performed exercise at a high-intensity for 20, 40, or 60 minutes. Some of the most encouraging evidence wass the fact that those who exercised for 20 minutes (1/3 of the time) received over half of the EPOC benefits as those that worked out for 60 minutes. This time trade-off allows us to continue with the afterburn effect, while not spending hours in the gym! That said, if you have the extra time and still desire to increase the magnitude of your EPOC effect, just exercise longer.
Finally, I’ll discuss the actual method of exercise that you should be performing. Most people instantly think that running intervals would be the ideal way to ramp up your metabolism. In fact, the best way to increase your EPOC effect is via strength training, and more specifically circuit training (Murphy & Schwarzkopf 1992).
Strength training in general is a must. Even if you aren’t trying to increase your metabolism with this specific practise it is still pivotal to your well-being since it also builds muscle, increases strength, burns calories, and builds bones. When you combine strength training with circuits you also speed up your metabolism because your heart rate is elevated the entire time. And you’re working your tail off! You can make your strength training workout more “circuit-esque” by super setting all of your sets so that you are basically moving from one opposing muscle group to the other, with little to no rest between sets. You will be pumped and winded – trust me!
Discovering the right method to induce an EPOC effect and boost your metabolism in a timely manner boils down to 3 main ingredients:
- Workout at a 70-75% VO2max
- Keep that intensity for at least 20 minutes
- Strength train/circuit train
Because these workouts are so intense and can be so taxing on your body you shouldn’t perform them every day. Why would you need to, when your metabolism could be boosted for 38 hours anyways? Instead, perform an EPOC workout 2-3 times a week (time dependent). You can even create your very own full-body circuit workout from any of these exercises and go from there!
If you want to boost your metabolism NATURALLY, there really is no better away than the EPOC method. Although the workouts are very taxing they can set you up for a massive metabolism boost!
Train smarter with EPOC training!
Bahr R, Sejersted OM (1991) Effect of intensity of exercise on excess postexercise oxygen consumption. Metabolism 40: 836–41.
Kaminsky LA, Padjen S, LaHam-Saeger J (1990) Effect of split exercise sessions on excess postexercise oxygen consumption. Brit J Sports Med 24: 95-98.
Murphy E, Schwarzkopf R (1992) Effects of standard set and circuit weight training on excess postexercise oxygen consumption. J Appl Sport Sci Res 6: 88-91.
Quinn TJ, Vroman NB, Kertzer R (1994) Postexercise oxygen consumption in trained females: Effect of exercise duration. Med Sci Spots Exer 26: 908-913.
Schuenke MD, Mikat RP, McBride JM (2002) Effect of an acute period of resistance exercise on excess post-exercise oxygen consumption: Implications for body mass management. Eur J Appl Physiol 86: 411-417.
Vella CA, Kravitz L (2004) Exercise after-burn: A research update. IDEA Fit J 1.5: 42-47.