Excess post-exercise oxygen consumption or EPOC for short, more commonly known as the “afterburn effect” is a post-exercise phenomenon that is little known in the wider sports and exercise community. Learning to tailor your routines to take advantage of this effect can greatly improve the efficiency of your exercise.
In short, EPOC is the physiological effect whereby your body continues to consume oxygen at a higher than resting level for a period of time after completing an exercise. This oxygen consumption is married to a higher than usual calorie burn; hence the term afterburn effect. This benefit can be increased by being clever with your training programme.
The triggering EPOC relies on the completion of vigorous exercise. A light jog or walk doesn’t provide much of a benefit. Various forms of high-intensity exercise can help you get there. High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is one way. The essence is that you need to be working hard, somewhere around 70%-85% of your maximum heart rate should be your target zone.
Short intense workouts will trigger the afterburn effect. But greater post-exercise calorie burning requires working at high intensities for an extended period of time.
The afterburn effect is not going to revolutionise your workout life; but why not get some free benefit by working out smart?