Excess Post exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC) Explained

First things first, there is a big difference between training in your optimal fat burning zone and optimally burning fat.

What I mean by this is that your optimal fat burning zone is actually at low exercise intensity, roughly around 55 – 65% or your maximum heart rate.

However it takes many hours of this type of low level exercise to burn large quantities of body fat (and it may also take up to 35 - 45 minutes to actually mobilise the free fatty acids from fatty tissues (adipose) in the first place).


What’s the Answer?

High intensity exercise is the real answer to optimum fat loss. Yes by training at short frequent bursts at higher intensity levels puts you into oxygen debt (you are breathing harder due to the increased training stress).

This increased training stress also increases your body’s metabolism speed and it takes a little longer to recover from these sessions thus burning more fat for longer when you rest.

This type of training provides the correct muscular stresses to stimulate your body to secrete increased levels of growth hormone.

EPOC training is the type of training which has a far greater oxygen demand than lower intensity work. It means that for short periods you will be short of breath, but even for short periods of heavy breathing exercise it can make a massive difference to your metabolism.


An easy 30 minute to 1 hour jog will hardly raise your metabolism and you will recover very quickly from it and return to rested metabolism levels shortly after your workout.


Shorter, high intensity exercises will not only raise your metabolism but will also keep it raised for a longer period.


A great example of this is by using a toy friction car, you know the type that you roll along the floor then let it go and it moves on its own. Well if you roll it long and slow then release it, it will come to a stop shortly after.


However if you give it a short but vigorous push then let it go it will travel much further. This is similar to how our metabolism works in relation to EPOC training.



Rules and Workouts on how to use EPOC to Boost Your Body’s Metabolism to Rapidly Shed Body Fat

ü  Don’t do any long slow cardio training (unless you have the time or really enjoy it of course), by this I mean long runs/bike rides etc that take up a large part of your day. However if time is limited this type of exercise is just not necessary when high intensity Excess Post Exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC) training does it all in a quarter of the time or even less.


For example, if you go jogging for half and hour, then try one of my 10 minute home workouts instead and I’ll guarantee it will boost your metabolism far more than long slow jogging or power walking. If you enjoy your running then try doing a series of shorter sprint efforts instead. Here’s an example:


  • Try warming up with a brisk walk for 2 minutes moving into a light jog for 2 minutes, building to a brisk run for 1 minute.


  • Then perform 8 x 20 metre flat out sprints with a slow 20 metre jog back to the start


  • A progression of this session is to find 20 metres that incorporate running up a gradient


  • Another progression that I use on a weekly basis is to incorporate flipping a lorry tyre over 4 - 8 times before each sprint effort.


  • Further progressions include jumping in and out of the tyre before flipping it again, or increasing the sprint distance by five metres every week.


  • Then jog back home making sure that you walk for the last 2 -3 minutes


  • This session will take a very short period of time, but do not underestimate how hard it might be. I may take you a long time to get up to this point, but the exciting fact is that you are getting a high-octane, fat burning, muscle developing, metabolism boosting workout in .


 You will not only have performed a much more effective EPOC metabolism raiser you will have completed the session in around half the time and would have stimulated your fast twitch (Sprinting) muscle fibres, which are larger than your slow twitch (jogging) fibres.  You will also improve on you overall running speed with this type of workout.


ü  EPOC is attained through High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) or Supra High Intensity Interval Training (I’ll leave the acronym out here!). This can be achieved on a bike, sprinting, using weights, resistances (sleds, bungees or even throwing car tyres or flipping truck tyres over) or bodyweight exercises.


ü  If you enjoy a long low intensity bike ride and have the time to enjoy it then by all means go for it. Training long will still condition the body to break fats down and burn them at an improved rate. However it allows for very little muscular development and this does little to boost the body’s metabolism rate efficiently.