Make Workouts EPOC

Posted by Daniel Aipa on 12/27/2011
Dec 272011

Are you wondering how can you make your workouts more geared towards your goal? Lately I’ve been having a lot of conversations about fat loss. I expected this, especially with the New Year coming around. I want to give a quick overview of one key aspect that leads to fat loss.

We all know in order to lose fat, one must burn more calories than they take in. I’ve actually outlined a few tips in my earlier article, Prisoner to the Treadmill. But if you are thinking you can jump on a treadmill for an hour every day to lose fat, you are doing your body more of a disservice. Yes you will lose weight, but you will also lose a lot of muscle. It would be best to participate in activities which maintain/promote muscle mass. Resistance training.

What’s EPOC?

EPOC stands for excessive post-exercise oxygen consumption, or also known as ‘afterburn’. EPOC is defined as the “processes that restore the body to a resting state and adapt it to the exercise just performed”, “is accompanied by an elevated consumption of fuel,” and causes “fat stores to be broken down and free fatty acids are released into the blood.”

Hopefully I didn’t lose you in the above statements. It all basically states, EPOC leads to fat loss. Now let’s get to the exciting part. How do you make your workouts more EPOC?

Here are a few studies to support the effectiveness of EPOC, by training as much muscle groups as possible, and with a high enough intensity to cause a “metabolic disturbance” which will leave your metabolism elevated for several hours AFTER you are done with a metabolic resistance workout.

Schuenke MD, Mikat RP, McBride JM
Effect of an acute period of resistance exercise on excess post-exercise oxygen: implications for body
mass managament
Eur J Appl Physiol 2002 Mar;86(5):411-7. Epub 2002 Jan 29.

7 healthy men participated in this study where they engaged in a 31 minute period of 4 circuits of whole body training using heavy resistance and 3 exercises. The results were that EPOC was elevated for 36 hours after the workout.

This means that 36 hours after you workout you are still burning calories caused by the metabolic disturbance you caused during your workout. That’s pretty good for just 31 minutes, 3 exercises, and 4 circuits later.

The next study compares resistance training and aerobic exercises:

Bryner RW, Ullrich IH, Sauers J, Donley D, Hornsby G, Kolar M, Yeater R.
Effects of resistance vs. aerobic training combined with an 800 calorie diet on lean body mass and
resting metabolic rate
J Am Coll Nutr. 1999 Apr;18(2):115-21.

In this study an aerobic group participated in 4 hours of a exercise per week while the resistance training group engaged in 2-4 sets of 8-15 reps, 10 exercises, three times a week.

The results came out that both groups lost weight, but the resistance training group lost significantly more fat and didn’t lose and lean body mass, even with 800 calories a day. The resistance training group also increased their metabolism much more than the aerobic group.

So What’s Next?

Through experience and research it is obvious to see the importance resistance training has when it comes to fat loss.  Although aerobics will cause weight loss, not fat loss as much as resistance training.  But like I’ve said multiple times in my blog posts is no matter what your goal is you must have a correct nutrition plan that is geared towards your goal.

This post was simply focusing on the effects resistance training has on fat loss. Alwyne Cosgrove, owner of Results Fitness and a renowned trainer when it comes to fat loss, recommends if you have 3 hours of per week you can have 3, one-hour training sessions or 4 forty-five minutes training sessions.

These metabolic resistance training sessions will mainly consist of barbell or dumbbell complexes, supersets, tri-sets, giant sets, circuits, etc. You have to make sure when you are performing this workouts that you are in the gym to accomplish the goal at hand. Taking time to talk to your friends or staring in the mirror will only take away from the mission at hand.

Closing Thoughts

Remember, for as dedicated as you are in going hard in the gym you must be just as dedicated to having a healthy lifestyle. If your goal is to attack your body fat, then attack it with some passion. It’s all about how much do you really want it?

With a strong mind comes a strong body.

If you are interested in saving some money and starting a training program please check out my training package services here.  Or you can also shoot me an e-mail at [email protected]

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One Response to “Make Workouts EPOC”

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