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EPOC And Its Effects On Training, Hormones And The Body

Dawid Lyszczek
New Product Developer & Food Technologist7 years ago
View Dawid Lyszczek's profile

Written by Jamie Bantleman

What Is EPOC?

EPOC is an acronym for Excessive Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption. Often known as oxygen debt, EPOC refers to the period of time post-workout where we are working to restore normal oxygen levels. We also burn more calories due to the workout increasing your metabolic rate.


EPOC is a way in which we lose body fat, but how exactly is this achieved? Well, there are different ways to do this. Although aerobic exercise can cause EPOC to act for longer, we are looking at achieving it through performing moderate to high-intensity resistance training. You should also look at the use of triglycerides and fatty acids as opposed to carbohydrates as an energy source for a prolonged effect.


“Differences in exercise mode may potentially contribute to the discrepant findings of EPOC magnitude and duration. Studies with sufficient exercise challenges are needed to determine whether various aerobic exercise modes affect EPOC differently. The relationships between the intensity and duration of resistance exercise and the magnitude and duration of EPOC have not been determined, but a more prolonged and substantial EPOC has been found after hard- versus moderate resistance exercise. Thus, the intensity of resistance exercise seems to be of importance for EPOC.”


Studies in the past have been inconclusive in terms of whether or not EPOC is a necessity for achieving fat loss. It was thought that prolonged states of EPOC had a thermogenic effect on the body, therefore enabling you to lose body fat. However, in more recent studies we have found that certain protocols are much more effective on EPOC. Evidence has accumulated to suggest an exponential relationship between exercise intensity and the magnitude of the EPOC for specific exercise duration. Furthermore, work at exercise intensities more than or equal to 50-60% VO2max stimulate a linear increase in EPOC as exercise duration increases.


Strength training with compound, multi-joint weightlifting exercises or doing a weightlifting circuit that alternates between upper- and lower-body movements places a greater demand on the involved muscles for ATP from the anaerobic pathways. Increased need for anaerobic ATP also creates a greater demand on the aerobic system to replenish ATP during the rest intervals and the post-exercise recovery process.


Heavy training loads or shorter recovery intervals increase the demand on the anaerobic energy pathways during exercise, which yields a greater EPOC effect during the post-exercise recovery period. The body is most efficient at producing ATP through aerobic metabolism; however, at higher intensities when energy is needed immediately, the anaerobic pathways can provide the necessary ATP much more quickly. This is why we can only sustain high-intensity activity for a brief period of time—we simply run out of energy.


HIIT works because during high-intensity exercise ATP is produced by the anaerobic pathways; once ATP is exhausted, it is necessary to allow ATP to be replenished. The rest interval or active recovery period during an anaerobic workout allows aerobic metabolism to produce and replace ATP in the involved muscles. The oxygen deficit is the difference between the volume of O2 consumed during exercise and the amount that would be consumed if energy demands were met through only the aerobic energy pathway.


Achieve greater levels of EPOC with this training plan:


Order Exercise Sets Reps Tempo Rest
A1 Back Squat 5 12 3010 10s
A2 Chin Up 5 12 3010 10s
A3 Barbell Walking Lunges 5 12 2110 10s
A4 Press Ups 5 12 3110 10s
A5 Watt Bike Sprints 5 60s x 90s
Order Exercise Sets Reps Tempo Rest
A1 Box Jump 5 12 3010 10s
A2 Barbell Overhead Push Press 5 12 3010 10s
A3 Vertical Jump 5 12 2X10 10s
A4 Heavy Kettlebell Swing 5 12 2X01 10s
A5 Prowler Push 5 50m x 90s

proper weight training to build muscle

Order Exercise Sets Reps Tempo Rest
A1 Prowler Push 5 12 3010 10s
A2 Reverse Sled Drag 5 12 3010 10s
A3 Farmers Walks 5 12 2110 10s
A4 Rowing Machine Sprint 5 200m x 10s
A5 Watt Bike Sprint 5 60s x 90s


Our articles should be used for informational and educational purposes only and are not intended to be taken as medical advice. If you're concerned, consult a health professional before taking dietary supplements or introducing any major changes to your diet.

Dawid Lyszczek
New Product Developer & Food Technologist
View Dawid Lyszczek's profile

Dawid Lyszczek is an expert new product developer, food technologist, nutritionist and personal trainer. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Human Nutrition, master’s degree in Food Innovation and Level 3 Certificate in Personal Training. Dawid specialises in evidence-based body-composition nutrition and training for both amateurs and physique athletes, and has been involved in sports nutrition and weight training for over 15 years. Dawid is also a former competitive bodybuilder, UKBFF British finalist in “Intermediates Over 90kgs” Class of 2013, as featured in Flex magazine.

Dawid’s academic area of interest has involved both the role of meal frequency on body composition, and also functional food development, which you can find out more about here.

In his current role, Dawid bridges the gap between sports nutrition and food technology, bringing in academic experience backed by real life practice that produces results.

You can find out more about Dawid’s experience here.