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The Role of Excess Postexercise Oxygen Consumption

This is an excerpt from Metabolic Training by John F. Graham & Michael Barnes.

It is also worth considering the impact of excess postexercise oxygen consumption (or EPOC). EPOC refers to the prolonged increase in V̇O2 that may be observed for hours after exercise. A comprehensive study conducted by Borsheim and Bahr (2003) determined that heavy resistance training produces greater EPOC than circuit weight training. In other words, EPOC is intensity dependent in response to resistance training. This study also found that EPOC is intensity dependent in relation to aerobic training, with the greatest EPOC values occurring when duration and intensity were high, and that individuals vary in their response. The greatest EPOC values were recorded when the intensity of aerobic exercise was greater than 50 to 60 percent of V̇O2max and the duration was equal to or greater than 40 minutes. It would stand to reason that maximal effort toward the end of a metabolic-training session could optimize EPOC. The benefit of EPOC in the context of metabolic training is its tendency to increase caloric expenditure and fat burning above resting levels following the completion of a workout.

The following physiological factors, among others, are responsible for EPOC (Herda and Cramer 2016):

  1. Restoring oxygen in the blood and muscles, which enables the body to return to its pre-exercise state
  2. Resynthesizing energy in the form of ATP, enabling the body to perform at an optimal level during a subsequent metabolic-training session
  3. Elevating body temperature, circulation, and respiration, which aids in recovery and reduces muscle soreness and fatigue
  4. Increasing protein turnover, which enables the body to increase lean body mass as a training effect.
More Excerpts From Metabolic Training