EPOC (aka the afterburn effect) stands for Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption. It’s crucial if you want to get the most out of your training time to see those results faster.
EPOC is all about challenging yourself during your training sessions to speed up your metabolism after you leave the gym. While it will feel challenging at the time, by consistently challenging yourself you’ll burn more calories during and after your workout, and by extension your body will change faster then by keeping at the same pace.
Think of EPOC as an extension of the time you spend in the gym. If you spend your time on a cardio machine operating at a steady pace, you’ll get a sweat on and bit of an endorphin rush (the happy feeling we get following exertion) to a certain extent.
However, if you focus on lifting challenging weights using your whole body and using that same cardio machine but completing intervals that get you out of breath, your body requires energy to catch your breath and recovery from the more challenging workout you have just completed.
Here are four ways you can get more out of your training sessions and feel the benefits of EPOC straight away.
The theory behind supersets is that you complete exercises on different body parts, one after the other without resting. One body part is working while another is resting, but the overriding point is that you are pushing yourself, as well as saving time in the process.
A few examples of efficient supersets include:
- Kettlebell swings and dumbbell shoulder presses
- TRX Self-rows and lateral lunges
- Dumbbell bench press and assisted pull-ups
2. NEGATIVE RESTS
This means you are working for longer than you are resting (for example if you perform an exercise for 30 seconds, you take maximum 20 seconds rest between sets).
This will mean your body will not fully recover between exercises, but the benefit of that is when your body doesn’t recover it will adapt. That’s a sure-fire way to improve your fitness.
3. CHOOSE YOUR WEIGHTS BY FORM, NOT GUESS-WORK
People often make assumptions based on how much weight someone can lift.
When it comes to weight choice for exercise, consider what you want to achieve, and then choose a weight that will enable you to stay in that rep range.
Here are some guidelines when it comes to weight-training goals:
- Strength without size: 6-8 repetitions
- Hypertrophy (muscle growth): 8-12 repetitions
- Muscular endurance: 13-15 repetitions
If you can do more than the range, the weight is too light. If you can’t get to the range with correct form, the weight is too heavy.
4. USE AS MANY JOINTS AS POSSIBLE
When you complete any exercise make sure you use as many joints as you can (look at yourself in the mirror and ask yourself how many joints are involved in completing the exercise – and yes, wrists and ankles count here). If you’re using less than 3 joints, think about how you can add more joints into the mix.
By doing this you will use more of your body, causing more energy to be consumed.
So get ready to get sweaty and to breath heavier – your body shape will thank you for it.
“I feel healthier, I feel stronger, I feel more confident in myself”
ABOUT JAMES STARING
James Staring is a personal trainer based in Clapham. James focuses on building the best version of you and inspiring you to new levels of health and fitness – regardless of your current ability or age.
James is always keen to share the tools he uses to assist others in achieving their goals and has featured in publications such as Your Fitness, Healthy and Hello! magazines.