EPOC (post exercise oxygen consumption or oxygen debt)
What is EPOC?
- with oxygen using the aerobic pathways, or
- without oxygen relying on the anaerobic pathways.
When you first start to exercise, your body uses the anaerobic energy pathways and stored ATP to fuel that activity.
A proper warm-up is important because it can take about five to eight minutes to be able to efficiently use aerobic metabolism to produce the ATP necessary to sustain physical activity. Once a steady-state of oxygen consumption is achieved, the aerobic energy pathways are able to provide most of the ATP needed for the workout. Exercise that places a greater demand on the anaerobic energy pathways during the workout (working at a higher intensity) can increase the need for oxygen after the workout, thereby enhancing the EPOC effect.
When we take short recovery breaks between sets, we are allowing your muscles to take in enough oxygen to replenish their energy stores (ATP) so you can work at a high enough intensity level to produce an EPOC effect and raise your metabolism.
EPOC – the benefits of breathlessness
There are other beneficial effects of working to breathlessness, you are strengthening your heart and lungs, increasing the efficiency of your circulation system and increasing your muscle strength and endurance to name a few.