EPOC – the benefits of breathlessness

EPOC - the benefits of breathlessness

EPOC (post exercise oxygen consumption or oxygen debt)

What is EPOC?

In a similar way to a car’s engine remaining warm after being turned off, once a workout is over and you’re back in your daily routine your body’s metabolism can continue to burn more calories then when at complete rest.
This physiological effect is called excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, or EPOC. Also known as oxygen debt, EPOC is the amount of oxygen required to restore your body to its normal, resting level of metabolic function (called homeostasis). It also explains how your body can continue to burn calories long after you’ve finished your workout.Your metabolism is the way in which your body converts the nutrients you consume in your diet to adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the fuel your body uses for muscular activity.ATP is produced either

  • 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.

Warming up

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.

Recovery breaks

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.