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The EPOC effect: if you train like this, you burn calories longer

Imagine you are lying on the sofa watching a series and your body is burning calories like crazy. For anyone looking to lose weight, or at least not gain weight, that sounds like a dream, doesn’t it? It doesn’t have to stay that way. The only thing you have to do is have a heavy workout session before the couch session. Our 8-week weight-loss training plan provides you with effective workouts.

After the training you benefit from the afterburn effect. Because if you go to your absolute limit while exercising, the combination of increased heart rate, longer-lasting calorie burning and intensive interval training ensures that you continue to burn energy, even if you have long been lazy. How can that be? We explain to you here.

Definition of EPOC: what does afterburn effect mean?

The length and intensity of your training not only influence how much energy your body uses during exercise, but also how much is burned afterwards. The afterburn effect – “excess post-exercise oxygen consumption”, EPOC for short – ensures increased metabolic activity, which keeps your combustion engine running after a very intense workout session.

Ultimately, your body pays debts on the sofa that it incurred during exercise. It works like this: The exertion during the workout increases the need for oxygen in your muscles to generate the necessary energy. During an intensive training session, the body needs more oxygen than breathing. The resulting delay creates an oxygen deficit in the body – debt, so to speak.

This “oxygen debt” has to be paid back at a later point in time, when your body is in a resting phase again. The “repayment” of the oxygen debt and the regulation of the body to a normal level still cost the body energy after training. Your metabolism, which worked at full speed during the training unit, does not immediately go into a resting phase afterwards. He still burns calories afterwards. This entire process is then called the afterburning effect, or EPOC for short. And for everyone who wants to keep fit on the sofa: Here are 6 exercises for your couch workout.

What happens with the afterburn effect?

Phase 1 begins immediately after your last repetition: for about 1 hour, your body is now looking for energy reserves. These are essential so that recovery can be heralded after the strenuous exercise. Since your reserves are completely exhausted, additional calories are burned to regulate breathing and metabolism.

In phase 2, the focus is then on muscle regeneration. In order to pamper your tired muscles after a workout, a variety of proteins are required that promote the rebuilding of your muscle cells. Your body needs a lot of energy to provide these proteins – so even more calories are burned. We reveal more about proper regeneration after sport here.

The result of your high-intensity training also plays a decisive role in phase 3: Your muscles are still slightly under tension, sore muscles are spreading. So that the regeneration continues to run at full speed, the energy requirement remains increased in this phase – more calories are on the collar. You can find the best tips for sore muscles here.

Duration of EPOC: how long does the afterburn effect last?

The peak is reached in the first hour immediately after training. The longer it has been since training, the weaker the effect. It is also said that after training in an intensive area, the EPOC can increase the total number of calories burned by 6 to 15 percent. How long the afterburn effect lasts is still a matter of debate in science. Some say you can expect an afterburn effect of up to 36 hours.

In addition, the type of training also has an influence: If you want to achieve the maximum afterburn effect and lose weight effectively, you cannot avoid high-intensity strength training. Intensive interval units double the effect, in contrast to the more even jogging. An afterburn effect that is up to three times higher than that of endurance training with constant stress intensity was also found.

How many calories do I burn with the afterburn effect?

What does it mean if you burn an additional 15 percent of the calories you previously burned during training? For example, if you burned 500 calories in training, you would be “given” an additional 75 calories, so that with 3 units per week you burn almost 2 kilos more body fat over a year. Yay! you read here.

For such a big effect, you should incorporate short, intense and anaerobic exercises with less intense rest periods into your training – for example sprints. The best result is provided by intensive strength circuit training with maximum muscle fatigue, i.e. at 84 percent of your maximum heart rate. With this you can achieve an additional calorie consumption of up to 30 percent.

And: don’t be surprised that you still sweat hours after training. Your body has to cool down enough for muscles and organs to cope with the energy-demanding regeneration process.

Regenerate properly after the afterburning

Sufficient recovery is also important for good training effects. You should supplement the intensive workouts with longer, less intensive training units and days off so that your body can take a break. You don’t want to overwhelm yourself. Warning signs for this: cramps, unusual tiredness or greater susceptibility to infections.

The afterburn effect is like your body’s bonus program. So if you really give it gas during training, you will be rewarded twice. It’s a great feeling to sit relaxed on the sofa and know that your body is just burning an extra round of calories.

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