Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC) is an increased rate of oxygen intake following intense exercise. Post exercise the body goes into a state of recovery where, oxygen (EPOC) is used to restore the body to a resting state and adapt it to the exercise just performed.
Why is this useful for weight loss? EPOC results in an elevated calorie consumption. In response to exercise, fat stores are broken down and free fatty acids are released into the blood. The oxidation of free fatty acids as fuel and the energy consuming re-conversion of FFA's back into fat stores (a futile cycle) both take place. If you are trying to create a calorie deficit then this will help.
How long will EPOC last? The effect is greatest on the first few hours post exercise and reduces over time. It may last up to 48 hours depending on the intensity of the exercise performed, so if you exercise 3-5 times per week then you will benefit from EPOC calories daily!
Do all types of exercise create EPOC? Studies show that the EPOC effect exists after both strenuous anaerobic exercise and more gentle aerobic exercise, however if comparing the two, anaerobic exercise has the greatest EPOC effect. In practical terms for greatest fat loss anaerobic exercise in the form of high-intensity interval training is significantly more effective despite sessions being shorter and consuming less calories at the time!
So how do I benefit from EPOC? Exercising on a regular basis is going to keep your EPOC high through the week. For greatest effects on fat loss it is advised to do high intensity interval training like compound resistance exercises and 20-40second sprints for shorter periods rather than long slow exercise sessions like jogging. Training this way saves you time and gives better fat loss results too!