Have you ever wondered why you continue to breathe heavy and sweat after your workout is done?  Why doesn’t your breathing go back to normal immediately?

After exercise, you consume a greater amount of oxygen to assist your body in recovering from the stress of the workout and the demands it placed on your body.  This produces heat and burns calories and is often referred to as the after-burn or EPOC (excess post oxygen consumption).

It is important to note that EPOC uses fat as its fuel and although the effects of EPOC are small, if you expended an additional 100 calories post exercise as a result of your workout session, within 100 workouts, you would have burned an extra 10,000 calories or 3 pounds of fat!

Here’s tips to increase your overall after-burn:

At higher intensities, your EPOC is greater at translating into a greater caloric and fat expenditure post activity.

Bottom line – the harder your work, the more calories you burn even after the workout is over! So try workouts like Interval training, Tabata, Sprints, Hill Climbing etc that really get your heart rate up and you’ll notice you’ll still be feeling it long after the workout is over.

Your after-burn will also increase with longer duration exercise so you don’t necessarily have to go at an all-out intensity if you go for longer.

So opt for some more moderate intensity, longer duration workouts for a good EPOC effect.

EPOC can also be increased with weight training if you opt for more full body movements that involve a lot of muscles.

Go for back to back exercises with little rest in between. Try Supersetting, for example, with Squats and Pull-ups x 3 sets would definitely get your heart pumping and cause a significant EPOC. Or using movements like Step ups with Overhead presses that involve the lower body and upper body can definitely tax your system. Another option is to include a cardio burst effort in between a few sets of muscle conditioning exercises.

If you can increase the amount of calories your body is burning even after the workout is over, it can have a significant impact on your overall results.

Yours in health & fitness,
Sherri McMillan

Note: As an avid Columbian reader, you can redeem a 2 week pass at her world-class training studio to help get you started.  Contact 360.574.7292 for more details.

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This will be the Inaugural LUCKY TRIATHLON Festival in beautiful Woodland WA! We are hosting a Sprint, Olympic & My First Triathlon, Duathlon & AquaBike, a Sunset 5K & 10K and a FREE KIDS TRI. This is a flat, fast and scenic course! 

Woodland WA is the southern gateway to Mt. St. Helens where the Columbia River and Lewis River converge. You’ll be swimming in beautiful Horseshoe Lake, biking along country fields with views of the rivers and running along the river trail.

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Sherri McMillan

Sherri McMillan

Sherri McMillan, holds a master's degree in exercise physiology and has been inspiring the world to adopt a fitness lifestyle for more than 33 years. She has received numerous industry awards including 2010 CanFitPro International Presenter of the Year, 2006 IDEA Fitness Director of the Year, 1998 IDEA Personal Trainer of the Year, 1998 CanFitPro Fitness Presenter of the Year and 2005/2006 ACE Fitness Educator of the Year - Runner up. She is a fitness trainer, fitness columnist for various magazines and newspapers, author of five books and manuals including "Go For Fit - the Winning Way to Fat Loss" and "Fit over Forty" and the featured presenter in various fitness DVDs. She has presented hundreds of workshops to thousands of fitness leaders throughout Canada, Australia, Mexico, Jamaica, New Zealand, Germany, England, Spain, South America, Asia and the U.S. She is the owner of Northwest Personal Training in downtown Vancouver, the founder of WHY Racing Events & WHY Community, participates in various community fundraisers and can be found running, biking, or hiking around the community. Find more information at nwpersonaltraining.com.

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