How to Get a Beach Body Part 4: How to train - High intensity weight training and EPOC the secret weapon

Fat Loss 101: Part 4 How to train – EPOC The Secret Weapon

2011 Winner of the Crossfit Games Rich Froning Jr. – Practicing some intensity exercise

Part 1 HEREPart 2 HERE: Part 3 HERE:

So we all know that we have to exercise to maximize fat loss.  You’ve got the diet down and now its time to get to the nitty gritty of training.  So what do we do?  Cardio herunterladen? Weights?  Both?

Well we’re all busy individuals and want to lose fat as fast as we safely can.  We also want to look like we’ve been lifting some weight and have some appreciable muscle mass.  For the ladies maybe a bit of tone to the arms, stomach and legs would be nice.

Luckily, Alwyn Cosgrove came up with what he calls the hierarchy of fat loss.  I’m not trying to recreate the wheel and I’ve followed similar principles to Alwyn’s for years.  I posted his article below to give credit where its due animation herunterladen.

Hierarchy of fat loss alwyn cosgrove can be found HERE:

Here’s my spin on Alwyn’s program with the most efficient ways to lose bodyfat in the fastest time possible.  These are in my opinion the fastest forms of exercise for weight loss ranking from best to worst. Another helpful aid to loose weight is CBD, read more at

1. High Intensity Weight Training (eg: Circuit Training, Short rest intervals)

2. High Intensity Interval Training (eg: 30 seconds max effort runs followed by 60 seconds rest)

3 anleitung downloaden. Lower Intensity Interval Training (eg: 2 minutes moderate intensity run followed by 1 minute low intensity run)

4. Steady-state Cardio (eg: basic treadmill, elliptical and stationary bike work for a period of time

5. Being active (walking, gardening, working on a home project)

BOOM!  Did I just drop a bomb on your love of cardio for fat loss?

Before I start explaining why we rank exercise this way, a little primer on the physiology of fat loss is needed.  Our body preferentially produces energy at rest to fuel our bodies through the oxidative system in our bodies(Baechle & Earle, 2000).  This system uses about 70% fat as fuel and 30% stored carbohydrate (glycogen) as fuel(Baechle & Earle, 2000).

What this means is that at rest, your body is mainly using fat as an energy source, not carbohydrates.

As the intensity of exercise increases, the body must rely on additional energy producing systems in the body such as glycolysis and the phosphagen system(Baechle & Earle, 2000).  As the intensity of exercise increases and your body starts tapping into the glycolytic system, your body relies more and more on stored glycogen as fuel as opposed to fat(Baechle & Earle, 2000).

As you increase the intensity (lets say going from sitting to a walk) you’ll start burning a mix of fuels that is a bit richer in carbohydrate.  Increase the intensity further (lets say running now) and you’ll use a larger percentage of stored glycogen as fuel and less fat.

This is the main reason many experts have advocated longer duration low intensity exercise, because it will preferentially target more bodyfat as a fuel for the exercise.

As exercise intensity increases your body uses less and less fat as a fuel for exercise.

So doesn’t that mean we should be shooting for lower intensity exercises like walking to burn stored bodyfat?

Well, bodybuilders do quite a bit of low intensity cardio in order to burn bodyfat before a show.  They do it because it works.  It strips bodyfat very slowly, which is very important for a bodybuilder looking to preserve every ounce of muscle they built while they drop bodyfat.  However,  they also spends hours a week on this cardio in addition to hours of rigorous weight training.

We’re looking for something that’s more efficient and strips bodyfat faster.

Enter EPOC.

EPOC stands for excess post exercise oxygen consumption(Baechle & Earle, 2000).  High intensity exercise and weight training burns a higher percentage of carbohydrate and very little fat.  This is a bit of a paradox because what we are looking for is fat burning.  However, higher intensity training that uses the glycolytic system ends up putting our bodies in an oxygen debt after training(Baechle & Earle, 2000).  This means that for a period of time after exercise, our bodies consume more oxygen and burn more fuel(Baechle & Earle, 2000).

In other words, high intensity exercise that taps into the glycolytic system puts us in an oxygen debt that increases our metabolism for a period of time after training.

This pretty much means that after you finish exercising at a high intensity level, you’ll be burning calories well after you finish your session.  In this research article utilizing circuit training, EPOC was elevated for 38 hours following the exercise session! (Schuenke, Mikat & McBride, 2002)  That’s a long time to be burning calories after exercising.  Keep in mind that low intensity exercise like steady state cardio does not have the same effect on EPOC because it is not tapping as much into anaerobic pathways like glycolysis.

Remember how we burn preferentially fat while resting(Baechle & Earle, 2000)?  Well guess what?  The period of time after training when you’re at rest burning calories because of EPOC (38 hours later), you’re burning preferentially body fat as a fuel.  Well this sounds pretty much awesome to me, burning body fat while sitting on your butt at home or work!

If I’m trying to be efficient with my training, I’m definitely going to pick higher intensity exercise.  The higher the intensity, the greater the EPOC effect.  That’s why high intensity intervals beats low intensity intervals.  Also, we don’t have 20 hours per week to work on our bodies.  The more efficient we can be about fat loss, the better.

I get the high intensity exercise, but why is high intensity weight training at the top of the list? 

Well, for one, the first study mentioned used circuit training, a form of high intensity weight training.(Schuenke, Mikat & McBride, 2002)  EPOC was really elevated after training.  Also, people generally want to not only lose bodyfat, but also to build some muscle mass.  Men typically want to look lean and muscular and for women toned and lean.  These two goals are incredibly similar and in both cases the best way to reach those goals is through high intensity weight training.

I don’t want to give you the idea that steady state cardio and being active is bad, that’s definitely not true.  I just believe that based on the science and if we want to be efficient and muscular, we should be focusing more toward the top of the list then on the bottom.  Its also the way I’ve been training for a decade that’s been giving me excellent results.

Next week I’ll go over some specific programs to get you started.  For now try to digest the information and why this is important.  If you guys have a favorite high intensity routine you like to use, tell me about it by posting to the comments below!

Go get some Abs,

Dan Pope

P.S. If you guys enjoyed this article please sign up for the newsletter in the top right hand portion of the page and leave a comment below.  I’d love to hear your feedback and personal experiences!


Baechle , T. R., & Earle, R. W. (2000). Essentials of strength training and conditioning. (2nd ed., pp. 74-88). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.

Schuenke. , Mikat, , & McBride, (2002). Effect of an acute period of resistance exercise on excess post-exercise oxygen consumption: implications for body mass management. European Journal of Applied Physiology, 86(5), 411-417.

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