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I'm just starting back after a long layoff (parenthood can be a bitch!), looking to lose weight and improve general fitness. Unfortunately I'm restricted at the moment to bodyweight workouts at home and some resistance bands.


My question is: Can you get the EPOC effect (also known as the 'afterburner') doing bodyweight workouts if you do them to failure, or is it just heavy weights and HIIT?

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Technically the EPOC effect exists after both aerobic or anaerobic activity - it increases in a (I believe) somewhat linear relationship to intensity. That is to say: if you're breathing hard or 'feeling the burn', you'll likely experience at least some "after burn". FWIW, you can do HIIT with bodyweight exercises. Bodyweight exercises are just as effective as any other resistance training, as long as you are following a program which uses progressive overload to increase strength over time. 


However, this really shouldn't be a major consideration for a fat loss journey. Resistance training helps to preserve muscle mass in a caloric deficit and aerobic exercise will typically have beneficial effects on your cardiovascular health, but exercise has relatively little power to adjust the energy/calorie balance (even if you're working out every day).  EPOC accounts for an even smaller proportion of potential energy expenditure than the exercise itself. The most effective strategies for fat loss will mostly be diet focused, which is to say creating an energy deficit by eating fewer calories than your daily activities burn.


TL;DR - EPOC is not going to make or break your success with body recomposition, but what you choose to eat absolutely can.

Things that I WOULD pay attention to for a fat loss journey:

- quality and quantity of sleep; 8+hrs/night is ideal for most adults

- stress management; if you are super stressed out, your body will resist fat loss to the detriment of your overall health

- total caloric intake; you could either try a 'slow and steady' approach at 80-85% of your TDEE, or intermittent energy restriction (eg. 2wks at 70%TDEE, 2wks at 100% TDEE, continue to alternate with regular recalculations based on your new weight/TDEE)

- total protein intake; 0.7-1g of protein per lb of bodyweight a day is a good guideline to get going - if you carry more fat you can err towards the lower end of that range, if you are already lean(ish) then stay at the higher end of that range

- 5-8 servings of veg & fruit/day; fiber and micronutrients are good for you

- minimum 150min of exercise a week, ideally 2-3x resistance and maybe another aerobic workout or two

- staying sufficiently hydrated; aim for 0.5-1oz of water per lb of bodyweight a day - err on the higher end of the range on days you're working out


Good luck, and welcome to the forums!

...but I'm adorable! Ask anyone who doesn't know me...

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Yes, you can get the EPOC (Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption) effect from bodyweight workouts if you push yourself to failure or near-failure. EPOC is the amount of oxygen your body needs to return to its resting state after exercise. It's linked to the intensity and duration of your workout, and it can be triggered by a variety of exercise types, including bodyweight exercises.

The EPOC effect is more pronounced after high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and heavy weightlifting because they involve a higher level of intensity and greater muscle fiber recruitment, which leads to more energy expenditure and oxygen demand during and after the workout. However, even with bodyweight exercises, you can create enough stimulus to trigger the EPOC effect by performing challenging exercises to failure, using techniques such as drop sets, supersets, or plyometrics, and minimizing rest time between sets.

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