EPOC (Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption) 411!

Happy Monday!  Monday is a starting point for many things.  The expression “I’ll start Monday..” is one many of us are familiar with.  Yesterday’s post mentioned my Saturday morning ‘Hill Sprint‘ drill workout.  Sprinting is something most people hear and dread automatically, and I, for one, feel like sprinting gets a far worse rap than it should.

What Is Sprinting?

Sprints are intense energy outputs within a small time frame.  Like a 90 foot dash, for example, where you push “all out” for that amount of distance.  Again, some people think of this and get instantly put off.  What if I told you – by just a few days a week, for as little as fifteen minutes – you could increase your metabolism, endurance, and capacity to build lean muscle mass …would you believe me?  Probably not, but you should!

How Does Sprinting Work?

Going “all out” sounds a bit intense, but it gets the job done.  Many studies have been conducted to prove the difference in both weight loss and the growth of lean muscle mass in groups of people performing sprinting train versus traditional, longer duration cardiovascular activity.  Essentially, with sprinting the body creates EPOC or Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption or “afterburn“.  EPOC is the body’s response to exercise where fat stores are broken down and free fatty acids (FFA) which are then released into the blood.  This leaves the body in a position to burn fat as a primary source through anything from daily activities like vacuuming and walking the stairs to an evening run or Zumba class. EPOC essentially fuels the body to increase metabolism from the increase in body temperature which occurs during exercise.  In layman’s terms sprinting turns your body into a fat burning furnace that stays ignited HOURS after you light it.

How To Sprint

If you’re new to sprinting, please check with your physician to make sure you’re physically able for this form of exercise.  Sprinting is essentially – as mentioned – going all out for anywhere from 30-90 seconds.  The most popular sprinting method is on a track, but I find that hill sprinting is better for not only form, but overall endurance and injury prevention.   This method of training has helped me, my clients, and countless fitness professionals of all kinds to get fit, strong, and lean for years – and it requires ZERO equipment.  In fact, all sprinting requires is a desire to get fit and stick with it.  While sprinting:

  1. keep your spine straight and your head up above your shoulders.
  2. Look straight ahead.
  3. Keep your shoulders and arms relaxed (your arms should be moving back and forth in a straight line.)
  4. Keep your feet and toes flexed upward, toward your shins, and run on your toes for maximum speed
  5. Finish STRONG!

As I stated earlier, sprinting is about “going all out” and creating EPOC.  Whether you’re a professional athlete or a beginner the science behind sprinting works.  Your body is going to work at its maximum regardless of your weight, age, gender, or fitness level.  When a body works at its maximum capacity it creates amazing results.  However, I cannot stress enough, you should always run (no pun intended) any exercise regimen you are attempting by your doctor.

Ways to Fit Sprinting into Your Routine

  1. Adding 30 second “all out” sprints onto your ever day run or jog.
  2. Walking up a tall grade at a pace twice as fast as your walking pace.
  3. Adding a 20-30 second intervals of bodyweight exercises (more to come on this).
  4. Throwing “high knees” at a fast pace after yoga or before a lower impact, endurance routine.

Have you ever used sprinting intervals in your workout routine?



20 Minute “Sprinterval” Workout

Got 20 minutes to spare?  Sure you do!  Try this** (insanely) effective “sprinterval” circuit to boost metabolism and build muscle.
3-5 Minute Warm-Up (jogging in place/walking at a medium pace/stretching)

  1. Shuttle Sprints (10-30 yard distance between two markers)
  2. Reverse Lunges (20)
  3. Spiderman Pushups (10)
  4. High Knees (30 Seconds)
  5. Burpees (5)

Cool Down (3-5 minutes)

Repeat this circuit as many times as possible for 12 minutes.

**As with any fitness routine, please check with your physician before attempting this or any exercise program.



The Veggetti: Healthy Made Easy #1

Veggetti Review

The other day while getting some essentials at Walmart (always SO fun, eh?) I stumbled across this (strategically placed) impulse item.  The Veggetti!


The Veggetti turns vegetables into linguini and spaghetti sized pieces.  I will admit, I am a sucker for an “As Seen On TV” buy as much as the next …well, sucker.  However, unlike my Pajama Jeans or Shake Weight this little guy is actually pretty awesome.


On my first attempt, I made what I called, “pesto squashta” – which was summer squash steamed and then baked with reduced-fat pesto sauce.  It was pretty good, but my only complaint was that it did get cold rather quickly.

squashtaI didn’t want to toss my Veggetti into my “pile of misfit As Seen On TV items” heap, so I decided to use my veggettables (really, Erin? ) in a stir fry rather than steaming or baking them.  I used zucchini and summer squash as my key ingredients and sauteed them in a tiny bit (less than 1 tbsp) of olive oil, garlic, and grape tomatoes.  I also added a little salt and black pepper and garnished it with a dollop of goat cheese.  It was REALLY delicious!  While I don’t think the Veggetti is the perfect substitute for pasta-holics, it is a really inexpensive and easy tool to create some healthy meals with.  My  next experiment will be to grill the vegetables and use them on a nice salad.  Wow, hungry already!  So, in conclusion, while the Veggetti is no Kitchenaid appliance,  for $15.00 you certainly can make some good stuff.




Easy “Strawberry Fields” Pizza!


TGI (almost F!)  I don’t know about you, but I am SO over this work week!  After four early mornings and late afternoons, I am beat!  Tonight I was faced with a dilemma;  I did not have the energy to make anything too involved for dinner and  I had a bunch of strawberries I did not want to go to waste.  So I put one and one together and got …pizza?  With such strong math skills it’s hard to believe my day job is in finance, isn’t it?  Anyhoo, according to my calculations, I discovered I should most definitely make my “Strawberry Fields” pizza.  I typically make this pizza for brunch, but I’m just that kind of crazy today that I decided to make it for dinner.  Who is the “dinner only” police anyway?

What you will need:

I used soft goat cheese, spinach and arugula blended greens, fresh strawberries, and Trader Joe’s Rustic Ciabatta Flatbread for a crust.  I love TJ’s ready made crusts; they are healthy, easy, and inexpensive.

1 Ready Made Pizza Crust (or homemade if you’ve got the gumption!)

2 C Fresh strawberries

1/4 C Goat cheese (crumbled or creme)

2 C Spinach

1 TBSP Olive Oil


Preheat oven to 425 (or whatever your crust requires) and bake for 8-10 minutes until crisp.  Take crust out of the oven and top with cheese, strawberries, and greens.  Place back in the oven at reduced heat for 5 minutes.  Remove from oven, top with olive oil drizzle and serve!

What’s your favorite easy pizza recipe?