This higher metabolism also means that your body is using more energy, which is why many high intensity workout classes claim that you will experience a greater calorie burn for hours (and even days!) after your workout.
However, studies have found that the extent and duration of EPOC is dependent on the intensity and duration of exercise. If your workout is low in intensity and short in duration, you will likely not experience EPOC.
If you do experience EPOC, it can last anywhere from 15 minutes to 48 hours after your workout.
Causes of heart rate variation
There are a number of other factors that can influence your heart rate, and it’s useful to be aware of these when you are training.
The main culprits for raising your heart rate a little more than usual are dehydration, heat and humidity, altitude (even if you are acclimatised) and small everyday biological variations.
What are the benefits of heart rate monitoring?
There are many benefits to using a heart rate monitor, which is why athletes and sports team, along with their coaches, have been using them for decades.
They help to keep you on track to reach your goals
Whether you want to improve your endurance, or perform better at higher intensity activity, there is a heart rate zone that corresponds to your goal.
Wearing a heart rate monitor allows you to see when you are in your ideal zone so that you know you are on target and can maintain that pace. Alternatively, if you are just short of your target heart rate, seeing how close you are using the data on the screen can give you that extra push of motivation that you need to get there.
If your goal is to develop good fitness across the board, you could use a heart rate monitor to ensure that each workout that you do favours a different type of activity, based on heart rate.
They can help you to assess your ideal pace
Especially if you’re a novice at endurance sport like running (like me), a heart rate monitor can help you to pace yourself.
On the few long runs I’ve done, I’ve found it pretty easy to be overzealous and tire myself out prematurely, and I’m sure that I’m not alone.
A heart rate monitor can definitely help to develop a sense of speed and effort.
Calculating rest periods
Heart rate monitors are typically recommended for resistance training sessions, but they can actually be very helpful in monitoring your rest periods between sets.
If you’re lifting very heavy weights as part of a strength training programme, it’s important to give yourself adequate rest between sets so that your muscles, as well as your cardiovascular system and nervous system, can recover.
Often, trainers will set a standardised rest period of, say, 3 minutes. But as we know that everyone responds differently, it may be more beneficial to instead rest until your heart rate reaches a low enough level.
On the flip side, if you are lifting lighter weights and are looking to improve cardiovascular fitness and get more out of your session, you might like to ensure that your heart rate doesn’t drop below a certain point before moving on to your next set.
Assessing if you’re unwell or overtraining
By taking your resting heart rate every morning, you can calculate your average RHR over time.
If your RHR creeps up above your normal level (probably by about 7 bpm or more), it may be that you are exhibiting signs of fatigue, illness or overtraining.
Tracking progress over time
Modern heart rate monitors are able to sync your data with an app to store your data.
This means that you can review how your heart rate has changed over time to monitor your fitness levels, or monitor how your workouts appear to have changed over time, in structure, intensity or duration.