Postexercise energy expenditure and substrate oxidation in young women resulting from exercise bouts of different intensity

J Am Coll Nutr. 1997 Apr;16(2):140-6. doi: 10.1080/07315724.1997.10718664.


Objective: The effects of low and high intensity exercise, of similar energy output, on exercise and post-exercise energy expenditure and substrate oxidation were studied in eight active, eumenorrheic females (aged 22 to 31).

Methods: Continuous indirect calorimetry was performed during cycle ergometry exercise and for 3 hours following each of the following three protocols administered in random order: 1) low intensity exercise (LIE: 500 calories 50% VO2 max), 2) high intensity exercise (HIE: 500 calories 75% VO2 max), and 3) control condition (C) of quiet sitting for 1 hour, rather than exercise. Excess postexercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), energy expenditure and total fat and carbohydrate oxidation for the entire exercise/control plus 3-hour recovery period were determined by indirect calorimetry.

Results: Mean EPOC for the 3-hour post-exercise period for HIE (9.0 +/- 1.7 L, 41 kcals) was significantly greater than EPOC for low intensity exercise (4.8 +/- 1.6 L, 22 kcals). Oxygen consumption (VO2) following HIE, but not LIE remained elevated at the end of the 3-hour post-exercise period. Total carbohydrate oxidation (exercise plus postexercise period) was significantly higher for HIE (116 +/- 8.6 g) compared to LIE (85.0 +/- 5.2 g). Total fat oxidation was lower for HIE (27.7 +/- 3.3 g) compared to LIE (36.9 +/- 3.0 g), but this difference did not reach statistical significance (p = 0.07). At the end of the 3-hour recovery period, the rate of fat oxidation was higher following HIE compared to LIE.

Conclusion: These data indicate that the recovery period should also be considered when determining the impact of different exercise intensities on total energy expenditure and fat and carbohydrate utilization in women.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Calorimetry
  • Carbohydrate Metabolism
  • Energy Metabolism*
  • Exercise*
  • Fats / metabolism
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Oxygen / metabolism


  • Fats
  • Oxygen