Estimating Energy Expenditure for Brief Bouts of Exercise with Acute Recovery

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism


O2 deficit, lactate, O2 debt, EPOC, anaerobic energy expenditure.


Four indirect estimations of energy expenditure were examined, (i) O2 debt, (ii) O2 deficit, (iii) blood lactate concentration, and (iv) excess CO2 production during and after 6 exercise durations (2, 4, 10, 15, 30, and 75 s) performed at 3 different intensities (50%, 100%, and 200% of VO2 max). Analysis of variance (ANOVA) was used to determine if significant differences existed among these 4 estimations of anaerobic energy expenditure and among 4 estimations of total energy expenditure (that included exercise O2 uptake and excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, or EPOC, measurements). The data indicate that estimations of anaerobic energy expenditure often differed for brief (2, 4, and 10 s) bouts of exercise, but this did not extend to total energy expenditure. At the higher exercise intensities with the longest durations O2 deficit, blood lactate concentration, and excess CO2 estimates of anaerobic and total energy expenditure revealed high variability; however, they were not statistically different. Moreover, they all differed significantly from the O2 debt interpretation (p < 0.05). It is concluded that as the contribution of rapid substrate-level ATP turnover with lactate production becomes larger, the greatest error in quantifying total energy expenditure is suggested to occur not with the method of estimation, but with the omission of a reasonable estimate of anaerobic energy expenditure.