The body employees’ three different biochemical pathways to provide us with the energy we require to complete a given task, the aerobic system, the anaerobic and the creatine phosphate system. In principal, the three systems work together to meet our energy requirement, but typically one of the three will take a lead depending on the intensity and duration of the activity.
The word Aerobic means in presence of oxygen, this system provides energy for activities like jogging or distance running, cycling, swimming and the cross trainer at the gym. This system comes into play when a given activity is done rhythmically for a period of at least 30 minutes, while your heart rate is at around 60-80 percent of the maximum.
Fat as a fuel source for the aerobic energy system
If you’re looking to lose weight you should primarily remain in this energy system. The primary source of energy comes from carbohydrate, but fat is also metabolized for energy supply. But one has to train the body to mobilize the fat reserves to provide energy source at “sub-maximal intensities”. This will not only help in reducing the fat reserves in our body but also improve the range. To train the body to burn more fat, one would need to train regularly at about 80% of maximum heart rate.
The word Anaerobic means in absence of oxygen. This system kicks in when the demand for oxygen outstrips the supply. This system can be only utilized for short durations as it sources the energy from the reserves of glycogen stored in the muscles. As is the muscles do not store a lot of glycogen that’s why the system runs out of steam fairly quickly. Unlike aerobic system it is not dependent on oxygen from the air (breathing). Activities like sprinting and interval training use this system primarily to meet their energy requirements.
This system is employed in very high intensity activities, like weightlifting and short sprints of up to 10 seconds. This system is fueled by the creatine phosphate that is stored by the muscles. The chemical is broken down and this process liberates energy as a byproduct.
Boost your anaerobic energy supplies
Training the anaerobic energy system (using interval training, for instance) will train your body to replenish the phosphates quickly. This in turn will improve your ability to perform the high intensity activity, provided enough rest is provided.
The following Table gives a reference point as to the contributions made by the body’s energy
|Event||Aerobic Energy System contribution||Anaerobic energy system contribution|