Fit For You – No. 4
by Scott Rejholec
As mentioned in the last article, exercise can be defined as any intentional act of physical activity that induces structural stress to our body.
The result of this stress is that our body makes adaptations. Today we will be covering one fuel system that our body utilizes, called the anaerobic fuel system.
First and foremost, we need to understand what our body uses as its energy. Like a car running on gas, diesel, or even electricity, our body uses what’s called adenosine triphosphate (ATP).
There are two ways to produce ATP, anaerobically and aerobically.
So what does anaerobic mean?
Anaerobic can be defined as a process that does not require oxygen. Some of you may ask, well how does that work? We are breathing in oxygen, why wouldn’t our body utilize it?
To explain this, let me first provide some examples of exercises that fall under the anaerobic fuel system.
Sprints, high intensity intervals, and resistance training (pushing or pulling an object). There are obviously more that fall into this category, but the main point is that all of these exercises will last anywhere from 6 seconds to 3 minutes.
During this timeframe, our bodies are requiring immediate energy, because they are working at such a high level.
We can think of it as the comparison of city and highway mileage. In the city, you are going to go through more gas because of the quick stopping and accelerating.
Anaerobic exercises burn through ATP fast so it needs a quick fuel system to replenish the ATP. This method of providing the ATP is called glycolysis.
Another question arises, why wouldn’t our body always use the glycolysis method if it provides the energy, ATP, the fastest?
Unfortunately, glycolysis involves a fermentation process that breaks your stored glucose, called glycogen, down into this ATP.
Due to the fact that most of us in this community are German, I’ll use the example of making sauerkraut
When fermenting the cabbage, there is a byproduct of mold that lines the top layer. Like the byproduct of mold on the cabbage, glycolysis makes a byproduct of lactate. The accumulation of this lactate over a short period of time can result in inhibiting glycolysis, resulting in less power output and fatigue.
If enough of lactate is produced and your body has not yet built up a tolerance to it (deconditioned), it can cause an individual to get nauseated.
Of course all individuals can change that outcome. Through consistent training, an individual has the ability to increase their lactate threshold. This threshold is basically a point of how good your body is at clearing the lactate, so it does not inhibit your energy production, glycolysis.
With that being said, lactate can sound like a bad guy in a physiological perspective, but lactate has been shown to fuel the release of what’s called norepinephrine.
Norepinephrine is a hormone that has an immediate effect on making your neurons stronger. This connection helps your brain learn better and remember better, reducing the chances of developing dementia.
To sum the anaerobic fuel system up, the duration of the exercise is from 6 seconds to 3 minutes. It is a quick source of providing you fuel, adenosine triphosphate (ATP).
However, it uses glycolysis to produce the ATP, which is a fermentation process. This fermentation process creates lactate, which if an individual does not have a high tolerance of, can inhibit the production of ATP resulting in a reduction of performance.
In the next article, we will be going over the aerobic fuel system.
This fuel system is utilized when sustaining a constant workload for longer than 5 min. For instance walking, jogging, and biking.
I understand this is a lot of information to take in, but I want everyone to understand what your body is going through when you exercise.
After the next article, we will get back to the basics of how to achieve a healthier lifestyle.
If you have any questions, comments, or want to see a specific topic be presented in these articles, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow “Fit For You Sheboygan Falls” on Facebook, as I will be posting my articles, videos and other health related topics on there.
As always, make it a great day!