There are three primary energy systems:
Drinking coffee, getting yelled at by Coach, and listening to Pitbull.
Ok fine, those aren’t the ones taught in your high school Biology book. Though they SHOULD BE.
The actual energy systems in the human body are:
- Anaerobic Alactic
This system uses ATP in your cells to power your body, and doesn’t use oxygen. It provides immediate energy for explosive or high resistance movements, but is very limited in supply. It will run out in ~ 10 seconds and takes a couple of minutes to replenish.
Predominant use: strength training.
- Anaerobic Lactic (Glycolitic)
This system uses glycogen in your muscles, and doesn’t use oxygen. It powers your body for 1-2 minutes, with a bit less peak energy than the Anaerobic Alactic system above and kicks in once that’s exhausted.
Predominant use: high intensity exercise.
- Aerobic (Oxidative)
This system relies primarily on oxygen to create energy and is the body’s preferred way to power movement. Its peak production is somewhat low but it can be maintained for many minutes, even hours. It will utilize oxygen, glucose, glycogen AND fatty acids to generate energy.
Predominant use: low intensity cardio.
The body coordinates all three energy systems to give you what you need given the task you’re trying to accomplish. Trying to squat a 1-rep max? You’ll likely get your energy from the Anaerobic Alactic system. Going off on a 5 mile run? Aerobic it is.
Getting the most complete fitness results depends on you training all three energy system. At South Arlington Fitness & Nutrition, our workouts are designed to intelligently stimulate and improve how your body produces energy no matter the task so that you can be at your fittest inside the gym and outside it.
Come join us and achieve your fitness goals faster!