Whether you have taken exercise science classes or simply sat through junior high lessons in P.E. or health, you have likely heard of “aerobic” and “anaerobic” systems. While these terms aren’t necessarily incorrect, they are a little simplistic and outdated given what we know about how the body operates during exercise. At Golden Era Nutrition, we want to empower you with a better understanding of your body and how our fitness supplements can help you optimize every workout. Read on to learn more about the three major bioenergy systems, and find the right supplements for you from Golden Era Nutrition!
A Quick Word About Energy
Any kind of muscle exertion is fueled by ATP: adenosine triphosphate, a molecule made useful by its triple phosphate groupings. The breakdown of ATP creates ADP (adenosine diphosphate). A chemical reaction to add a third phosphate group to ADP to convert it back into ATP is necessary in order for your muscles to keep contracting.
The ATP-PC system, as you might have learned from the name, is the fastest and easiest source of ATP for your muscles. However, all three of these energy systems are available at any given time. Your body simply chooses one system to generate most of the energy it relies upon based on the effort required to perform a given exercise, how long you’ve been working, and how much ATP is readily available to use.
The ATP-PC System
The ATP-PC (adenosine triphosphate-phosphocreatine) system, also sometimes called the phosphagen system, is the main player when it comes to short-term, high-intensity exercises. This system converts ATP to provide a lot of power for a short duration for workouts like one-rep max exercises. Your body can rely on the ATP-PC system for up to 30 seconds, but if you want to tap into it again, rest three to five minutes for the phosphagens to replenish.
The Glycolysis System
When the body begins to exhaust the ATP-PC system, it turns to the glycolysis system. This system breaks down glucose to resynthesize ATP, and it can provide a moderate amount of power for a short duration, although it doesn’t fatigue quite as quickly as your ATP-PC system. It provides the majority of energy your body uses after 30 seconds and up to two minutes. This stage of exercise is also associated with lactate and muscle burn, which we will cover in an upcoming article! The important thing to know about your glycolysis system is that you can help maintain its power with carbohydrates or BCAA supplements.
The Oxidative System
Last but not least, your body turns to the oxidative system. It typically takes over for periods of exercise longer than two minutes, kicking in for activities like a one-mile run, and it uses carbohydrates, fats, and sometimes protein to provide energy. The oxidative system doesn’t offer as much power as the first two stages, but it can provide energy for a long time. This stage is aerobic – meaning it requires oxygen – which may force you to slow down or reduce the intensity of your workout, especially as acidity builds in your muscles. If you don’t stop, however, many people in the general population have enough fat and carbohydrate stores to burn for weeks!
You can support your oxidative system and the fuel it needs to keep you going by staying hydrated and focusing on your intake of food and electrolytes. You can also train your body to focus on specific energy substrates – carbohydrates or fats – to boost your efficiency. You can improve the efficiency of all these stages through training, but most people have the most potential when it comes to the oxidative system.
Fuel Your Body Better With Golden Era Nutrition
Now that you have a better understanding of your body and how it uses energy, you can choose better fitness supplements for your next workout. Golden Era Nutrition offers pre-, intra-, and post-workout supplements to meet your needs, each of them carefully formulated for great effects and great taste. Explore our collection today to get started!