It isn’t exactly a secret that our bodies require energy to perform even its most basic functions. As the demands we put on our bodies increase (such as when working out), the need for energy grows. This is when our energy systems kick into full gear.
Our bodies store a minimal amount of energy in our muscles. This energy is known as adenosine triphosphate (ATP) but doesn’t account for where we get most of our energy from. In fact, most of our energy comes from the foods that we eat. These contain carbohydrates, fats, proteins and other nutrients which our bodies break down and convert into usable energy through a process of synthesis. When this energy is produced by our bodies. there are two things that can happen to it from that point:
- It may be used in a metabolic pathway, or
- It could be stored for later use.
Since we store minimal levels of ATP, we need to continuously synthesise it from the foods we eat. When this happens, it does so according to three main energy systems. Let’s take a closer look at them here.
Food, Fuel and Energy
As mentioned above, the food that we consume is made up of a variety of essential nutrients, all of which play a particular role in how we get energy, how that energy is used, and for how long we can maintain those levels.
When we eat, our bodies break that food up into these nutrients to produce useable glucose, fatty acids and amino acids. These nutrients are then sent through the body where it will be used according to one or more of the following energy systems:
Aerobic Glycolysis Energy System
This particular energy pathway uses oxygen to produce ATP, since oxygen is required to burn carbohydrates and fats.
The Aerobic Glycolysis Energy System is associated with sustainable energy production and so it is more appropriate for exercises that are less intensive but are conducted for a longer period of time. This system generally kicks in once the others have been depleted and so is necessary for pushing for longer and building endurance.
The Anaerobic Glycolysis System
This system produces energy in the absence of oxygen since it does so by breaking glucose down into more simplified components called pyruvate.
This particular energy pathway sits somewhere between the other two. As such it is capable of producing energy that is fit for prints or intervals of no more than three minutes of energy fit for rigorous activity. Thus, it provides burst energy for periods longer than the phosphagen system but more succinct than the aerobic one.
The Phosphagen System
The phosphagen system produces incredibly high rates of ATP and it does so by using creatine phosphate. Creatine phosphate is used to rebuild stores once they have been broken down to release energy.
This pathway provides fairly limited intervals of energy since only small amounts of ATP can actually be stored in your muscles. The upside of this energy system, however, is the speed at which it produces ATP. This means that energy stores become available almost instantaneously through the process. This makes it a great energy system for high interval workouts, providing energy that can last between 1 and 30 seconds.
This makes this type of energy necessary for activities such as sprinting and weight lifting.
If you would like to know more about how a specialised diet can contribute to better energy and performance when reaching your fitness goals, consider completing a fitness course that will earn you a personal training certification. To find out more about taking our internationally accredited, online fitness courses, contact a representative from Trifocus Fitness Academy today.