What’s The Best Way To Use Anaerobic Exercise To Maximise Your Workouts?

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Personal/Fitness Training Blog

The deeper that you get into the fitness world, the more science-y terms you’ve possibly come across. Take anaerobic exercise, for example. You’ve probably heard that phrase thrown around, however what does it really mean?

Anaerobic exercise — which is a higher intensity, higher power form of exercise — is different from aerobic exercise. Although the term might not be one that you’re familiar with, anaerobic exercise is a very common and effective workout. In fact, you’ve possibly put yourself through an anaerobic workout at some point in your life.

Just from the word “anaerobic,” we are able to deduce that anaerobic exercise is not aerobic. This we know. However, after that, for most of us, things can get a little fuzzy. Oxygen comes to mind. And high-intensity interval training (HIIT) is anaerobic, right?

What Are The Types Of Anaerobic Exercises?

Anaerobic exercise is any activity which breaks down glucose for energy without making use of oxygen. Generally, these pursuits are of short length with high intensity. The notion is that a lot of energy is released within a small period of time, and your demand for oxygen surpasses the oxygen supply.

Exercises and movements which require short bursts of intense energy are instances of anaerobic exercises.

These include:

  • Weightlifting,
  • Jumping or jumping rope,
  • Sprinting,
  • High-intensity interval training (HIIT), and
  • Biking

What’s The Distinction Between Aerobic Exercise And Anaerobic Exercise?

Both aerobic exercise as well as anaerobic exercise require that energy, however they have different methods of generating it. During aerobic metabolism, your body makes use of oxygen in order to break down ATP for energy. However, anaerobic exercise doesn’t depend on oxygen to access that energy. Instead, it breaks down fast-acting compounds in order to get the fuel it requires from that ATP.

Aerobic metabolism is great at providing the body with a lot of energy, however it does it at quite a slow pace. Aerobic metabolism fuels low-intensity exercise and endurance workouts, such as your long runs, walking, jogging, or restorative yoga. It produces energy by burning either fat or carbs:

  • Fat: Aerobic exercise – which is low enough in intensity that you are able to do it simply for more than a few minutes at a time – is mostly fuelled by fat. Fat is an energy-rich nutrient (offering nine calories per gram as compared to four per gram for carbs or protein). This is why it can supply energy for so long. It just takes quite a long time for your body to chew through.
  • Carbohydrates: As your intensity goes up (but before it becomes difficult), carbs come into play as energy. Your aerobic metabolism is able to break down glucose in your bloodstream and glycogen — which are stored carbs — in your liver or muscles, through a process which is called slow glycolysis. This can take place when you’re transitioning to a greater intensity, such as when you’re just starting to ramp up your swimming pace.

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