The purpose of energy system training is to maximize the efficiency of a particular energy system to perform better in sports or develop your desired physique.
Energy system training or commonly known as metabolic conditioning is a mode of exercise that has been around for a long time. Remember back in the old days when circuit classes were all the rage and leotards were an acceptable piece of clothing? That was a form of energy system training.
The Soviets were implementing this type of training in the 60s and 70s with amazing results and performances. Many well-known strength and conditioning coaches from the 80s who fathered our knowledge regarding all things health, strength and fitness were responsible for infiltrating this training method into western sports, the military, gyms across the world and especially Crossfit.
- What are the benefits? The purpose of energy system training is to maximize the efficiency of a particular energy system to perform better in sports or develop your desired physique. One added benefit is the increase of caloric burn even after the workout is finished because working at such a high intensity during the session increases EPOC and leads to a higher resting metabolism for the next few hours.
- Who can participate? The classes can easily be tailored to suit the individual – the stronger you are the more weight/reps you will do. From beginners to advanced everyone gets a workout.
- What kinds of things will I be doing? Lifts, sprints, burpees, skipping… you name it!
The creatine phosphate system or in simple terms the immediate energy system – this energy system does not require oxygen and we only have 10-20sec max of this particular energy in our body, it has evolved from running away from sabre-toothed tigers back in the day.
Anaerobic Pathway (or the feeling sick pathway, you know the one when you run up a hill very fast and your legs burn like crazy). This is the pathway that creates the lactic acid that we have all experienced at one stage or another, this is basically the result of your system working so hard that body can’t keep up the energy demand, through lack of oxygen getting in through inhalation and variety of factors.
Aerobic system or steady state, this is the energy system where we can go for long walks, long rides, swims, long runs etc without stopping. Everyone has this ability to perform at steady state which basically means your exercise levels meet the energy demands of the body and you can go until external factors stop you like time, pain, life.
1. This type of training is very calorie expensive. Short, 30-minute workouts can burn in excess of 400kcal during the exercise. While carbohydrates provide much of the fuel used during the high intensity interval, fat is also burned preferentially during the low intensity aerobic recovery period between the high intensity intervals.
2. The post exercise calorie expenditure is huge with this type of exercise. In some studies the resting metabolic rate remains elevated (by 15% or more) up to 24 hours after the workout. Interestingly, after exercise the body preferentially burns fat so this elevated metabolism is burning predominantly fat.
3. This exercise leads to an up regulation of aerobic, anaerobic, and ATP-PC enzyme activity. This means that all the energy systems of the body will operate at higher levels and become efficient at burning calories and generating energy.
4. The muscles used during this type of exercise will change their composition, shifting toward an increased percentage of fast twitch fibers. This increase comes at the expense of the weaker slow twitch ones. The shift is desired as the fast fibers grow more easily than the slow fibers.
5. There is an increase in specific muscle cell organelles (i.e. the sarcoplasmic reticulum). This leads to a better calcium balance and contractile ability.
6. There are short-lived increases in blood testosterone (38%) and growth hormone concentrations immediately after exercise. While this is debatable, these changes may contribute to an anabolic state in the body.