Fitmark Ambassador Nick Friedrichsen gives a detailed explanation about training the correct energy system in the body
One of the first things we have to realize it that being fit can mean so many different things. I usually ask people I have trained or advised, well what kind of physique do you want? I usually get a blank stare, “I don’t know, I just wanna lose weight.” My first reaction is, “get the scale out of your mind!” Second I will say, “well, do you want the body of a marathon runner or a sprinter? And do you know the difference? This will greatly influence training.”
I grew up in a household of athletics. My father was/is an avid runner and cyclist who could still clean my clock in a distance run or tour de anything at 65 years old! On the other hand in anything shorter than a mile I would have the upper hand and certainly in the weight room there would be no contest. Youth is a tool, but just one of them. Experience and knowledge play an even bigger role. At 6’4″ and a 175lbs, my father has the distance runner body type, an ectomorph that can’t gain weight if he tried, with very long arms and legs. I, on the other hand, take after my mother’s side at 5’10″ and about 195 lb mesomorph that can easily put on muscle and body fat so I had to watch my training as well as calorie intake. I played the explosive sports growing up; football, basketball, baseball, and volleyball so I was trained for explosiveness not distance.
It’ s no wonder that we are seeing offensive linemen at the NFL combine weighing in at over 300 lbs running a sub 4.7 second 40 yard dash. That’s movin! How can this be done? They have trained the correct energy system and muscle fibers. Everyone is born with a certain amount of “fast twitch” or type II muscle fibers. The more you are blessed with, the more explosive and powerful you can become, the athletic ceiling is higher. A distance runner is more likely to train the “slow twitch” or type I muscle fibers. This in turn will influence athleticism and physique. Fast twitch muscle fibers can turn into slow twitch if neglected, but the bad news is you cannot turn slow twitch into fast twitch, the body just doesn’t work that way unfortunately. The body releases energy when Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) is broken down. This is a chemical form of energy for muscle use. So now which energy system am I talking about? Well there are a few to choose from, ATP-PC (Phosphogen system) is used for very short intervals, about 10 seconds, or short explosive bursts, anaerobic (without oxygen) system supplies energy for up to 2 minutes, and aerobic (with oxygen) is you long duration energy system, or your distance training.
Now which is best? Well that depends on the goals if the individual. In my experience and research, the ATP-PC and anaerobic system burns fat at a much faster rate while retaining lean muscle. This kind of training is shorter but much more intense and great for those of us on time schedules. Weight training, circuit training, plyometric programs, and HIIT (high intensity interval training) are a couple of examples of anaerobic training. Going for a 45 min jog/run, brisk walk, cycling or LISS (low intensity slow and steady) are examples of aerobic system training. The body will use both fat and muscle for energy on long runs, hence why marathon runners are very lean, but also don’t have a lot of muscle mass. To achieve your goals after they are set, get started by deciding your method of training. Both programs should be coupled with resistance training in some way. It all depends on what kind of physique you want because both have great health and fitness benefits. Take it to the next level!
Fitmark Ambassador 2013
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