Everyone (including myself) looks for an edge in the continuing battle to lose body fat. The key is to use those energy stores in the most effective way possible, specifically to maintain an balance that allows you lose body fat maintain or gain lean muscle in a healthy fashion. As I sated in the introduction blog post “ESD training should be the foundation of any training plan” which leads me into the question which form of ESD (Energy System Development) training is the most efficient when its applied to a weight loss plan? Some would say that long durations of slow steady state cardiovascular training such as jogging, or walking would be the best way to lose body fat, and technically that would be correct but these forms of training to lose weight will get you just so far on your journey to drop that last 20 lb. or dropping your first 5 lb.
Just a brief overview of what Energy Systems Development training is by definition is training specific energy system to produce a desired training effect that is specific to the goals of the training program. There are there main energy systems that the body taps into to acquire the energy to perform tasks depending on the duration and the intensity the task. Here is a brief description the three energy systems:
· ATP-CP Phosphagen energy System- used during short term, high intensity activities Ex. Throwing a Shot Put, Sprinting, Olympic lifts of 2-4 reps: Last 1-30 sec. Uses glycogen already stored and available in the muscles.
· Anaerobic Glycolytic energy System - used during medium/high intensity activities, Ex. Strength/endurance: lasts 30sec-3mins. Uses stored glycogen form other tissues in the body such as the liver.
· Aerobic energy System- used during long durations of exercise lasting longer than 30 min to 1 hour. Uses oxygen to convert stored body fat into to ATP for energy. The byproduct of this process lactic acid which is also used as an energy source.
As you look at the definitions of each of these energy systems you might think that the best way to burn that unwanted fat is through the aerobic energy system, but you might be wrong. Lets face it Aerobic exercise is an affordable and easily accessible form of exercise in where this energy system actually uses stored body fat to convert it into usable energy (after about 30-40 minutes of exercise). But you must remember the aerobic system is not as efficient in actually conditioning the body to burn more stored fat, the only way to effectively burn fat for energy is to have enough lean muscle mass to increase your resting metabolic rate which should be the goal of any weight loss or body composition improvement program.
This brings us to what most consider to be the sweet spot of energy system training which is the Anaerobic Glycolytic energy System. This form of energy systems training as compared to the aerobic energy system, which used primarily to improve the efficiency of the cardiovascular system in most training programs, it does not help build and maintain lean muscle mass like the Anaerobic Glycolytic energy System does. This is a major flaw in weight loss training programs that primarily use cardiovascular training to improve weight loss or body composition. In fact in most cases aerobic activity maybe limiting the bodies ability to use stored fat as energy especially if the individual's nutrition is not balanced and up to par. As I mentioned before the only way to effectively burn stored body fat is by increasing lean muscle which in turn improves the individual's resting metabolic rate.
Remember fat loss is about calorie expenditure and we are looking for the most efficient way to use or burn calories if fat loss is your goal. There is a simple element to training that everyone ignores or is ignorant of is you want to train (or workout) to help your body work more efficiently in your normal every day activities (which is the inspiration behind the Atlas Pro Training tag phrase -Train With a Purpose-). You can never out training, out run, out lift bad nutrition habits, BUT you can kick your fat loss into high gear by training with in the second energy system listed which is the Anaerobic Glycolytic energy System. This is considered the sweet spot for calorie expenditure and fat loss due to the fact that this type of training has the potential to increase lean muscle mass which helps you burn more calories at rest and during low intensity activities such as walking, or lifting light loads. Also this energy system taps onto to the aerobic system when performed beyond the 3-5min duration with limited rest times of less than 1 min between movements. This allows you to get more bang for your buck in regards to time spent working out,
There are several ways you can tap into the Anaerobic Glycolytic energy System listed below
Sub-Max weight lifting and Sprinting
Some light Plyometric exercises- Jump Rope, Medicine Ball training
Author: Alwyn Cosgrove
November 18, 2013
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