After our white board talk this week, several of you were interested in a deeper dive into why just running, or biking, or doing any type of cardio for long periods of time won't be your key seeing changes in fitness.
There are 3 metabolic pathways that provide energy for all human action.
There is the phosphagen pathway, the glycolytic pathway, and the oxidative pathway.
The phosphagen pathway provides fuel for the highest powered activities, those that last less than 10 seconds. An example would be performing a 50 yard sprint.
The glycolytic pathway takes over for moderate-powered activities, those that last up to around 2 minutes. Think 400 meter sprint.
Finally, the oxidative (aerobic) pathway is used for activities that last longer than a few minutes. Running a mile would greatly utilize this pathway.
Which is the best pathway to train in?
We try to combine and develop all 3 metabolic pathways with the programming we prescribe at Fit. Some of the benefit from working in the glycolytic and phosphagen pathways are:
- Increase Fat Loss
- Increase Resting Metabolic rate
- Increase in oxygen uptake
- Increase in Cardio Vascular endurance
- Increase in Strength
*Think of the physic a 400 meter runner, not big and bulky, but lean and athletic.
When I work mostly in the oxidative (aerobic) pathway some of the benefits are:
- Increase oxygen uptake
- increase cardio vascular endurance
*Think of the physic of a marathoner, frail and weak.
A common fault in training is to focus your efforts on just 1 or 2 of these metabolic pathways. This is usually due to personal preference or comfort level, but by doing so your fitness is greatly diminished. It is important to focus on all 3 pathways, with the majority of our time in the glycolytic and phosphagen pathways. The work I do in these 2 pathways will increase my capacities in the oxidative (aerobic) pathway. However, the work I do in the oxidative (aerobic) pathway will blunt my capacity in the glycolytic and phosphagen pathways.