Exercise and Fuel Selection

Are you burning fat? Should you “carb up”? Intensity matters!

The Longevity exercise physiology team at EdgecliffMarrickville, Randwick, Lindfield and Drummoyne often get asked about fuel sources and the best ways to burn energy.

At Longevity, we track your cardiovascular fitness, strength and endurance in every session. Many of our clients have a weight loss goal to help them decrease co-morbidities, improve musculoskeletal health and improve aesthetics.

Although appropriate exercise prescription is the most important variable in our control during the session, getting the most out of every interval, rep, and cardiovascular protocol will improve your ability to progress. This means you must know where the energy is coming from for each effort that you are putting in order to maximise those energy stores and perform at your best. This is true if performing your best is hitting a new 10km PB or for something such as performing a weighted sit to stand for the first time.

Anaerobic efforts:

The body takes some time to be able to use oxygen for energy, so you will always start activity by tapping into the following energy sources that are much more readily available and do not require oxygen.

 0-5 second efforts:

 The fuel source during the first 5 seconds of any activity will be primarily phosphocreatine (creatine). This is irrelevant if it is a jog, short sprint or 1 rep max, but it is exponentially more important for those high-intensity, short bursts. Creatine is found naturally in red meat and fish or can be supplemented and is found locally in every muscle fibre to provide the fastest form of energy possible. This means if you have a heavy resistance session or short, fast sprints planned, having fish or red meat for dinner, or supplementing a healthy diet with creatine powder, can provide you benefit to lift that extra weight or spring a little bit faster.

5-60 second efforts

After you burn through your relatively small store of phosphocreatine, your body will use the next fastest form of energy, carbohydrates. You will use carbohydrates stored locally in muscles, called glycogen, to complete a process called anaerobic glycolysis which is the use of carbohydrates to produce energy in the absence of oxygen. If you are someone on a low carb. diet or you haven’t had a meal prior to training it is likely that your glycogen stores are depleted and you will struggle to perform and progress your training in this zone.

1 minute or more

 Since glycogen will only last a certain period of time as it is a relatively inefficient and heavy storage of energy, you will shift to using a combination of fat and carbohydrates to complete your exercise.

Want to know even more?! Our next blog will examine the way that training intensity will determine which fuel source you will use during exercise lasting longer than 1 minute.

For more information or to book in an initial consultation, call Longevity at : 1300 964 002



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