Have you ever heard about energy systems in the sports world and their importance? If you don’t know what they are, keep reading. Today we tell you how through these pathways, the body obtains energy to exercise and why they are critical to the performance of a professional athlete.
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Table of Contents
What Are Energy Systems In Sport?
The energetic processes in physical exercise are how our organism has to provide the necessary energy to our body. That is, they are the ways to supply ATP to the muscles when performing physical activity. ATP is the energy molecule our body requires when doing physical exercise.
According to research, we can subject our muscles to two types of efforts; anaerobic and aerobic, which involve using one energy system. The duration of the steps gives another factor that marks the energy process used.
What Types Of Energy Systems Are There?
We can classify energy systems into three types, depending on what the athlete demands energetically. These three types provide energy to the muscles and are always active. However, each one has more or less priority depending on the duration of the exercise, its intensity and the amount of energy substrate. Next, we explain how this classification works.
Alactic Anaerobic System
This process is called the phosphagen system and is usually produced by explosive movements. The energy in this process depends on the reserves of ATP and phosphocreatine in the muscle.
This way of obtaining energy does not accumulate lactic acid in the muscles. So the well-known discomforts called soreness do not usually appear. It only occurs if we perform maximum intensity exercises or power sports for periods of no more than 10 seconds, such as weightlifting, which involve short times and short distances.
Lactic Anaerobic Glycolysis System
It is the energy pathway in high-intensity efforts of short duration. It usually appears when ATP and phosphocreatine reserves are depleted, and the muscle must re-synthesize the ATP molecule with glucose through glycolysis.
Glycolysis provides the energy needed to maintain high-intensity efforts for less than a minute. From proper training planning and regulating the level of physical exercise, we can adapt to the energy production mechanism and develop tolerance to molecules such as lactic acid.
After generating ATP, glucose and phosphocreatine, the muscles use the oxygen in carbohydrates and fats as fuel. It is the slowest way to get ATP, but it can be used for a longer time.
It usually appears when resistance exercises are practiced and, of course, in long-term, individual or team sports. These sports aim to get the necessary oxygen to the muscles to facilitate physical work since the oxidative system requires constant oxygen intake.
How To Train Energy Systems?
Since each energy system involves a different process, your training is too. Each of these is done as follows:
Workouts should be done in intervals. Its intensity must be equal to or greater than the demands of the sport. That is, you have to make the maximum effort and work for repetitions of 10 seconds. This way, we prevent it from starting in the anaerobic lactic system.
Lactic Anaerobic System
To train this process, the intensity of the exercises must be maximum, and the work must be by repetition of between 10 seconds and 2 minutes. The breaks between the repetitions must be one minute so that the recovery can be extensive.
The first thing to work on in these workouts is the duration of the exercises and, later, the intensity. It should be based on intervals with work times, at most 7 minutes, that can be short.
How Are Energy Systems Related To Sports Nutrition?
Bearing in mind that energy processes are based on the distributed energy of our body, we must consume the necessary foods that are the source of this energy. People who do sports have energy needs, so they require special nutrition.
Protein is the nutrient an athlete needs the most due to the higher nitrogen requirement since it will increase the amount of muscle mass and proteolysis. Therefore, it is estimated that these needs are covered with an amount of protein between 1.2 and 1.7 kg per day.
Glycogen is the prime energy source during exercise; the amount stored will depend on carbohydrate intake. An athlete should consume a balanced and varied diet in which carbohydrates provide at least 60% of the total daily calories, incredibly complex carbohydrates.
Fats must also be present in athletes’ diets, between 25 and 30% of the total calories in the diet. Above all, monounsaturated ones, such as olive oil, must be present above the saturated ones.
Energy Systems And ATP
As has been seen, ATP is the gasoline to produce energy since it is the one that transports it so that the functions in the cells of the organism are carried out. In our bodies, typically, between 80 and 100 grams of ATP are stored. It is a limited amount, so it must be replenished during exercise; When we exert ourselves intensely, more ATP is produced than at rest.
In short, the energy systems of sports are the metabolic pathways by which the body obtains energy to exercise. In all physical efforts, the fundamental molecule in energy production always intervenes ATP, but it is not the only one. Creatine phosphate, glycogen, fats and proteins are other molecules necessary for energy production.
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