E.N.E.R.G.Y. These seven letters have so much power. With them, nothing is impossible. You can climb the highest mountain, run across the five continents and dive to the bottom of the
Ocean. Magic, Miracle of mother nature? Let’s take a closer look at where this energy comes from.
Let’s keep it simple.
Daily, our food is digested and transformed, broken down into macronutrients. They are made of Carbohydrates, protein, and fat. These Macronutrients ingested are the cornerstones of your diet.
Carbohydrates are the body’s primary source of fuel. They provide energy for your muscles and the central nervous system.
Proteins are essential by providing structure to the tissue. They are involved in metabolic, hormonal, and enzyme systems and help maintain acid-base balance in our bodies.
Fat is an energy reserve, insulation, and protection of your organs.
The Mitochondria, aka the energy factory of the human body
The carbs are broken down into glucose, the protein into amino acids, and the fat into Fatty acids. Then, finally, the bloodstream transports all these into various cells. And it is in there, into the mitochondria, the energy factory of the body, that the precious energy is made, with the help or no of Oxygen. The process is called cellular respiration. The scientific name of this energy is adenosine triphosphate, also called ATP.
The ATP molecules are your fuel. They are immediately used in this state, the most readily available energy source the human body makes.
A tiny quantity of this ATP is Stored. The majority is used immediately to fuel your body and everything it needs to perform.
The 3 Human body’s energy Systems
As I told you before, a small quantity of energy is stored. As soon as you start exercising, this energy is burned and needs replenishment. Depending on the intensity and duration of your physical activity, the body will automatically choose between the three energy production systems to keep the muscles fueled. For example, A very intense, explosive, short workout will trigger a different energy system than a slow and long Jog.
You should understand what those energy systems are. Then, through controlled and perfect nutrition, you will enhance your training and improve your physical capabilities in and out of the water.
Energy System production number 1 :
The Phosphagen System / ATP-PC System
This is the “instant” energy available. It is Anaerobic. It does not require Oxygen. This energy source is stored in small quantities in the tissue but gets exhausted fast. After 10 seconds of intense physical activity, it is gone. If you want to keep using this system during your workout, you must give enough time between your rounds to replenish the stock. You will need around 30 seconds to replenish about 70% of the phosphagens and 3 to 5 minutes to replenish 100%.
Energy System production number 2 :
The Glycolytic System
This system uses carbs. It is an ancient metabolic pathway. It evolved long ago and is found in most organisms alive today. This system can be divided into two (Fast and slow Glycolysis) depending on whether Oxygen is used or not in the process of ATP creation. At the end of the process, both of them create Pyruvate.
This Pyruvate will be converted into lactate if no Oxygen is available and then enter a process called fermentation to keep the Glycolysis ON and the body going. If Oxygen is available, the Pyruvate will enter the mitochondria and be processed to create ATP.
Energy System production number 3 :
The Oxidative System / Aerobic System
This system uses carbs and fat to create ATP during low-intensity physical activities, provided Oxygen is sufficient. That is the one you are using daily. As the intensity of exercise increases, there is a shift from fats to carbohydrates. Energy is mainly gained from carbohydrates during high-intensity aerobic exercise, provided there is enough of them.
Why understanding the process of energy creation is crucial?
As a professional freediver, I want my training in and out of the water to be complete. Therefore, understanding the creation of the energy process is a big part of improving how I train. These three systems contribute to the body’s energy needs. They do not work independently but dominate at different times, depending on the activity’s duration and intensity.
Working all three metabolic pathways has advantages regardless of your primary training approach or objective.
Eating healthy and training at different intensities has excellent advantages in terms of physical but also mental performance.