CNY is over and I’m pretty sure many of you have over snacked a little, but not to worry, I have a solution for you. 🙂
As I’m studying Sport and Exercise Physiology, I’ve learnt the different energy sources we use during workout. Majority will be looking for a weight loss program, but I have also included different types of workout methods so that you can work specifically towards your goal. I don’t believe in weight loss pills as I find that they’re just temporary solutions, the permanent solution would be changing your lifestyle and start working out.
So to start, there are 3 types of energy sources:
Food and drinks contain a combination of Carbohydrates, Proteins and Fats and these are the fuels to our energy source, they are called substrates. Substrates work differently depending on your workout program, allow me to explain each substrate in detail:
1) Produces 4 kcal/g energy (For every gram of carbohydrate you consume, it gives you 4 kcal worth of energy)
2) 2500 kcal stored in the body, which is enough to last for only a day
1) Also produces 4 kcal/g energy
2) Is not being stored in the body, instead, it converts to either carbohydrates or fats
1) Produces 9 kcal/g energy (2x or more than carbohydrates), that’s also the reason why it takes a lot of effort to burn fats
2) 70,000 kcal stored in the body, which is why fat is always everyone’s enemy. This is also the reason why people can survive during the fasting period.
Right now we have a clearer picture on the specifics of each substrate, so I’ll move on to talk about how energy is used from each of these substrates:
1) Converted to glucose to give us energy during exercise
2) Works with and without oxygen intake
1) Proteins are converted into amino acids to maintain biological functions, thus it does not benefit us much during exercise
2) Will be used only if there’s a deficiency in carbohydrates or fats
1) Broken down into Free Fatty Acids to give us energy during exercise
2) Works only when oxygen is present
The 2 systems that we use during exercise are the aerobic and anaerobic systems. The differences between the 2 systems are that the aerobic system requires oxygen to function, whereas the anaerobic system does not require oxygen.
As professional sportsmen we usually train until we’re in a huge oxygen deficit but we keep pushing because we want improvement. Thus, we are constantly using our anaerobic system. If you’re looking to improve sport performance, anaerobic training is the way to go.
However, the downside of anaerobic training is that it does not burn fat. Fats require an oxidative system, which is the aerobic system. So during our anaerobic training, the main substrate that we are burning is actually Carbohydrate. So if you’re looking to lose weight, pushing yourself too hard is not the best solution, in fact, it is actually worse that way. I know many have the misconception that the harder you push, the more weight you’ll lose, but that’s actually incorrect.
The Secret Revealed
The secret to weight loss is actually really simple; to have an aerobic workout, like jogging or cycling for 30-45 minutes at a REASONABLE PACE, 2-3 times a week. This may sound unbelievable but YES, IT IS THAT SIMPLE. Fats are best utilized for prolong and less intense exercises whereby there’s a constant amount of oxygen intake as fats takes a longer time to be converted into energy. Therefore “slow and steady wins the race” also applies to fat burning.
If you’re wondering, our swim coach Gary gives us a combination of both aerobic and anaerobic swimming workouts to give variation and to make sure that we’re both aerobically and anaerobically fit.
So always remember, if you’re looking to burn fat, make sure that you’re having sufficient oxygen intake or you’ll end up burning more carbohydrates instead. Skip the weight loss pills and start working out; I’m pretty sure you’ll lead a healthier lifestyle this way. Hope I helped make your next workout more efficiently! 🙂
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