NASM PES Chapter 5: Metabolic Energy System Training 5

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Chapter Goals:

  • Know the differences between the anaerobic and aerobic energy systems.
  • Be able to describe the importance of the role of metabolic energy system training in the improvement of sports performance. 
  • Find the heart rate formulas and the training zones for heart rate that we should use for metabolic energy system training.
  • Be able to discuss the methods for making plans on metabolic energy system training. 

Introduction

Professionals in sports performance need to be sure to be creative in the making of cardio training programs. 

To have a complete program for cardiovascular and metabolic energy system training, you should make a program with specific goals while also applying a measurement tool for measuring the athlete’s progress. 

Metabolic Energy System Training Concepts

Cardiorespiratory fitness programming is one of the more misunderstood and underrated programming types. 

Athletes usually do not understand the need to build their aerobic base and its reliance on their overall training program. 

Some people may also assume that this metabolic energy system training is the same as aerobic training, which is not true. We must be aware that metabolic energy system training is more than this: attaining aerobic and anaerobic energy system goals. 

Review of Energy Systems

The body is unable to survive or even work if it is without energy to use. This energy for the body will be provided through the form of ATP.

ATP is adenosine triphosphate and it is made by the body from the materials in the food that we consume. 

ATP can be produced either aerobically or anaerobically.

The most efficient system is going to be the aerobic system. 

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When resting, a normal heartbeat is about 70 beats per minute, and well trained athletes may have as few as 40 beats per minute.

Aerobic training will stimulate the heart to adapt by becoming larger and stronger through exercising and supplying blood for the increasing demands for oxygen. 

The heart will be more effective per beat when it pumps more blood each time. 

The respiratory system involves the lungs bringing in oxygen, putting it in the blood, and then the blood carries these molecules with hemoglobin. 

The requirement of oxygen at rest is going to be constant. 

The amount of blood that the heart pumps out is known as the cardiac output, and we can find this by multiplying the heart rate by the stroke volume. 

The heart rate can change by a factor of around 3, with 60 being the average rest and 180 being a high working heart rate that is not reached unless nearing max work, and the stroke volume can change only by a factor of around 1.7. 

Increasing heart rate will then be the primary reason for the total cardiac output increases. The resting cardiac output is usually around 6 liters every minute, but when nearing max work, we see this go to 20 – 25 liters every minute and even up to 40 liters for advanced aerobic athletes.

Aerobic System

Aerobic exercise has the body needs to take oxygen from the atmosphere and then deliver it to the lungs, transfer it to the blood, and pump that to the muscles that are working, and it is then going to use oxidized carbs and fats for the end product of ATP. 

This energy pathway is called aerobic due to the need for oxygen. 

This will be the primary system used when at rest and doing light and low intensity work. 

Anaerobic System

Anaerobic metabolism is the ability of the body to make energy through the metabolization of carbs when there is no oxygen available. 

With an increase happening in the intensity of exercise, we see the cardiorespiratory system attempt to increase the delivery of oxygen for the mitochondria, but at some point, we are unable to supply these levels and must resort to this system. 

The lactic threshold is found through blood analyses at increasing exercise intensities, while the anaerobic threshold can be found by testing someone’s Submax VO2. 

The anaerobic system is noted for its extremely high power and limited capacity. 

The main fuel for this system will be glycogen that we store in the muscles and the liver, as well as creatine phosphate. These two will work in different systems and at different times to quickly produce energy.

Creatine phosphate stores are almost immediate, but they will only last you around 10 – 15 seconds in total. This is when the glycolytic system comes in and takes over for up to two minutes and then back to the aerobic system. 

It is important to note that one system is not always the only one present and working for the body; instead, it is like multiple curves. One may be the primary, but we still utilize those other stores for the body. 

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It is important to note the energy systems used by athletes in their sport of choice, and this is where the whole part of training that we discussed, called metabolic energy system training, comes into play.

So, it is important for us to know the sports that use these systems as their primary part and the other ways we train them so that training is most effective and specific to the individual.

Heart Rate Formulas, Heart Rate Training Zones, and Base Training

These will be convenient tools for us to monitor training intensity and are found through math formulas that are useful for estimating max heart rate or the training zones.

Max Heart Rate Formulas

For many years, someone’s own max heart rate was found by using the age predicted max heart rate method of 220 – your age. 

This formula is actually not all that accurate due to age being insufficient for use in exercise physiology. 

Instead, we use the 208 – (0.7 X age) regression formula. It shows a closer relation to age and max heart rate than the aforementioned age predicted max heart rate formula. 

The Karvonen Method 

This has been changed just like the previous one since we now have a better way to relate age and heart rate. 

This formula will add the concept of heart rate reserve to find the training zones. 

The formula is [(208 – (0.7 X age)) – resting heart rate] X desired percentage for training + resting heart rate = the heart rate max.

So, this will find the heart rate you should aim to reach to work out in your training zone. 

Heart Rate Training Zones

Understanding the physiology of the metabolic energy systems and applying the heart rate formulas will help establish our target heart rate. 

These will be zones for the percentage ranges we are shooting for. We have three zones.

Training zone 1 is from 65% – 75% and it is used for building your aerobic base and is critical for improving heart and lung capacity. 

Training zone 2 is from 76& – 85% and is used to increase the anaerobic and aerobic capacity by straddling the energy systems. Athletes can work simultaneously on leg strength and metabolic capacity in this zone, for example. 

Training zone 3 is from 86% – 95% and it is only used for interval training techniques. It is for increasing the speed, power, metabolism, and anaerobic capacity by repeatedly exposing active muscles to high intensity exercise and improving the resistance to fatigue. 

Developing a Metabolic Energy System Training Plan

Metabolic energy systems need to be planned, organized, and progressive like the design of the OPT model. 

We have various stages to go through to ensure the proper progression of training stressors to prepare for the higher intensity and the more challenging demands. 

Assessments

Metabolic testing can help identify the athlete’s strengths and weaknesses and provide benchmarks for monitoring the athlete’s changes over time. 

VO2 max is one of the things we can compare and give percentile ranks to see where they are regarding the population or group in discussion. This will apply to aerobic fitness.

Modes of Metabolic Energy System Training

Our first consideration when we are programming the metabolic energy system fitness will be the selection of the proper training mode. 

The actual improvement of the energy systems seems to be the same when comparing running, cycling, swimming, and similar activities, but the performance improvements will be specific to the type of training that is chosen. 

So, we should be using the most beneficial form of training for the sport of choice. 

Metabolic Energy System Training Methods

Like with training modalities, there are multiple methods for employment to help the athlete reach their training goals.

We can stimulate the systems in many ways and bring about various physiological adaptations to facilitate overall endurance performance. 

Steady State Training

This can be put into three different categories.

Long-slow distance training is done for longer time periods and at a lower or moderate intensity. The goal here will be to complete the time programmed, instead of the specific pace. This is aimed at maximal aerobic capacity change. 

Race Pace is a style of training at the same pace that will be used in the next competition. It is more intended for endurance athletes.

Percent of max heart rate pace is a similar method to one rep max in weight training and the use of a baseline for loading in each workout; calculating the percent of the race pace will be able the programming of workout altering stress based on the max effort. 

Interval training          

This has received a large amount of research over the last few years.

This training style enables us to use high intensity training by having bouts of recovery between the exertion repetitions. 

The range we hit here will be around 1:1 or 1:5 for recovery to work. 

High intensity interval training is defined as training at over 90% of VO2 peak for bouts of seconds to minutes. 

This will usually have many reps of these exercises for short bouts of work.

NASM PES Chapter 5: Metabolic Energy System Training 6
NASM PES Chapter 5: Metabolic Energy System Training 7
NASM PES Chapter 5: Metabolic Energy System Training 8

Tyler Read - Certified Personal Trainer with PTPioneer

Tyler Read


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