When we work out, we use one of two systems. We are either using the aerobic system, which means “with oxygen” or the anaerobic system, which means “without oxygen.” These two systems are used for different workouts. Let’s break it down a bit:
Aerobic System: When you are performing low- to moderate intensity exercise, along with almost all daily activities will use this system. This system supplies the energy needed for long durations. You will use this when running for a long distance, cycling for a long distance, and a triathalon. If the activity is sustained for a minimum of 5 minutes, your body will rely on the aerobic system for energy.
Anerobic System: This system operates in the absence of energy. This system can only supply energy for limited amounts, but this system is utilized in exercise that requires energy immediately. When you perform HIIT, you utilize this system as it supplies the huge demand of energy needed. However, when you reach a certain length of time (more than 90 seconds, tops) there is not enough energy to sustain, and thus your body fatigues. Sprinting, kicking, jumping, and lifting heavy weights are all examples of activities you would utilize the anaerobic system for. When you complete HIIT, by the end of the High Intensity, your body cannot do any more, and this is why. You have to take down the intensity and rely on the aerobic system to supply the energy.
There is, of course, more to each of these systems, but I don’t want to confuse you! You want to utilize both systems in your workouts to maximize your body’s ability to produce and use energy. Aerobic energy supports daily functions, along with low intensity workouts, and the anerobic system jumps in to supply the energy for the higher intense exercises and workouts.
This week’s workout I have done for a few weeks, and love it. It’s my go to to feel like I worked really hard, but short enough to fit in on days when I wake up late or need a quick one for after work. You will do high intensity exercises, followed by low intensity exercises. Complete each for 50 seconds and have a 10 second rest in between each. Don’t forget to warm up and cool down!
It’s a short, 20 minute workout, but leaves me with a feeling of accomplishment, and a pile of sweat. Enjoy!