How Does Training Affect Performance? PAL 30/40. Energy Systems

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1 How Does Training Affect Performance? PAL 30/40 Energy Systems Energy is required by the body in order for it to complete any work. In the human body, energy is produced via the breakdown of food (carbohydrates, fats and protein). This breakdown of nutrients produces a chemical compound called adenosine triphosphate (ATP). ATP is a chemical compound consisting of one molecule of adenosine and three molecules of phosphate, all bound together by chemical bonds. ATP = adenosine = phosphate = phosphate = phosphate Energy is stored within the chemical bonds of ATP. When these bonds are broken, energy is released. This energy is used for work production. There are three energy systems that the body uses to manufacture ATP. These include: ATP-PC System - Short Term System 1-10 seconds of activity (duration) Lactic Acid System - Medium Term System 10 seconds - 2 minutes of activity (duration) Aerobic System - Long Term System Beyond 2 minutes of activity (duration)

2 Both the ATP-PC and Lactic Acid Systems produce ATP anaerobically (without the presence of oxygen), while the aerobic system produces ATP in the presence of oxygen. All three systems work simultaneously in the body to create ATP energy. However, the contribution from each depends on the type of exercise, its intensity and duration. Athletes rarely use only one energy system. The three systems usually overlap depending upon the activity.

3 ATP-PC System - Short Term System 1-10 seconds of activity (duration) A small amount of ATP is stored in the muscles. This ATP provides the energy for activities that are no longer than 1-3 seconds (i.e., swinging a golf club or spiking a volleyball). As mentioned previously, energy is released by the breaking of the chemical bonds joining the ATP molecules. Thus, the last phosphate molecule breaks off to produce energy. Heat (by-product) adenosine = phosphate = phosphate = Energy = phosphate This leaves us with adenosine diphosphate (ADP), which is useless in terms of energy supply. adenosine = phosphate = phosphate Adenosine Diphosphate Further ATP is required if more work is to be completed (3-10 seconds). This energy system relies on the fuel creatine phosphate, which is a chemical compound made up of one creatine molecule and one phosphate molecule, again joined by a high energy bond. creatine = phosphate Creatine Phosphate

4 This bond also breaks, which provides the energy for the separated phosphate molecule to join together with the ADP compound again to form ATP. The cycle then continues with ATP splitting to produce energy, and then the CP compound splitting to transform ADP back to ATP. The ATP-PC system provides ATP very quickly. However, since ATP production is very limited, the system is referred to as inefficient (< Lactic Acid < Aerobic systems). This process cannot continue indefinitely however, as there is a limited amount of the fuel CP in our bodies. The cause of fatigue is the depletion of fuel (Creatine Phosphate). Energy can only be produced by the ATP-PC system for approximately 10 seconds, and it takes approximately two three minutes for the CP supplies to be restored (recovery rate).

5 Lactic Acid System - Medium Term System 10 seconds - 2 minutes of activity (duration) We cannot always stop and rest when our bodies can no longer supply the CP required for energy production. For activity lasting longer than 10 seconds, the body uses the lactic acid system to produce ATP. This system functions around the breakdown of carbohydrates to form glucose. Any access glucose is stored as glycogen in the muscles and liver. Glycogen (sugar) is the fuel used by the lactic acid system. Since glycogen is broken down in the absence of oxygen, this system is also referred to as anaerobic glycolysis. The breakdown of glycogen leads to the production of the two ATP molecules and pyruvic acid. The efficiency of ATP is considered to be limited (> ATP-PC and < Aerobic). In the absence of oxygen, pyruvic acid is converted to lactic acid. Thus: Breakdown of Glycogen 2X ATP + Pyruvic Acid There is no oxygen present, so this is converted to Lactic Acid (by-product)

6 The by-product of this system is lactic acid. The build-up of lactic acid in an athlete s muscles results in muscular soreness and fatigue, forcing a dramatic reduction in work production. This build-up of lactic acid prevents further activity after about two minutes unless oxygen becomes available. Therefore the lactic acid system is the predominant energy system for physical activity lasting between 10 seconds and two minutes (i.e., 400 metre sprint). Recovery of the lactic acid system is assisted by warming down following physical activity. This allows the lactic acid to be dispersed throughout the body rather than accumulating only in certain muscles. Lactic acid is resynthesized into pyruvic acid by the liver. This takes place approximately minutes following the cessation of physical activity (recovery rate).

7 Aerobic System - Long Term System Beyond 2 minutes of activity (duration) The aerobic system provides the energy for activities lasting approximately 2 minutes or more. ATP is produced in the presence of oxygen, so it is also referred to as aerobic metabolism. Following 2 minutes of activity (i.e., 1500 metre run), the body is now able to supply the oxygen it requires. The first fuel used by the aerobic system is glycogen, so just like in the lactic acid system, glycogen is broken down to form 2 x ATP and pyruvic acid. Since oxygen is present the pyruvic acid is NOT resynthesized into lactic acid. In the presence of oxygen, pyruvic acid is broken down into carbon dioxide, water and 36 x ATP. Thus the aerobic system produces 38 ATP molecules, making it the most sustainable and efficient energy system. Breakdown of Glycogen 2X ATP + Pyruvic Acid In the presence of oxygen, pyruvic acid is converted to Carbon Dioxide + Water + 36X ATP (by-product)

8 The by-products of this system (CO2 and H2O) do not cause any illeffects. H2O is lost through sweat and through expiration while CO2 is just breathed out. The Aerobic system is extremely efficient in metabolising fuel and providing energy. It produces large, almost unlimited amounts of ATP. After approximately one hour of moderate activity, glycogen stores become depleted and the body then turns to fat as its source of fuel for the aerobic system. Fat requires more oxygen in its production of ATP than glycogen does, so fatigue may set in when fat becomes our dominant fuel source. Only in extreme conditions (such as marathons) does the body use protein as a fuel for the aerobic system. With an active recovery period, liver and muscle glycogen stores can be replenished within 10 hours. With rest only, glycogen stores are replenished within hours (recovery rate).

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