Energy Systems?

3 systems I know sometimes when I start to explain things I tend to throw out terms that I sometimes forget that some of our newer members may not be that familiar with.  The one I am going to address today is Energy Systems and why they are important in your CrossFit journey. “What the heck are energy systems?” This is a question I have been getting  a lot so I wanted to touch base on it here. There really is no short answer to this question because it is all based off body physiology. You see the body has three energy systems. The Phosphagen system, which consists of workouts less than 7 minutes (Like Fran…theoretically)  The glycolytic system, which are workouts ranging from 10-20 minutes (probably the majority of programming), and the oxidative system which entail workouts that are over 20 minutes. Within these systems are several components all of which stress different portions of our anatomy. For example the Phosphagen system consists of capacity based workouts or explosive lifts. So your “Fran” type Wod’s and Olympic based lifts fall into this category. When I want to stress this system I like to mix and match between the two and throw in additional movements with the idea of lung capacity in mind or lifts that will stress the neuromuscular system. energy_system_durations The glycolytic system can be broken up into two parts; fast glycolytic and glycolytic. Our fast glycolytic workouts range in that in between time domain 5-10 minutes in length. They can have many different movements make up a workout and tend to still fall on that capacity side of things.  Now, the majority of CrossFit workouts, and most metabolic fitness routines for that matter, fall into the glycolytic category. These workouts last 10-20 minutes in length but on average are about 15 minutes long. These are wod’s that tend to be very creative and allow you to find paces within them. You can mix and match all kinds of different elements to make these fun. Your classic met-con, that sexy term you hear CrossFitters throw around all the time, are all glycolytic. The problem is many programmers stay in this range because results happen quickly, within the first 90 days, you do not have to weight lift and in all reality they are safe. Stressing this energy system can take up a bulk of programming but it should not be the only system that is stressed and this is where many boxes lose results over time with their members. The classic girl wod “Helen” is a great example of a glycolytic system stressor. However, what often gets over looked, and even I have been a culprit at times, is the oxidative system. The oxidative system is workouts ranging over 20 min. in length. They are considered aerobic while the other systems are anaerobic. This means it requires air and recruits the majority of slow twitch muscle fibers. CrossFit requires the stressing of all three systems for it to be completely effective. These oxidative workouts tend to be the boring ones that nobody wants to do. However, they are the most essential to achieve the results everyone desires. If you want to be successful you can’t shy away from this but rather need to embrace them head on. What is fun for me as a programmer, and all programmers that understand the body’s energy systems is attempting to mix and match with them to stress the body on different levels throughout a workout. There are many other ways to stress your body’s energy systems so you all can get the best results possible. When we lift before we do a “wod” we stress the phosphagen system and then go into a glycolytic or oxidative stressor workout. I heard the statement on several occasions that when you walk into Tidal Wave or Mainland our members all look fit. Many in the community can misinterpret this as us just having a bunch of bad ass competitors. A small majority of Tidal Wave actually competes. Maybe we are just doing our job with the programming, and using CrossFit the exercise routine as it was intended to be used. This leads to results, plain and simple. The goal of CrossFit is to make you fit. Our members follow a plan to achieve this goal. We are not a bunch of CrossFit competitors with our only job being that of CrossFit. We are doctors, lawyers, teachers, officers, business professionals, husbands, wives, brothers, sisters and parents. We are everyday people that choose to live a healthy lifestyle.]]>

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