How to Feed the Energy System for Your Sport

Feeding our energy systems sounds a little too good to be true. So lets take a look and see if that is actually possible.

In the aerobic system, glucose, glycogen, and fat are the fuel for the Krebs cycle and the electron transport chain. These fuel sources are used to synthesize ATP in the mitochondria of muscle cells. It is possible to feed this system with a relatively immediate response. A pre-workout meal or snack high in easily digestible carbohydrates would feed these systems through a workout. The factor to consider would be how long it takes for the meal to digest to allow your body to access those nutrients. This is the energy system for longer endurance training.

The creatine phosphate system uses stored creatine phosphate in skeletal muscles to resynthesize ATP. Creatine phosphate donates a phosphate to ADP to make ATP. Some studies have shown that it is possible to feed this system by supplementing with creatine over several weeks. This is not a supplement that works instantaneously because it must be stored in the muscles before the shorts burst of activity that this system is required for. This is the system that we tap into for sprinting or lifting.

The anaerobic system is generating ATP through glycolysis in the cell. In this process glucose from sugar or muscle glycogen from stored glucose is broken down to produce pyruvate. A diet with sufficient carbohydrates would feed this system. This is the system we use for short intense activity, about 1-3 minutes.

Happy snacking!


Smith-Ryan AE, Antonia J. (2013) Sports Nutrition & Performance Enhancing Supplements (2013) Linus Learning. ISBN: 978-1-60797-339-3

#Energy #Aerobic #Creatine #Anaerobic

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