GET INTO THE ZONE !!!

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Energy – it’s a topic that’s often utterly misunderstood by clients, but I feel is a crucial one to grasp if you’re going to get the most out of your training. It’s our ability to do work. Every cell in our body needs it, and without it we wouldn’t be able to produce hormones, repair tissues, digest food etc. It’s stored in macronutrients (which are those three categories, ‘Fats’, ‘Proteins’ and ‘Carbohydrates’), and is accessible for our muscles to zupp up, via the two states of energy consumption; a) Anaerobic (without oxygen) and b) Aerobic (with). People often assume that one or the other is ‘bad’, but they’re just different, and both helpful! This post will dig into the benefits of each state! Also it was such a beautifully sombre day in London for this Remembrance Sunday, that I decided to visit the Tower of London to catch a final glimpse of the 890k ceramic poppies (called Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red), installed to commemorate those soldiers who bravely fought & died to keep Britain free. Whether you read it for the content, or just look at the pictures, it’s all HERE:
010313 - Invoice - Speedo UK - Stephanie Turton

Fitness On Toast Faya Blog Girl Healthy Workout Exercise Fashion OOTD Fit Fitspo Cosmopolitan Lifestyle Helly Hansen Sweaty Betty Gucci Nike Tower of London Poppy Rememberance-14Fitness On Toast Faya Blog Girl Healthy Workout Exercise Fashion OOTD Fit Fitspo Cosmopolitan Lifestyle Helly Hansen Sweaty Betty Gucci Nike Tower of London Poppy Rememberance-6Fitness On Toast Faya Blog Girl Healthy Workout Exercise Fashion OOTD Fit Fitspo Cosmopolitan Lifestyle Helly Hansen Sweaty Betty Gucci Nike Tower of London Poppy Rememberance-7But first, whether you’re working aerobically or anaerobically, is determined by a combo of the following 4 factors:
1) YOUR INTENSITY: there’s a relationship between how hard you’re working and the type of fuel your body uses. Higher intensity anaerobic activity saps energy from glycogen (sugar) stored in your liver, rather than your fat stores, as glycogen can yield energy for your muscles far quicker than fat. Conversely, at lower intensities, most of your energy comes from your fat stores.
2) THE DURATION: The longer you train, the more you’ll push into the anaerobic zone, and thus the more of your glycogen you consume. Also, you’ll toast more fat as your glycogen supplies gradually get exhausted.
3) ACTIVITY TYPE: If you’re going for a gentle walk, you’re probably not going to see the Nike ‘swoosh’ peel off your T-shirt from sweating. Likewise, if you’re playing a competitive game of badminton, I’d be shocked if there were a single light coloured (dry) patch on your grey vest. Activity type tends to govern the ‘Duration’ component.
4) YOUR FITNESS LEVEL: Totally variable, but as you get fitter, your body becomes more efficient at using fat as energy, which makes your ’emergency stores’ of glycogen last for longer. I.e. you can keep going at what you’re doing for longer. Think about Djokovic‘s exceptional ability to keep chasing down the crosscourt shots long into the 5th set; he’s got an efficient furnace, capacious lungs, and a deep store of glycogen, all of which makes him soldier on to the end!
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NOW: Given these four interplaying factors, let’s have a look at those two states of energy consumption;
1) ANAEROBIC:  
a) WHAT IS IT?
This is the state whereby you’re exercising hard, but your body is firing without enough oxygen to support the muscles. Instead it’s harnessing your sugar stores as the main source of incremental fuel. Even though you’re panting for more air, your system still can’t take on enough oxygen to supply the muscles, so the excess energy is drawn down from your carb inventory instead. It feels bad, but you’re really in the fat-burn zone here, toasting calories!
b) HOW DO I GET THERE? 
Ways to enter the anaerobic zone are along the lines of sprinting the 100m (where c.90% of your energy comes from sugar stores), gymnastics, competition fencing, squash, sprint swimming, flipping tires, battle ropes… generally, think high intensity activities that require serious exertion over a short space of time. I like to do 15 minute runs, consisting of 1 minute sprint, 1 minute recovery, and repeat… If you can add something that develops power and strength too, then that’s awesome – think about explosive sprints with the sled!
c) HOW LONG DO I HAVE?
Not long at all, really (depending on your level of fitness!). It’s a super time-efficient way to train, but as the lactic acid builds up in your muscles (you’ll know that burning sensation), you’ll have difficulty generating valuable amounts of energy as you keep going; you’re out of fuel, basically! However, by pursuing ‘Interval Training’ (my preferred way to exercise), you have a mini recovery in-between sprints, which thrusts you back into the aerobic zone, meaning you’re able to sustain anaerobic activity for longer than if you just went flat-out until you collapsed in a heap!
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2) AEROBIC:
a) WHAT IS IT? 
You’re exercising, but your body isn’t struggling to supply your muscles with oxygen. You’re in oxygen surplus, it’s plentiful. Your pulse isn’t so elevated that you’re gasping around for every last breath. You’re still using blood glucose, glycogen and fat as fuels for this system, but it’s a balanced and more sustainable way to exercise for long periods of time.
b) HOW DO I GET THERE?
To operate in the aerobic zone, pace yourself for a long-distance run, swim slowly for a high number of lengths, row at a moderate intensity, go for a hike… Obviously it depends on your starting level of fitness, but it’s generally a more gentle level of exertion, sustained over a longer time frame.
c) HOW LONG DO I HAVE?
Fitness-level dependent, but theoretically you could do it for hours before you eventually puff out, and reach your anaerobic threshold – the point at which you suddenly cannot derive your incremental energy from self-sufficient oxygen intake alone, and you start to delve into your glycogen stores. Again, you’re not confined simply to ‘running’ by any means, and I’d encourage other forms of training to promote strength too!
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