OK, everyone's had that burning feeling after a few seconds of sprinting, or felt drained of energy just after practice starts. You thought you were in better shape than that. Right? High intensity sports such as soccer require a specific type of preparation. I'm going to offer some (hopefully) helpful information on anaerobic fitness.
Anaerobic fitness is:
The ability to perform high-intensity exercise (such as sprinting) for periods of time: up to 1-2 minutes, and to recover quickly.
The word "anaerobic" means "without oxygen" (as compared to aerobic exercise). When you are performing a sprint, your body creates energy without synthesizing oxygen. This is necessary for sprinting because your body does not have time to circulate and burn oxygen quickly, but since energy created without oxygen is less efficient, high-intensity exercise cannot last very long. This is why eventually you must switch from a fast sprint to a slow jog.
However, with the proper training and understanding, you can develop your anaerobic energy system to become more efficient and allow greater exercise duration at higher intensity.
In the process of performing muscle movements at high intensity, your body needs to utilize anaerobic energy systems to fuel your muscles. There are two phases to this process:
1. The phosphate system
This system uses the little energy your body has already stored (in the form of ATP), and when the ATP is burnt out, it uses the creatine phosphate your body has stored to synthesize more ATP for use. This system relies solely on the levels of ATP and creatine phosphate your body has when you begin exercise, and as such can only provide about 10 to 15 seconds of energy.
It's the first one that kicks in, using your reserves of available energy before the main anaerobic system needs to convert energy from carbs.
2. Anaerobic glycolysis
This system is the main anaerobic energy pathway. It synthesizes energy (ATP) from carbohydrates (glucose). This process is called glycolysis. Since your body can store more carbo's than it can chemicals like ATP and creatine phosphate, the glycolysis process can provide energy for longer periods of time. In fact, the two factors that determine the "shut off" point for this pathway are:
-------a. Lactic acid build-up
Because this glycolysis is anaerobic, and there is no oxygen as a
reactant, one of the byproducts of the chemical reaction is lactic
acid. Your body cannot tolerate high levels of lactic acid, so after too
much high-intensity exercise, you must slow down or stop and get
some oxygen and let your body rid your system of the lactic acid.
--------b. Lack of carbohydrates
Obviously, if you don't have any more energy stores, you must stop
all high-intensity exercise and slow down. Your body will tap into
fat reserves in order to produce ATP aerobically. This process
can only be done at low intensity.
----After 1-2 minutes of sprinting, you must allow your body a few minutes of rest (or low-intensity running) to get oxygen into your system and resupply your phosphate energy system and rid the body of lactic acid.
----To carry on high-intensity exercise for longer periods of time, i.e. improve anaerobic fitness, you must train your body to:
1. Synthesize creatine phosphate quickly
2. Rid itself of lactic acid
3. Tolerate high levels of lactic acid
----You must be sure to load up on plenty of easily digestible carbohydrates before any mid- to high-intensity exercise.
OK, now how do you fuel these systems? The sources of energy (calories) you get from food are: fats, carbohydrates, and protein. As stated before, carbohydrates are the body's main source of energy for exercises at mid- to high-intensity. Here is a run-down of the basics of proteins and fat:
Building block of cells and muscles. Absolutely essential for the body to function and grow. Nevertheless, sufficient amounts of protein for these reasons are all you need. Proteins give you energy when you are out of calories from carbs and fat; focus on carbs and fat for energy.
Recommended amount per day is 60g, and more for athletes (such as you!) and weightlifters.
Efficient source of energy-gives 9 calories per gram. But slow to break down and convert, so not effective for mid- to high-intensity exercise
. Still, fats are vital to the body's functioning. Because excessive amounts of fat are dangerous (or unwanted), it is recommended that you get no more than 65 grams of fat per day.
So. Fat and protein, while essential, are not what your body will be using when you are playing soccer or romping around. Carbohydrates are your main fuel for these mid- to high-intensity activites. Make sure you are getting complex carbs from breads, pastas, beans, grains, and potatoes
, not simple carbs from sugars (i.e. ANYTHING THAT TASTES SWEET). Simple, refined carbs (fruits are OK) will cause your blood sugar to go crazy and even lead to overeating. Complex carbohydrates are best for you. They are necessary to from glycogen (another complex carb) that is the chemical your body stores and burns and converts to ATP during glycolysis. So therefore they are your source of energy!
As I said earlier, you can train your body to perform at high intensities for a longer period of time. Technically, you need to train your energy systems to be more efficient and your muscles to tolerate the lactic acid buildup. Practically, you are doing a lot of sprinting and pushing through the pain. Specific types of training are designed to help your body improve in each biochemical area, so that you get real results.
Areas you need to improve:
The phosphate system
Remember, this provides energy for only 10-15 seconds before glycolysis needs to begin. If you have not been training for anaerobic fitness, the system may not be able to provide energy for even that long. To train to improve this, you need to push your body to work as hard as possible (flat-out sprint) for up to 15 seconds. Then provide rest time (slow jogging), so that the system can recover. Your phosphate system may not be efficient at recharging creatine phosphate, so that's the point of the training.
Sprint 15 seconds--->Jog 4 minutes---->Repeat up to 4 times
The anaerobic glycolysis system
Remember, this provides energy for the remainder of your high-intensity exercise. Someone with top anaerobic fitness can be fueled by this system for up to 2 minutes. Remember, as long as you are fueled with enough carbs, the only thing that shuts you down is the level of lactic acid. Improving your body's anaerobic glycolysis system takes 2 phases:
-------1. Training your body to become efficient at removing lactic acid.
Sprint 1 minute---->Jog 4 minutes---->Repeat up to 4 times
-------2. Training your body to tolerate high levels of lactic acid.
Sprint as long as possible---->Jog 4 minutes-----Repeat up to 4 times
Ideally, you need to be training both of these systems and all three of these facets. Only make your routine as intense as you can handle, but remember if your aren't pushing yourself, then your body doesn't need to compensate and adapt, so there's no point in training at all!
Anaerobic training can be done every day, or even several times per day, as long as sufficient rest time is given between repetitions of intense exercise. You aren't working on muscle development as if you were running long distance (in that case you are working on developing your heart). You must also keep yourself fueled properly with complex carbo's.
Thanks guys I hope this was informative!!!! Comments appreciated and criticism is expected!
Sources used throughout:
http://www.physicaleducation.co.uk/gcse ... itness.htm
http://www.sportsmedicine.about.com/cs/ ... 80803a.htm