How to feign the aerobic system to do extraordinary cardio workouts
The aerobic system is stimulated in two ways.
During long, low intensity physical musclestrainrelief activities and also to recover from periods of intense physical activity.
For example, when you sprint as quickly as possible, you primarily use your anaerobic system to quickly produce a large amount of ATP and your effort can only last a few seconds.
The high demand for ATP, coupled with a short working period for the aerobic system to intervene, creates a significant decrease in your ATP reserves.
At the end of your effort the aerobic system takes over to produce ATP and recharge the reserves.
That’s why you are more or less out of breath after a sprint, depending on the oxygen demand of your aerobic system.
Your body also needs the energy produced by your aerobic system to lower your heartbeat and body temperature and perform other activities necessary to return to a normal state of equilibrium.
This phenomenon of recovery after an intense effort is called “oxygen debt”, but more generally known by the acronym of E.P.O.C (Excess Post-Exercise Consumption).
E.P.O.C stimulates the aerobic system to produce a large amount of ATP and restore the other two anaerobic systems.
The E.P.O.C depends on two factors: the fitness level of the person and the intensity of the effort.
The lower your fitness level, the higher the intensity of your effort and the higher the E.P.O.C will be.
During E.P.O.C you burn more calories than normal at rest.
And with short and very intense workouts followed by active recovery, you can burn the same amount of calories, as with long, low-intensity runs.
How to do cardio workouts with interval training
It does not matter what you call it, interval training, circuit training, metabolic training or HIIT.
The basic principle remains the same, using intense work periods and short rest periods to increase the pathways of the aerobic energy system.
Unlike conventional cardio where it is recommended to stay in a relatively narrow heart beat zone (BPM) throughout the training, with interval training we will create significant variations in the number of BPMs.
We will try to temporarily reach a BPM higher than the “normal” working area and try to reach the maximum number of BPM acceptable for your body, according to your age.
During the period of effort we will raise the heart to the maximum to activate the anaerobic energy system and during periods of rest we will let the heart down and reactivate the aerobic system.
The rest period must allow to recover sufficiently, to be able to start again on a work of high intensity.
You can do your intervals training with sprints, weight training or free weights, or any exercise that improves your technique on your main sport.
The work / rest ratio is one of the keys to interval training because it is directly related to the volume and intensity of your training.
It is time that most of the time determines the work-to-rest ratio.
For example for a 1/3 ratio, if you run a 200m in 30s, you will take 90 seconds of active rest (walk), which is 3 times the working time.
To increase the intensity of your interval training workouts, you can decrease this ratio to 1/2 or even 1/1.
The other solution is to use a cardio frequency meter and take your number of BPM as a regulator of your workouts.
For example you run for 20 seconds to go up to 185 BPM and you leave enough recovery time for your heart to go down to 120 BPM before starting a new sprint.
The advantage of working with BPMs is that the work / rest intervals are exactly the same as your fitness level.