Despite the training plan, you most often than not find yourself gasping for breath, perhaps even perspiring profusely.
Take for instance a run, distance 2000m. This distance can be achieved both aerobically and anaerobically. An athlete could choose to take on the distance from start to finish, utilizing the aerobic system. In the course of the race, the athlete will achieve a steady state, where the pace is manageable and they aren’t “pushing”.
Alternatively, an athlete could choose to split the distance into 10 sets of 200m distances with a minute rest in between, while sprinting at top speed (maximal effort) during each set.
This athlete will certainly feel a burning sensation in their muscles and get quickly fatigued. This is why a sprint pace cannot be held over long distances and/or durations.
From a results perspective, both sprinting and steady-state running will get you in shape. However, the 2 methods have some varied differences.
- Overall calories burned
Say you have only 20 minutes to get your exercise in for the day. Having a sprint and walk interval training (anaerobic training system) will burn you more calories than a 20-minute non-stop run (aerobic training). And here is a surprising truth, sprinting workouts continue to incinerate calories hours after the workout.
- Cardio-vascular Conditioning
Aerobic training, often referred to as cardio, conditions your cardiovascular system. During longer version workouts e.g. running, swimming laps, cycling, etc. your breathing and heart rate is elevated and sustained over a period of time.
- Building endurance and strength
Generally speaking, aerobic exercises help increase endurance, whereas anaerobic exercises help increase muscle mass and strength.
A vast majority of aerobic exercises are easy to learn and adapt to an individual’s exercise routine. Movements can also be easily scaled down to the athlete’s level of fitness to gradually build endurance e.g. You could start by walking, jogging, and gradually increasing the speed of your runs or varying the terrain as you build endurance and proficiency. Anaerobic training incorporates skill-based movements e.g. weight lifting. Proper movement standards and progressive loading are important factors to consider especially for beginner athletes. This will ensure that the correct muscle memories are established and the risk of injury is significantly reduced. For this, a competent personal trainer or coach would come in handy.
You may be curious as to what are the risks associated with either form of activity. The truth, either can be a risk if misapplied. Stay cognizant of your progression and prioritize recovery. Most of all, don’t get greedy. Progress takes time.
So which way lungs?
I’d say either works, both works perfectly.
Of course, proper programming will be key in ensuring you enjoy benefits from both training systems, and your body will thank you for it. Burning fat on cardio days will support maintaining healthy body weight while building muscle and strength on HIIT and weight training days will boost your overall metabolism and increase your bone density.
Don’t forget to have fun while at it!
Image courtesy of asthma.net
By Wagio Kariuki
MSA Physical Training Consultant