Shifting Gears

Whether you can talk at length about the intricacies of metabolic pathways or not, you can understand that not all activities feels the same. In training, for example, being tired after completing a set of 10 wind-sprints feels much different than the fatigue you feel after a 5 mile jog. In the same way, a one rep max clean and jerk creates a different response in the body even than an attempt at 2-minute max bodyweight squats. 

That’s because your body, like a car, has different gears. The oxidative pathway, for example, is a energy system that relies largely on oxygen for fuel. It is the pathway that dominates efforts that last several minutes or longer at 40-60% of total output. Think: marathon, a long bike ride, or step aerobics. In contrast, the phosphagen pathway is a effort that is just a few seconds in length. In most cases, athletes won’t be breathing during these activities and they require 80-100% of total output. Think: Max deadlift, 40 yard dash, etc.

The glycoltic pathway is a middle ground between the two. As an anabolic activity, it utilizes glycogen stores for fuel and is more than just a few seconds to a few minutes in length. Think: 400m run, 500m row, etc. The last energy pathway, the lactate shuttle, is an interesting event where the body repeats high output efforts and begins to fuel itself on the lactate, or lactic acid, formed from previous output. Pretty cool huh?

Enough with the nerd talk. Why am I blabbing on about this? It’s because I believe in building a complete fitness in people. For folks that train often, the oxidative pathway is the most brutally over trained energy system. Unless you are a specialist and need to be so advanced in one energy system, chances are you can benefit form “shifting gears” in your training.

Do some checks and balances of your training. When’s the last time you lifted something that weighed as much as you do or more? Have you taken part in high intensity intervals like sprints? For a select few that haven’t trained outside of the 20 minute training window, maybe it’s time to head out for a comfortable 10K.

Shift gears. Complete your fitness.

Mama G runnin’.


Logan Gelbrich


Monday’s Workout:

3 Rounds:

15 Romanian Deadlift (135/95)
50M Sandbag Lunge
200M Sprint
50M Sandbag Lunge


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *