The Thing About Cardio…

Ok, spoiler alert, this post is me geeking out a little bit about training intensity, (concerning cardio) and while I find this kind of stuff pretty cool for some reason not everyone else does (heads up, not a good topic for your typical night out….)

How Our Bodies Create Energy And Allow Us to Exercise/Do Pretty Much Anything (i.e. The 3 Energy Pathways)

Keep in mind that the process of creating energy is way more complicated than this, but essentially the body converts substances within our body (such as food) to useable forms of energy and in order to do so there needs to be oxygen (among other things) present. Our bodies have 3 different methods of creating energy and the one we use at any given time depends on the energy requirements of the activity we are doing at that moment. The Three Methods (pathways) are…

  1. The Phosphagen Pathway: fuels intense exercises which are only sustainable for up to 30 seconds (think maximum effort sprints)
  2. The Glycolytic Pathway: for when we engage in moderate-to-high intensity exercise lasting approximately 2 and a half minutes but not longer (running around a 400m track for time)
  3. The Oxidative Pathway: for low-to-moderate intensity exercises that can be sustained for long periods of time (running a 5k, a 10k, a half marathon….you get the idea)

The Energy Pathways

What This Means RE: Cardio & Training

The first two pathways (Phosphagen and Glycolytic) are anaerobic, meaning that they use oxygen quicker than our bodies can supply it (not that our bodies don’t try, think back to your breathing last time you did some sprints). It is because the demand for oxygen..


Checkout the full post on Coach Taryn’s blog: Go Hard Get Strong

Author: Taryn Haggerstone

Taryn is one of the lead coaches at Raincity Athletics. She regularly competes in both CrossFit and Olympic Weightlifting (at Regional and National levels) when she's not blogging, or helping our RAthletes Find their Fit. Checkout her full bio for more.

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