Mixed Modal Training – Metabolic Pathways Part 4

So now we know a little more about different energy systems our body uses at any given time. It should bring up a few questions- what’s the best system to train? What’s the best system for athletic performance? These questions do have an answer but the answer is, it depends.

The Best Pathway

Powerlifters don’t need that much aerobic strength. Marathon runners probably don’t need to be the fastest in the 100m sprint. If you choose to not specialize and want to see what you’re capable of then mix these things together. 

Athlete Terry Holderby, Photo by Logan Moore

Intensity of Training

As mentioned previously, the aerobic system is the majority of our training. Having a robust aerobic system means thrashing our bodies on a Monday, aerobic training on Tuesday, and be ready to thrash by Wednesday. This works a little better in theory, in the beginning. Being diligent by train less intensely will unlock the ability to train hard more days per week. 

This also allows us to train more often during the week. If all I do is run sprints eventually I have to rest. However, if I run sprints, do 8-12 minute workouts and sometimes 45+ minutes, then I can basically never take a day off. I can’t always train hard. If I have the ability to use my aerobic system, then on “rest” days I can walk, bike, jog and not affect my next day. Actually it should enhance it. 

This is how I view a week of training and when to plug certain things in. Yes, I understand we want to thrash every day because we can, and we’re “tough”, and it’s “what it takes”. Guess what, no it doesn’t… I’m willing to argue with anyone that once the intensity monkey gets off your back, you get the most gains. 

Pathways in Competition

Quickly, let’s dive into an event like HYROX or a Spartan Race. Time domains tell us that we will be aerobic, but there will be times we have to work harder. Sled pushes or heavy object carries is going to take us out of the aerobic system. We need to be trained enough to dip into the faster pathways then revert back to aerobic so we can rest those pathways for the next big push. 

Athlete Jason Wommack competing at the DEKA MILE, Photo by Exhale Negative

Heart Rate

Lastly how do I know where I’m at or what I’m training? Heart rates. I highly suggest having some way to view your heart rate. Whoop, a smartwatch, or if need-be, manually taking it at times. Check out this article to learn more about heart rate zones.

Here’s what to know, it’s possible to raise fitness levels to a point that your aerobic is someone else’s zone3. That is the goal, but it’s only reached by insane amounts of zone1 or zone2. Going above cannot drag fitness up. Going below though can push your fitness level up. Long story short, the answer is time under tension and I can put more time in at lower intensities. 

Most of us in the beginning get trapped in zone3/4 and wanting to push into zone5. This is a rookie mistake and will trap you there until you grow and understand that less intensity will eventually equal more. I truly believe this to be a flaw of modern society, more on that next week! 

Personal Training is the best way to get ready for a competition. Check out our personal training page and set up a free intro with a coach

fill out this form to get started >>

Take the first step towards getting the results that you want!