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Anaerobic capacity is the total amount of energy obtainable from the anaerobic energy systems.

means the combined amount of output for the ATP, phospho-creatine and lactic acid systems within a
certain period of time. A simple, less scientific method for measuring this capacity is to run as far as you
can at a near-maximal pace. The further you can run at a fast pace the more anaerobic enzymes your
body is capable of producing and utilising and the better able you are to buffer lactate.

Anaerobic capacity is one of the primary focuses of the UNLEASHED Training protocols. The better able
your combined anaerobic energy systems are at utilising energy and recovering, the higher the intensity
you are able to maintain. For example; a 400 metre runner needs to perform at nearly 100 percent for
over 40 seconds when competing at elite level. This is extremely taxing on the anaerobic energy systems
and requires a highly conditioned state. By increasing anaerobic capacity the 400 metre runner is able to
buffer more lactate at a faster rate, produce and use more anaerobic enzymes and continue turning
body fuels into useable energy for immediate access.


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Who Needs It?

Everyone needs to improve their anaerobic capacity, no exceptions. This is not something that can be
compromised. I will cover a few examples here

Endurance Athletes

Endurance athletes must have a well-conditioned anaerobic energy system, especially the more
sustainable lactic acid system. The limiting factor in endurance athletes is most-often their anaerobic
threshold. If an athlete has a higher threshold he/she is able to maintain a greater pace without dipping
too far into the anaerobic energy systems.

When you maintain a pace that is beyond aerobic your body goes into debt. Simply put, you end up
consuming energy faster than it can be replaced. Eventually your body needs to slow down, theres no
choice. So with a more highly conditioned anaerobic (lactic acid) energy system your body will take
longer to reach it. This results in the use of fuels that can be replaced continuously. Hence an endurance
athlete can maintain faster paces without dipping into these stores, and if/when they do start to use the
anaerobic energy systems their body is better equipped to deal with it for longer and then recover when
they are well-conditioned.

Weight/Fat Loss

Weight loss is a very misunderstood topic. It is promoted in just about every fitness centre that long,
slow aerobic exercise is the most effective method for losing body fat. This misunderstanding comes
from the fact that aerobic exercise makes use mostly of fat stores and any excess glucose/glycogen. So
yes, this does result in fat loss, however it has been shown to be a less efficient method than high
intensity, anaerobic training. Thats not to say that endurance training doesnt have a place.

When you train at a low intensity for a long period of time you burn a relatively constant level of energy
for the duration of the session. Once the session stops so does the fuel consumption. During anaerobic,
high intensity training however your body consumes energy faster than it can actually access and
replace it. This puts the muscles in debt for oxygen and fuel. This debt causes a post-exercise response
where your metabolic rate increases for several hours.

The higher your anaerobic capacity the more you are also capable of doing within the same timeframe,
hence making use of the principle of maximum output in minimal time. So lets say you run 5k in 30
minutes and measure the calories used over a 24 hour period afterwards as well as during that 30
minutes. Then try the same by running 5k at a high intensity, even with rests along the way taking 22
minutes to complete the distance. You simply fit more work into less time and as a result caused the
body to consume energy like a V8 engine for hours after the workout. Same distance better results.

General Population

The general, non-athlete individual may have been led to believe that they are exempted from training
at extremely high intensities. There is a reason for this; the mainstream fitness industry has to keep up
with not just what is producing results but also what the person enjoys doing. There are many people
out there that hate training at high intensities because the perception is that its too hard for them.

High intensity training is for everyone, no one is excluded from this recommendation. The more
conditioned your anaerobic capacity is the better equipped you are to perform tasks at sub-maximal
levels. Further to that, high intensity interval training has been shown to have a greater effect on cardiac
health than long slow aerobic training.

How do you Improve It?

There are only a select few ways to improve your anaerobic capacity. The thing is though that not all
methods are specific to your goals or will produce the best result to effort ratio. What has been
discovered is that the lactic acid energy system can only be engaged at a high level of output for a very
short time. Anything longer and you begin entering the aerobic zone of training, which is not the goal

Intervals: High intensity intervals are the primary way to increase anaerobic capacity. Dont be mistaken
by anaerobic power, thats a different thing altogether. The lactic acid energy system needs to be
trained to near exhaustion on each interval. In order to accomplish this, intervals need to be anywhere
from 40 seconds to three minutes and performed at an intensity that can barely be maintained for the
given time of each interval. Alternatively, intervals of shorter duration with less recovery time can be
used. Methods such as the Tabata protocol will develop anaerobic capacity.

Most of what we do at Unleashed Training is either anaerobic capacity training or training for explosive