Anaerobic or Aerobic? Long run or short sprint?

 In aerobic conditioning, fitness, fitness vancouver, gastown fitness, H.I.T fitness, health, health vancouver, high intensity intervals, vancouver personal training

Should I train anaerobically or aerobically? What does that even mean? Both these types of training are similar but they vary in the way one’s body physiologically responses. The main difference is the slow twitch and fast twitch muscle fibres.









Firstly, anaerobic is defined as, “occurring without the use of oxygen”. This type of training increases the body’s functional aptitude for explosive strength and short-term energy systems. In other words this type of work results in increased tolerance of blood lactate and resting levels in ones ATP, CP, creatine and glycogen substance (Hatfield, 2011). Athletes such as sprinters, football players and baseball players would primarily train using anaerobic techniques such as: short distance sprints, dynamic speed, agility, quickness exercises, which would increase the number of fast twitch muscle fibers. HIT (High, Intensity, Training) while weight lifting, would be highly utilized to increase growth hormone and testosterone levels.



On the other end, aerobic training is defined as, “occurring with the use of oxygen, or requiring oxygen”. This type of exercise is common when oxygen uses specific pathways to supply blood to ones working muscles.  This develops slow twitch muscle fibres, which increases ones myoglobin content and transports oxygen to the muscle. (Hatfield, 2011). This type of athlete is common amongst, tri-athletes, biathlon, cross-x skiers and cyclists. All of these athletes will train in this environment which in turn will increase their ability to store and transport oxygen to their slow twitch muscle fibres. Overall, these athletes will have a higher level of aerobic capacity.The body would adapt in different ways if an individual adopted the training protocols of anaerobic training vs. aerobic training.



If one adopted an aerobic training protocol for a year they would overload their oxygen systems and their body would adapt to the demands placed upon them.  Eventually, their resting heart rate would decrease and their lung capacity, physical adaptations and maximal oxygen uptake would all change. Physical adaptations would be minimal, unless one is not taking proper care of their nutritional considerations. The main difference and increase would be in the individual’s lung capacity and maximal oxygen uptake.


In terms of anaerobic training the individual would see adaptations physically, cardiovascular, nervous system and the endocrine.  Physically the individual would see changes in their muscle fibres which would increase in size. Cardio vascular wise the individual will see a greater level of blood being flowed to their muscles which in turn will give them a higher level of performance. This is important in short because of the high intensity bursts such as sprinting.  The nervous system would adapt to the increased speed, power and strength and therefore act accordingly. The endocrine adaptations would be evident in the insulin and glucose uptake.


In the end it really depeneds on the specific individual and their activities. Even sports like soccer it is important to notice the differences of specific positions in the way they condition (i.e. center back versus a striker). But when it comes to fitness and the majority of the public there is no doubt that H.I.T is ideal.


All the best! Enjoy the workout tune!!


Angus Burke


Founder EP Fitness

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