What’s The Difference Between Anaerobic and Aerobic?

Image by: Spirit-Fire
By Kurt Garrity

Today, we are going to discuss the difference between two health and fitness buzzwords: anaerobic and aerobic. By learning the difference between the two and how to utilize them both effectively, you can maximize your fitness potential, lose more weight and be secure in the knowledge that you are operating at your very best at all times.

First, anerobic and aerobic are related on two fronts, as they are both types of respiration that involve producing energy in the body. The difference is that aerobic respiration is the process where oxygen is used to make energy, while anaerobic respiration is the process of making energy without oxygen.

Aerobic respiration is what is going on during the early parts of your standard workout, where everything feels good, body functions are humming along with some stress and resistance, but you are comfortable. Enough oxygen is making it through your system and you are getting good fitness benefits from your workout.

An Anaerobics Class

It is when you start to push past that point – you know that point I’m talking about – that you start to go into anaerobic territory. You’ve picked up your pace, you lift heavier weights, etc. You start to feel a warmth, and eventually a burn, in your most active muscles.

That burn is lactic acid, my friend, and it is building up in your muscles as your body processes energy anaerobically. And making energy without oxygen is generally bad for the body, especially when it comes to endurance. And it is also less efficient – anaerobic metabolism can be up to fifteen times less productive than aerobic metabolism, only adding to your workout struggles.

Too much lactic acid and the body suffers from fatigue. Like, the there-is-practically-nothing-you-do kind of fatigue. Long-distance runners try to avoid it like the plaque (or worse, shin splints) – they know that they will be able to run a longer distance (and get more of a workout) if they stay in the aerobic zone.

Use Anaerobic To Your Advantage

Anaerobic isn’t all bad, however. In fact, it’s a little bit of a well-kept secret that you can use anaerobic respiration to your advantage, yes sir. Anaerobic activities like weight lifting and running wind sprints actually helps you burn fat and give your metabolism a boost. And a boosted metabolism burns fat while you rest, which is a key component of being in great physical shape.

A figure in controlled crisis. Damn you look great.

That’s right, anaerobic is the key to sculpting that body, giving you the keys to the kingdom in terms of developing lean muscle mass and reducing body fat. But you have to know how and when to use it.