Energised instead of powerless

Tips for better performance in sport

Our bodies are a real source of energy – whether we are lazing around or exercising. But how do we turn food into fuel for our activities? And what happens inside when we exercise? Why do we get out of breath and suddenly feel heavy legs when we exercise? Is it lactate, or lactic acid, or are there other factors at play? In this blog post we will get to the bottom of these questions and shed some light on how our bodies work and react to stress. Let’s dive into the fascinating world of energy production and performance enhancement together!

Food is the engine of life:
The power behind our energy

When you start to eat, your body immediately starts to convert the food you eat into energy. This energy is needed to maintain your bodily functions and to support you during physical activities such as exercise. During digestion, carbohydrates are broken down into glucose, proteins into amino acids and fats into fatty acids. These are then converted into ATP, the universal energy source.

Depending on the type of sport and the intensity of the activity, your body will use two different energy sources to provide you with the energy you need, depending on your needs and efficiency: Energy production without oxygen (anaerobic) and energy production with oxygen (aerobic).

ATP: The energy of our cells

Adenosine triphosphate, also known as ATP, is a chemical compound that is present and produced in all cells of living organisms. It serves as an energy source for various biological processes, including movement, vital functions (such as breathing and heartbeat), cognitive processes and molecular processes such as the transport of substances.

”A healthy diet fills your body with energy and nutrients. Imagine your cells smiling at you and saying: Thank you!“ Karen Salmansohn

Energy Metabolism:
Anaerobic vs. aerobic – what’s the difference?

In order to develop an understanding of your body’s needs and how best to supply it with energy, it is important to understand how anaerobic and aerobic energy metabolism works.

It is important to note that energy is never provided by just one system, but always runs in parallel. Which metabolic process contributes most to the energy supply depends largely on the type of sport, or more precisely the duration and intensity of the exercise.

Anaerobic (without oxygen) metabolism

Energy production outside the mitochondria in the cytoplasm allows the body to access a special energy store (creatine kinase) during very intense and short activities of up to 10 seconds. This store consists of small amounts of ATP in the muscles and creatine phosphate, which is mainly produced in the liver and transported to the muscles via the blood. As no oxygen is required for this process, the body can provide energy very quickly, but only for a short time. This type of energy supply is ideal for activities and sports that are performed quickly and powerfully over a short period of time, such as weightlifting, sprinting, throwing, jumping or lifting heavy loads.

During exercise that lasts longer than 10 seconds but not longer than 90 seconds, such as HIIT workouts, interval training or 400 metre sprints, the body draws its main energy from stored carbohydrates. More specifically, from its storage form ‘glycogen’, which is converted to ATP in a process known as (anaerobic) glycolysis.

This process takes place without oxygen and provides rapid energy, but only for a short time as it produces lactic acid (lactate), which is associated with fatigue during exercise. Contrary to popular belief, however, it is not lactate that causes the burning sensation during intense exercise, but the positive hydrogen ions that are produced during high levels of exertion. However, lactate concentration does give an indication of how exhausted a person is.

Aerobic (oxygenated) metabolic processes

Energy is stored in the mitochondria, the powerhouses of our cells.

Unlike the anaerobic process, the body uses this energy store during exercise of around 3 minutes or more and glycolysis uses additional oxygen to produce ATP (aerobic glycolysis). Although this process takes longer because the oxygen has to travel from the lungs to the muscles, it can provide energy for longer and is ideal for sports such as swimming, tennis, football or longer training sessions. The downside is that our glycogen stores will eventually be depleted and we will have to reduce the intensity of our training.

When this happens, the next thing the body does is to use its fat reserves to supply oxygen. This process is called lipolysis and ATP is made from our stored fats. As this takes a very long time, it means that we can train with very little effort, but we also have an almost inexhaustible supply of fat and can sustain physical effort for a very long time.

Why should you train anaerobically and when aerobically?

Training without oxygen is recommended if you want to achieve rapid results, increase muscle mass, improve fat burning and determine your anaerobic threshold.

Training with oxygen is advisable if you need slow and efficient energy production, want to improve your endurance, strengthen your cardiovascular system and improve your fat burning in the long term.

When the muscles ache…

Now that the process of energy production in the body is so clear, the question is how to maximise energy and avoid overexertion. Muscle soreness, burning and cramping and a drop in performance are clear signs of over-acidified muscles and a lack of energy, especially after unusual or intense exercise.

As a result, the pH of the muscle – its acidic or alkaline character – drops and becomes literally ‘sour’ because too many hydrogen ions have been produced during training. In this acidic environment, the muscle can produce less energy and many of the enzymes that transport nutrients stop working.

The solution? An increased supply of hydrogen ions, for example in the form of active hydrogen, whose active, negatively charged hydrogen ions help to recharge cells, restructure them and stimulate cell function. However, as active hydrogen is highly reactive and volatile, and is not available in sufficient quantities even in energy-rich spring water, fruit or vegetables, our Active H® vitality product can provide you with optimal support, as it contains valuable co-factors such as magnesium, boron or selenium in addition to active hydrogen.

But that’s not all! Your diet and training habits can also play a big part in preventing your body and muscles from becoming too acidic. As always, the same applies: The dose makes the poison! Rather than increasing your training from zero to one hundred, it makes sense to increase your training gradually. Your body and fitness will benefit from a balanced mix of aerobic, interval and resistance training, as well as warm-up and cool-down periods, as you will be using both anaerobic and aerobic energy sources.

Extra power from proteins & co.!

A well-balanced ketogenic, high-fibre and alkaline diet can help you support your training and your muscles to stay efficient, regenerate faster and effectively build and strengthen muscles. However, if your body is already over-acidified, for example due to stress, our VitalBASE® alkaline powder and ColoSTABIL® fibre blend can enhance your diet and balance your acid-base balance.

There is no doubt that an adequate protein intake is a key factor in sports performance! Without protein, or more specifically amino acids, nothing works in our bodies. Not only are they essential for life, they are also responsible for building and maintaining our muscles. It is therefore essential to consume a sufficient amount of high-quality protein, especially essential amino acids, which the body cannot produce itself and which must be obtained from food or food supplements. A deficiency in these amino acids can lead to muscle loss rather than muscle gain.

Our amino acid product MyAMINO® offers you the perfect support, as it provides you with all eight essential amino acids and is a real muscle-building and tissue-tightening booster. With just 10 pellets you get about the same net protein building value as eating a 350 g steak, but with only 0.4 calories.

Training breaks – why they are so important!

The saying ‘there is strength in rest’ is particularly true in sport. Your body needs a period of regeneration after an intensive training session or when it has reached its limits. Not only has it used up its energy, but small muscle tears also need to heal.

The length of this recovery period depends on a number of factors, including age, training intensity and fitness level. Ideally, during this time, the body not only recovers but also builds up performance reserves. However, this recovery is fragile and short-lived, so the next physical activity or training session should be planned around this ‘peak’, which is usually reached after 48–72 hours.

By supplementing with essential amino acids, active hydrogen or micronutrients such as B vitamins, you can actively use this recovery period to supply the body with essential nutrients, promote muscle growth and repair cell damage, and maximise energy.

We are confident that our advice and Vitality products will help you to tackle your next training session or long bike ride with full energy! We wish you success and enjoyment in your sporting endeavours!

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