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Aerobic vs Anaerobic Exercise: Know the Basics to Train Better

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Gone are the days of only following full body workouts, because now you can now train your body to get exactly what you want and especially if you are into running. There are now specialized and intensive workout routines for every goal, and you can keep a track of these goals on the many apps that are developed for specifically this purpose. There are two specific types of exercises that are the most popular amongst these: aerobic vs anaerobic.

Research conducted on running suggests that there are various types of exercises along with running that you can do to achieve different results in fitness. The underlying working of these exercise techniques can affect different body parts and are designed to benefit running. This is done by especially training your muscles and regulating your breathing and heart rate.

Are you a frequent runner?

With this information ready you can begin choosing the right workout for you. Are you trying to shed some weight by running? Shred and sculpt your muscles? Figuring out your goal will help you progress to the next step.

By knowing which body type or what goals you want to achieve from running and the exercise routine you follow, be it Tabata, or Fartlek, you can pick the best approach to help you speed up the process in a more efficient way than others.

Table of Content:

  • Aerobic vs Anaerobic Exercise
  • Anaerobic Exercise
  • Aerobic Exercise
  • The Science Behind Aerobic Vs. Anaerobic Exercise
  • Why Anaerobic Exercise is Better for Fat Loss
  • HIIT Workout
  • HIIT Workouts to Follow
  • Aerobic vs Anaerobic Exercise Takeaway
  • Alternate Aerobic vs Anaerobic Exercise

The first step to figuring out which exercise approach to incorporate into your workout routine is to know what your goal is. Before you learn more about aerobic vs anaerobic, try to figure out what it is you want to achieve from these workouts, what your body type is and also track your heart beats per minute.

Aerobic vs. Anaerobic Goal Setting
What’s Your Goal?

Aerobic vs Anaerobic Exercise

Once you have some form of plan for your routine in mind, you can learn about the two most important types of exercises: aerobic vs anaerobic. These are both concerned with the level of oxygen that your body needs to perform a certain activity.

In simpler terms, you can say that aerobic exercise is an activity that can be performed over a long period of time like going for a jog. However, anaerobic exercise is an activity that can be sustained for a shorter period of time, where energy is available in bursts like in fast running.

You can experience an increase in metabolism and a subsequent loss in weight after doing either of these two exercises. To achieve even better results, you should find a way to practice both in a single workout.

Anaerobic Exercise

Anaerobic Exercises
Push it to the Limit!

Anaerobic exercise can be defined as any exercise that involves intense and high energy depleting activities that can only last for short periods of time.

These activities normally push you to the limit. 

Due to the fact that you are pushing yourself to your almost full potential, there is not enough oxygen being consumed by your muscles to aid in energy creation. Due to this lack of oxygen, the energy that the muscles use comes from the nutrients within the muscles and sugars in the body.

This drives your muscles to break down sugars in the body for the formation of ATP and a higher production of lactic acid follows. There is, however, a significantly lower amount of ATP created in this process than in aerobic exercise.

Anaerobic exercise is therefore independent of inhaled oxygen in producing energy for muscles in the body. Anaerobic exercises usually involve some type of rapid twitching or movement of the muscles and are typically running, power lifting, and high-intensity interval training or HIIT. Anaerobic exercise increases lactic acid and metabolic rate, these can be measured by regular blood tests that measure the level of lactate produced during various exercises.

Anaerobic Fitness Benefits You Should Know

The effects of anaerobic exercise, as well as aerobic, can be extremely beneficial to your body with respect to the cardiovascular system. During the performance of an anaerobic exercise, your cells undergo vasodilation which increases blood flow and increases blood pressure. This helps prevent and improve protection against cardiovascular disease in future.

Some types of anaerobic exercises have a great influence on lipid profile. In a European study conducted, the subjects that performed core training in aerobic and anaerobic exercises showed a big reduction in fatty acids and subsequently body mass index or BMI.

Aerobic Exercise

Aerobic Exercises
Sweat it Out, Slowly

This exercise is defined as any stable physical activity that can be performed for a long period of time.

There is no requirement of extra nutrients or oxygen to maintain the level of activity and energy produced in this type of exercise is not taken from any other source. There is usually enough oxygen to keep your muscles active and also helps with your cardiovascular health.

This type of exercise is dependent on oxygen for producing energy for muscles in the body. Some types of aerobic exercises involve prolonged muscle activity and constant rejuvenation of energy. A few common types of aerobic activities especially for runners are jogging, cross-training, long distance running, and cycling.

Aerobic Fitness Benefits You Should Know

This type of exercise uses multiple muscle groups and constantly uses the energy produced with inhaled oxygen to keep the muscles working for long periods of time. Muscles that are exercised in any aerobic activity require the body’s metabolism to create energy in the form of ATP from nutrients and acids in the body along with oxygen.

There have been numerous studies validating that aerobic exercise can help in prevention and reversal of cardiovascular disease. One such study displayed the effects of aerobic exercise in rats after administration of heart attack symptoms. The results showed that the rats that were put on aerobic training, when given the shock were accustomed to the situation as the training had enhanced their vasoconstriction, myocardial sensitivity, and remodelling of their vascular system.

The Science Behind Aerobic Vs. Anaerobic Exercise

The term “aerobic” mean “with oxygen”, so, in “aerobic” exercise, your body has the oxygen it needs to able to produce enough energy for the workout.

On the other hand, “anaerobic” means “without oxygen”. This means that your body doesn’t have enough oxygen to produce the energy that the workout demands, which leads to lactate production, forcing the body to breakdown the sugars and fat to produce the energy to keep up with the workout.

Why Anaerobic Exercise is Better for Fat Loss

anaerobic for fat loss
It’s Harder But it’s Worth It

Now you know the difference between aerobic and anaerobic exercises, but which one is better for your goal?

Whether it’s fat loss or muscle endurance training, you can test out the various activities to see which suits you best. But given the numerous advantages of anaerobic exercise, you might just want to switch your long distance running plan.

We understand that aerobic exercise is a stable, longer duration activity that helps you flex many muscle groups. The slow twitching of muscles is where this type of exercise benefits you as it aids cardiovascular endurance and muscle strength.

It is a common saying that this slower exercise or cardio is the best practice for losing weight. Most people have believed this rule and still do to this day, however you may want to rethink your training plan. A large amount of fat is burned during aerobic exercise by using this fat for energy. There is not as much burning of energy in aerobic exercises as there is being burned during anaerobic exercises.

This brings up the fact that if you still want to follow aerobic exercises, then more time will have to be spent on cardio activities, in order to shed a significant amount of fat. This can lead to prolonged workouts which might initially increase energy production, but after a while result in a period of no change or plateau.

Instead, you can learn the benefits of anaerobic exercise and incorporate it into your regular workout routine. Those who enjoy long distance running, swimming, or slow activities can create a training plan with both types of exercises in it.

HIIT Workout

Anaerobic exercise is performed in many ways, one of the most popular being the High-Intensity Interval Training or HIIT. This training involves intervals of intense working out or sprinting, with intervals for recovery of the energy lost.

HIIT Workout
 Sprint Away!

Pros of HIIT

This training exercise is very beneficial for your health and weight loss.

  • Time Saver

One of the first benefits that you discover once you switch to anaerobic exercise is that you can save the precious time that would be spent doing long cardio workouts. Since anaerobic exercises involve shorter and more intense workouts to burn fat, you will save on spending long hours at the gym or on other activities. For example, the "Tabata Workout" is an HIIT workout that burns a good amount of calories, and it takes only 4 minutes!

You can use this time for focusing on a healthy diet, work, family, or catching up on sleep. The HIIT workout can be a great alternative to your previous time-consuming routine. You can use up the energy, shed fat, and pump your muscles faster than you did before.

  • Burn More Calories

The second benefit, you’ll find, is that you can effectively shed more calories in the time you spend performing anaerobic exercises. This is because the more intensely you train and push yourself to your metabolic limit, the more you burn. HIIT is easy to follow and keep up, and you will find that you are losing weight better than you would have by cycling or swimming.

  • Increase Metabolism

The third benefit you will find is that your muscles will grow with the right training under aerobic exercise and that you will experience an increase in your metabolism. HIIT will involve fast paced exercises like weight lifting, sprint, and more. These exercises will help you improve your muscle endurance and strength. You can actually increase in mass and this will result in an increased metabolism because muscles can burn more calories.

  • The Afterburn Effect

You can experience the last benefit in the form of an afterburn effect.

The technical phrase for this afterburn effect is Excess Post Exercise Oxygen Consumption or EPOC. This effect can be explained as the quantity of oxygen that one needs to bring the body back to its state of rest. In a HIIT workout can create a high EPOC as there is a larger consumption of oxygen during the workout. Then when the training is finished, you can there result in a gap that needs to be filled. To replenish this deficit your body will continue to shed calories, even after your workout is over.

Cons of HIIT

The HIIT can bring about so many useful changes in the body that range from cardiovascular disease prevention to losing weight. However, this anaerobic exercise does tend to have its downside.

The worst part about HIIT is in its name, it is intense and to be performed in short bursts. That means that the level to which you need to push yourself in order to reach your metabolic limit is high. HIIT might not be suitable for everyone due to these reasons.

You also need to already have a certain level of fitness and exercise regularly to keep up with the high endurance activities of HIIT. If you do not train, even the most basic of routines, you may sustain injuries. These activities may be too hard on your heart and your muscles.

Not only will your lack of exercise make this exercise harmful, but the activities may cause you to be injury prone later on. Some activities like weightlifting and sprinting need extra force or fast repetitions which warrant expertise and persistence.

These workouts could leave you sore during and after the training and in need of cold presses.

HIIT Workouts to Follow

HIIT Workouts to Follow
No Shortcuts to Fitness! (Source)

If you are ready to try out anaerobic exercises, then you should definitely follow HIIT workouts. These will benefit you the most for weight loss and muscle gain.

Sprints

First, start out with some sprints. Do this for 30 seconds and keep a minute for recovery afterward. Repeat the sprints for 20 to 30 minutes, incorporating the breaks.

Circuit Training

In this circuit there will be seven different exercises, namely:

  • Pushups
  • Jump lunges
  • Bicycle crunch
  • Burpees
  • Jump squats
  • Mountain climbers
  • Jumping jacks

Do each circuit exercise for about 30 seconds and then take a break of 10 seconds. If you feel that you can continue without too many breaks then do so. Without stopping, complete the entire circuit for 10 minutes.

Aerobic vs Anaerobic Exercise Takeaway

Both these exercises are extremely beneficial to health and maintaining a good level of fitness. They are very effective and whether you can endure the intensity of anaerobic workouts or the long periods of aerobic workouts, or not, you will find that you can stay fit by just attempting them. In the end, it all comes down to your fitness goal. Anaerobic exercise, such as HIIT workouts are better for shedding calories than any other technique or exercise.

When trying out the HIIT workout, it is important to remember that losing weight does not necessarily mean that you are improving or actually shedding enough calories. Instead, it may mean that your body is losing fat but gaining muscles. If you want to accurately measure your progress, then take into account the loss of fat that you are facing instead of overall body weight.

If you face any health or heart-related issues, it would be advisable to ask your doctor first before you proceed with an intense workout like HIIT.

Alternate Aerobic vs Anaerobic Exercise

Here are some popular exercises that are frequently performed. These could be anaerobic vs aerobic exercise examples, to illustrate the difference between the exercises and how easy they will be for you to try them out.
The rise in the number of cardiovascular disease cases happening in the world nowadays makes sticking to a healthy meal plan and fitness routine ever the more vital. The effects of both anaerobic and aerobic exercises are tremendous on the body. They both are proven to increase prevention and sustainability towards disease, especially of the heart, and also help weight loss and gain of muscle weight.

Yoga

Anaerobic Yoga
Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover

This is one activity, even though it is slow and meditative, that can be classified as aerobic exercise. This is due to the fact that while performing a yoga pose, the way your body creates energy is aerobic. It may not seem like you are shedding any weight or coming close to doing cardio, but you will be surprised with just how enduring yoga can be.

Jazzercise

Jazzercise Anaerobic Exercise
Dance Your Way to Fitness! (Source)

You can find routines or activities that incorporate aerobic and anaerobic exercises to achieve the best results. Some classes like dance aerobics, Zumba, Jazzercise, and more are firm examples of implementing the two types of exercises.

These classes balance the two and happen to be fun in the process.

Choreographed steps can make burning fat easy and enjoyable at the same time. These particular exercises are set to music to pump up your spirit and increase energy. The cardio that you do in these classes can be great work for the heart and help flex your muscles at the same time.

Muscular Endurance

Muscle Endurance Anaerobic
Level Up Your Strength!

This type of strength training is to adjust muscles in the body to repeated pressure, exercise, and elongated time periods. Almost every activity or sport requires this type of training to improve and challenge yourself. It can be used for anaerobic weightlifting to aerobic long distance running.

This endurance training can combine both aerobic and anaerobic exercise or be used specifically for one activity. Circuit workouts contain numerous intense exercises that you can use to train muscles. A specified circuit plan can be created to better suit a particular sport of goal.

aerobic vs anaerobic exercises motivation
Get Yourself in Shape and Start Right Now!

Now that you have a pretty good idea about how to perform aerobic vs anaerobic exercises, you can get started on your new routine. Be prepared to reap the benefits in no time! Lose weight or achieve your specific body goal with these tips and do not forget to stay hydrated and eat a healthy diet.

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