155 Fifth St

Lac Du Bonnet, MB R0E 1A0

(204) 340-6966

Call or leave a voice message

Please contact for hours

Weekday evenings & weekends


The three energy systems and how to train them

Table of Contents

two men smiling while riding pedal bikes

Hey, fitness enthusiasts! It’s Daniel, your friendly physiotherapist from Manitoba, and today, we’re diving deep into the science of energy systems. No, it’s not rocket science, but understanding these systems is like having a secret key to unlocking your full fitness potential. So, let’s explore the different energy systems and how to train them effectively. Grab your water bottle and let’s get started!

The Three Musketeers: ATP-PC, Glycolytic, and Aerobic Systems

Your body relies on three primary energy systems to fuel physical activity:

1. ATP-PC System (Phosphagen)

This system is like a quick burst of energy when you need it most, but it runs out fast. It’s the star of short and intense activities like sprinting, lifting heavy weights, or jumping.

How to Train It: High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is your go-to here. Short bursts of maximum effort followed by brief recovery periods help improve your ATP-PC system. Sprints, box jumps, and heavy lifting fall into this category.

2. Glycolytic System (Anaerobic)

The glycolytic system kicks in when your activity demands more than what the ATP-PC system can deliver. It fuels activities like moderate to high-intensity weightlifting, swimming, or martial arts.

How to Train It: HIIT workouts, again, play a role here. But also, strength training with compound movements like squats, deadlifts, and kettlebell swings will help boost your glycolytic system.

3. Aerobic System (Oxidative)

The aerobic system is your marathon runner, providing a steady, long-lasting supply of energy for activities like jogging, cycling, or swimming laps.

How to Train It: Steady-state cardio workouts, like long-distance running or cycling at a moderate pace, are perfect for training your aerobic system. Don’t forget activities like hiking or even brisk walking.

The Magic of Metabolism

Now, let’s talk about the magic behind these systems – metabolism. It’s like your body’s power plant, converting fuel (food) into energy. Here’s how to optimize it:

1. Proper Nutrition:

Fuel your body with a balanced diet rich in carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. These macronutrients are the building blocks of energy production.

2. Hydration:

Dehydration can slow down energy production. Stay hydrated before, during, and after your workouts.

3. Rest and Recovery:

Adequate sleep and recovery are essential for maintaining optimal metabolic function. Your body needs time to repair and recharge.

4. Consistency:

Regular physical activity and exercise are key to improving your energy systems and overall metabolism.

Final Thoughts

Understanding your body’s energy systems and how to train them is like having a secret formula for maximizing your fitness potential. Whether you’re sprinting, lifting, or going for a leisurely jog, these systems work together to keep you moving.

So, embrace a well-rounded fitness routine that incorporates HIIT, strength training, and cardio. Fuel your body right, stay hydrated, and give it the rest it deserves. With the knowledge of your energy systems and a little dedication, you’re well on your way to reaching new heights in your fitness journey. Keep moving, keep challenging yourself, and watch your energy soar!


  1. Plowman, S. A., & Smith, D. L. (2017). Exercise Physiology for Health, Fitness, and Performance. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

  2. Brooks, G. A., Fahey, T. D., & Baldwin, K. M. (2004). Exercise Physiology: Human Bioenergetics and Its Applications. McGraw-Hill Education.

Ready for an assessment?

Book your appointment!

Related posts

Table of Contents

Ready for an Assessment?

Book your appointment!