Food and drinks - sources of energy
Where does your body get all its energy from? The simple answer to this question is that carbohydrates break down into sugars which form adenosine triphosphate (ATP), a type of molecule that aids in driving the processes of living cells in your body, which include muscle contraction and nerve impulse transmission. Simple sugars tend to break down quick and easy. Complex carbohydrates, on the other hand, may take longer to break down, but are able to provide your body with an adequate supply of the compounds required to produce ATP. Contrary to popular belief, sugars are not necessarily bad for your health, as they are an essential requirement for helping your body to get more energy. However, when consumed in excess, or in unhealthy forms, it can lead to adverse health effects such as diabetes.
The human body has 4 individual processes for producing energy. These processes vary according to the rate at which they convert sugars into energy, as well as their ability to burn oxygen effectively.
1. Aerobic Respiration (or cellular respiration) - In this process, the cells in your body use oxygen to burn glucose and produce ATP, thus providing your body with enough energy to perform basic physical functions, such as everyday activities and cardiovascular exercises.
2. Anaerobic Respiration - The body will partially burn glucose without oxygen in this process. It occurs in the cytoplasm, and is effective for high-intensity exercises that take anywhere between 1 – 3 minutes, such as explosive bodyweight workouts and short sprints.
3. Beta-Oxidation/ Fat Burning (Aerobic Lipolysis) - This process takes the longest amount of time to help your body produce energy. As such, this process is ineffective for producing energy during exercise and can only occur when carbohydrates are unavailable in the body.
4. ATP Phosphocreatine - This is the fastest process in your body for producing energy. In this process, the body utilises energy from the cells in your body till they are all completely drained. In turn, these cells use creatine phosphate to get more energy. This type of energy is typically used during short, sharp, explosive workouts that consist of anywhere between 10 – 30 seconds.
These are the internal processes that aid your body to get energy. Food and drink, on the other hand, provides your body with the necessary resources for these energy-producing processes to happen. Alternatively, your food and drink consumption will not only help to build your energy reserves, but can also help to increase the strength and endurance gains experienced during a workout. If you are someone who works out on a regular basis, read on to find out more on what you should eat and drink to sustain your workout routine.