Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP)

Ok, we're going to give my recipes a break today.  Let's get scientific on a Saturday morning and talk about ATP.  So often I am told by friends and acquaintances that they 'just don't have the energy to work out'. Well, there's a reason they feel that way.  I am going to try to explain this in the simplest way possible... forgive me if I get too technical.  I could go on and on about the details of the energy systems, but, I'm going to try to keep it concise. Most of my posts won't be this scientific (I feel like I'm writing a research paper today), however, I hear the above statement so often that I think it's necessary to explain. Plus, I'm a nerd and find it fascinating!

- First, here's your definition of Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP): Intracellular carrier of chemical energy produced by the body for muscular work. 1
- What this means: The three energy systems I'm about to discuss have a goal of breaking down food to release the chemical energy that makes ATP, which ultimately supplies energy to muscles.2 (Ah, you're catching on now right?) ** You need ATP to make energy to make your muscles move** If you don't have any stores, you won't have the energy to work out - make sense?

There are three energy systems in the body.  The Phosphagen System, Lactic Acid System, and the Aerobic System.  Two of these systems can operate in the absence of oxygen (Phosphagen and Lactic Acid) - These are your anaerobic systems. 3

1. The Phosphagen System supplies energy very quickly (therefore produces ATP very quickly, but, you will also fatigue quickly). Exercises that do this: Jumping, Sprinting, Lifting heavy weights, Kicking, etc.) 
2. The Lactic Acid System - This energy system uses glucose and produces more ATP than the Phosphagen system, but, it is still limited because its end product is lactic acid which is not well tolerated by the body.5 Exercises that do this: High-intensity sports that result in fatigue after 45-90 second bursts) Soccer, hockey, tennis, etc.

The third system needs oxygen to function.
3. This system is the Aerobic System which uses carbs, fats, and proteins as sources of fuel and produces water and carbon dioxide as end products which means this system has really a never-ending ability to make ATP. It is produced when you stand, walk, fidget, etc. As these activities become more intense - the other energy systems turn on so that ATP production will be complemented. 7

Ok, so now you want to work out, right?!  Here's my workout for the day.  It mainly uses the Phosphagen system. (Aren't you glad you know what that is now?) And you can do it in your own living room - you just need some free weights!

- Jog in place for two minutes
- 30 jump 'n jacks
- 30 butt kicks
- Stretch for a minute
- 20 Squats with overhead press: Grab some free weights (5, 8 or 10 lbs - depending on your strength levels) Check your form on your squat (refer to yesterday's post) and as you push up in your squat put your arms at a 90 degree angle and push the weights up over head
- 20 Alternating lunges with bicep curls (so as you lunge forward, curl your hand weights) Watch your form - make sure your knees do not go over your toes, and push through your heels
- Hit the floor and do 20 bicycle crunches - slow - don't rush these.  These are AMAZING because it works your entire abdominal plus your obliques all at once
- Flip over and hold plank for 45 seconds: Form: you should be completely flat and your back should never dip, if you tilt your hips forward in this position, you'll feel your abs engage and get into perfect form
- Push back into down dog to get a good stretch in
- Get back down into another plank for a minute (if you can't hold it - drop down - we don't need any back injuries) you'll get there eventually
- Do 10 push-ups
- Stand up and do 30 knee highs
- Repeat the squat, lunge, pushup sequences
- End with 30 jump and jacks then cool down and stretch!

Have an awesome Saturday, everyone! Tomorrow we'll talk about pre- Superbowl workouts and snacking tips! GO PATS!!

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 (Fitness Theory & Practice, pg 486, Pfeffer, L., Fawcett, J., Foss, R., Gillete, N., Gladwin, L., Stevens, K.)