When it comes to conditioning we encourage covering all energy systems to create complete fitness. These being: aerobic, lactic threshold and anaerobic.
Aerobic means working with oxygen and uses primarily fat to create energy. This is because you’re testing yourself through a prolonged elevated heart rate at an intensity that requires less energy. This is good for cardiovascular health, endurance, metabolic rate amongst other benefits.
An example of this type of training would be most exercise in which you can still hold a conversation. Heart rate zone 55-70% of MHR.
Lactate threshold is a combination of the aerobic and anaerobic systems and uses a combination of fats and carbohydrates for energy. Because this zone requires energy quickly it uses carbohydrates, the problem is carbohydrates create a by-product called lactic acid to form. In the lactic threshold system, the body can clear the byproduct as quickly as its made.
An example would be some sort of tempo training. Heart rate zone: 70-80% MHR.
Anaerobic activity is more intense and performed for shorter durations, this is because your body is working so hard it can’t oxygenate your muscles quick enough so it extracts energy from your body in the form of glucose (carbs).
Your body can only use this process for so long because lactic acid starts to build up as a by product. If you’ve experienced a burning sensation whilst working out, this is lactic acid and has two outcomes, slows you down or makes you stop. Conditioning your anaerobic system will improve your lactic threshold meaning you can last longer at higher intensities.
An example of this type of training is high intensity interval training, meaning you work hard for a period of time followed by rest and repeated for a given amount of sets. The work and rest is determined on your fitness levels/ability or your specific sport, generally the quicker you can recover the fitter you are.
Anaerobic conditioning can improve muscular strength, mass and power, strengthen bones and improve cardiovascular fitness. Heart rate zone: 80-90% of MHR