Challenging the Aerobic Exercise Status Quo.

Following on from my previous blog: that same guy anecdotally tells you to ignore aerobic exercise- with the fear of atrophy and post-traumatic-atrophy-syndrome (fake psychopathology).

Is that guy really telling you the truth?

Let’s have a quick look at the evidence…

Aerobic exercise and resistance training have proposed competing adaptations, along with varying intracellular signalling responses. The aforementioned is based on The Chronic Interference Hypothesis.

Let me explain.

Aerobic exercise relies on selective activation of AMPK (‘5 adenosine monophosphate- activated protein kinase)- whilst, resistance exercise relies on: mTORC1 (mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1) stay with me ladies and gentlemen! Although AMPK acts as a catabolic signal in steady state aerobic exercise; there is good evidence that training aerobically within 80% of ones maximal heart rate activates the switch: Akt (protein kinase B) which binds to AMPK (AMPK-Akt), which thus finally promotes anabolic signalling, due to mechanisms that is taking this blog to far down the nerd hole! All you need to take home from the aforementioned: is that aerobic exercise isn’t necessarily a blunt on muscle hypertrophy; there are ways of creating an anabolic environment- whilst still enjoying your aerobic exercise!

Now that I have covered the nerdy bits; what are the benefits of aerobic exercise as an adjunct with resistance training?

  • Increased insulin signalling
  • Increased basal postabsorptive muscle protein synthesis
  • Increased amino acid delivery
  • Increased blood flow
  • Decreased chronic inflammation (interleukin-6)

The above benefits are purely from a muscle hypertrophy standpoint- without exhausting the cardio respiratory system and the brain!

So how should one go about incorporating aerobic exercise into his/her’s regime?

  • There is some evidence that completing aerobic exercise on alternative days to ones resistance session maybe of benefit.
  • Running before a maximal lifting session may impede on muscle fibre contractile ability, perhaps time in your run nicely!
  • As touched on: working within 80% of your maximal heart rate has more robust evidence over steady state aerobic exercise for muscle hypertrophy.
  • >30 minutes of aerobic exercise is suffice with accordance to the national physical activity guidelines. Whilst, will also elicit some great endogenous effects: (cannabinoids, enkephalins) which will get you up-and-about!

So, reject ‘that guy’ again- with his anecdotes! I will happily provide papers if asked; and of course: whenever participating in physical activity, always consult with your medical professional and friendly exercise physiologist!

James 👨🏼‍⚕️

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