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Wednesday, September 16, 2015

The “Second Wind“

Ever reach a point where your body is just about to give up on you and all of a sudden, you get an unexpected burst of energy. You can now keep running further or keep working out when a minute ago you were on the edge of giving up. This phenomenon is referred to as your “second wind.” But where does this source of energy come from and why is knowing this important. Chime in the conversation by commenting your thoughts.

Women breathing deeply |  The Fittest Blogger

There is much speculation to what the second wind may actually be. Some say it is all in your head, other say it's just endorphins being released allowing you to push through your workout. 

Interestingly enough, there is some science behind the second wind phenomenon. In actuality your body will activate your energy stored from ATP through anaerobic (without oxygen) metabolism. 

Your body acquires energy initially from carbohydrates. Once simple carbs are broken down, converted into energey, and then depleted, the body will move onto other sources of energy.

the next immediate source of energy will be converted from protein. The body will start breaking down proteins as a source of energy before moving onto fat.

Caveat - This is why it is necessary to properly get the right daily intake of protein. Your body will use proteins if it must as energy source instead of using them as building blocks to repair your muscles.

But when the intensity of your workout is greatly increased, your body will cross the intangible line called the anaerobic threshold.

The Anaerobic Threshold is the point during exercise, when your body must switch from aerobic to anaerobic metabolism in order to keep up energy demands. And BAM! A second surge of energy is unlocked otherwise known as the second wind.

Why you want to reach the anaerobic threshold

The benefits of reaching the anaerobic threshold;

  1. Immediate supply of energy.
  2. Allowing you to continue to put in work at the gym or on the track.
  3. More energy =  more time to burn excess calories.
  4. Exercising at your anaerobic threshold helps build strength in muscles and throughout the entire body by increasing muscle capacity.
  5. Increase your muscle endurance overtime.

With all the positives of reaching the second wind by crossing over the anaerobic threshold, comes some negatives.

Which will include depleted energy sources at the end of your workout. Meaning that fatigue may hit you harder than if you did not reach the anaerobic threshold. And there is also a chance that the lactate build up in your body will also be higher than usual leaving you sore as hell for a few days.

But look on the bright side, sore is good!

Sore means that you did something right. Pat yourself on the back, because soreness from lactate acid (by-product of you working out) and micro tears shows grit.

And micro tears in your muscle fibers equals gains, with obviously the assist of essential nutrients needed to rebuild.

How to reach the anaerobic threshold

Your best bet to reach anaerobic threshold is to pre-exhaust your muscles before your real workout begins.

Pre-exhaust can include but are not limited to:
  1. Isolation or single-joint exercises first and then your compound exercises.
  2. 4-6 sets of lightweight sets of 15-20 reps, before doing compound sets of heavier weights ( 8-10 range)
  3. Perform a super-set of an isolation/single joint exercise followed by a compound exercise.
  4. Sprinting intervals.
  5. 30 mins of elliptical intervals before your workout.

When performing pre-exhaust through cardio, be careful to not overdo it. You don’t want to completely use up all of your immediate energy sources before weightlifting.

Too much cardio before lifting may lead you to unintentionally over train and have your muscles catabolize themselves (Proteins in muscles being broken down as a form of energy). It gets tricky here depending on your goals. 

So get out there and kick some ass in the gym. And try reaching your anaerobic threshold today. Record how you got to it and when you realized that the second wind kicked in, and come back to the Fittest Blogger to share you training tips. Once again happy lifting! #theFittest.

Did I miss anything in today's article? Or do you want to share your best second wind moments? Join in on the discussion by commenting below. It would be nice and awesome if you could also like AND share this article.

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