Anti-glycolytic Training Is Like Weight Training For Your Mitochondria
I was on the forums last week talking about something related to A+A training (we generally use Alactic + Aerobic training which is a subset of Anti-glycolytic Training) and I had another insight that I want to share with you.
Your buddy Larry comes to you and wants to get strong. Do you tell him to go to the gym down the street and load the bar with 400 pounds and squat? Of course not, everyone knows that lifting way more than your capability will injure you and actually not make you strong. The right way to get strong is slow progressive overloading. There are hundreds of ways of designing a program to slowly increase the resistance so that Larry can get strong. The internet is full of fights about the minor differences in programs, but in reality it’s all the same - try to lift a little bit more this week than you did last week and you’ll improve.
Now when Jimmy wants to “get in shape” or “lose weight” why does everyone recommend HIIT-based solutions - CrossFit, Orange Theory, F45, Insanity, P90X, or any of those other late night infomertials? Anyone who’s (briefly) tried HIIT has felt great (the stress-induced endorphins make you happy to mask the suffering!) - and they may have even lost weight or improved body composition…for a while. Why is it okay to tell Jimmy to go hard on day 1?
Glycolytic training in general - HIIT specifically - is like going to the gym and loading the bar with 400 pounds on your first day. Just like you might be able to lift a car off of a person in an emergency, you may be able to survive some exposure to HIIT.
It’s not good for you.
It’s not sustainable!
And It’s causing damage to your body.
Here’s where A+A training comes in. Just like progressive overload with weights, A+A is progressive overload with your mitochondria.
Lactate (a byproduct of anaerobic glycoloysis - HIIT) can be burned aerobically in your mitochondria. It's a slow reaction, but it's not slow because of the lack of oxygen - the rate limiting step is elsewhere. Since you're not limited by oxygen, the amount of lactate you can burn is limited by the number of mitochondria you have that can work in parallel.
Repeated A+A bouts that lightly tap into glycoloysis cause some lactate to be generated and then you have to burn it in the mitochondria. As you do more A+A work, you grow more mitochondria so you can burn more lactate faster.
It’s just like weight training - repeated progressive overload stimulates growth.
When you go do your workout at the latest fad gym, all you’re doing is glycolytic work, and because you want to feel like you got a good workout, you go until you feel the burn. That burn is the excess lactate that can’t be burned in your mitochondria spilling over into your blood. That acid bath in your cells and blood stream is actually causing damage - the reason that HIIT stops working!
In our A+A bouts we go hard enough to get a little lactate - enough to stimulate more mitochondria. As you slowly grow more mitochondria, you can do more work, generate a little more lactate and burn all of it before it overflows into your blood!
Meaning you can do more work with less of the nasty byproducts.
A+A is slow overreaching that is always manageable. Just like a slow weight progression with barbells.
And just like there are hundreds of different protocols to get people stronger, there are (likely) hundreds of protocols to improve your mitochondria under the A+A umbrella. It’s just that we’re so new to this, we don’t know what they are. And that’s why I experiment on you.