When referring to the metabolic system, we are referring to cellular activity during exercise. “Cellular respiration” or “cellular metabolism” is the process by which cells use oxygen to break down fuel for energy. Since your body requires energy to move, to provide nutrients to cells and to clear cellular byproducts, cellular respiration increases with activity level. Increased cellular respiration increases your body’s oxygen needs and the amount of carbon dioxide to clear from your system, increasing your breathing rate when you exercise.
Intense exercise requires more energy than light activity and increases cellular respiration, up to a point. Your cells can only process a certain amount of oxygen at a time, after which it relies on other “anaerobic” metabolic pathways to supplement your energy. While respiration, or “aerobic” metabolism produces only carbon dioxide and water as a byproduct, anaerobic metabolism creates more lactic acid and other byproducts, which your body must clear away when the hard work is done. Even exercise that isn’t directly fueled by oxygen increases cellular respiration afterward as your body works overtime to return to baseline.
We monitor your metabolic system during testing (lactate/glucose and carbon dioxide testing) in order to determine how your metabolic system responds to exercise stress (baseline). We can determine if your metabolic system is efficient and effective. If we determine that your metabolic system is a limitation to your training and performance, we will design a training program focused on improving your metabolic efficiency specific to your sport.