Tap into Your Energy Systems for Fat Loss

In the quest of attaining the leanest physique possible, exercising for fat loss seems to take priority over muscle gain.

Tap into Your Energy Systems for Fat LossWhile there may be some truth to this, the reality is that gaining lean muscle tissue and maintaining it is the key to overall fat loss. There are many different training principles you can use to aid you in your quest, as well as different pieces of equipment and different diets and supplements. However, to really get to the bottom of how to burn fat and burn it efficiently, you have to look at what your body has given you naturally. What I’m talking about is our Energy Systems.

We have three main energy systems working together to help us perform whatever physical tasks we are undertaking. They are the Anaerobic (ATP-CP) Energy System, the Anaerobic (Glycolytic) Energy System and the Aerobic Energy System. Combined, these systems and their ability to work in conjunction will ultimately decide your fate in the journey to be shredded.

Anaerobic (ATP-CP) Energy System Defined

This energy system is quite complex, yet lasts only seconds. It is the main ingredient responsible for the immediate firing of fast twitch muscle fibers for a quick muscular response. You may also think of this energy system as working without oxygen. Instead, it recruits two distinct chemicals in the body for it to work. Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) stores in the muscle last for approximately 2 seconds and the re-synthesis of ATP from Creatine Phosphate (CP) will continue until CP stores in the muscles are depleted, approximately 4 to 6 seconds. This gives us around 5 to 8 seconds of ATP production.

Anaerobic (Glycolytic) Energy System Defined

So what happens once our 5 to 8 seconds of ATP and CP stores are gone? Well, the second energy system takes over. Once the CP stores are depleted, the body resorts to stored glucose for ATP. The breakdown of glucose or glycogen in anaerobic conditions results in the production of lactate and hydronium ions. The accumulation of these hydronium ions is ultimately what causes our muscle to fatigue and produce lactic acid, which is the burn and pain sensations you feel when you push past your limits. This could take up to 4 minutes to happen.

The Aerobic Energy System Defined

This energy system feeds off the oxygen we consume when exercising for a prolonged period of time. It is responsible for giving us most of our endurance capabilities, as well as delivering oxygen to our muscles through our blood stream for increased nutrient delivery. The aerobic energy system utilizes proteins, fats and carbohydrates (glycogen) for re-synthesising ATP. This energy system can be developed with various intensity-filled cardiovascular training systems for optimizing your performance.

How Do these Energy Systems Contribute to Fat Loss?

I think the most important concept to take away can be found within the descriptions of the anaerobic systems above. You have a window of up to 4 minutes before the Aerobic Energy System kicks in. Think about how long a set with weights usually takes you. Depending on your rep range it could be 10 seconds up to maybe 30 seconds or more. During that time you are utilizing your anaerobic energy to fire your fast twitch muscle to move weight which will breakdown muscle tissue so that you can repair it and then grow. That’s the key. Growing muscles! The more lean muscle mass you are able to accumulate, the more fat you will burn at rest.

Muscle needs fuel. It will feed off whatever excess calories your body has once all other major functions in the body are fed and will continue this for some time. However, you should not completely disregard the Aerobic Energy system for fat loss. Being able to use oxygen more efficiently will give you the endurance to perform your sets with more intensity, with a faster pace and for an extended period of time, if your training involves lots of volume. Having all three energy systems working in sync is your goal.

Where Does your Metabolism Fit into this Equation?

Your metabolism, simply put, is the number of calories your body burns each day to maintain homeostasis. It is controlled largely by your thyroid gland but also by how much lean muscle mass your carry. Muscles need energy to grow and repair. The more you have, the more food they need. Just to maintain a certain amount of muscle, you need calories and your muscle will feed off those calories when you are doing nothing. If you continue to break muscle tissue down for muscular growth, those muscle are going to need more and more calories to maintain the new growth. Can you see where I’m going with this? More muscle = more fat loss.

Types of Training to Make Use of these Systems

My favorite type of training right now that I use all the time to make use of these energy systems is a program I got from my long-time friend and current Mr. Canada. You start off training whatever muscle group you are doing that day with a heavy, basic compound movement. You complete 4-5 sets of this going to failure on each set. After that is done, you pick 4 or 5 exercises and complete 5 rounds of a giant set going from one exercise to the next, repping to failure, without rest. By training like this you are using your ATP stores, CP stores, glycogen and believe me, you are sucking wind (O2) all throughout your set. Try it! I know you will see noticeable gains in muscle mass and fat reduction fairly quickly.

The After Burn

After exercise, your body enters into a state of Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC). This is a direct correlation to the amount of anaerobic exercise you performed and how that exercise contributed to a rise in your metabolism. After training, your body wants to return to a pre-workout state. This takes a while, which is a good thing for fat loss. If your metabolism stays elevated for say up to 6-8 hours once you have completed your training session, just simply sitting there on your couch is still burning calories. Who said being a couch potato will do nothing for your fitness levels!


Adding the correct supplements to complement the energy systems of your body will only further enhance your efforts for burning fat. Using ALLMAX RAZOR8 Blast Powder will give you the key ingredients needed to fuel your muscles to meet the demands of your workout and also coincide with the chemical reactions naturally occurring in your body. Its high concentration of Beta-Alanine and Creatinol-O -Phosphate will deliver the power your muscles are looking for to push as hard as you can.


Without a doubt, for substantial fat loss you have to make use of all three energy systems. They provide your body with immediate power for max lifts and hardcore intensity. Building your endurance for sustained periods of time when you need to put the work in for the physique you desire comes from becoming more oxygen efficient. Put all these factors together and you come up with an equation that will equal nothing but a shredded physique that will have other gym-goers green with envy.

Dana Bushell

As a former provincial level bodybuilding competitor, and as a strength and conditioning coach, Dana has the advantage of being up to date with the current training and dieting practices used by the industry’s athletes. Along with being an Associate Professor of Communications, Dana is also a certified fitness consultant and a regular columnist for Muscle Insider.

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