A discussion of Metabolic Conditioning could take all day, if not a whole career, if you choose to dig so deep. For the purpose of informing the average Karma CrossFit athlete, here is how things break down:
In the simplest terms, the overarching umbrella is bioenergetics. Within bioenergetics, the two types of energy use are aerobic ("with oxygen") and anaerobic ("without oxygen"). Three energy pathways are discussed in this article, the Phosphagen (explosive and short), the Glycolytic (moderate effort, moderate duration), and Oxidative (long and slow). Phosphagen and Glycolytic are anaerobic, and Oxidative is aerobic.
With that generically explained, this is where Coach Glassman goes on his own route. He frames the common paradigm of the fitness and sports performance community during the early-2000s as "long slow distance = cardio (aerobic), and intensity/resistance = size and strength (anaerobic)." Then he argues that when programmed correctly anaerobic training can, in fact, provide all of the benefits attributed to aerobic training, plus fewer of the negative effects.
This conversation leads us to the introduction of a CrossFit staple: Tabata Intervals. Dr. Izumi Tabata's interval construction touted improvements in both anaerobic and aerobic conditioning. CrossFit adopted the Tabata structure, and applied it broadly to all varieties of movements.
There is a lot going on in this article, but the key takeaways are: fast-explosive training done in appropriately programmed intervals can provide all of the "pros" of long-slow aerobic training AND CrossFit aims to build "powerful fast athletes," not slow, low powered, fuel-efficient athletes.
What are your thoughts? Post to comments.