Activating the Master Metabolic Regulator through Exercise
When working out, the metabolic system of your body responds to exercise so as to give you more energy. While we appreciate these mechanisms, rarely do we examine the molecules involved in the processes. For instance, have you ever stopped to ask yourself what is responsible for turning on the processes involved in breaking down energy reserves to fuel your CrossFit workouts? Have you been curious to know what primes your muscles so that they can receive nutrients during the post-workout window?
Well, one of the key molecules referred to as AMPK plays a central role as a metabolic regulator and facilitates all these activities.
Understanding the Nature of AMPK
This is an enzyme which performs chemical reactions. For the details, AMPK is the short form of 5’-AMP-activated protein Kinase. Scientific description has it that a Kinase is an enzyme responsible for transferring a phosphate iron into a protein thereby causing a reaction known as phosphorylation.
The phosphorylation occurs among proteins through a cell-signaling cascade to result into outcomes such as cell growth, cell death, energy storage, energy breakdown, and turning on of genes for expression. Cell signaling is a key process that underlies all physiological processes performed by an organism. The adaptation in CrossFit training to make you stronger, fitter, and faster is partly due to cells signaling.
How AMPK Gets Activated
Adenosine Tri-Phosphate (ATP) is the cellular energy currency. During exercise, the ATP molecules are broken down to fuel muscle contractions. When the breakdown happens, it causes a buildup of Adenosine Mono-Phosphate (AMP) molecules. AMPK in turn gets activated by AMP and this marks the onset of phosphorylation reactions.
Once AMPK gets activated, it turns on and off a number of downstream signaling pathways. The result of this is both short-term effects and long-term adaptation effects. Among the targets of AMPK are the enzymes responsible for the buildup of fatty acids chain and glycogen. Through the phosphorylation process, the fatty acids and glycogen are turned off thus stopping the synthesis of fatty acids and glycogen. The reverse reaction then takes place and the fatty acids are broken down to give energy to power your workouts.
In addition, AMPK turns on enzymes which are linked to the insulin signaling pathway. When these enzymes are turned on, the muscle cells become insulin sensitive through exercise and this primes them to take up glucose and amino acids from the blood. AMPK can therefore be said to be responsible directly for the Window of Gainz. This window refers to the hour or two after training where the muscle cells take in nutrients from the bloodstream.
AMPK in Athletes
There is increased interest in finding out how AMPK behaves in different muscle fiber types. The other area of interest is how different population of athletes training in different capacities such as strictly strength, strictly endurance and power process AMPK. CrossFit as a discipline is set to benefit immensely from these studies because of the extra kick of energy AMPK provides in the middle of a workout.
Therefore, as you hit that gym or consider that CrossFit nutrition plan, have it at the back of your mind that AMPK, the metabolic regulator is primed to action at the background.