• Master Ash

A Brief History of Metabolic Power

Updated: Aug 21, 2021

What makes a martial artist powerful? Is it the mystical energy passed on from master to student or is there some real physiologic basis on why training creates increasing feats of power and acquisition of unlimited skills.


Our body needs glucose as a source of energy. It is stored in a compact form called glycogen. This is then broken down into individual glucose molecules. We quantitate energy production in adenosine triphosphate (ATP). This is the universal currency of metabolic energy, absolutely essential for any activity.

For normal activity, glucose is broken down in 10 steps of glycolysis resulting in 2 ATP s. This is done while our body is resting, sleeping and otherwise light work.

As we begin moderate exercise, our body begins to use oxygen to breakdown glucose through the Krebs Cycle producing a whopping 36 ATP s! This cellular respiration is directly related to the capillary density of our tissue. The greater the density, the greater the amount of energy that can be produced.

The greatest benefit of regular and intense training is the increase in the alveolar capacity (ability to take in oxygen) and capillary density in our tissue. We can become more powerful just through taking classes!

As our bodies begin to maximize the aerobic cellular respiration, lactate and hydrogen ions start to build up. We exceed the ability of this metabolic pathway and our bodies need to find a way to work without oxygen. We now enter the anaerobic pathway for ATP production.

Through the Cori Cycle, lactate gets converted to glucose in the liver. It is then transported back to the cell for glycolysis to produce 2 ATP s.