Training is a key factor that determines aerobic fitness, and it has the power to significantly improve it. The F.I.T.T. factors of the exercise programme regulate the fitness outcome. These are frequency, intensity, type and time.
The type of activity could be running, cycling, team sports, etc. while the frequency, intensity and time spent doing it increase as the aerobic fitness improves. A guideline starting programme might be 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise 3 times a week. More specific measures of intensity for aerobic exercise include the percentage of target heart rate to be exercised. For example, exercising 120 beats per minute out of a target of 140 beats per minute would be equivalent to a 86% intensity.
Keeping track of the progress of exercise and aerobic fitness can be done by monitoring resting heart rate (the higher the aerobic fitness, the lower the resting heart rate), breathing rate and recovery time.
Supplementation for the purpose of enhancing athlete performance can be undertaken in many ways. One of them is blood doping which involves increasing the amount of red blood cells available in the blood, to improve oxygen availability and delivery to cells. One method is taking an athlete’s own blood and storing it for later transfusion. Another method is taking recombinant human eryhtropoietin (rhEPO) which is a hormone that stimulates additional red blood cells production in the body.
Blood doping has been banned in order to allow for fair competitions in endurance sports.
Some steroids are also banned. Steroids are a class of small chemicals that play key roles in metabolism and health e.g. the sex hormones testosterone and estrogen. Some steroids (anabolic-androgenic steroids, AAS), testosterone included, are banned or regulated because they can have effects pertaining to athletic performance. Analogues and chemicals not normally present in the human body (trenbolone) can also be used for this purpose. These varying chemicals have different effects, and some are more dangerous than others. The response to steroids can be very different between individuals.
Another supplementation strategy is carbohydrate loading. This is done by very high endurance athletes such as those running or playing sports for more than 60-90 minutes. Carb loading involves eating a large amount of carbohydrate-rich foods in order to maintain and increase the glycogen stores of the body i.e. muscles, liver. Before the endurance event, athletes decrease the amount of training undertaken to prevent glycogen depletion, and shortly (12-18 hours) before the event they…