You’ve probably heard the words “aerobic” and “anaerobic” flung around since you first joined our Greenville sports club. They’re not super technical terminology, and you’re probably already acquainted with how they relate to certain tasks you already perform. But do you know what these phrases really mean and how they relate to one another?

The word “aerobic” refers to exercise that’s done “with oxygen.” This refers to the complex chemical reactions within your body, where prolonged exertion uses excess oxygen and turns it into energy. The type of workout that’s considered aerobic is anything that you do for a long time without stopping – but it isn’t too challenging or intense. It’s often associated with floor workouts, like we offer within our Pivotal Fitness Greenville gym classes. To be considered aerobic, a routine generally has to last 20-30 minutes without a break. With practice, you can steadily increase how long you’re active.

“Anaerobic” activity is exactly the opposite; it refers to short spurts of intense workouts. Weight-lifting is most commonly associated with this phrase, since it consists of a set of limited reps before you switch gears to perform another movement that targets a new muscle group. When oxygen is not as swiftly distributed to your muscles at the rate they require, and thereby consumed during your regimen, it becomes lactic acid. With a buildup of lactic acid in your system, you can run into muscle fatigue and require a break before repeating that set of motions. You can train your body to lengthen these intervals.

These phrases relate to your favorite American athletic activities, like:


  • Soccer
  • Dance
  • Track (long-distance)
  • Swimming (laps)
  • Skiing (cross-country)
  • Spinning/biking


  • Football
  • Baseball
  • Basketball
  • Swimming (races)
  • Track (sprints)
  • Skiing (slopes)
  • Tennis
  • Golf
  • Volleyball

Aerobic activity is considered better for the heart and lowering blood pressure, since it trains this organ to regulate the heartbeat over time and increases the flow of red blood cells. However, anaerobic activity is better for helping you tone muscles and change the shape and appearance of your body. Let us know your goals so that we can help you come up with a fitness routine that correctly blends aerobic and anaerobic activity for your most beneficial experience at Pivotal Fitness Greenville.