Bioenergetics (Human Biology IB)

Lacking energy? Discover the secrets of where energy comes from, how it affects our bodies and how this relates to movement and the fields of nutrition, sports managment and health.

Course CodeBSC201
Fee CodeS1
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

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Help People Manage their Energy Levels Better

Everyone wants to do more than ever before with their day, but so many struggle to find the time.  If you understand bioenergetics, you have a foundation for understanding how to better manage energy levels.
This unique course offers you the opportunity to discover the secrets of how energy affects our body, how it is possible to manage people's energy, metabolism, where energy comes from and what affects our energy levels.
What are the factors that makes us move better? By understanding these factors you can better manage people's capacity to move, and to manage optimum levels of energy within their body and improve your understanding and capacity within the fields of nutrition, sports management and health.
This course can help you in a number of careers including fitness, exercise science and health science.
Prerequisite: A basic understanding of body systems (e.g. Human Anatomy and Physiology).

Lesson Structure

There are 7 lessons in this course:

  1. Energy and Work
    • Explains how energy is used in the human body to create work and power
  2. Energy Pathways
    • Looks at energy pathways during rest, work and recovery
  3. The Acid-Base Balance
    • Explains the significance of the acid-base balance in the body
  4. Osmosis & Diffusion
    • Explains movement of materials in and out of living cells
  5. Atmospheric Pressure
    • Examines the affect of changing atmospheric pressure on the human body
  6. Temperature Regulation
    • Centres on temperature regulation in the body
  7. Ergogenic Aids to Performance
    • Examines ergogenic aids to body performance during activity/exercise

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.


  • Explain how energy is used in the human body to create work and power.
  • Explain energy pathways during resting, work and recovery.
  • Explain the significance of the acid-base balance in the body.
  • Explain movement of materials in and out of living cells.
  • Explain the affect of changing atmospheric pressure on the body.
  • Explain temperature regulation in the body.
  • Explain ergogenic aids to body performance during activity/exercise.


Here are just some of the things you may be doing:

  • Explain biological energy cycles, using illustrations where appropriate.
  • Explain two examples of energy pathways in the body, including an anaerobic and an aerobic pathway.
  • Explain the function of ATP in body energy pathways.
  • Explain the significance of the following terms to understanding body energy pathways:
    • energy
    • work
    • power
    • efficiency during exercise
  • Explain the consumption of oxygen during different stages of activity, including:
    • at rest
    • warming up
    • peak activity
    • cooling down
  • Calculate the net cost of exercise in litres per minute, for a set situation.
  • Explain the measurement of efficiency during the exercise carried out in a set task.
  • Explain problems which may occur in physiological processes during running a marathon.
  • Explain in one paragraph for each, the following acid-base terms with relevance to exercise:
    • Buffer
    • Alkali reserve
    • Alkalosis
    • Acidosis
  • Describe respiratory regulation of pH in the human body.
  • Describe how regulation of pH occurs in the kidneys.
  • Explain the affect of strenuous exercise on body pH.
  • Explain osmosis in a specific biological situation (of your choice).
  • Distinguish between diffusion and facilitated diffusion in the human body.
  • Explain how electrochemical forces maintain cellular equilibrium.
  • Explain how active transport mechanisms occur at a cellular level.
  • Describe three situations where pressure changes can affect body function, including:
    • scuba diving
    • mountain climbing
  • Explain the effects of pressure changes on different parts of the body, including examples of changes due to altitude and scuba diving.
  • Explain the effect of a decompression treatment on a diver suffering from nitrogen narcosis.
  • List mechanisms of heat loss in the human body.
  • List mechanisms of heat gain in the human body.
  • Explain the operation of thermal receptors and effectors in the human body.
  • Describe the exercise session which you underwent in your set task, and explain the maintenance of body temperature during that exercise session.
  • Explain how temperature regulation may be different during peak exercise, to what it may be during exercise at 60-70% effort.
  • Explain the affects of steroids on the body, in relation to both performance, and other health factors, during two different types of activity.
  • Explain the affect of amphetamines, and other performance enhancing drugs on the body, during an activity of your choice.
  • Compare the advantages and disadvantages of amino acid use to enhance physical activity.
  • Explain the use of blood doping to enhance physical performance in a specific activity.
  • Explain ways oxygen can be used to enhance performance in a specific activity.
  • Explain the effect of different vitamins on three different types of performance.
  • Explain the affect of aspartic acid salts on a specific performance.

How Much Energy Do You Need?

Different types of physical activities utilise energy in different ways, sometimes intense, sometimes at a lower level; sometimes for short bursts with rests in between, and at other times for prolonged periods. High energy phosphates (for example ATP and CP - Creatine Phosphate), are the main source of energy for intense bursts of activity lasting up to only 10 seconds. Glycogen provides the main source of energy in intense activity, following the first 10 seconds, for a further 50 seconds approximately.

Prolonged but Not Intense Activity
When activity is not very intense, it can be continued for an extended period, with the rate of energy release in muscles being maintained by oxidation through deeper than normal breathing. This provides increased quantities of ATP. The ability to sustain such an elevated aerobic metabolism is dependent upon cardio respiratory endurance. An example of this is the fitness of the heart lung system, and its ability to work at higher than normal levels.

Prolonged Mild to Medium Activity
When the intensity of exercise rises above what can be supplied by deep breathing and oxidation, but it is not particularly intense; the fat may be utilised to fuel movement.
Long distance runners, triathletes, iron men, bike marathon riders, etc. will rely heavily on fat as an energy source during competition.

Prolonged Intense Activity
For prolonged intense activity such as a 1 hour squash match or exercise to music class glycogen is the preferred energy source.

Short Bursts of Intense Activity
For some sports such as cricket, rugby, tennis or boxing, an extreme effort is required for a short burst, followed by a rest period. Such activity relies on continual breaking down and restoring anaerobic energy sources.


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