I love the term metabolic flexibility and I believe it is what all Athletes should be striving for. The term sums up the use of using both Fat and Glucose as tools in your goal of perfect nutrition in training and racing.
The common error in today’s move away from Sugar (the best thing any person could do) is to demonise Carbs into a no go zone. Often sticking to a ‘diet’ of 20g of carbs or less per day. This is a great strategy if you are overweight and or are Diabetic or pre-diabetic but for an Athlete it removes an arrow from your bow. There is no argument that the ratio in which the modern western eating plan is structured is completely on its head and has lead us to the global obesity and diabetic problems we see, but we need to revise not eliminate.
Teaching your body to effectively oxidise fat at a fast rate is step one and this achieved best by reducing carbs to less than or around 20g per day and a reduction in training intensity and volume while your body adjusts to the new fuel source. After a few weeks and an increase in tempo increasing carbs to between 70 -100g allows your body to maintain a high rate of fat oxidization and to ensure you are not glycogen depleted. It has also been shows that athletes who stay to low (carbs) for too long struggle to fully utilize glucose when required or offered, which would have a negative effect on performance.
Becoming metabolically flexible by using high fiber based carbs from veg and nuts etc while maintaining your primary calories from fats and protein, will keep you in great shape, recovering well and well-rounded as an Athlete.
Fat-for-far, Glucose-for-fast…. make sure you can use both!
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