If you’ve read this blog at all recently you’ll have noticed a lot of stuff on nutrition, Fasting and Ketosis. Yes, it’s popular right now, and yes, many readers are looking for weight loss, but that’s not my favourite aspect of burning fat.
The biggest reason I’m so interested in those things though is for METABOLIC FLEXIBILITY.
There are two main fuel sources we use for energy. We either use glycogen, from carbohydrates, or we use ketones and fatty acids, from fat. If you’re wondering about protein, it generally gets turned into glycogen through gluconeogenesis (turning amino acids into glycogen).
Unless you follow a low carb diet, or incorporate some kind of fasting, you’re basically stuck burning glycogen for energy. There’s nothing wrong with it, it works. Carbs are a great fuel source for intense activity, but it’s not as efficient for aerobic activity.
Plus, the main downside to being a purely carb burner is that you’re limited in the amount of total energy you can produce. If you read, “Art of Science of low carb performance“, they mentioned how you’re limited to about 4000 calories of energy via glycogen. The reason being, our glycogen is stored only in our muscles and our liver. When it comes to fat burning, we can store fat all across our body and have nearly unlimited energy. This may not matter all the time but if you push yourself pretty hard or have to starve for a lengthy period of time, YOU WILL CRASH. This is why non fat adapted endurance athletes need to supplement races with energy gels and drinks; they ran out of glycogen.
Let’s use at an example.
Being a carb burner is being a gas powered vehicle. Being a purely fat burner (keto) is being and electric car.
Then, having METABOLIC FLEXIBILITY is the equivalent of being a hybrid. You won’t be afraid of running out of gas because you’ll switch to electric power.
That’s what it means to be metabolically flexible!
How do I build METABOLIC FLEXIBILITY??
Our body knows how to use glycogen easily enough already, so the main problem for most is teaching your body to burn fat. I hear people make excuses that they aren’t FULL KETO, as though you have to be one or the other. Really, one of the best gifts you could give yourself would be to give your body METABOLIC FLEXIBILITY. Is it sinking in yet???
The only way to start burning fat is to spend time without glycogen in your system. It doesn’t have to be every day, but you should spend time each week either fasted or eating Ketogenic.
Here are 3 EASY options for Metabolic Flexibility:
- Try a 24 hr fast. According to researchers, a 24hr fast will put you into full ketosis. We know it takes approximately 10 hrs to run through glycogen, so that leaves 14 hrs to burn fat.
- Try using a Ketone Supplement . I’ve written already (here) about how elevating your ketone levels will tell your body to change preferred fuel sources (to more ketones). Try taking ketones before a fast, a workout or in between meals to spend time burning fat.
- EAT Keto for at least one day per week. This will be the slowest process, but even if you don’t plan to fast, we still naturally fast overnight. We can follow that natural fast with a day of low carb eating. Exercise and MCTs could help to raise ketone levels on this day as well.
I know from talking with a lot of people that they aren’t ready to make the commitment to a full ketogenic diet (and/or fasting), which is perfectly normal, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do something in between.
So do yourself a favour and work on your METABOLIC FLEXIBILITY and become a hybrid!!
It’s About Getting Better!