Another bonus to starting this blog is getting to read the experiences of other endurance athletes. I am well schooled in anatomy and physiology, especially exercise physiology but not as experienced with fitness as some of the bloggers I read about. This may not be new information to someone who naturally does this but from a former OVER eater and over eating horrible foods this is new. I am hoping this spawns questions and conversation we can all learn and grow from. So please do not hesitate to comment even if think this is baloney.
The book is called "METABOLIC EFFICIENCY TRAINING: Teaching the body to burn fat" by Bob Seebohar. He is an exercise physiologist/nutritionist/triathlete/coach/lecturer. He works with the Olympic triathlon team and is quite the endurance athlete himself. He has a lecture series (I have attended) and this brand new book. Here is his website: www.fuel4mance.com . He is a very personable guy and has answered my emails with questions.
OK...here it goes. Basically we use 2 types of macro nutrients for energy. FAT and Carbohydrates (CHo) or sugar. The energy derived from fat is better than the energy derived from CHo. However, the body will use CHo energy because it is easier to break down. We are always using both nutrients at the same time but the percentage of each nutrient depends on the intensity of exercise. The lower the intensity of exercise the more fat you use compared to CHo. The harder the intensity the more CHo you use. The stage (heavy training=more CHo used) in your competition year depends on the intensity of training. He refers to this as "periodization of nutrition." Basically its the same as exercise periodization but with how you eat. I am in the "preparatory cycle." The others are in order: competition cycle, taper, and transition cycle.
Here is the nutrition aspect. If your goal is to lose weight or burn more fat then training at a high intensity is not the system of energy of choice. He says "train to eat not eat to train." No cheap sources of energy. No pasta, no rice even if its healthy CHo as whole grains. Its too readily available and your body will choose that first. If there is none available then your body will have to choose fat for energy. THIS IS NOT A LOW CARB DIET. This is utilizing the nutrients in fruits and vegetable as your source of CHo. It is enough to be just fine, its smarter carbs. Basically if you think of your dinner plate it should be 60% lean protein with healthy fat. The other 40% fruits or vegetables.
The name of the game is controlling blood sugar. If there is no sugar or CHo placed into the system and you train at a low intensity then your body will choose more fat then CHo. NO GELS, GUs etc. your body needs to utilize fat and you will have better performance if you do use fat. If you train at high intensities then you need more CHo to sustain that activity. If you are metabolically INefficient then you will require more CHo. So you can nourish yourself into the corner by using too much sugar while you train. This time of year is perfect for building a cardiovascular base. Long low intensity training while eating accordingly. No carbs before or during and utilize the cleaner more energy rich FAT. TIMING and consistency will result in your body letting go of fat. Nutrient timing is a very new concept to me. You ever get done with a long ride or run and have the shakes? Not enough CHo, if you replenish with CHo your brain will trigger you to over eat. Instead if you have a protein to control blood sugar you will curb the jitters and you wont overeat. Small protein shake, nuts, or yogurt will do the job. Snacking the same way will keep your blood sugar low and in control. WHY THE PARADIGM SHIFT FOR ME?
Because I didn't necessarily correlate them together. I thought I ate so healthy. I must be eating healthy if I don't eat anything "bad." I did not eat any fast food and If I did it was the healthiest (subway) you can find. But almost every meal contained too much CHo and not enough protein. When I sought out nutritionist help I was finally instructed to lessen the CHo and up the protein. Then I experienced major cramping issues. My intensity of training was too high to support not enough CHo. Then I went back to eating more CHo even though they were very healthy. The result was good performance (for me) and NO WEIGHT LOST. DUH...I wasn't using the right system for energy!!! When I made the decision to get faster and perform better is the last time I lost any weight. When I dropped the 50 or so pounds I lost I was working at much lower intensities....hmmm wish I would have seen that earlier.
Your next question is how high or how low is your training supposed to be? Well you need to get a metabolic efficiency test to be 100% sure. The test will generate a heart rate that will correspond to the most efficient fat burning intensity and you should work at that intensity for a long time. As your season progresses you change your eating style ever so slightly to match the intensity you need to train at. If I had to name flaws I see in this book is that it is mostly anecdotal information. He is working on studying this using double blind, good studies but it does not see to be available at this time. He does list references that I will pull and see what else I can gather. I highly recommend this book to the frustrated endurance athlete who is not getting the results he or she is looking for. There is obviously a lot more in the book and he is the EXPERT so order his book from his site! I hope this is easy to read and helpful. If it isn't let me know and lets learn together!!! QUOTE:
“Sometimes I’m confused by what I think is really obvious. But what I think is really obvious obviously isn’t obvious…”