If you are lean and metabolically efficient already then you may not relate to my story of the high carb athlete. If you have been following my Twitter or Facebook posts over the past year, you may have noticed more articles on becoming more “Fat Adapted” and “Metabolic Efficiency”. Also the past year, I have been interviewed four times by Jon Smith on his “Garden Variety Triathlete” podcast on core training, racing and now become a fat adapted athlete. Last week was my first experience as a co-host on “Garden Variety Triathlete” podcast. Another change the past few months is my “re-branding” and focus for Fitness Forward Studio for the future. As I learn more about becoming metabolic efficient from my own research, industry experience, athlete experience and self-experiments with my eating, I wish to inspire others with the latest discoveries on the high carbohydrate diet and sugar burning individuals. In life or sports… we need to learn how to FUEL, how to TRAIN efficiently and PERFORM in SPORTS as well as in LIFE every day!
We want to be burning fat for fuel when we are sleeping, working, resting and participating in endurance exercise. How were we to become a fat burning machine if we are taught to eat three meals a day plus two snacks as well as make sure we are eating every 2-3 hours to keep the “metabolism” working? As a personal trainer/fitness instructor/coach for twenty years and a competitive athlete, I have had my personal experience with eating high carb and non-fat diet for many years. The articles always told to athletes to eat a high carb diet if you are exercising or racing. As I was growing up, I was always read we were to eat a low fat or non-fat diet if you were trying to lose weight. Media and articles always taught us that butter, coconut milk, coconut oil, avocado, cream, macadamia nuts and other natural fats were bad for you.
As I read new blogs, articles and books on become more metabolic efficient over the past few years, I look back on my experiences fueling for long distance training and racing (Marathons, Cycling and Ironman distance events) as well daily headaches from the food I ate. Now so many questions I had over the years are being answered… excess carbohydrates are addictive, create unstable blood sugar levels, increase appetite and decrease ability to activate the “feel full button”. I was always training for distance events, training by heart rate and lifting weights but I was never losing the stubborn last 5-10 lbs. to get lean for race season. How do we burn fat for fuel and lose fat weight?
I started listening to podcasts, reading books and blogs on foods that cause inflammation in the body and common food sensitivities. Personally, I realized I must be sensitive to gluten and dairy as I had some of the common symptoms listed. I also started understand more about hormone balance as with Leptin and Ghrelin. So many days I have been hungry after I just ate and never felt as if my “Full button” worked. Now I realize my hormones and blood sugar levels have been out of balance. For so many years my daily food plan was “healthy” grains and fruit. The new information and evidence based food research made sense for MY BODY. Everyone is different and can tolerate various levels of carbohydrates but I am sugar sensitive as a result of my “healthy” eating habits.
I learned about the ZONE DIET back in the mid 90’s and started learning more about the balancing the carbs-fat-protein but I still was not eating fat (non-fat was “best”) and I have not been a big meat eater since I was a teenager (blame it on KFC chicken legs). Sally Edwards taught us about heart rate training and developed heart zone training that we implemented into workouts at the Bellevue Club. Then we started offering New Leaf Metabolic Testing and setting heart rate ranges for individuals. I also started training with Mark Allen Online Elite team in 2003 and we followed the Phil Maffeton formula for heart rate training. The result… I have become an educated trainer, coach and athlete on become metabolic efficient when training and racing but I was still curious about fueling for performance as well as weight loss.
I took the USA Triathlon Level One Coaching certification in 2009 and first listened to Bob Seebohar’s Metabolic Efficiency seminar. Bob is a leader in the research (and self-experimenting with high fat diet) in Metabolic Efficiency and eating real food. He taught us we don’t need to eat so much when training, throw away the gels and eat real food. I was already testing client’s metabolic efficiency on our New Leaf Metabolic Treadmill Assessments and training clients by heart rate training but the news on nutrition made total sense to me.
For almost two years I have offered 30 or 21 day challenges at my studio FITNESS FORWARD in Bellevue, WA. I worked with local naturopath (Dr. Geoff Lecovin) on leading a 21 day challenge to eat REAL FOOD plus eliminate common food allergens for the challenge (dairy, gluten, peanuts, corn and soy). I have read more about the “Paleo Diet” and now about “Low-Carb” food plans. Ben Greenfield Fitness podcasts, Sean Croxten’s Underground Wellness and “Ask the Low-Carb Doctors” podcasts have provided so much new information on why the “Standard American Diet” (SAD) has created an obesity epidemic in our country. I also realized why so many athletes have IBS, race day fueling problems and challenge losing weight. This past year we have really had success with the “FF 21 day Rapid Fat Loss Challenge” and expect even more results in the NEW YEAR challenges. My clients have lost 8-15 lbs. per challenge by eating real food as well as adding Fitness Forward’s special “METABOLIC TRAINING” workouts (High Intensity Interval Training).
My goal in 2013 is to educate clients of all levels and sports how to become more metabolic efficient by how they eat, train and perform in life as well as sports. Fitness Forward Studio offers 50 minute high intensity interval training that will increase the metabolism up to 24 hours or more. Fitness Forward Studio offers “RAPID FAT LOSS CHALLENGES” for 14 or 21 days to help people to change the way they eat and lose fat weights. Fitness Forward Studio will offer METABOLIC ASSESSMENTS using the NEW LEAF METABOLIC resting and exercise tests to measure respiratory ratio (RQ), peak fat burning and anaerobic threshold. We are going to teach clients how to lose fat weight, train efficiently, be faster in races and get RESULTS!
In the new year I will conduct more Metabolic treadmill tests for runners and walkers of all levels in a fasted state as per the protocol but also test people after a “typical” pre-race meal. I am the new monthly co-host of the “Garden Variety Triathlete” (The Journey of the Fat Adapted Triathlete) monthly podcast where we will discuss our experiments with a higher fat diet; fat adapted and become a metabolically efficient athlete.
I will challenge my clients to complete the “FF RAPD FAT LOSS CHALLENGE” and offer each client the opportunity to experience a lower carb/sugar and higher fat food plan eating REAL FOODS. I want to help people enjoy eating REAL food and eliminate processed man made food. Who wants to be a sugar burner and not a fat burner?
My journey began in 2012 and continues in 2013 as I become a “Superhuman Coach”, co-host a new podcast and present more seminars at the Lavaman Triathlon. I will add more exciting changes at Fitness Forward Studio ….stayed tuned!
Back then… and now. My “fueling” history:
• Back in 1995, I was training for my first long distance bike ride (Seattle to Portland in One Day). I remember going for a long bike ride after teaching spin class on a Saturday morning. I decided not to eat anything after my spin class before the long bike ride as I had “fat to burn”. About two hours into the ride I had no energy and had to pull over to rest on the side of the road while my friends finished the “out and back”. They gave me a Cliff Bar and I returned to life to ride back to our cars. I was a sugar burner… not a fat burner.
• I used to eat a bagel, orange juice and banana for breakfast then have a headache as well as was hungry one hour later. I never understood why I was still hungry after I just ate a bagel and more carbs. Now I
• I used to eat a gel on a long run every five miles to keep “fueled” up. Now I don’t eat anything when doing a training run up to 18-20 miles.
• In the past on my training bike rides I used to drink an energy drink plus take a bar for a two to three hour bike ride in the afternoon. Now when I go for my afternoon bike ride, I usually need lunch beforehand then ride 2-3 hours (in season) with only water.
• After a life of eating non-fat and fat-free everything, I added HEALTHY FATS into my diet and trying not to be “fat phobic”. I use coconut oil, avocados and coconut milk as well as grass fed organic cream.
• Even though I have always been more a “plant based” eater (LOVE my huge salads), I am cutting out grains as my “quick snack” when on the go and going for more fat/protein snacks as almond butter with nuts and coconut flakes.
• For over ten years I have trained by heart rate and performed well in races, I am always struggling to lose the last five pounds. Now I am eating more fat and less sugar/carbs, I know I can lose the weight because I stay full longer.
• My work hours are early (leaving at 4:30 am) and later (4-7pm). During the week I would eat breakfast at 4:30 am because I thought “I needed to eat”. I would eat dinner when I got home because it was “dinner time” but we would go to bed an hour later as I work late most nights. Now I eat a big lunch with more fat and I am full for hours. During the week I usually stop eating after 3 or 4pm then I don’t need to eat breakfast until 830am or 9am when I have a work break.
• Instead of eating a high carb breakfast of toast with almond butter before work, now I have coffee with coconut oil and sometimes add almond butter and Ghee if I need more of a boost.
• In Ironman races I used to eat oatmeal, bagel and a banana for pre-race meal but now I have gluten free (Essential Baking Co) seeded toast with almond butter, coconut oil topped with seeds/nuts and avocado.
• During Ironman Races I drink most my calories but started adding “Raw Revolution” bar instead of gel blocks or bars. I don’t eat anything most of the race but liquid calories as I am an efficient fat burning machine.
• For weekday early morning workouts I don’t eat anything even if it is an 8 mile run.
MORE experiments and discoveries to come in 2013! Stay tuned for more reports as well as listen to Ben Greenfield’s podcast and “Garden Variety Triathlete” podcast.