Our bodies are always signaling us about many aspects of health and fitness, and fat-burning is one of them.
The scientific way of precisely measuring metabolic efficiency is through respiratory exchange ratio (RER), which gives percentages of how much fat and sugar (carbohydrates) you’re burning at any given time. This would be the best way to evaluate your metabolism. Performing the metabolic efficiency test reveals, fat- and carbohydrate-burning at various heart rates while pace or wattage are simultaneously being measured. This is done by wearing a mask while exercising, breathe is captured and then measured through a metabolic analyzer.
From this point forward, fat-burning progress can then be monitored through regular re-testing.
If your interested in overall health, longevity and increased athletic performance, keep reading!
Let me back track a bit and explain how our body utilizes energy.
We have two primary sources of fuel we can burn to meet our body’s energy needs: fat and sugar (carbohydrates). I like to use the analogy of a vehicle, as it can run on either gas or electricity. We humans also have more than one way we can power our machine.
Ultimately, the two places our bodies get our fuel (fat and carbohydrate) are from either - what we just ate, or what is stored in our bodies. Our bodies (even the leanest people) store roughly 1,000-3,000 carbohydrate calories and 80,000+ fat calories.
After a meal, we burn through the energy we just ate. What we don’t need immediately is stored for later, mostly as fat (regardless of whether that energy is in the form of dietary fat or carbohydrate). After we burn through the energy from that last meal, the energy supply starts to dip. At this point, our body has two options for continuing to maintain an adequate energy supply. They are, eat more food or tap into the bodies stored energy.
Almost all of our stored energy is in the form of fat. There’s a little bit of stored sugar in the liver and muscles, but not much. Not even enough to power our bodies for a day.
To use the bodies stored fat, we’ve got to get it out of the adipose tissue and into the bloodstream. Lots of processes have to occur in the body in order to tap into fat storage. Unfortunately it doesn't happen automatically.
The term for this is metabolic efficiency, defined as your bodies ability to switch back and forth between carbohydrates and fat for fuel based on availability and need. Being metabolically efficient means you do this well.
Metabolic efficiency is achieved by pairing and eating certain foods. More specifically carbohydrate and protein pairing. Carbohydrates are reduced, fats are increased, while protein ranges stay about the same. This shift in macronutrient pairing is periodized around energy expenditure. Just as you would fuel up your vehicle for an extended road trip, you would do the same if activity duration or intensity were to shift... and they do!
Fat-burning allows the metabolism to kick-in, burning more stored body fat for energy, both at rest and during physical activity.
Some key signs and signals that are great indicators of fat-burning are:
Reduced sugar craving and in many cases elimination of these cravings altogether.
Waist measurement reduction and clothes fitting more loosely.
Increased muscle definition even with a slight reduction in body fat.
Weight loss questions from friends – often noticed in the face first.
Training and racing improvement — increased energy and less fatigue.
Increased exercise duration without the need for food intake.
Improved health markers — reduced blood pressure, normal blood sugar levels, normal cholesterol or triglyceride levels – that occur together, decreasing risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes.
Who doesn't want to be a fat-burner?
Whether your goal is simply to have more energy, lose weight, improve health markers or simply go faster in a race, the answer is measure your fat-burning.
Tap in and burn fat!