Phil Mooney Periodizes Nutrition like a Pro and Gets Results to Prove It!

August 22, 2018

Two years ago Phil came to the InsideOut Lab for an incremental Metabolic Efficiency assessment. His goal was to reach his potential as an endurance runner while simultaneously maintaining health. I was immediately taken by his insightful broad-range vision especially given his age -- only twenty-four! I have yet to come across someone as young, with this kind of forethought and awareness, with no "battle scars" to aid in the perspective. Surely in retrospect, there are many endurance athletes who wish they had the farsightedness of this young man. Truly refreshing and inspiring to witness his expansive vision!

At that time his daily nutrition was quite good with a mix of animal and plant-based protein, fiber and a good dose of healthy fats. His run training was heart rate-based and ranged between six to eleven hours per week. Speed work was once or twice per week but did not exceed 15% over total training. In the middle of his training, he would take a month off from speed work, then re-insert it again in the last month of his training block. Phil did not have data on 5K, 10K or half marathon times as he never raced these distances, his current focus was on marathon training. The other interesting tidbit is that Phil did not have a running background, in high school he played football. His running interest was stemming from the idea that it is a sport he can continue well into the future.  

In highlighting Phil's Metabolic Efficiency Training (MET) progression from his first assessment in July 2016 to his most recent test results (just last month) one can glean some insight into the MET process and nuances. Outlining the adjustments he made based on each assessment, coupled with his goals at the time of testing, could be termed "textbook" application. I sure think so!

The benefits for Phil have translated into continued overall health with no injuries to report, as well as performance gains. Phil just won a 5K race with a time of 17:46 which is a 5:44 min/mile pace. Pretty darn impressive for a guy who just two years ago had never run a 5K. Just flying!

Shown below are the first pages of Phil's sequential reports. These first pages of a metabolic assessment report are titled "Metabolic Efficiency Point" (MEP). These particular graphs show energy expenditure from fat and carbohydrate at minute mile paces. They also indicate whether an athlete does, in fact, have a Metabolic Efficiency Point (MEP) and if so, the heart rate and intensity at which it occurred. It is from this unique information that adjustments to nutrition and training can be made based on the athletes goals and current phase of training.

A complete assessment report includes training and race fueling intake ranges, targeted fat-burning as well as nutrition recommendations based on the clients current daily foodstuff. For this article, the first page of each report is the data used to illustrate Phil's forward march.

Before any assessment there is a warm up period of about 10-15 minutes in which time the athlete is "hooked-up" to the metabolic cart with headgear and mouthpiece via long tubing. During this warm up, expired breath is measured (respiratory exchange ratio - RER) through the analyzer, and carbohydrate and fat oxidation is viewed as it scrolls upward on the computer screen. This warm up period helps to establish the starting pace of the assessment. 

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Phil's Assessments:

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Assessment #1
Client: Philip Mooney
Date: Jul 23, 2016
Age: 24 years




RESULT:
Initial Assessment shows MEP occurred at a heart rate of 174 beats per minute (bpm) and a pace of 7:52 min/mile. Below this heart rate and intensity, he was more efficient at using fat as an energy source, but began to burn a higher proportion of carbohydrate beyond this intensity.

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Phil's first assessment (above) shows very good percentages of fat-burning. Based on his three-day daily nutrition log samples I had expected his graph to reflect these higher percentages of fat oxidation than carbohydrate at aerobic-based run paces. A solid first assessment from which to make further improvements. 

 

Immediately following the assessment the principles of Metabolic Efficiency Training and the impact these daily nutrition practices have on overall health, as well as performance, were reviewed with Phil. Nutrition is 75% of MET while the training aspect takes the other 25% of the whole. We covered nutrition periodization and delved into the detail of macronutrient ratios based on Phil's nutrition at the time. Because Phil was in the BASE phase of his run training he was going to be able to fastidiously implement 1:1 ratios for most of his energy needs which simplified the approach. 

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One year later...

Phil came back to the Lab for re-testing prior to a marathon he would be running in approximately 4 weeks time. 

 

Assessment #2
Client: Philip Mooney
Date: Oct 10, 2017
Age: 25 years



RESULT:
Assessment shows MEP occurred at a heart rate of 178 beats per minute (bpm) and a pace of 7:13 min/mile. Below this heart rate and intensity, he was more efficient at using fat as an energy source, but began to burn a higher proportion of carbohydrate beyond this intensity.

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Phil's fastidiousness paid off showing a measurable improvement in his fat-burning percentage (see graph above). He shifted his metabolic efficiency point (MEP) almost two stages to the right! He would be taking advantage of utilizing his now higher endogenous fat stores for fuel while racing in his upcoming marathon. 

His daily nutrition had included about the same intake of protein and healthy fats but with the addition of higher glycemic carbohydrates and select fruit. Training ranged from 8 to 12 hours per week depending on feel and schedule. Keeping at least 80% of his training volume aerobically guided by the use of a heart rate monitor.  

 

Race Result:
Phil's marathon result was a stunning 3:05 hours at an average 7:06 min/mile pace. He ran the first 19 miles all under 7min/mile pace and only began to slow in the last 6.2 miles. 

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Nine months later...
Last month Phil came back to the Lab for re-testing prior to his upcoming Fall marathon and just after a recent 5K road race.  

 

Assessment #3
Client: Philip Mooney
Date: July 26, 2018
Age: 26 years

 

RESULT:
Assessment shows MEP occurred at a heart rate of 169 beats per minute (bpm) and a pace of 6:59 min/mile. Below this heart rate and intensity, he was more efficient at using fat as an energy source, but began to burn a higher proportion of carbohydrate beyond this intensity.

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Stunning results! Not only did Phil increase his fat-burning, but he also reduced his heart rate by 10-13 beats per minute at these run paces! Running faster with less effort and again needing even less exogenous carbohydrates for fuel during racing.  

His daily nutrition had included about the same intake of protein and healthy fats with the addition of strategic ingestion of higher glycemic carbohydrates. He put the hammer down and worked the speed sessions being sure to wrap his higher carbohydrates around the sessions to fuel up and/or replenish glycogen stores. Training was 5-6 days per week which included only one speed, medium and long runs. With a few easy effort days or complete rest in between. 

 

Race Result:
Just prior to this re-assessment,  Phil raced a 5K in Wakefield MA. He won the race flat-out with a blistering 17:46 overall time and at a pace of 5:44 min/mile. Based on this recent test result, I am not surprised!  

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Truly inspiring to see what Phil has accomplished over these past two years. A great example of Metabolic Efficiency Training and what can be achieved when the principles are applied and dialed-in like a Pro.

 

I am looking forward to seeing how fast Phil will go this Fall in his marathon!

Surely a bright future ahead for his young man in health and in sport. 

 



Test don't guess! #insideOuthp.com #metabolicefficiency

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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