Here’s how to increase your fat combustion, be less dependent on precious carbohydrates and sustain a higher exercise intensity for a longer amount of time. These 3 tips talk about what to avoid in training, what (not) to eat and your overall long term training goal. PS you can also download the tips in PDF.
BY LOEK VOSSEN
How much fat you burn (fat oxidation) differs from one athlete to another. There are many benefits of having a high fat burning rate. Learn the basics about fat combustion and FatMax via this link.
1. Increase fat combustion: lower carb intake
Low carbohydrate diets, and training in low carbohydrate state, have become more and more popular in endurance sports. This idea is based on findings that a state of low carbohydrate availability can increase adaptation to training in terms of mitochondrial biogenesis.
A lowered carbohydrate intake due to an altered diet can decrease the capacity of carbohydrate metabolism. In doing so, fat combustion will be elevated. The result of this is not just an immediate elevation in the percentage of fat combustion, but also an increase in the capacity of the enzymes involved in fat combustion. This can lead to a prolonging of the higher capacity to combust fat.
Bear in mind that after your athlete’s diet is back to a higher carbohydrate content, the effect previously described can easily be reversed. The activity of enzymes involved in the carbohydrate metabolism will go back to a normal state.
During a period of lowered carbohydrate intake, it is crucial to minimise high intensity workouts in which carbohydrate combustion is high. This is because, during such efforts, the body needs to use carbohydrates as fuel.
INSCYD Coach about: increasing fat combustion
“I have found that attention to diet can have a favorable outcome when we want to influence the ability of the athlete to use fats as fuel source and target maximum combustion of fats during riding. It’s pretty simple: if you put a lot of carbohydrate in the fuel tank, the body will use it to do the work. By choosing a pre ride meal that is higher in fat with a limited amount of carbohydrate, we alter the fuel source during select days of training in order to increase the metabolic flexibility of the rider and encourage them to use fats to accomplish the work on the bike.
Before an endurance ride with a target of riding in the FatMax zone, we can give an example: three scrambled eggs with avocado, a small amount of olive oil, and a single piece of sourdough toast with honey. Note that we do want a small amount of carbohydrate in the meal; this acts like the “spark” that lights the diesel fuel [fats] to run the engine.
During the ride, the athlete can consume calorie sources that are moderate or low in carbohydrates, with fats and fiber to offset the glycemic load. A good example for this is a sports bar made from nuts, with some fruits and honey. This type of fuel would not be the first choice for high intensity rides, but for a moderate session in which the target is FatMax, they can work quite well.
Note that a rider who is capable of utilizing fats for fuel may find the above recommendations work quite well for longer duration rides of 4-6 hours; while a novice rider or one who is more dependent on carbohydrates for moderate intensity rides may find this to be extremely challenging. Muscle fiber type can also influence how a rider responds to these recommendations. The goal of training is challenge, but not catastrophic fatigue; if the athlete finds the task overly stressful he or she may need to regress the challenges to better suit their current training status. The rule I use is: “Hard is good, nuclear is bad.”
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Human Movement Scientist at INSCYD