How to improve metabolic flexibility

Here you will find lots of tips on metabolic flexibility and how to improve it.

Hello hello! How is your day? I hope you’re having a wonderful day so far. I have quite a few things on my to-do list for the day, all good things of course!

For today’s post, I wanted to talk a little about something I’ve started to pay more attention to in recent years: metabolic flexibility. As I learn more biohacking tips and strategies to improve my health, I’m excited to share more information here. This post was written in collaboration with Missing in action, our Fitnessista RD. If you have any questions for her or any topics you’d like us to cover, let me know!

Now let’s get into it!

How do you know if you are metabolically flexible?

What is metabolic flexibility?

Metabolic flexibility is the body’s ability to switch between fuel sources, whether energy received from fat or energy from carbohydrate consumption. Do you notice that you feel better when you eat a steak than a pizza?

Why is metabolic flexibility important?

Being metabolically flexible allows the body to easily switch between glucose and fatty acid catabolism. Catabolism is essentially the process of breaking down food you’ve just eaten and using it for fuel, or if it’s been hours or even a day since your last meal, it allows your body to draw on fat stores for fuel. A flexible metabolism allows this to happen easily while feeling good and is an indicator of mitochondrial function.

How do you know if you have a flexible metabolism?

Here are some indicators that your metabolism is functioning at an optimal level:

– You can go hours without eating and without being “hungry”.

– The frequency of your meals does not dictate your mood.

– Your energy levels are excellent when you eat a diet rich in protein and healthy fats.

– You feel great eating a diet rich in protein and carbohydrates.

– You do not need to eat every 2-3 hours to prevent fatigue, headaches or hypoglycemia (low blood sugar levels).

– You have not defined yourself as someone who follows a specific “diet.”

How I measure my own metabolic flexibility:

I use two things to see how my metabolism works and how my body responds to different foods and eating patterns. The first is the light, which will actually tell you whether you are burning predominantly carbohydrates or fat, based on your RER (respiratory exchange rate). I usually Lumens several times during the day and modify my nutrition based on their suggestions. (If you decide to try it, use FITNESSISTA for an additional $35 off!)

It’s also been eye-opening to see how certain exercises and foods (especially nighttime meals) affect my metabolic function.

You can check out my full post on Lumen here.

I also occasionally use Nutrisense, which is an app that is combined with a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) and the support of a registered dietitian. Provides information about your blood glucose level after meals and throughout the day. Many health problems can cause insulin resistancemaking it a great tool to help you make decisions to improve your insulin sensitivity.

It’s been amazing to see my body’s response in real time. Nutrisense has also helped me make very simple adjustments to my diet and eating patterns. I credit it for giving me the motivation to have my last meal earlier in the day, avoid late-night alcohol, take a walk before or after a high-carb meal, and also eat my proteins first.

My full post on Nutrisense is here.

How to achieve metabolic flexibility

One of the easiest things you can do to improve metabolic health and achieve a flexible metabolism is Balance your blood sugar and be strategic in your fuel choices. The goal is to achieve moderate increases in our blood sugar levels throughout the day, while minimizing spikes and drops.

How to do this:

– Eat protein before carbohydrates in a meal. This might look like eating the eggs and bacon before diving into the side of the fruit; Eat half the steak before taking a bite of the broccoli or baked potato.

– Balance your meals with the appropriate proportions of proteins, carbohydrates and fats based on your goals. Make half your plate non-starchy green vegetables, then add 6 oz of cooked protein. Fill out the rest with carbs or fats as you prefer, remembering to eat the protein first.

– Schedule your carbohydrates. Front-loading carbohydrates earlier in the day (breakfast/lunch) is important to increase metabolic flexibility. It’s also better for overall metabolic health and preventing insulin resistance.

What does this look like?

You can eat grilled chicken thighs with vegetables at lunchtime, finish with a “treat” that you normally save for the end of the day, and then go for a walk. Or you can follow your lunchtime weight lifting session with stir-fried shrimp with rice. Eating the protein and fiber first will mitigate the blood sugar spike caused by the simple carbohydrates in the treat and rice.

Furthermore, eat Carbohydrates after lifting allow your muscles to use those carbohydrates to repair and grow.. Going for a walk after meals is beneficial because exercise promotes fat burning and helps move glucose through the bloodstream. The idea is to put the energy you just consumed to work, rather than sitting back and allowing it to be stored in the body, which could lead to weight gain.

– Finally, make sure you finish your last meal at least 2-3 hours before you go to sleep! Not only will you sleep better, but your body will be able to get to work cleaning your brain and regenerating new cells instead of focusing on digestion. I know, it’s hard not to eat late, especially when your schedule is full of activities with kids or a late work meeting. There’s nothing wrong with starting slow! Start by focusing on anticipating your total food intake for the day, so that if you do eat late, it will be a smaller meal of protein and vegetables. This is much easier when your body receives most of its nutrition earlier in the day.

Although it is not for everyone, Intermittent fasting can also increase metabolic flexibility.. Intermittent fasting encourages the body to burn fat for fuel. A smaller eating window suppresses insulin and, over time, improves the body’s insulin sensitivity. The less insulin you have, the more fat you will burn.

Many metabolically inflexible people will find intermittent fasting to be the key to improving metabolic health, but I recommend talking to your healthcare provider beforehand to make sure it’s right for you.

Sleep is also important because it ensures that the body is prepared to harness and utilize human growth hormone (HGH). Human growth hormone is necessary for your body to recover, repair and develop itself. HGH is primarily released during deep sleep, so you may think the “sweet spot” is between 10 pm and 2 am. To ensure you hit that sweet spot and enjoy the free benefits, start your bedtime early.

Let me know if this post was helpful to you! Please let me know if there are any future topics you would like to see like this. 🙂

hugs and kisses


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