Interesting blog title, eh? Well, I was talking with a Team EMC athlete today at functional strength and conditioning practice and got to thinking which sparked a blog idea. This triathlete is also a firefighter and I have had the pleasure of assisting him with his nutrition plan leading up to his half Ironman earlier this month. Of course, as I always do, I addressed his daily nutrition first before his training nutrition.
As I am sure you can guess, I implemented a metabolic efficiency nutrition plan that was periodized to support his energy expenditure from training needs. With his feedback, we eliminated all grains and increased fruits and vegetables as well as his fats. Many athletes are asking about how to implement a high fat diet but in all reality, what forward thinking sport dietitians are doing now is approaching athletes from a nutrition periodization perspective and controlling carbohydrates to support training and health needs. So, where he was at in his training cycle at the time of our first nutrition meeting, it made sense to lower his carbohydrates and increase his fat intake to support his goals.
What happened? Well, it worked. Plain and simple. He shed body fat, became leaner, had more energy, was able to sustain better energy levels throughout the day and had a positive impact on his family also. Oh yeah, and he smashed his half-Ironman time! His wife and kids also adopted some of the principles of metabolic efficiency with similar effects (most notably increased energy levels and better moods).
The point of this blog is not to share his success story (although it is fantastic!). The point is to look beyond the athlete where implementing metabolic efficiency nutrition plans could have even more benefit. Where? In you, your parents, kids, neighbors. Whomever. But specifically what made me think a bit more about this topic was the fact that this triathlete is a firefighter in Colorado. We have a very active fire season coming up that is often characterized by these guys and girls being deployed in mountainous areas with little resources and working around the clock to keep the public safe. They are on the line in shifts and often cannot fuel themselves as adequately as say, athletes, can during a training session or race. Very similar examples can be found in police officers and our military.
So, I pose the question..."is metabolic efficiency training really just a fad that is used in endurance athletes?". I think not. In fact, I know not. This triathlete/firefighter told me that he has begun teaching the firefighters at his station how to become more metabolically efficient and they are having great success so far as measured by body composition changes and energy levels. These are the guys and girls who protect us and in the case of our military, provide us the freedom that we enjoy.
Perhaps we should begin looking outside the box a bit more and utilizing the concept of metabolic efficiency with those individuals and groups who are required to be more efficient with their nutrition plans.
Just a thought to ponder...