Thursday, January 19, 2012

Optimized Fat Metabolism (OFM) Part 2: Variability

For those who read the Introduction post of Optimized Fat Metabolism, here is the second post that continues with the explanation of how we fuel our bodies and why VESPA works so well with our bodies. I forgot to mention in the Introduction post that I started using VESPA last season after listening to a short presentation from Peter at a pre-season clinic I hosted and was amazed at how aligned we were on nutrition. I’ve had an extensive history of racing and suffering with GI issues at almost every race, especially races where it was hot and over a ½ IM distance. I would oftentimes even have GI issues on shorter training runs and rides. Some of this is just me, my guts suck! I have trouble with gluten, dairy and eating certain foods especially if they are greasy so I’m not considered the typical athlete. You’ll always see me with a salad at the pre-race spaghetti feed, not because I’m a vegetarian, trust me…I love my red meat, but because I can’t eat anything else they are offering. I was not completely sold the first time I used VESPA but continued with it because I wanted to believe there was a product out there that could help me finish a race without looking for porta-potties on each horizon. I used VESPA for the first time during a race at Wildflower last season (2011) which ended up being a warm April day, by Idaho standards. I was not acclimated for 80 degree temps which typically would have resulted in me reading dozens of “tweets” on the back of porta-potty doors throughout the bike and run. I had a frustrating race but walked away relieved that I didn’t have any GI issues. I was converted and used it all of the 2011 season without any GI issues regardless of training or race conditions and distances. I also noticed that while using VESPA that I would not have sore muscles from lactic buildup. This was groundbreaking for me which is why I contacted Peter to learn more. For those of you who know me, I’m a straight shooter. If I don’t like a product, I won’t sugarcoat my review and won’t promote it either. VESPA has worked miracles for me and I encourage everyone reading these posts, regardless of whether you have ever experience GI issues during a race, to seriously consider using this product as part of your nutrition for this upcoming season. - Trish

From Peter:
While most athletes recognize there is hard work involved and are willing to do it to achieve results, culturally most of us are looking for simple answers or that “formula for success” from the experts they look to for advice… much of the time the consumer is “sold” or “told” exactly what they wanted to hear…“a formula for success”. This could not be further from the truth.  While most of you want to cut to the chase and get an easy answer, like training, there are no easy answers to the myriad of variables and how they interact with each other.
So, what are the variables?
The genetics card is in inevitably one of the first mentioned when it comes to variability and one most people resign themselves to as fate. While genetics do play a role, it is crucially important to understand environmental factors (variables) influence genetic expression. Bad genetic lines tend to be eliminated pretty quickly in nature so if your family genes got them this far it is a pretty fair bet the genetic expression is triggered by other factors.
Where do I begin? There are a myriad of factors ad infinitum but here are some of the main ones we will be addressing in future posts:
Diet & Fueling
Rest & Recovery
Lifestyle Balance
Temperature, Humidity, Weather condtions, Altitude etc.
There is wide variability within the human population to these environmental variables. The point here is what works for you is vastly different for what works for your training partner or friend, however, by understanding how the variables interact with each other often strategies can be found to improve performance health and recovery.
As you can see all these variables are closely intertwined with each other so a change in one variable creates an impact on all the others thus impacting an athlete’s performance. Don’t overthink this because that is easy to do, just understand it happens.
Another very important concept for the athlete to understand about the variables is many which impact your performance are “dynamic”. This means they are constantly changing and not static so as they change an athlete has to understand how to compensate for the shift. A good example would be heat….as temperatures rise an athlete must become much more cognizant about their hydration including both water and electrolyte intake. If temps rise even more hydration/electrolytes becomes critical, and backing off of pace and caloric intake become necessary….so you can see from this example how dynamic many variables are.
So, while the basic principles of OFM apply to virtually all athletes how each athlete achieves results is highly individualized due to the myriad of variables involved and their dynamic interactions.
Finally, do NOT let the complexities scare you! Understand this is complex, but also recognize that by understanding the basics of the how variables influence your physiology and following basic guidelines based upon the science achieving OFM is very doable for just about anyone!