Surely few athletes have heard of the metabolic flexibility of the body. It is an important indicator for muscle gain and fat catabolism. Learn the secrets of the pro athletes. If you ask athletes about metabolic flexibility in bodybuilding, then surely few of them will be able to tell what it is. But for athletes this is a very important parameter. Metabolic flexibility refers to the body's ability to use a variety of energy sources.
Since in the process of human life, various options for the ratio of consumed nutrients are possible, the body must switch between them as quickly as possible. As you know, fats, carbohydrates in the form of glycogen and protein structures can be used as the main "fuel". Of course, there are also various metabolites, like lactate, but it's worth focusing on the three main ones.
Protein compounds are used by the body for energy only as a last resort, and for this reason metabolic flexibility can be characterized as the ability to switch between fats and carbohydrates. Also worth mentioning is the opposite indicator - metabolic rigidity. You probably already understood what it is.
Metabolic flexibility and choice of energy source in the body
Metabolic flexibility in bodybuilding is inseparable from insulin. If a person is healthy, then the body can quickly get energy from fats or carbohydrates. It should also be noted that muscle tissue is also very important here. This is due to the muscle's ability to increase metabolism, store glycogen and lipids, and of course insulin sensitivity. The more muscle mass you have, the higher your metabolic rate and as a result? consumption of energy sources even at rest.
When considering metabolic flexibility, it is important to keep in mind two main conditions: fasting and nutrition. If an athlete has a high metabolic flexibility index, then during the fasting period his body will quickly switch to using fat reserves for energy. But it's important to remember that even in the absence of high metabolic flexibility, fasting speeds up metabolism. If you eat enough food, then the insulin concentration will be high. Today we are not talking about insulin, but important points should be recalled. You must remember that the use of any product leads to an acceleration of the secretion of the hormone. Insulin is a regulator of energy sources. Fat burning is possible only with a low concentration of the hormone. And the last point regarding insulin is that with a high concentration of the hormone, carbohydrates will be a source of energy.
How to assess metabolic flexibility in bodybuilding?
To find out what metabolic flexibility the body has, it is necessary to introduce various substances, the same insulin or glucose, which can change the metabolic environment. It is clear that such an analysis of the flexibility of metabolism is possible only in laboratory (clinical) conditions. In addition, it is necessary to have certain knowledge and the method itself can lead to the development of side effects. Thus, a safer and more practical way needs to be found.
There are two methods for determining metabolic flexibility that can be used at home. All of them are associated with different concentrations of insulin in the blood.
Method # 1: High concentration of insulin
To quickly increase the rate of insulin synthesis, you just need to consume a protein shake with simple carbohydrates on an empty stomach. Do this several times during the week and observe the body's reaction. If you feel good, then your body is able to quickly switch between energy sources. If the state of health after this worsens, then you do not have a high rate of metabolic flexibility.
Method # 2: Low insulin concentration
In this case, you should starve slightly. As you know, eating any food triggers the secretion of insulin so that you don't read. At the same time, the amount of the hormone produced depends on various factors, among which many are purely individual.
When you start to starve, your body is forced to use fat for energy. In the event that you cannot tolerate hunger for more than two hours, then with almost one hundred percent certainty we can state that you have a low rate of metabolic flexibility. If fasting for five hours or more is not a problem for you, then that is good.
You should immediately reassure you about the sharp increase in the catabolic background during this experimental fast. As a rule, the concentration of cortisol will be low, as well as the reactions of the breakdown of protein compounds. But if you are very worried about your muscle mass, then it is enough to carry out a strength lesson that day.
Practical Tips for Using Metabolic Flexibility in Bodybuilding
If your body has powerful metabolic flexibility, then even eating unhealthy foods will not be a big problem for you. Of course, this is true only when they are rarely used.
When you decide to simulate high and low insulin concentrations and after a carbohydrate-protein shake you feel unwell, then your body does not perceive high levels of the hormone well and you should think about including a couple of aerobic exercises in the training program. Moreover, they should be low-intensity. Also, insulin sensitivity increases during fasting.
When the feeling of hunger becomes unbearable for you after a couple of hours, this also indicates low metabolic flexibility and it is quite difficult for the body to switch to using fat reserves. In this case, you can gradually increase the time between meals.
For more information on metabolic flexibility, see this video: