As you know, Dina (sport dietitian at Fuel4mance) provided a metabolic efficiency assessment on me a few weeks ago. You can read more about my first assessment that she did in a previous blog but suffice to say, I am extremely excited about my results of this current assessment.
First, a bit of background and some comments. I am a lacto-ovo vegetarian (have been for many, many years) which means I eat dairy products and eggs every so often. Most of my protein sources such as beans, nuts, seeds, etc. contain carbohydrates. This is important because reducing carbohydrate load is a necessary step in controlling blood sugar and insulin and thereby improving the body's ability to oxidize (burn) fat. In the past, due to this type of diet, I have never been able to really see a Metabolic Efficiency Point in my personal tests. I would always burn more carbohydrates and lower amounts of fat.
Fast forward to this most recent metabolic efficiency assessment and I was overjoyed at the results. As you can see from my data below, I was able to maintain more fat burning throughout most of the run. While it is not the textbook curve which I sometimes see in athletes, for a vegetarian who has never had a metabolic efficiency point before, this is great progress and true testament that daily diet has a tremendous impact on improving this process. How do I know this? Because prior to the test, I was sick for 5 weeks and thus did not exercise much at all. Again, this supports my hypothesis that improving metabolic efficiency is about 70-80% dietary changes and 20-30% exercise changes (particularly, doing more aerobic exercise).
My metabolic efficiency point happened at a 6:59 minute/mile and a speed of 8.6 miles per hour. As you can see, anything slower than this pace is promoting a bit more fat oxidation.
Why am I so excited? First off, I did achieve a metabolic efficiency point for the first time. Secondly, and much more important, is the fact that I am doing shorter triathlons (sprint, Olympic and half Ironman) this summer so these results provide great reassurance that I can gain speed back in my ultrarunning legs while maintain a good rate of metabolic efficiency.
I will be following my metabolic efficiency trends throughout this year so be sure to stay tuned as I change my training to improve speed. My daily nutrition plan will stay fairly similar this year.
Here's to a great journey of data collection this year with Coach Bob!