WHAT IS METABOLISM
Metabolism refers to the whole sum of reactions that occur throughout the body within each cell and that provide the body with energy (Arturo Sánchez et al., 2022).
WHAT IS METABOLIC FLEXIBILITY
Metabolic flexibility is the capability of the organism to select fuel oxidation in response to specific nutrient availability and exercise intensity (Goodpaster B.H. et al, 2017; San-Millan et Brooks, 2018). The mitochondrial substrate’s overall number and efficiency influence this physiological index (San-Millan et al., 2017). Increased values of lactate thresholds, VO2max and Fatmax, may be utilized to define higher metabolic flexibility (San-Millan et al., 2017; San-Millan et al., 2018).
OVERVAM, at the end of the critical power test, indicates a proprietary index of metabolic flexibility that can be monitored alongside the other performance parameters by the athlete.
WHAT IS METABOLIC IN-FLEXIBILITY
The inability to rapidly adjust energy substrate utilization has been termed metabolic inflexibility. It has recently been associated with obesity, sarcopenia (loss of free fat mass after age of 40), insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, and other metabolic chronic conditions (Goodpaster et al., 2017).
HOW IS IT POSSIBLE TO INCREASE METABOLIC FLEXIBILITY?
Different practices allow for increased metabolic flexibility. (Biff F. et al., 2022).
The first is adopting a correct match between energy expenditure and energy intake. Overconsumption of nutrients can be, in fact, a precursor to metabolic inflexibility.
Exercise training can alter fuel storage and availability, and recent evidence that exercise promotes changes in the skeletal muscle epigenome (a record of chemical changes in DNA) (Rasmussen et al., 2014), transcriptome (all RNA transcripts) (Keller et al., 2012) and proteome (an entire set of proteins) (Hoffman et al., 2015), all of which constitute anabolic flexibility to meet changes in energy requirements for each bout of exercise driving metabolic flexibility. (Bret G. et al., 2018).
Meal timing represents another important strategy which allows for increased metabolic flexibility. Eating out of phase with daily circadian rhythms induces metabolic desynchrony in peripheral metabolic organs and may increase chronic disease risk. Time-restricted eating (TRE) is a dietary approach that consolidates all calorie intake into 6- to 10-hour periods during the active phase of the day without necessarily altering diet quality and quantity. In preclinical studies, TRE reduces body weight, improves glucose tolerance, protects from hepatosteatosis, increases metabolic flexibility, reduces atherogenic lipids and blood pressure, and improves gut function and cardiometabolic health. (Prashant R. et al., 2018). OVEVRAM nutrition allows one to set a personalized TRE.
Switching nutritional styles focusing on total carbohydrate consumption may also impact metabolic flexibility. A seminal study from Noakes et al., 2022, shows greater metabolic flexibility following LCHF (low carbohydrates, high-fat diets) eating and challenges the popular doctrines of “carbohydrate dependence” for high-intensity exercise and dietary macronutrients’ role in human performance.
OVERVAM favours each athlete’s metabolic flexibility in a personalized manner, allowing forecasting of energy expenditure with the energy intake while simultaneously optimizing macronutrient intake. (Biff F. et al., 2022). It also allows them to adopt different nutritional styles with different total carbohydrate intake along the various training phases. Ultimately, it will enable one to fine-tune TRE (time-restricted eating), which helps to increase metabolic flexibility.
Regarding exercise, OVERVAM proposes to its athletes only science-based workouts that adopt different durations and intensities to tackle the different energy metabolism.
Article Written by
Gherardo Marcolin BA, BSc, MBA, IOC Diploma in Sports Nutrition, Swiss Sports Nutrition Society, Swiss Triathlon Coach