BY COACH TAMMY COPLIEN
Metabolic Efficiency (ME) is a nutritional lifestyle (way of eating) that focuses on combining the proper types of food to control and optimize blood sugar, teaching the body how to use fat better as an energy source and preserve carbohydrates. It is not a short term diet but a lifestyle change involving a change in what you eat and in what proportions. Eating this way has profound benefits for everyone, not just athletes. It improves cholesterol levels, decreases the risk of developing diabetes, and can help prevent or manage other chronic diseases such as heart disease. Stabilizing your blood sugar also prevents extreme fluctuations in energy, increases your overall energy, improves concentration and improves mood. Oh, and it also reduces body weight and body fat and who doesn’t like that! For athletes ME has a performance effect as well by virtually eliminating GI distress (nausea, vomiting, bloating, diarrhea) in endurance athletes by reducing the amount of carbohydrates needed per hour of exercise. It does this by training the body to use fat for energy, especially at higher intensities, and not using up the limited carbohydrate stores one has resulting in bonking or needing to eat frequently, often in the form of simple sugar, to keep replenishing these stores, then ending up with abdominal pain, bloating, nausea or vomiting.
How do you get Metabolically Efficient? The most basic way to begin is by paying close attention to your carbohydrate to protein ratio when you eat, whether it is a meal or snack. In brief if a 1:1 or 2:1 carb to protein ratio is maintained your blood sugar will stabilize, which leads to the cascade of positive effects as I listed above. For athletes these ratios are tweaked based on the training cycle you are in to support your energy needs, bodyweight/fat goals and immune system. A general meal would look like this: ½ plate consists of a lean source of protein and healthy omega-3 rich fat, ¼ to ½ plate of vegetables and the last ¼ may consist of a fruit or carbohydrate source/whole grains or a healthy starch. This is very general but gives you the idea.
But, but, but.... relax, ME does not require perfection nor deprivation. It requires consistency and following the 90/10 rule. Stay on track with these steps 90% of the time and allow yourself to “miss” the other 10% of the time. You are human and life happens so don’t stress out if you have the occasional miss (a piece of birthday cake, a beer etc.). Because it involves a change in behavior and lifestyle it will take a few months to really get into the habit of eating this way. It takes knowledge of what foods constitute a carbohydrate, protein or fat, and then some effort to plan out your meals and snacks in a metabolically efficient way. It will take preparation, execution and commitment but over time will take less concentrative thought and become second nature. If you are interested in learning more please schedule a consult and we will be glad to help you get on a metabolically efficient path!
Tammy has spent time training with Bob Seebohar and has been certified as a Metabolic Efficiency Training Specialist in 2015. To contact Tammy you can reach her at tammy @ sbrcoaching.com.