The goal of today’s vlog is to help you make that mental connection on how YOUR health and performance begin at the cellular level.
Without making this fundamental realization, you won’t have the motivation and incentive to make change happen. This is crucial to understanding how optimizing fat metabolism works to achieve optimal metabolic fitness on a cellular level and metabolic freedom for you!
Cellular Health Basics
Starting at the foundational level of cellular fitness translates into overall fitness, health and longevity. I’m not going to take a deep dive into the mitochondria, organelles, cytoplasm, cell wall fatty acid composition, receptors sites, etc in this article. The ‘YAWN’ factor is too high, and really hard to apply in direct terms of YOUR daily life.
So let's keep it simple and make the case & connection for how the things you do in your daily life have a tremendous impact on your cellular fitness.
Fit cells are:
- Metabolically Fit
- Metabolically Flexible
- Metabolically Robust
This yields what I call Metabolic Freedom because your cells have an innate intelligence to free you up to simply be the best version of yourself, rather than you consciously trying to be the best version of yourself.
The Key to Metabolic Freedom
How does this occur? By optimizing fat metabolism which occurs in your cells’ mitochondria. Once upon a time, mitochondria only existed in the vocabulary of those geeky kids in biology. Today, however, the word mitochondria is trending and, dare I say it, sexy!
The point of this vlog post is that your mitochondria love to burn fat through a pathway called beta-oxidation. While beta-oxidation is a complex multi-step process, especially when compared to burning glucose(carbs), it produces negligible oxidative stress, no lactate load, and a LOT more ATP energy in a sustainable way, which virtually eliminates bonking.
Additionally, there is more than just energy production. Along the way to being metabolized as energy, your cells extract the proteins, peptides and amino acids, vitamins and minerals bound up in those LDL Cholesterols and long-chain fatty acids.
How Glucose affects you on a Cellular Level
On the other hand, the metabolism of glucose (carbs) creates oxidative stress and lactate while being virtually devoid of any nutritional benefits. Like McDonald’s, the burning of glucose is easy, fast and convenient… something we humans have become addicted to. It is literally a ‘substance addiction’ in terms of its immediacy.
Fat and cholesterol are relatively stable compounds. They are patient so they can hang out and wait awhile whereas glucose has to be burned or bad things happen like systemic inflammation and even death…
On a cellular level, lots of glucose is the ‘fight or flight’ / ‘metabolize or die’ , we can compare it to a tiger leaping out of the bush… if we keep it as a 10-30 pound cub, it’s cute, cuddly and even good for us, but if we let our glucose intake develop into that 350 pound tiger, things eventually go very bad for our cells.
Less urgent but just as important, when your cells are being forced to burn glucose most of the time for a large portion of your energy needs, you not only get the oxidative stress and lactate from glycolysis, but those LDL Cholesterols and long-chain fatty acids are not only ‘hanging out’ but accumulating, backing up into your cardiovascular system and getting the blame for the cardiovascular disease!
CoVID and our Cellular Health
If we want to add a COVID curveball, it's become quite obvious from the data if one’s cells are being forced to burn a lot of sugar, i.e. diabetic, then the risk factor for a poor COVID outcome is extremely high. Guess what? RNA replicates glycolytically so, the more disposed one’s cells are to burning sugar, the easier it is for RNA to multiply.
Why LDL Cholesterol and Saturated Fats are 'blamed'
Unfortunately, most of the advice, techniques and even science focus at the end result and work backwards only far enough to gain those myopic and often short-term results. We see LDL Cholesterol and saturated fats in the veins and arteries, ergo they must be the problem, right?
But this myopic view is not limited to the sedentary. It can also be seen across the spectrum of sports; from NFL linemen to elite ultra-distance runners and IronMan Pros, most of whom eventually wind up with injuries and serious health challenges.
While you’re probably not setting out on your personal journey to make the NFL draft or win Kona or Western States, you probably would like to be the fittest version of YOU that you can be over the long haul. In other words, you’d like to win the Rat Race. We can all win at the Rat Race if we are willing to do the basics:
- Get our physiology & metabolism back to the one evolution shaped us to have... Burning fat as our primary aerobic energy source and optimizing it.
- Get physically at the level and type of activities evolution shaped us for.
- Get outside and interact with nature and take plenty of dedicated time away from technology and social media.
Here at OFM and VESPA, we don’t try to take the complicated and make it simple. We take the complicated and make it DOABLE in the context of your individual life so you can reach your potential.