Like most things in life, achieving both peak performance and peak health at the same time is not quite as simple as we want it to be. It is far from black and white, so to “bust this myth” requires context.
In the context of High Carb Fueling
It’s a commonly held belief that you cannot achieve both peak performance and peak health, because the demands of training and competition take their toll on overall health. In the context of the standard high carbohydrate athletic diet/fueling/metabolism, this is absolutely true because on the catabolic side of things there is the oxidative stress, lactate load, inflammation, nutritional deficiencies, and nutritional imbalances, along with hormonal stress & imbalance.
But just as importantly, the anabolic side is how a high carbohydrate diet & fueling strategy causes the impairment of cholesterol metabolism, which is a form of fat metabolism vital to repair, rebuild, and create robust cells, mitochondria, hormones & enzymes.
This is due to the forced metabolism of large volumes of glucose, our ‘Fight or Flight’ energy source, which essentially is SUGAR! All of this takes a huge toll on our body as we train up and/or compete. The benefits of exercise are well known and this is why, in spite of all the known impacts excess glucose metabolism has on our cells & mitochondria, we can get fitter from training… but at what cost in the long term?
The Long Term Effects on your Health of High Carb Usage
For most, it starts as energy instability that turns into bonking, then chasing external caloric intake of carbs to prevent the dreaded bonk. Eventually, this leads to GI issues, slow recoveries from training and competitions and even injuries or disease. One of my early adopters, Jon Olsen, can certainly attest to this.
What is remarkable to me is that, in spite of all this, athletes can and do perform at incredible levels, even winning and setting records. Its biology and a testament to the power of the ‘Fight or Flight’ mechanisms hardwired into us… but again, at what price in long term health?
In the context of Evolution and our Natural Physiology
On the other hand, in the context of evolution, everything changes. You have a different pathway also hardwired into your biology, one honed over millions of years to make us robust and durable.
In fact, this pathway achieves both peak performance and health because, quite literally, our lives depended upon us having both peak performance and health to survive and thrive as a species! That pathway harnessed the limitless energy YOU have on your body (fat!), while sparing glucose metabolism so you had it available when you absolutely needed it for that push to make the KILL, whether it is your next meal, scoring over your opposition, or beating a competitor to the finish line or into submission.
Primitive man, including the remaining Hunter/Gatherer Tribes today, didn’t get up in the morning and have a bowl of oatmeal and grab a handful of gels on their way out to hunt. No, they got up and went hunting fasted as if their lives depended upon it, because it did!
While some may want to argue this is not the same as training for a competition, I beg to differ, and there are anthropological papers out there which suggest primitive man performed as well, if not better, than today’s modern elite athletes. Concentrated forms of carbohydrates were only available during short sporadic periods of the year, making fat (the default principle energy source) while retaining sufficient reserves of glycogen for that upper end final sprint.
So, we need to step outside the context of modern man-made ‘solutions’ to modern man-made problems that we are being “Sold, Told & Controlled”, and think about our evolutionary heritage and natural physiology.
"Why Am I Hearing This Now?"
When you eliminate these man-made problems, you eliminate the need for solutions you are paying hard earned money for. By changing the paradigm of modern sports nutrition to the paradigm of millions of years of evolutionary pressure, you can see that there is a better way; one that begins with and inside YOU!
Until this vlog, YOU weren’t being told this precisely, because there is NO money to be made in self reliance and responsibility, but a LOT of money to be made by making you feel you need this supplement or that gel or some special electrolyte or recovery shake etc. and that you are somehow less without it or dependent upon external energy to prevent the dreaded bonk. I am saying it because it's the truth, its biology and the starting point for you to achieve both peak performance and health.
How to have both Peak Health and Performance
Does this mean NO CARBS and that one is stuck to a keto diet? Absolutely NOT! Proper fat adaptation, which includes a lot of physical activity, gives you the tolerance and even benefits of having “Strategic” Carbohydrates in the diet and fueling without the cravings, addiction, and energy and mood swings!
You contain almost all of the energy needed to train and compete to your potential. It is by learning to harness this internal energy through optimizing fat metabolism that you can achieve both your health & performance goals. Research using athletes I personally helped get fat adapted demonstrates this paradigm shift is not only possible but now a scientific fact, which corroborates what our Heroes have been saying for years!
What’s more is by optimizing your ability to metabolize fat, in the form of cholesterol, you are optimizing the process used to repair, build and rebuild every part of your body! So why wouldn’t you want to fully tap into the power within YOU? By doing so, you eliminate the damaging issues which arise from chronically burning lots of glucose!
I hope I’ve busted this myth of compromising between peak health and peak performance. In today’s “Interesting Times” you need both more than ever.
So, in the context of a fat adapted physiology, YOU can have it all!
If you are curious to know more or get started on your journey back to YOUR potential:
- Download either or both of our free ebooks, Beyond Keto or Conquering the Terrible 3
- Grab a 12 pack of VESPA and, without changing your diet or training, get a taste of what fat adapted performance & recovery are all about.
- Or Book a FREE 15 minute consultation with Sarah or Kaayla
We pioneered fat adapted performance in the new millenia by working with and harnessing the power of Nature rather than the man made lab.
Our goal is simple; To help YOU take back your native metabolism and physiology by optimizing fat metabolism, to obtain the robust long term health and performance YOU deserve!