During the process of attaining a lean physique, we often resort to more extreme methods of burning fat to achieve our goals. However, we often overlook the obvious alternative of being metabolically flexible. Metabolic flexibility is the ability to switch from one fuel source to the next, making it an ideal state for someone who wishes to be an unstoppable fat-burning machine! Here are some of the other advantages of being metabolically flexible:
- You'll have an easier time to burn body fat
One major aspect of metabolic flexibility is the ability to switch to using stored fat cells instead of carbohydrates for energy. A key to understanding metabolic flexibility is the vital role the storage hormone insulin plays. When you overdose on carbohydrates (even the “healthy” ones), you are depriving your body of the opportunity to switch to “fat-burning” mode because of constantly spiking insulin levels.
- You'll enjoy a better quality of sleep
By being metabolically flexible, you are allowing your leptin hormone to be released, which suppresses the appetite and releases your thyroid hormone. The latter raises your body temperature and enters fat burning mode late into the night. Concordantly, the level of the sleep hormone melatonin rises and primes you for bed. Individuals who suffer from metabolic inflexibility usually have a harder time sleeping due to late-night hunger pangs and altered circadian rhythms.
- Better quality of life and longer life span
The body produces "cleaner" energy when it uses fat as fuel, as opposed to feeding on carbohydrates to generate energy. When your body metabolises carbohydrates, free radicals are released as a by-product, which causes oxidative stress and ageing. This can damage genes, cellular health and DNA. Fat metabolism counteracts this by burning fatty acid instead of glucose, which results in lesser free radicals being generated.
Becoming fat-adapted will take a concentrated effort but the benefits are well worth it. Aside from adopting a diet that’s higher in protein and fat but lower in carbohydrates, other measures such as regular exercise and performing high-intensity training have been found to improve metabolic flexibility. The practice of intermittent fasting also optimises the body’s natural fat-burning capabilities. Once you get yourself there, you’ll never want to go back!