Fat metabolism training: Taking performance to the limit

How can I train and optimise my fat metabolism? This is a crucial question for many ambitious endurance athletes who are aiming to efficiently improve their performance during training and competition. The fat metabolism method is also used for a controlled weight management programme in fitness sports to reduce the body fat percentage. But especially in professional sports, benefits and effects of this approach are much-discussed topics. Interested athletes should learn more about the basic prerequisites and processes in the body which are connected to this training method.

What exactly is fat metabolism training?
Basic nutrients, which are contained in the daily diet, supply the body with energy. During physical exercise, carbohydrates and fats function as essential energy suppliers and influence performance. During the process of burning carbohydrates, one gram releases 4.1 kcal of energy; one gram of fat even provides 9.3 kcal. In the mitochondria, the cell’s “power producers”, energy generation from free fatty acids and glucose takes place. While training with a high level of strain, the limits of the aerobic energy metabolism are passed (i.e. metabilisation of blood sugar / glucose or fatty acids through oxygen consumption). With high strain and an increased heart rate, athletes reach the anaerobic region (metabolisation of glucose without oxygen), which leads to production of lactate and hyperacidity of muscles. At this point, the fat metabolism training comes into play. This method is an intensive training at the anaerobic threshold with the main goal being to raise the aerobic performance potential. Thereby, lactate is produced only under special strain and free fatty acids are metabolised in larger amounts. The adjustment of the muscle cells through enlarging the mitochondria is the prerequisite for improved energy conversion of free fatty acids and glucose.

Fat metabolism training for performance improvement
Because of the large fat reserves in the body, fat metabolism training is a good method for efficiently using fats as energy sources. Since these basic nutrients offer a relatively high amount of energy, they are particularly advantageous during high-endurance strain, as in professional running. Carbohydrates, on the other hand, are saved in the body in considerably smaller amounts. On average, the ratio of free fatty acids to glucose is 60 to 40 percent. In order to save carbohydrates for critical phases in competition, fat metabolism training is supposed to put professional athletes in the position to generate energy through fats up until a very high intensity of strain. In comparison to the relatively slow oxidation of fatty acids, carbohydrates have a remarkably higher energy flow rate – a clear advantage when a lot of energy is needed in a short period of time.

Determining the right intensity
The borders between the aerobic and anaerobic regions are flowing and individually diverse. In order to avoid hyperacidity of muscles when passing the aerobic limits, heart rate and lactate determination function as parameters for evaluating personal performance level. Endurance training is healthy when the athlete has a heart rate of 120-160 beats per minute with lactate values up to 2 mmol/l. The aerobic-anaerobic metabolism lies in the interval between 160 and 190 beats with lactate values between 2 and 4 mmol/l; the dominant anaerobic capacity starts from 190 beats. However, heart rate as a training parameter varies because of other influencing factors, such as the runner’s general health condition and age. The maximal heart rate of younger athletes is usually higher than that of older runners, but intensive training can partly offset these differences. An exact determination without a training coach is difficult. Breathing frequency can also serve as an indicator for the aerobic to anaerobic training region; for instance, talking to a training partner is nearly impossible in the anaerobic region. In general, the same is true for fat metabolism training as for every training method: Do not force success and listen to your body’s signals!

Training support with the JogStyle from Omron
Continuity, discipline and motivation are the basic prerequisites for every kind of ambitious training. Those with a body-conscious approach to the track and are looking for basic data, such as current and average speed, distance as well as time, find digital help from running computers. Training tools like the JogStyle from Omron Healthcare reliably provide important data for current and past runs, thereby giving the necessary extra motivation for a successful training session.

Further information and articles about topics such as running and health can be found at www.myjogstyle.com.

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About Omron Healthcare
Committed to improving people’s lives, OMRON Healthcare provides clinically proven, innovative medical equipment for health monitoring and therapy. Our product portfolio includes blood pressure monitors, respiratory therapy devices, electronic fever thermometers and activity monitors as well as body composition monitors and professional medical devices.
OMRON Healthcare Group is headquartered in Kyoto, Japan. OMRON Healthcare Europe B.V. is the healthcare division for Europe, Russia, Middle East and Africa, and provides service to customers in more than 60 countries through a powerful distribution network.

For more information, please visit www.omron-healthcare.com.

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