Being able to burn fat as our primary fuel source is crucial to be able to complete an endurance event in fine fashion. Through the lifestyle choices we make on a daily basis the majority of us have turned ourselves into carbohydrate burners and are not tapping into our fat supply. This not only affects our endurance performance but also plays a big part in weight management, energy and the lifestyle diseases we hear so much about such as cancer, heart disease and type 2 diabetes to name a few.
The most common example of poor fuel efficiency is when a runner “hits the wall” in an endurance event. Some of you may have experienced this before and for those who have yet to go through this - it’s not very pleasant. To explain it in a nutshell, it is when your body gets badly depleted of fuel - primarily carbohydrates - and it’s unable to carry on running and in extreme cases, even walking.
To help prevent this from happening we need to unlock our fat burning ability and improve our fuel efficiency. Here are a few reasons why being able to burn fat is better.
It’s a better source of fuel. Fat gives you twice as much fuel per gram burnt compared to carbohydrate making it twice as effective.
We have a nearly unlimited fat store. Carbohydrate fuel stores are far more limited than fat so we need to make use of this abundant fat source to conserve the carbohydrate we have for when we really need it.
Improves body composition. By using fat as fuel, you will improve your body composition resulting in less mass to lug around when you run. It is a great feeling to be light on your feet.
Helps with recovery. Your body needs carbohydrate along with protein to aid post training recovery and maintaining your immune system balance. It’s important that you are able to burn fat and conserve your carbohydrate stores to be used immediately when you’re done training.
Avoid eating before runs. Certain foods promote a rise in blood sugar that is the alternative to burning fat.
Avoid energy drinks loaded with carbohydrates. These drinks spike insulin the prevent the body from effectively burning fat.
Low intensity workouts for longer durations of time are most effective for burning fat. The body is able to effectively use oxygen to facilitate the burning of fat for energy and conserves the limited carbohydrate stores.
With all these benefits, it is hard to see why we should not start making changes right now so we can get back our fat burning ability and strive to be as fuel efficient as possible.
Training for the upcoming Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore 2012? Watch this space as Journey Fitness Company will be delivering more tips to help you train to reach your target. To register for the Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore 2012, please visit www.marathonsingapore.com.