Burning fat vs. burning sugar

Discussion in 'Other' started by banzaiengr, Nov 28, 2016.

  1. banzaiengr

    banzaiengr Quadruple-Digit Post Count

    There was a great question in another thread that ask about which energy systems are used in regard to some of the basic "fitness" test we use, such as a 5 min. snatch test. Not being afraid to be the devil's advocate or to ask questions I believe my questions were better served by another thread. @Steve Freides if this is not the place for this please move it wherever it belongs.

    Not being a scientist or a trainer I will have to simplify my questions. I realize that these energy systems are a bit more complicated, so please bear with me.

    * Given that long slow duration (LSD) exercise has long been believed to lower testosterone and GH levels and in turn causing rising cortisol levels which causes the body to lean toward sugar burning rather than fat burning, would diet be the more important part of the Maffetone method?

    * Could an endurance athlete that is already somewhat successful possibly be genetically prone toward fat burning rather than sugar? By utilizing the Maffetone diet and style of training, could this just be a case where MAF is just fine tuning their already fine energy system?

    * For an individual newer to training, wouldn't the MAF diet be counteracted by the LSD style training that lowers testosterone and GH levels causing their body to continue to burn sugar? Think of it in another way, could a well trained individual who's system already burns fat efficiently be effected by participation in a bootcamp style system? In effect the bootcamp exercise lends toward overtraining and the participant's system begins to see lowering testosterone and GH levels, rising cortisol levels, and begins to burn sugar rather than fat?

    * Would not a well rounded style of training be more appropriate? Weight training to build muscle and in return rise metabolic levels. Interval style training which is more efficient at burning fat. Aerobic training to increase endurance.

    I realize that all things must be equal here. Do what I've described above, but too often, too much, or too heavy and overtraining wreaks the works. Do the described perfectly with a poor diet and wreak the works. Do everything perfectly but live a stressful life, full of time constraints, overuse of drugs, family issues, work issues, etc., etc. and wreak the works.

    I also realize that it depends on an individuals goals. If you are a bodybuilder wanting to increase mass then LSD is probably not where you want to go, but the MAF diet may be. If you want to bench 400 then you may only want to lift. If you want to run ultra-marathons then well you get my drift...

    I just can't get my head around the use of LSD when there is a very good reason endurance athletes look like concentration camp victims and sprinters are well built. There is a reason that you'll find the individuals in the back of the gym where there are weights is where you will find well built, strong or both types of individuals and on the treadmill you'll find a lot of skinny/fat people. Of course this is with most other things being equal, so it depends.

    Can someone or many please let me know what I'm missing here? Thanks in advance
    Shahaf Levin likes this.
  2. Steve Freides

    Steve Freides Dir. of Community Engagement, SFB, Senior SFG Staff Member Senior Instructor

    Post is fine here.

    My understanding is the LSD is only catabolic when done at too high a level of intensity which, if you want to think about it this way, means it's not really LSD any more, anyway. MAF should not cause this effect because it's "real" LSD to the extent we are comfortable using such terms.

    For me, LSD is best viewed in the context of Easy Strength - the idea is never to push and to let one's "easy" increase on its own.

    offwidth and Shahaf Levin like this.
  3. banzaiengr

    banzaiengr Quadruple-Digit Post Count

    Thanks Steve, sooooo : ) Would not the intensity of the LSD (if that's what we are calling it) be measured by the HR. And would not the volume be measured by the amount of time or distance spent in such an activity and if that is over done keeping the HR below MAF is futile? Then again, as the participant continues to overtax their system by either distance or time possibly their HR rises and then they are running at a slower rate (less intensity) than otherwise to stay below MAF? But if they are also participating in twice per week weight training along with one day per week interval training and their 3 one hour LSD bouts, what is actually causing the rising HR and thus the slower pace when they participate in LSD? And then the circle continues with lowering testosterone levels and GH levels and on and on. If you are doing anything other than MAF then what really would be the benchmark for hey, I may be overtraining?
  4. pet'

    pet' More than 5000 posts


    Overtraining is, from my experience, being always tired and having more and more difficulties to do the same moves at the same weights. Basically, your permerformance decreases. In terms of weight, when I was overtraining, I tended to lose weight.

    The, depending of you goals and you training philosophy:
    High intensity and short time training will use sugar. Low / medium intensity for long time (30- 40 minutes min) will use fat. However, I am not an expert ! May be Al Campa would know better.

    An exception : those who are in keto diet. They use fat more "effectively" due to the fact that their body learnt to use it because it has almost not sugar.

    Kind regards,

  5. banzaiengr

    banzaiengr Quadruple-Digit Post Count

    Thanks Pet, my question was hypothetical in nature in regard to LSD training, MAF, etc. I do not believe I am overtraining at the moment.
  6. Steve Freides

    Steve Freides Dir. of Community Engagement, SFB, Senior SFG Staff Member Senior Instructor

    @banzaiengr, forgive me, but is there a question here? People, in the days before HRM, often overdid their LSD, and people still do, believing more/harder is better. If you don't, and you're actually doing easy distance, then all is good, and it shouldn't be catabolic and should advance you towards health and body composition goals.

    There are a lot of assumptions in your original post that simply aren't true or at least aren't necessarily true.

  7. wespom9

    wespom9 More than 500 posts Certified Instructor

    I don't know if I can answer some of your questions, but without verifying my sources I believe rises in cortisol are seen at medium intensities, long duration (30-40 + minutes) and high volume. This is likely the result of "endurance bodies" vs "sprinter bodies". Note the medium intensity - generally considered to be 70-85% max HR.

    What I can tell you, from personal experience and from studying the effects of extended work - there seems to be a big difference in 60% max HR vs 70% max HR (Important note: using a Karvonen formula, which takes into account resting heart rate as well as age rather than Maffetone HR of which I have only briefly experimented with a year ago. I apologize for not knowing the exact comparison value). I am under the impression that Maffetone formula usually gives a similar, if not lower number. At 60% HR consistently, recovery is easier and exercise repeatable. At 70%, more draining and if done high volume can have a catabolic effect.

    I don't quite know what the Maffetone diet is (didn't know there was one).
  8. offwidth

    offwidth More than 5000 posts

    Some endurance athletes do look like that, others do not.
    I think Steve is correct when he alluded to the fact that many people who think they are doing LSD really are not. True LSD is not sexy. But it works. I may not be typical but I train for 'endurance' events that sometimes measure in days not minutes or hours. I utilize LSD (MAFish) almost exclusively for the majority of my endurance needs. But I also train in strength as well. Because of my chosen activities I can't afford to be too bulky or too lean. At the end of the day I have to 'carry my own engine'
    natewhite39, Bonkin and banzaiengr like this.
  9. Al Ciampa

    Al Ciampa Quadruple-Digit Post Count Certified Instructor

    This incorrect axiom is at the heart of your misunderstanding.

    Sure, but what's the point in your asking?

    Its not a "MAF diet"; its a controlled carbohydrate diet. See my first comment above...

    This is the point of peaking without missing the peak.

    Is this your point of all your questioning? Where has your internet surfing taken you? =]

    Just, no; this is incorrect. What Steve said.
    NoahMarek and natewhite39 like this.
  10. Steve Freides

    Steve Freides Dir. of Community Engagement, SFB, Senior SFG Staff Member Senior Instructor

    I love it when Al tells me I got something right. :)

    All kidding aside, I was one of those who practiced the too-hard-to-be-real-LSD type of LSD for a couple of decades. It made me skinny-fat, always on the verge of getting sick, and always tired.

  11. natewhite39

    natewhite39 More than 500 posts Certified Instructor


    "If it's important, do it everyday. If it's not important, don't do it at all."

    - Dan John
    Billy59 likes this.
  12. banzaiengr

    banzaiengr Quadruple-Digit Post Count

    I wouldn't know...:D

    Dan John, really...

    It's not from the inter-web, if you would like references I can get them to ya. I guess questioning means you aren't toeing the party line. I've never said this is right and this is wrong. I've only quoted other study results and then ask questions. Which I guess ended up being as much a waste of time as internet surfing because one must not ever question. Time for another cup of coffee. :p
  13. banzaiengr

    banzaiengr Quadruple-Digit Post Count

    Actually, never mind. You know they're out there, or in my case in my library. (Yes, I can read books) It's not that important. It was never about right or wrong, it was just about when did these study results change. Therefore, are we sure this is how we should do it.
  14. Steve W.

    Steve W. Quadruple-Digit Post Count

    Well, sort of.

    That's a quote from legendary wrestler and coach Dan Gable that Dan John often cites, but as more of a general guiding principle than an absolute literal instruction.
  15. banzaiengr

    banzaiengr Quadruple-Digit Post Count

    Dan Gable, who's he?
  16. Steve W.

    Steve W. Quadruple-Digit Post Count


    Oops, didn't see your sig!
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2016
    banzaiengr likes this.
  17. Al Ciampa

    Al Ciampa Quadruple-Digit Post Count Certified Instructor

    Then why wasn't this your original question? And my question to you: what is, "how we do it"?
  18. natewhite39

    natewhite39 More than 500 posts Certified Instructor

  19. ali

    ali Quadruple-Digit Post Count

    @banzaiengr, not all distance runners are skin and bones. My nephew, in his 30s, is a Royal Marine, so by default a bit bonkers. He runs a marathon in 2.45 and is built like a proverbial tank.
    I'm assuming the comparison you refer to is between an old knackered guy, weak, wobbly and frail in running gear juxtaposed to a young, shirtless ripped dude displaying a full set of abs and fine sprint mechanics with the catch line 'this is what cardio does to you' or something naff, so a little fun challenge to shatter the myth, if you'd oblige......
    Go to your nearest track and sprint, flat out 100m. Time yourself and note your hr. Have a good rest and then go flat out on a 400. Time yourself and record hr. Go home, shower up and consider this....
    Mo Farah clocked his last 400m lap of a gold medal winning 10k in 53 secs......
    The world record in the marathon works out at running a 100m in 18 seconds. What will be your time? At a guess? maybe between 15 or 20 seconds, I dunno. And now do it non stop 418 times. Phenomenal really.
    Grossly unfair, I know, comparing elite gold medalists distance runners to mere mortals but gives you an idea of their power, their phenomenal strength because that's what it is. It is aerobic power. For you, not so much. For all of us, not so much. They can sprint faster than most of the fit and athletic population and that's them not sprinting! They may not be muscular, bit of a disadvantage really, extra muscle but they are very strong, tiny, nimble, fast and powerful.
    I'm really hoping there is a 400m race between Bolt and Rushida (800m record holder). Interesting energy system battle there.
    bencrush likes this.
  20. banzaiengr

    banzaiengr Quadruple-Digit Post Count

    ^^^Right...You are quite correct. Just think how much things would be different if all athletes trained like long distance runners. Yes, I have no idea what it feels like to run a 40, 100, or 440. What was I thinking to even question any of this. Thanks for the responses, carry on.
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2016
    offwidth likes this.

Share This Page