One way of understanding your fitness is to break your body down to parts (liver, brain, heart, quadriceps, etc) assess the fitness of each part separately, and add them up to get your total fitness.
Alternatively, you can look at just the connections between the parts: the flow of energy and information within your body even within individual cells. This is called metabolic fitness. From this perspective on fitness we can see surprising connections and new ways to improve our health.
Why Metabolic Fitness Matters
The scope of metabolic fitness is staggering. When the flow of energy and information is working well it causes:
- Increased healthspan and lifespan
- Better memory and recall
- Better sleep
- Stable and high energy and focus
- Better physical endurance
- Emotional resilience
Alternatively, when people slide into metabolic disease, energy is going to the wrong places in the body or signals aren’t being sent/received. That can contribute to many problems:
How Are We Doing?
American metabolic fitness is at an all time low…
- 88% of Americans have low metabolic fitness
- 71% of Americans are overweight or obese
- More than 120M Americans have diabetes or prediabetes84% of people with prediabetes don’t know they have it
- More than 75% of prime age Americans are ineligible for military services because of low metabolic fitness
How to Get Metabolically Fit
In theory, something as complex as our metabolism could be under a lot of influences. But in practice, for most people, the biggest thing holding their metabolism back is “chronic hyper-nutrition.”
Digesting a meal is an “all hands on deck” operation. Your body goes into “rest and digest mode” reducing alertness signals so that you won’t be thinking/doing too much while it digests.
This is a story about too much of a good thing, but it’s also about the lack of negative space in our diets.
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Digestion is urgent because sugar is sticky — It’s important to get it out of the blood or else it will literally gum things up. As sugars from digested food begin to enter the bloodstream, It’s stored in muscle cells and, to a lesser extent, liver cells. When they can’t hold any more sugar, your metabolism converts the rest to fats. Storing those in your liver and fat cells. This takes a few hours. If you eat again before that process completes, your body stays in that digestion mode. A lot of people spend years continuously in digestion mode.
When the energy stores are full, the energy starts to leak out. Floating around the blood this extra sugars and lipids create small problems that eventually become big problems. As the hormones that signal digestion, principally insulin, are high continuously, the body stops listening, and that is the definition of metabolic dysfunction.
But that’s only half the story. There’s also the question of what your body does when you’re not in digestion mode. If digestion is an all-hands-on-deck situation, what are hands doing below deck when there is no digestion going on? To stretch my analogy to the breaking point, they’re swabbing the deck, mending the sails, and tidying their quarters. These upkeep tasks (autophagy, stem cell proliferation, senescent cell breakdown, etc) are what actively improves your metabolic fitness. The short answer for how to improve your metabolic fitness is to give your metabolism more time to do that upkeep.
Making Time for Maintenance
We designed our metabolic fitness plan to include both a coach and Citravarin (a first of its kind fasting support supplement) to help people do exactly that.