“Only from the heart can you touch the sky.”
Jalaluddin Rumi

The link among health, performance, and self-actualization is unequivocal.

Metabolic Efficiency™ is a key component of Performance Medicine™ and represents the catalyst to optimal health and performance. Its profound impact on mitigating biomarkers [Metabolic Inefficiency] while maximizing endurance sport performance is unparalleled.

It is a revolutionary, inside-out approach to disease prevention and sport performance, poised to shift current medical and athletic paradigms. This unique testing protocol advances longevity and the unrelenting verve to test our limits.

Metabolic Efficiency™ emanated as the comprehensive model to explain the link among health, performance, and potential.

Its underlying maxim is health first, performance second.

The Crossover Concept

The Crossover Concept [CC] pinpoints the exercise intensity in which the body shifts from fat to carbohydrate [CHO] oxidation. This is expressed as a percentage of exercise intensity relative to the maximum volume of oxygen [VO2] consumed. It describes the relationship between intensity and the utilization of fat and CHO during exertion.

This concept is an exercise intervention. The outcome of CC is to improve fat oxidation via low intensity aerobic training. The premise is fat oxidation will predominate when exertion is less than or equal to 63-65% of maximal intensity.

The CC contends CHO becomes the primary fuel source once exertion exceeds the 63-65% intensity level. The CC identifies one’s ideal “fat burning zone” absent factoring any nutritional variables.

The CC is not synonymous with Metabolic Efficiency™.

The objective of ME™ is to extend the crossover point in which endogenous fat becomes the primary fuel source at much higher intensity levels. This will preserve the limited CHO stores until needed at maximum intensity.

The ability to oxidize fat at or near one’s lactate threshold [LT] level alters the scope of competition.

Metabolic Flexibility

Metabolic Flexibility [MF] is a nutrition intervention.

MF is the capacity to utilize fat and CHO fuels and the transition between them in response to changes in dietary energy intake or circulating substrate concentrations.

MF is the ability to adapt fuel oxidation to fuel availability. The switch in fuel oxidation will depend on the type and amount of nutrient available for oxidation at the cellular level. Insulin sensitivity and insulin resistance impact MF and metabolic inflexibility, respectively.

The inability to modify fuel oxidation in response to changes in nutrient availability has been implicated in the accumulation of intramyocellular lipid and insulin resistance.

The MF concept is based on following a low CHO daily nutrition plan before switching to a high CHO diet prior to competitions. Fat adaptation is the desired outcome.

Metabolic Efficiency™

Metabolic Efficiency™ [ME™] is the body’s ability to utilize endogenous stores of CHO and fat at varying exercise intensity and duration levels and rest.

It is focused on the manipulation of the daily nutrition plan and the contribution from different types of exercise. It is a nutrition [75%] and exercise [25%] intervention.

ME™ is an easy, sustainable, non-restrictive, flexible plan with blood sugar control and optimization the outcome. It is focused on the manipulation of the symbiotic relationship between diet and exercise.

Effective dietary manipulation and exercise adaptation will enhance mitochondrial capacity, propel redox signaling, mitigate insulin spikes, decrease caloric needs, and have a profound effect on health markers related to chronic and degenerative diseases.

ME™ creates the enviable quality of significantly reduced caloric intake during exertion because the body is proficient at fat oxidation even at high intensity. Its far-reaching, cost-effective benefits have the potential to transform health care as a matter of public policy.

ME™ merges four disciplines [exercise physiology, biochemistry, nutrition, and metabolism] with behavior modification to come full circle.

The current medical paradigm of treating symptoms is a losing proposition. The preventive protocols of ME™ testing teach invaluable lessons respective to optimal health and human performance.

Following represents the results of metabolic inefficiency. Depletion of precious glycogen stores is the foremost nutrition limiter to performance yet it is pervasive due to reliance on carbohydrate for fuel.

Four primary reasons exist to implement the ME™ concept. These reasons impact health markers and sport performance limiters common among the mainstream and athletes.

1~Eliminates GI distress

Gastrointestinal (GI) problems are probably the second most encountered complaint after dehydration. The debilitating effects of GI distress can ruin your race day performance despite months of training.

Common GI issues include cramping, nausea, bloating, vomiting, and diarrhea. Gastroparesis is a medical term which means decreased gastric motility or delayed emptying of the stomach and small intestine. Impaired gastric motility is the main culprit resulting in bloating, cramping, nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting.

Each person carries a limited supply of blood. Blood is necessary to transport oxygen to fuel the digestive process. This means a shortfall exists respective to the brain and musculature.

The consumption of starchy CHO and protein at the same feeding creates further digestive confusion as neither the alkalinity of the mouth nor the acidity of the stomach are able to function at full strength. The result: poor digestion and performance.

Find below typical factors that cause GI distress and gastroparesis.

  • Diversion or blood shunting;
  • Excess carbohydrate intake;
  • Osmolality imbalances;
  • Excessive water intake;
  • Exercise intensity

ME™ becomes viable through food combinations and exercise adaptation will balance blood sugar and manipulate endogenous fat and CHO stores to maximize performance via less caloric intake.

2~Improves nutrient partitioning for sustained energy

Nutrient partitioning describes whether the energy derived from the food one consumes is utilized as fuel for muscles or stored as fat. Each macronutrient and micronutrient is partitioned to either muscle or fat cells.

Insulin plays a major role in nutrient partitioning and the level of insulin sensitivity determines how the complex shuttle system functions. Insulin sensitivity has the potential to improve energy expenditure where insulin resistance turns your body into a fat storage facility.

Insulin stimulates the uptake and storage of glucose. Blood glucose levels surge when the small intestine breaks down CHO. Elevated glucose levels propel insulin spikes which inhibit lipolysis.

Glucose will be converted to glycogen and stored in the liver and muscles. Glucose in the bloodstream is toxic which means additional insulin is released to expunge it [convert and store it as fat]. This leads to insulin resistance which first impairs muscle function before triggering other health markers.

The issue is the body has shifted its primary fuel source from fat to CHO. This shift represents an ineffective route to optimal health and sport performance.

The desired outcome is to preserve glycogen until it is needed at maximum intensity. Mitigating insulin spikes is paramount to this process and is attainable only via ME™.

Even the most wispy endurance athletes possess more than enough internal fat to fuel the body for the duration and intensity equivalent to 8-10 Ironman races each lasting 10-17 hours.

Fat adaptation is the key:

  • Increase whole body fat oxidation, even in highly trained individuals;
  • Skeletal muscle appears to be the tissue that is primarily responsible for increased fat oxidation during exercise after a short-term high-fat diet as a result of altered substrate storage;
  • Increased fat oxidation is due to elevated intramuscular triglyceride (IMTG) concentration

3~Improves body composition and weight

Decreasing body fat is beneficial for optimal health and performance.

Body composition refers to the proportion of lean body mass (highly correlated with muscle mass) to fat mass in a person. Improving body composition involves decreasing body fat while maintaining or adding muscle.

There are a plethora of reasons for losing body fat from maintaining health and well-being, excellence in sport via improved quickness, agility, and enhanced performance, or simply to look and feel better.

Restrictive caloric dietary plans will provide insufficient fuel for exertion, compromise training adaptations, and deliver sub-optimal results.

A more prudent approach is to provide adequate energy to fuel exercise and allow endogenous fat stores to play a vital role in attaining a lean athletic physique.

Decreasing body fat does not adversely affect strength or power production. A loss in body fat, and therefore body weight, improves the power-to-weight ratio, an important determinant of endurance performance.

A higher power-to-weight ratio translates into greater speed and quickness which is vital for athletes who participate in sports demanding short high-intensity and explosive bursts.

Benefits of a metabolic efficient dietary pattern include:

  • Improved satiety;
  • Reduced cravings;
  • Increased thermogenic response;
  • Controlled blood sugar [hormonal stability]

4~ Improves health markers and risks associated w/ chronic and degenerative diseases

  • Mood stabilization;
  • Improved lipid profile;
  • Lower fasting blood sugar and insulin;
  • Controlled inflammation;
  • Improved memory;
  • Improved sleep quality → fitful sleep and sleep deprivation are linked to high glucose concentrations which increase the risk for chronic and degenerative diseases

ME™ testing offers a blend of intuitive dietary patterns and inexhaustible metrics to identify and implement protocols to enhance synergy from the inside out — the key to optimal health and performance.

Integrate the foregoing with primary source nutrition and you will blaze a path from the trailhead of confusion to the summit of your desired health and performance outcomes en route to self-actualization.

Our unique wellness and nutrition consults, diagnostic and performance assessments, integrate revolutionary technology with expertise from board-certified specialists in health, nutrition, sport dietetics, and natural medicine –> Performance Medicine™.

May your Sadhana thrive.


Jeff Kildahl

View posts by Jeff Kildahl

Jeff Kildahl is a writer, author, wellness consultant and philanthropist advancing preventive health care by synthesizing primary source nutrition and fitness as the principal components of the practice of medicine.

Kildahl is a sponsored vegan ultra-endurance athlete credentialed in bioenergetics, biomechanics, metabolic efficiency™ testing, sport nutrition, and natural medicine. He is a dynamic member of CUBE™ ~ a professional speakers group ~ empowering others to harmonize the "Keys to Living in the Song of Life."

He is the wellness editor at Snowshoe Magazine, United States Snowshoe Association columnist, and contributor to health, fitness and wellness sites, blogs and publications. He is a US-based ultra-endurance athlete and philanthropist for the 100 FOR 100 Movement ~ https://100for100.me.

Kildahl is the creator and president of The Wholistic Edge® ~ a visionary firm providing synergistic solutions to transcend health, performance, and potential in life and sport from the inside out via the principles of Performance Medicine™ ~ http://thewholisticedge.com.