Like our vehicles, our body is sustained by fuel in order to conduct it’s activities and internal functions. And like our vehicles, the amount and type of fuel our bodies can consume can be individualized to optimize the vehicle’s function. For example, a race car that is tuned for the track requires a clean burning energy source to be efficient for speed and responsiveness, and thus, having fuel that is highly combustive and perhaps not too much in the tank to keep the weight ratio down. The commuter car that travels short distances and stops often may get away with a lower grade fuel source, but is likely to have a cleaner engine that lasts with a better quality gasoline.
Our body’s energy management is a lot like our vehicle getting ready for the day’s function. On some days, the body functions to expend a lot of energy for activities and exercise, thus requiring a fuel source that is adequate for the task. Other days, our body sits for long periods of time in idle mode at work or during a commute. Both instances require energy since our body physiology is always on, as long as the heart continues to beat and our lungs consume oxygen, the machine is always on some degree of throttle. Some of us throttle higher than others, and in human physiology, this is called the BMR, the basal metabolic rate. The BMR for each individual depends on many variables such as it’s size, activity level, and amount of muscle mass present, and the BMR can even be enhanced by the type of food it consumes.
The human vehicle runs on 3 major fuel sources, also known as macronutrients. Carbohydrates, which are metabolized (or consumed by the cells) rather quickly, and is the body’s preferable source during high intensity activities and resistance exercise modes. In excess amounts, carbohydrates are converted into fat for storage, but also elevates the blood sugar concentration, that over time causes metabolic syndromes like Diabetes Mellitus. Fats, the second energy source is the preference for sustaining steady state activities over a long period of time. It is also used to produce hormones and support cell function, and the type of fats we consume can promote or inhibit inflammation (a topic on it’s own), and also promote the metabolic effect. Finally, proteins and amino acids make up the last group of macronutrients, serving to build up cells, support our genetic materials, and are used to form various products for internal cell functions.
Dr. Adrian has been a Chiropractor and a Strength and Conditioning Specialist since 2000. He has worked extensively with professional athletes and patients of all ages. You can reach him through his website, www.southpaschiro.com