Dr. Phil Maffetone: Are You a Fat Burner? How To Assess

January 25, 2016
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On this show, with Dr. Phil Maffetone:

Part 1: Best of 2015

  • Our top shows from 2015 (by the download #s):
  • 1. With Tim Noakes on Hydration
    2. With McDougall/Walters on Natural Born Heroes
    3. On Healthy Training and MAF Training for Master’s; close behind was our last ‘Grab Bag’ Show post-IMAZ.

Part 2: Are you a fat burner?

We analyze these 10 variables that could tell you more about your fat-burning:

  1. Metabolic lab testing. Get a test in lab that measures crossover point. Arguably the most accurate way to figure out if you’re a fat burner during exercise, if you have the means and desire.
  2. MAF pace. If it’s easy for you to hold MAF without HR spiking to your threshold or above.
  3. Measure ketones post exercise. Options would be at-home measuring devices for blood, breath, or urine.
  4. Blood test. For these purposes what more can we learn from fasting glucose, HbA1c, testosterone, DHEA, cortisol, etc.
  5. Blood glucose monitoring. Generally avoiding big spikes or prolonged elevated blood glucose post meal, and big crashes or hypoglycemia.
  6. Field “Bonk Test.”Build up to a 2hr aerobic run, or 2-3hr aerobic bike done in a fasted or semi-fasted (fat as fuel) state with no bonk and no post-workout “hangry” effect. To verify: test ketones, self-monitor energy and hunger for rest of day should be normal, and monitor fatigue/recovery.
  7. Body fat testing! If you’re over an ideal BF range there’s a good chance you’re fat burning isn’t working optimally. Also where do you hold BF? This dives deep into what’s really going on with health and could be one clue into deeper issues (i.e. you eat for fat-adaptation, low carb, etc, yet you’re still fatter than you should be).
  8. Steady energy. Monitor hunger and energy levels – you should not be getting hangry or feel major food-related energy fluctuations. Fat burners have steady energy most the time. This is independent of exercise.
  9. Calories. You must be eating quality calories, good fats, fewer carbs and avoid a low-cal diet. Once you are a fat burner, calorie needs may be less at times but don’t fall into the trap of low-cal dieting.
  10. Intermittent fasting (IF). If you are in good health and hormones in a good place, try intermittent fasting: 12-14 hours between dinner and breakfast the next day; 4-6 hours between daily meals.

Comments (2)

  • Marco says:

    Very interesting podcast!

    I've been following the MAF method for a couple of months. I do all my running workouts at MAF HR and I have a healthy HFLC diet. My MAF tests improve over months and I'm leaner than ever. Everything looks fine except that I'm still hungry after long workouts (around 1h30 and 2h).

    For example, my last 1h30 workout happened in the morning, after a breakfast where I ate two eggs with some bacon, an espresso and a Phil's bar.

    The same happened last week-end where I had several hours of aerobic exercise. For breakfast I had two eggs, bacon and an espresso (my usual breakfast that powers me through the day without any fatigue), for lunch I had a Greek salad along with an additional egg. During the day I ate and drank: water, Phil's bar, Phil's shake, one apple, one clementine and a handful of nuts and seeds (I usually eat 2-3 fruits a day, like apple, clementine, orange, kiwi,… this is really my only carb intake).

    Any idea where it could come from? Maybe I need more fat? Or will hunger disappear over time by itself as I get better at burning fat?

  • Clark987 says:

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