Finding Your Ideal Race Weight


Now vs. Later


Training to lose weight or losing weight for your training? Some find themselves in this vicious cycle. Getting your priorities straight when it comes to weight lose and performance is a key issue for many athletes. Join Nutritionist, Anna Foletta to hash out the details around your race weight.


Topics to be covered: 

  • Determining Your Race Weight
  • Attaining Your Race Weight
  • Maintaining Your Race Weight
  • Off Season Weight
  • Carb vs. Fat Burning Strategies
  • Fuel & Recovery
  • Supplements


What: 60-minute seminar including Q&A

When: Wednesday, February 10 at 7PM.

Where: Innersport Chiropractic and Press Play Lab   1250 Addison St. Suite 102, Berkeley, CA 94702  510.883.1126

Sign up:  Space is limited.  Click here to sign up.

Anna specializes in sports performance, hormone balancing and gut management. She has been an athlete her entire life, ranging from softball, to triathlon to ultra-running.

Find Anna at:

Facebook: PoweredbyFoletta

Instagram: PoweredbyFoletta

Pinterest: PoweredbyFoletta

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How To Become A Fat-Burning Machine (And Why You Should)

We are excited to have Christopher Kelly join us as a guest writer on our blog.  We asked Christopher some questions about metabolic efficiency and energy sources for endurance athletes.  He’s written a great article in response…this is part 1 of 2.    We would love to hear your experiences and questions so feel free to comment below.

How To Become A Fat-Burning Machine (And Why You Should)

by Christopher Kelly

It’s 60 minutes into your training. You’re getting lightheaded, dizzy. Good thing you brought those gel packs. Reaching for that sugar-laden gut bomb, you squeeze the oozing gel into your mouth. Sickeningly sweet. But, you get a rush of glucose. You’re able to finish your training, but there’s got to be a better way to fuel. You know it’s not healthy. Just because you’re an endurance athlete, are you doomed to investing in a lifelong supply of Energy Gels?


No matter how long you’ve been training and fueling your races on carbohydrates, you can still shift from being a sugar-burner to becoming a fat-burning machine. Here’s what you can do about it. It’s simple in theory, but it does take time to adapt. You’re an endurance athlete: nothing is as hard as spending your weekends on long rides, runs or swims, not even changing your fuel source.



  • What is metabolic efficiency?



Efficiency is the amount of energy produced by a given amount of oxygen and food consumed. Being metabolically efficient means that you are able to easily convert the food you eat and the air you breathe into energy via the Citric Acid Cycle (CAC). This cycle does require several micronutrients to make the conversion from food and oxygen into usable energy (ATP):


Citric Acid

Citric Acid


The list of micronutrient dependant steps in the CAC are:

  • Carnitine
  • Vitamins B1, B2, B3
  • Lipoate (Alpha Lipoic Acid)
  • Cysteine
  • Iron
  • Magnesium
  • Molybdenum
  • CoQ10


When everything is working well, your energy in equals your energy out. You always have the energy you need from the food you just consumed (the fed state), or energy that you have stored (fasted state). This allows you to get in a good workout, handle stress at work and manage matters at home. The problem arises when one or more of these micronutrients are missing. This disrupts the flow of energy, just like an accident on a busy expressway. Even though one or two cars are the only ones involved in the accident, they disrupt the flow of traffic for thousands of other cars on the same highway. A urine sample collected at home for organic acids analysis makes it possible to measure the flow of traffic and therefore, metabolic efficiency.


Where do these micronutrients come from? Some can be synthesized internally, but a majority of them must come from your food. Nutrient density is the key to becoming metabolically efficient and having the ability to generate more energy. It’s also the key to becoming fat-adapted. When you begin to consume a variety of nutrient-dense fats in your diets from sources like grass-fed beef and lamb, pastured pork, salmon, you are giving your body the micronutrients it needs to become metabolically efficient.




  • Why is becoming fat-adapted advantageous for the everyday person and for endurance athletes?



Becoming fat-adapted makes you bonk-proof! The average person has the following energy storage capacity:

  • 120g of glycogen in the liver (~480 kCal)
  • 350g of glycogen in the muscles (~1,400 kCal)
  • 11,800g of fat in adipose tissue (~100,000 kCal)




Picture a gas tanker, the type that delivers gas to a gas station. The tanker has a small tank that it uses like any other vehicle, and in theory it could run out just like any other vehicle. The irony is the large tank containing the payload for the gas station could still be full. In this analogy, the gas in the small tank that fuels the tanker is glycogen, the storage form of glucose (sugar). The large payload tank is fat stored in adipose tissue. Becoming fat-adapted then is like modifying the gas tanker so that it can use all of the fuel on board. The range of the vehicle is almost without limits.


As the name suggests, hormone-sensitive lipase is an enzyme whose function is inhibited by the hormone insulin. In order to get access to the fat stored in adipose tissue, insulin must be kept low. Your body releases insulin in response to consuming sugar. What’s the first thing that everybody does before starting a race? Shut down fat-burning by consuming a sugary gel!  As anyone who has tried to consume more than 400 kCal of sugar per hour will tell you, there’s a hard upper limit on what your body can absorb.


Glycolytic pathways (that convert glucose into energy) produce more reactive oxygen species (ROS) than beta-oxidation (converting fat into energy). ROS are unstable molecules looking for another from which to steal an electron and so become stable. If the electron donated comes from the membrane that forms some part of a cell, then that cell could become dysfunctional and may even die. ROS are unavoidable and in some ways essential, but in excess cause harm. Simply stated, if you rely heavily on excessive carbs for fuel, you could be missing out on the benefits of fat adaptation, like anti-aging, steady energy and stable blood sugar levels.


When sugar is used as fuel, you will notice that your blood sugar levels tend to fluctuate, rather than remaining steady after meals. Have you ever felt a surge of energy after eating a high carbohydrate meal or felt sluggish after eating a heaping plate of carbs? Have you ever felt dizzy during the day? Or hungry enough to eat the person next to you? That’s low blood sugar. We assume that these symptoms of low blood sugar are normal, but they don’t need to be your normal.


After eating a meal comprised of nutrient-dense meat, fat and vegetables, you should feel a steady flow of energy. This is a result of fat adaptation. No, it doesn’t mean you will never eat starchy carbs again, but it does mean you are not reliant on carbs to feel energized. I do typically recommend eating a serving of starchy vegetables or carbs with your evening meal when the small glycogen tanks are more likely to be empty.


Fat should be your primary fuel source—not sugar—because fat gives you a steadier supply of energy. When your cells can produce energy with something other than glucose at the time of low blood sugar, you never have symptoms.



  • Why is it important to continue consuming quality carbohydrate sources for endurance athletes while working on becoming fat-adapted?



Transitioning to a fat-adapted state is stressful to your body, similar to when you overreach in your training to become a better athlete. Your body is comprised of trillions of cells, and when those cells suddenly have their main source of energy removed—sugar—you’re going to experience symptoms. You wouldn’t attempt a marathon or a century ride straight off the couch, nor should you attempt to ditch all carbohydrates.


You can ease the transition by first removing the refined carbohydrates, like sugar, from your diet outside of training. Added sugar is everywhere, hidden in almost every bar, drink or snack inside a package. You’ll need to become a label reader if you want to continue eating packaged foods, but the easiest way to make the switch is to just eat real food! A good starting point if you are new to the process is the Whole30 plan, as it provides you with a variety of nourishing foods to choose from without feeling deprived of your old favorite munchies or sweet treats.


Once you get rid of all the refined carbohydrates in your diet, you can start experimenting with other protocols based on your level of training, your goals, your current health status and your lab results. This is also a great time to see a functional medicine practitioner, who can help you tailor your program.


Still unsure how you to move forward with all the blood sugar issues because you’ve already tried low carb? Ready to take action on becoming fat-adapted today? Let me help you. Book a free appointment, and we’ll find the reason why you are struggling to become fat-adapted. You’ll soon be able to train better, have more energy and feel steadily fueled during the day without needing to reach for that gel pack at minute 60.

10376827_10101536238587415_4362363094297904401_nChristopher Kelly is a computer scientist, pro mountain biker, certified Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner and graduate of the Kalish Institute. His wife is a food scientist, and together with Dr. Jamie Busch they run the functional medicine practice Nourish Balance Thrive.


Nourish Balance Thrive offers to athletes a holistic system that integrates the latest in modern scientific testing with age-old natural health solutions for weight loss, fatigue, depression, digestive problems and hormone imbalances. Through the implementation of simple lifestyle changes and the use of individualized, lab-based supplement programs, you will achieve your unique solution for optimal health.

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Interview with Dr. Stacy Sims of Osmo Nutrition

Nutrition for Women

Welcome to our Sports Science Interview Series on our Press Play Lab blog.  We are very excited and honored to kick-off our first interview with Dr. Stacy Sims of Osmo Nutrition.  This is a must read for female athletes as this is just the tip of the iceberg in learning the peaks and valleys of hormonal fluctuations and performance.  We look forward to more of Dr. Sims’ research and articles.

About Dr. Sims:

From the Osmo Nutrition website:  “Dr. Stacy Sims, MSc, PhD, is the chief research officer and a co-founder of Osmo Nutrition. Stacy is an exercise physiologist and nutrition scientist with almost two decades in the field and is also a longtime endurance athlete.”


Food for thought:

Jessica Greaux (JG):  You have talked about carbohydrate intake differences between men and women.  Can you explain the carbohydrate and protein needs for women in the different stages of the menstrual cycle?


Stacy Sims (SS): There are sex differences from birth, but they aren’t really apparent until the onset of puberty- when there is the rise in testosterone in boys (stimulating muscle mass development), and the onset of the menstrual cycle. Here, it is always thought that it is the upswing in testosterone is what causes the massive difference in the ability to put on muscle mass in boys vs girls, but the upsurge in estrogen (and progesterone) in women affects the genetic expression for muscle cell turnover/protein synthesis. What I mean by this, is that estrogen turns “down” anabolic capacity of the muscle, and progesterone turns “up” the catabolism of muscle tissue. Additionally, elevated circulating levels of estrogen alters metabolism to “spare” carbohydrate/glycogen and increase circulating free fatty acids. When we look at this from the perspective of what happens during the menstrual cycle, the 10-14days preceeding bleeding is when estrogen and progesterone levels increase; and the effects of these two sex hormones directly affect a woman’s ability to recover well and to hit intensities during exercise. I recommend to pay attention to the timing of protein, post exercise, (within 30 min, getting ~25g mixed protein OR ~10g branched-chain amino acids). and to increase their ratio of carb to other macronutrients during exercise to hit intensities.


JG: High Fat Low Carb diets are popular amongst athletes.  Could this be a disadvantage for female endurance athletes?


SS: Ah. yes. Here’s the thing- endurance athletes tend to eat too many of their daily calories from carbohydrate due to the idea of carb is needed for endurance. On the flip side of this, you have the other extreme of go high fat and super low carb (getting into ketosis) to improve fatty acid utilization during exercise. One scientific issue I have with the HFLC diet approach is that the studies have all been done on overweight/obese and/or diabetic individuals. Yes, HFLC works in these populations as they are already compromised from a health standpoint with regards to how they metabolize carbohydrates. In an athletic population, the long term studies are far from being done. Will you rely more on fat if you follow a HFLC diet? Yes, because the body needs to fuel itself- but from a performance metric, the research indicates that a moderate carb vs low carb have no performance differences. In women, the elevated cortisol that comes from HFLC dieting increases catabolism and a subsequent reduction of protein synthesis coupled with immunodeficiency. (note, this is in the healthy athletic population where the immune system is regularly taxed through exercise stress).
What I find works best (from a body composition and performance scope) in my female athletes is ~40-45% dietary intake from moderate glycemic, whole food carbohydrates (eg veggies, fruit, ancient grains), with 30% protein and the rest fat. Timing of intake in and around training becomes a deciding factor in recovery and adaptation gains moreseo than overall daily composition.


JG:  Since everyone’s sweat rate is different, how would you recommend an athlete developing a hydration/electrolyte strategy?


SS: Sweat rate, gastric empty, sweat compostion- all different! There is no generalization on what and how much to drink- but remember, it is never about “electrolyte replacement” but about supporting physiology- I say this because I feel I am always answering the question “do I need salt tablets”- the resounding answer is NO! your body has plenty of sodium stores, and if, during exercise, you are eating and drinking fluids/foods with sodium, you are providing your body with sodium needed for fluid balance. Drinking plain water is never a good idea (you need some sodium to help pull fluids across the intestines). As for a general guideline for fluid intake- again there isn’t one- but I have athletes start with a body weight measure (8-12ml/kg/hour, more fluid in hotter conditions) and use pee sticks to determine their hydration status before and after training. This helps them understand their body and how much fluid they need to take in. Women often find they need more during the high hormone phase of the menstrual cycle (progesterone increases total body sodium losses, and the combination of estrogen and progesterone cause ~8% loss of plasma volume with a redistribution of fluid across other body compartments).


JG:  Would you recommend women testing sweat rate at different stages of their menstrual cycle?  Would their sweat rate differ?


SS:  It may vary a bit, but nothing overly significant. It has more to do with fluid redistribution and total body sodium losses (see above) that will dictate if they need more fluid.


JG:  Is there any data correlating menstrual cycle stages and performance?   If so, is there a nutrition and hydration strategy particularly for women on race day depending on where she is in her menstrual cycle?   Do you recommend nutritional supplementation for women before a race?


SS:  Multifacted question! In the low hormone phase, women are more like men with regards to fluid balance, core temperature, carbohydrate metabolism, oxygen uptake. But in the high hormone phase, there is a resting elevation of ~0.5’C of core temperature with a shift of sweat thresholds – making women approach fatigue at a faster rate. There is also the effect of estrogen+protesterone on the central nervous system – decreasing time to CNS fatigue. As for VO2- there is a reduction in attaining VO2 max -more so from the lack of carbohydrate utilization rather than oxygen delivery. If a woman is going to race in the 5-0 days leading up to her period, using branched chain amino acids before and after training/racing is going to help with CNS fatigue, using a sodium+water hyperhydration strategy is going to help with the plasma volume drop and total body sodium losses; and increasing frequency of carbohydrate feedings (eg glucose tablets with a bar) is going to help her hit intensities.


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