Can you complete/compete at the 140.6 distance w/ only 10 hrs of training per week?

Friday, January 11, 2013

Generation UCAN

For years I have experimented with various energy/fueling sources. Everything from Gatorade to CarboPro to Hammer have worked through my gut at one time. I have also tried Infinit, GU, Endurox, PowerBar, Clif, Sharkies, Stinger Waffles, Gummy Bears, packs of honey, Sport Beans, etc. Oh, oatmeal creme pies too. Thanks for the reminder Old Bull! ;)  My stomach lining has engaged almost everything out there. I have suffered from all forms of gastric shut down and have survived to talk about it.

In the last two or so years I have started to play with Generation UCAN. I have not raced with it, but several of my athletes have and done very well with it.

Since moving to MN and landing at Life Time Fitness in St. Louis Park I have been given the unique opp to really dive in with this stuff. For those of you who have not tried UCAN I want to make sure I explain WHY I am committing to this product. Below is a quick overview of the positives (taken directly from their website -

Generation UCAN, powered by SuperStarch, stabilizes blood sugar and minimizes insulin response, delivering several scientifically validated benefits:
•   Optimized performance with steady energy when you need it, without the spike and       crash of sugar and maltodextrin based products. 
•   Sustained energy with time-released delivery of glucose, keeping you above baseline       longer. 
•   Enhanced fat burn allowing you to improve body composition as you burn fat for fuel     during your workout and keep burning fat while you recover due to suppressed insulin       response. 
•  Speedier recovery as your body is able to use protein to repair and restore your       muscles rather than for energy, since blood sugar is stable.
•   No gastric distress, because SuperStarch is a large molecule that passes through the       stomach quickly and is digested slowly in the intestines.

For the next few months I will be experimenting with UCAN using various protocols. Below you will find the data I collected from the test I did today. Before we look at the data I want to make a few things clear:

1. I am taking in the UCAN (1 serving - Plain) 10 to 15 min prior to the tests.

2. I am engaging each of these tests in a semi-fasted state; 5 to 12 hrs w/ no food.

3. I ate too many Christmas cookies in 2012. I am suggesting that I could be eating a bit cleaner and will be to see how this will further enhance the UCAN effects.

4. My training regimen has been fairly inconsistent for the last 8 months. I state this solely to show how UCAN can make a serious impact on substrate utilization. Combine cleaner eating and a more structured training program and results will increase accordingly.

5. I am using new testing protocols that Life Time Fitness (LTF) has created in the past 5 or so months. I have had the unique privilege to play a role in developing these with Jeff Burkhart, Dan Hubley, Jeff Burkhart, Jen Keskey, Paul Kriegler, and Sean Sutter. I am also using new methods we will be incorporating in Performance Testing at Life Time Fitness in the months to come.

Below you will see the data I collected from todays test. You will see the "Warm Up Phase" (WP) and the "Testing Phase" (TP) w/ RQ, Fat Utilization (% of fat being used), and HR response. Before I dig into this I want to address some basic exercise science. When one exercises at a very low intensity they will be more likely to use more fat then stored liver glycogen, blood glucose, and muscle glycogen. This intensity will present an RQ (Respiratory Quotient - ratio of oxygen consumed against carbon dioxide expired) ranging from .50 to .84. The lower the RQ the more your body is using fat to fuel the exercise you are engaging at the moment.

When one increases his/her intensity the reverse will be seen. A shift will take place that will rely upon carbohydrates as noted previously; blood glucose, muscle glycogen, and liver glycogen. In this case one will see RQ values that lean toward .85 to 1.01+.

Here comes the fun part. Below you will see the data from my Jan 10, 2013 test. Please take note that at LTF we have adopted a 5 min recovery post the warm up phase and we have found that clients will be more able to tap into fat stores as a result. This has proven effective at also driving the sympathetic nervous system, which clears out some readily available blood glucose. So, below between the WP and TP I took about a 5 minute rest before jumping head long into the Testing Phase.

The purpose of this post is not to glorify myself, but rather to point to how a product like UCAN can take your potential to a completely NEW level. As you can see below my RQ values are significantly lower despite HIGHER HR values within the TP compared to the WP. That is crazy friends and defies what  one would expect to see! Let me clarify. Look at the final stage of 10.9 MPH (1% grade). In the WP I posted an RQ of .88 and an HR of 170 (37.7% fat use). In the TP I posted a lower RQ (.84) despite an HR that was 9 beats higher! Gitty up! The battle axe here is that I am still not at the the .85 mark even. For those new to this talk the RQ value of .85 reflects a 50/50 burn. The body is burning 50% fat and 50% carbs! You will take note that my body was STILL DERIVING 53% OF THE ENERGY FROM FAT STORES AND THE REMAINING 47 FROM CARBS. This is the stuff that gets me all fired up as a coach and athlete. So, one can hypothesize that IF I build my legs to be stronger and MORE fatique resistent I could theoretically push a pace of 5:30/mile for 5, 10, and 20+ miles. We all know it is process to build BOTH the legs and the metabolic system to support such intensity. If that does not get your gears churning in your cranium I am not sure what will. Twin Cities marathon 2013 is so calling my name right now.

I posted incorrectly on Facebook this week that I was limited by my cardiovascular system. I meant to say that my 'tap out' point was tired or weak legs. So, please commit to strength training too friends. Don't get caught in the 'more cardio' strangle hold.

Hope some of you are encouraged by this data. I will be doing this test again in the weeks to come using other fuel sources to see what happens. My hope is to find that UCAN trumps the rest, but we will need to wait and see. 

Next week I will be trying out Infinit. Will post again by Wednesday.

Train smart and think big!
Coach L

1 comment:

  1. This is um, well, mind-blowing!
    Completely buggers up the idea that we can use HR to assess whether we are fat-buring or switching to sugar/lactate. 50% fat burning at that HR intensity is just plain weird. What do you think is going on? Does this stuff somehow shorttens the fatty acid pathway or boosts fat-splitting enzymes....or something?
    Could you, would you suffer for us this way....the tests so far are step-up steady state... could you possibly see what happens when you do a classic interval workout - say for example w/u then 10 x 90 seconds (30 secs/your choice recovery)...and see what happens to the fuel source when you challenge it with a series of intense bursts?
    Many thanks,