Holly Lawrence - Metabolic Testing Results

“It is not just for training, it’s for my nutrition, too.”


In this awesome “Passion Project” video, Holly and Sean showcase the recent testing after the most recent base training block. Despite Holly having some testing fears (as every athlete gets), the results were fantastic. Holly saw her fat oxidation, thresholds and VO2 max improve This was all despite the majority of her training being completed in zone 2. A solid shift to the right without compromising her ability to use carbs were the exact results we were looking for.  

From Scott's perspective, this result confirmed what we are seeing & reading in the research. Improvements in fat oxidation are possible in athletes even when consuming carbohydrates in and around training. Her fat oxidation almost doubled to be close to 1g/min. Her total carb oxidation rate remained exceptionally high. Holly had been averaging 5.5-6.5 grams/kilogram/day of carbohydrates through November to February. I often hear a fear of carbs causing blunting in metabolic flexibility. That they will result in an athletes ability to use fat as a fuel source to be diminished. It is simply not the case when applied correctly around training. Whilst I appreciate this is a N = 1 discussion, it is not an atypical result. Time in the pool, saddle and on the road will always trump the short term feeding patterns of LCHF zealots. With this type of pattern you see long term improvements in the body's ability to be flexible. This is the essence of metabolic flexibility. Not a fast adaptation to a specific macro. Holly is adaptable and thus flexible in how her body is using fuel at given intensities.

Snapshot of one of Hollys training days
A snap shot of one of Hollys training days taken from the Scotts Fuelin Coach app.


Her average carb intake is a combination of her in-session fueling and daily nutrition targets set out within Fuelin. This is neither a low or high intake of carbs for an athlete completing 20+ hours per week. It is the amount required based on her energy requirements. This was in conjunction with a high protein (3g/kg) intake and moderate fat intake (1.2-1.5g/kg). Fuelin provided an effective nutrition platform to manage her energy requirements by prioritising her carbohydrates according to her training volume and intensity.

Recently, there has been commentary about "carb periodisation" not being required. We would counter that with the view that carb periodisation is more about calorie management, prioritisation and practicality to achieve a specific goal. In Hollys case, we specifically had a plan to improve her metabolic flexibility without impacting her ability to use carbs. This process is longer yet in the long term we believe this is the right approach. No fancy diets. It was a case of providing daily nutrition structure around her training.

Simple yet very effective. Simple because the protein and fat was kept steady to improve consistency and adherence.  It was effective because the carbs were clearly outlined via our traffic light system for each and every meal. This removed the guesswork for Holly and allowed her to focus on eating delicious and nutritious meals without any thought to what she should be eating.


Scott Tindal
April 16, 2024
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