Let’s see if this sounds familiar: You eat a wholesome breakfast (I’ll be the judge of that) and an hour later you are hungry. What in the world is going on? The questions that are probably going through your mind are, “is my metabolism just raging right now? Did my stomach expand because I ate a large meal last night? Am I pregnant” Let’s hope the last one isn’t true unless that’s your objective.
To an extent, some of these reasons may be possible. Starting a workout regimen does raise your metabolism, but it shouldn’t make you burn through your fuel that quickly. If you’ve had a recent larger than normal meal, then your body is looking to be fed the same amount of food as the night before. Still, there’s gotta be another explanation.
Second scenario: You eat what you deem a healthy breakfast, planning to workout an hour later. An hour goes by, still full. Two hours are approaching, you still feel like you’ll puke if you try to work out. “But yesterday I was fine within an hour of eating.” I am here to tell you that you aren’t crazy, and there is reason behind this. Everyone has a different Metabolic Type.
In short, metabolic types are determined by each of our metabolisms. They are unique to us all, and can be a huge tool to a weight loss or weight gain journey. Your thyroid and other hormones also play a large role in your metabolism, but for now I will just discuss the characteristics of the three types.
Fast Oxidizer (Fast burner): A good majority of women are fast oxidizers. Sometimes they are described as the anxious type, and are normally extroverted. These women have strong appetites, and feel hungry within 45 minutes to an hour after eating. Fast oxidizers tend to have lower blood sugar (dizziness when standing) which can lead to emotional ups and downs.
A fast oxidizer does well by incorporating fats and proteins into most meals. This is not to say you should not eat carbohydrates; but rather eat fat and proteins WITH carbs. Lower glycemic carbs are best for the fast oxidizer, because again, you don’t want to burn fuel too quickly and make unfavorable food choices because of it. Considering I am a paleo fanatic, I am going to preach that you reach for sweet potatoes, white potatoes, plantains, or low sugared fruit like raspberries or other berries. If you are not there yet then I suppose gluten free oatmeal, quinoa, or white rice will do. Again, fast oxidizers need to be eating fats with most meals.
Slow Oxidizer (Slow Burner): Slow oxidizers tend to have a slower metabolism and break down carbohydrates very slowly. They have very little appetite, and can get away with eating very little. A characteristic of a slow oxidizer is not being hungry when waking up, and be absolutely fine with skipping breakfast. My definition by absolutely fine is someone who is able to function at 100% without food. They do not have any emotional episodes, and like to intermittent fast. If I ever skip breakfast it’s because of one or two reasons. A: My house burned down and my snack reserves went down with it. B: I had a huge treat meal the night before (I hate the phrase cheat meal), and I decide to work out fasted the next morning. If you haven’t already guessed, I am NOT a slow oxidizer. Slower oxidizers will crave sweets, carbs, and feel fatigued a majority of the day. Complaints heard by a slow oxidizer are that food will just sit in their stomach and not digest quickly. This may be a benefit for those who have a hard time snacking at work, but it isn’t fun for those who need their undigested food to POOF! Disappear.
A typical protocol for a slow metabolizer would to limit fat in their diet(but not completely get rid of it). Since fat slows down the absorption of food, the last thing a slow oxidizer needs is a brake check on their digestion. Slow burners do better with low glycemic carbohydrates (same as stated above) and proteins to speed up their metabolism of food.
Mixed Oxidizer (The Confused Type): You are blessed. This is a combination of both fast and slow types. You can have the best of both worlds, and ratios of macronutrients don’t affect you as much. But on the other hand, you may not know how to eat at times. Your metabolism is like a bi-polar ninja (where are all the emoji’s when you need them?!) Keeping you on your toes one day at a time.
The best way to test these out are through experimentation. There are questionnaires (I will leave one below) that will ask a series of questions to help determine your type. You could also experiment on yourself from the descriptions I noted above. In my experience, testing these out on myself is what has worked the best for me. I kept a journal over a weeks’ time to see how I'm feeling. The questionnaire helped, but hacking yourself (safely of course) is always a better idea. Listening to your body will ultimately determine what works best for you. An example of testing this on your own would be:
Day 1: Eat half of a sweet potato and 3 egg whites (no yolk) for breakfast. Set a timer for an hour, and keep an awareness of how you feel. If you burn through the food and are hungry in an hour, chances are you may be a fast oxidizer and you need to be adding in fats.
Day 2: Eat half of an avocado, and 3 egg whites. If you feel great after you’ve eaten this and feel like you could still dominate in the gym after 2 hours, great! But if you feel like you would need a good 3-4 hours before you hit the gym, you are more than likely a slow oxidizer and need to limit your fats.
Day 3: Eat half of a sweet potato, half of an avocado, and 3 egg whites. BOOM! You feel fantastic. You feel light after two hours (yet not actually hungry) and are confident you can exercise with ease. This would indicate you are a mixed oxidizer and are ready to play ball.
Food should be information for your body. It should never be something that controls your thoughts or distracts you from what makes you happy. Unless cooking and meal prepping makes you happy, then get back in the kitchen! Kidding. For the rest of us who do not want food to be the topic of our own conversations (in our heads) I believe that finding your metabolic type may be the answer. Link to the questionnaire below.
Online oxidation test (Note: this is not the way I recommend, but can be a helpful tool)