Mitochondria Biogensis, Anti-glycolytic Training, and Vegetable Oils - Part 2: Theory


I had hoped to make my polyunsaturated fat post all one big post. But it was just too much to put all together. Last time, I talked about why we shouldn't eat polyunsaturated fats. Or at least we should only get them in the amounts that we would have seen before the industrial food revolution. That is, in trace amounts along with lots of saturated fat.

The crux of the argument is that during the metabolism of saturated fat, there is a set of byproducts that will trigger a back reaction to slow everything down - i.e., prevent overcharging. That back reaction doesn't happen with polyunsaturated fats.

I want to focus on that back reaction right now. 

There was a single sentence the Dr. Eades said in that lecture (go watch it if you haven't seen it yet) about that back reaction that resonated with me - in particular with our anti-glycolytic training.

The back reaction that slows down ATP generation in a saturated fat-heavy milieu creates some free radicals that stimulate mitochondria biogenesis!

Going back to our battery charging example: this is like if you tried to overcharge your battery, and it told your phone to grow more capacity! Get a bigger battery by trying to stuff more electricity in it!

This makes perfect sense in the human body. There's a natural rate at which a single mitochondria can (should) produce ATP. If you want more energy, you can either try to run the mitochondria hotter (too much fuel) or create more mitochondria and do more in parallel at a slower rate.

If you eat a bunch of saturated fat, that back reaction tells your body that it needs to process more fuel. But rather than running too hot, it just makes more mitochondria! Exactly what we want.

This perfectly complements anti-glycolytic training. In AGT we are working on demand-side of the equation. We want to use more ATP, so we train in a smart way to tell the body that we need more mitochondria to create more ATP (as opposed to glycolytic training were we just say "run hotter"). 

In giving ourselves the right fuel (saturated fat) we are working on the supply-side. We're trying to burn a lot of fuel, and in the act of burning that fuel we are telling our body to create more mitochondria.

This is why I love eating coconut butter before AGT work. You're fueling yourself with saturated fat at the same time as creating a demand for energy. Both signals are working together to tell your body to create more mitochondria.

This is the polar opposite to a HIIT glycolytic workout followed by heart-healthy vegetable oils. You are doing nothing but telling your mitochondria to run hot and eventually they'll burn up.

Think about what happens in a well exectued A+A workout like 5 heavy swings on the minute? You spend about 8 seconds burning up all of your stored ATP. Then for the next 55 seconds your aerobic system is busy chewing up saturated fat to replensish the ATP. While it's doing this at a good normal speed, it's creating some ROS that say, "hey, make me some more mitochondria". All of this happens without trying to shove too much energy through any one mitochondria and the individual demand is so low that you don't create any lactic acid that ends up destroying your mitochondria. When you come back for the next day's workout, you have more power sources when you repeat your workout. This is where that WTF effect comes from, the swings build your powerhouse that can be used all day long.

Michael Deskevich