The Fuel-Use Sequential Steps Learning Module has been adapted from an educational series that was originally designed for TriNourish host-facility and program administrators, including credentialed nutritionists, trainers and practitioners. This version of the learning module is available as a member resource for proactive self-guided learners, however, the material may require guided contextualization through a follow-up session. We strongly advise consultation with a credentialed nutrition expert to condense all of the situation-dependent science into a simple "To Do" list for you personally.
The F.U.S.S. Module covers the important principles that enable customization for balanced nutrition, activity & sleep optimization programs that are sustainable. Whether you are guided by an expert through the material or self-direct learning at your own pace, the major points of this series should enable you to more effectively follow expert advice or utilize one of the many lifestyle tracking tools that are available on the market, without risk of following uncontextualized feedback. Studies have shown that trackers and apps are not reliable when the information is not contextualized. Without a proper background, these simple tools only amplify our existing biases. Context matters.
F.U.S.S. Module Main
Page 1: Fuel Energy Basics
Page 2: Nutrient Energy
Supplement: Willpower Dieting
Page 3: Glycemic Control
Page 4: A Dangerous Norm
Supplement: What's A Good Diet, Macronutrients Primer Intro
Page 5: Primary Fuel-Use Sequence
Page 6: Metabolic Flexibility
Supplement: Krebs Cycle Energetics
& Ketone Utilization
Page 7: Activity & Exercise
Page 8: Intensity & Zone Training
Page 9: Poor Sleep & Nourish Sleep
Page 10: Putting It All Together
Difficulty Level: Low-Moderate
Difficulty Level: Difficult
Difficulty Level: Moderate-High
Part 1 of the F.U.S.S. Module introduces the concept of food-as-fuel with an intuitive analogy that will set the stage for the core theme to be developed in part 2. This section also walks through common but highly dysfunctional metabolic fuel-use scenarios that arise from everyday dietary patterns for inactive individuals. Even if the material is familiar to participants, new information is available.
Part 2 presents the core subject of the body's fuel-use sequence under common dietary conditions and during periodic episodes of calorie-restriction, carb-restriction & low-fat dieting when exercise is not engaged consistently. The section provides additional learning resources to visualize the energetics of aerobic metabolism. Technical concepts are embedded in a compelling narrative.
Part 3 outlines the major shift to the body's fuel-use strategy that occurs during and after exercise. The section walks through the sequence of fuels that are utilized as exercise intensity rises. This part is invaluable for fitness enthusiasts and/or trainers & coaches. Upon completion, non-exercisers will be encouraged to no longer consider exercise for weight-loss alone.
Part 1 is an important component for those that have received inadequate scores on the Glycemic Trends (GT) portion of their D&E Characterization. It is also a valuable resource for patients with metabolic disorders and/or practitioners overseeing clients with those disorders.
Part 2 develops the main outline for the principle 'default' glucose metabolism pathway so that alterations and shifts to that pathway may be appreciated. Adaptive alterations constitute dieting, which is still subject to the brain's priorities until exercise is engaged.
Part 3 also outlines the detrimental role that poor sleep plays on nutrient-use dynamics for weight management and fitness performance. The sleep learning material is a specific subset of that found on the Nourish Sleep member platform following the Nourish Sleep assessment.
When glucose is available, it is the FIRST PRIORITY fuel that is metabolized for energy throughout the body.
We usually presume that all of the sources of food-energy (in Calories) that we consume can be simply combined and compared to the sum total of energy that we "burn" throughout our day. Recently, many have pointed out that the lion's share of energy that we burn goes into running the basic organs for life, and not the amount that we think that we burn for physical activity. However, a more important consideration is WHICH fuels are available for metabolism at any given time. Fuels that are rapidly shunted into storage based on post-ingestion conditions are not equally available for burning relative to blood glucose, the common currency of the body. When blood glucose (blood sugar) diminishes, we get hungry and we eat, regardless of the abundance of stored fat energy that we may carry. In the F.U.S.S. Module, we will see how that is the real driver of the caloric energy imbalance that leads to weight-gain.
When glucose is available, it is the FIRST PRIORITY fuel that is metabolized for energy throughout the body.
When diets and supplements are solicited as being 'FAT-BURNING' they are, at best, misleading. The body's metabolic "machinery" inside of nearly all metabolizing cells is set up to yield energy from glucose first. Fatty-acids are eventually funneled into the same metabolic cycles for energy, but under the condition of common everyday eating habits and a mostly sedentary lifestyle, fat is only released from storage in significant amounts when we diet— and only then after a measure of lean muscle tissue is used as energy before the mobilized fats. This prioritized sequence is organized around the fact that the brain strongly prefers a constant flow of blood glucose. That preference, in turn, is a consequence of the fact that it cannot directly access mobilized fatty-acids from the body's fat stores because they do not cross the blood-brain barrier.
The BRAIN cannot appreciably utilize mobilized fatty-acids from fat stores in the body for energy.
The brain prefers glucose. Period. When blood glucose gets low a few hours after a meal, glycogen stores in liver cells release their glucose residues, but we often simply eat more to address the hunger that is initiated. If we engage in a calorie-restricted or carbohydrate-restricted diet, we may assume that "fat burning mode" is turned on, but that is not the case, as outlined above. Even when fats ARE finally mobilized from storage after a number of intervening steps (that includes the tear down of a proportion of our lean tissue), fatty-acids cannot cross the blood-brain barrier to feed the brain. They then invoke a pile-up of intermediates in liver metabolism. The liver responds by turning those intermediates into ketone bodies or ketones, which can cross the blood brain barrier for the brain to metabolize. But there are efficiency and performance costs to this adaptation. The switch is not meant to be sustained indefinitely, or ketoacidosis may result.
Physical activity is not simply a means to burn calories for weight-loss. It is not an efficient means to burn calories, but it IS crucial for normal fuel-use dynamics throughout the body.
An unfortunate reflexive view that is widespread is the notion that exercise is only a weight-loss tactic (and not a good one at that). This has been perpetuated by diet-only advocates, trendy "technical" reporters that like to point out the inefficiency of exercise for weight-loss, and by basic advertising campaigns in gyms and facilities that nonetheless target fitness enthusiasts almost exclusively. When muscle is largely inactive, it begins to no longer utilize insulin properly, nor does it re-stock its own internal stores of glycogen by pulling in the abundant blood glucose circulating around and through it. Ultimately, it begins to exchange energy in an alternate "fatty-acid economy". This fat-economy does not run on the triglycerides (fats) that we WANT to be released from storage for energy, instead, it is a consequence of an incessant stream of triglycerides that are packaged up for transport to fat storage throughout the body, including sites within the inactive muscle itself. Even light to moderate consistent exercise shifts the body's nutrient-use sequence toward an earlier mobilization of fats from storage than the non-exercising situation. This is important for the process to remain efficient and for fats in storage to remain relatively accessible. However, contrary to the "fat burning mode" on exercise equipment, the body prefers glucose even (and especially) during exercise. Performance will drop when fat needs to be mobilized and transported from storage. Moreover, total fat burning is greater with higher intensities than the so-called high percentage "fat-burning" exercise mode, which is too low in intensity to burn sufficient total calories. These dynamics are discussed In PART 3 of the F.U.S.S. Module.
Poor sleep invokes a hormonal and neuronal environment that is similar to STRESS. This leads to an increased loss of lean tissue and an increase in fat percentage, even for exercisers.
The surprising cardiovascular and metabolic impacts of poor sleep for even young and fit individuals will be reviewed in Part 3 of the F.U.S.S. Module, along with an outline of our sister Nourish Sleep TriNourish platform that is dedicated to sleep assessment and education.
In the last section of the F.U.S.S. Learning Module, you will have the opportunity to review these core points again (with a greater appreciation for their relevance). In addition, we will outline specific TriNourish balanced strategies for specific categories of individuals, based on your health and fitness goals. REFERENCES are included at the end of the series.
Putting It All Together
1 - Identify any sleep disorder risk factors or maladaptive beliefs or behaviors associated with sleep by going through the Nourish Sleep assessment process.
2 - Follow up with a clinician to confirm or rule out potential sleep disorders if suspected.
3 - Optimize your sleep quality by visiting the Circadian Rhythm Introductory pages on the Nourish Sleep platform.
4 - Identify significant diet and exercise weaknesses by going through the Diet & Exercise Characterization on this platform to receive your baseline scores.
5 - Seek nutritional or fitness counseling from a credentialed expert who will contextualize your baseline scores or generate a goal-specific plan for you.
6 - If your goal is weight loss, you will have very different requirements than if your goal is athletic performance. Remember that one-size-fits-all advice is irresponsible.
7 - Work through some of the F.U.S.S. Learning material to understand the main emphasis points that will help you apply a long-term view on nutrition and/or fitness programming.
8 - The introduction of exercise into a previously sedentary lifestyle requires careful planning so that physical activity will energize you and not act as an unrealistic stressor.
9 - If you are already a fitness enthusiast or serious athlete, remain open to new learning that may assist your performance or your capacity to remain consistent. An authentic balance may be achieved by valuing training, nutrition and sleep quality optimization.
10 - Experiment, fine-tune and adjust aspects of the integrated triad together. The more you put into your healthy base the more it will deliver for you. Be patient. You can't change ingrained patterns overnight.
Why Continuity Review?
Want To Jump Into A Specific Part?
In general, we recommend that you go through the F.U.S.S. Module in sequence and then access the supplemental sections at the right place in the module (See index above). However, you may access individual parts of the module below. (Remember, however, each Part builds on the previous sections). Your member access code is required.
Note: By selecting on any of the buttons or links below, you AGREE to the following Terms & Conditions.