There are three major components in consideration of excellence in athletics: talent, training, and potential. Of the three, potential is the foremost, for on the foundation of potential depends the capacities for and qualities of expression of the other two categories: talent and training.
Talent can be God-given. It can also be learned, a skill honed by time and experience. It can remain in a raw, undeveloped state, or it can mature to maximum perfection. But, without the availability of potential, talent is restricted — like a sailor on a boat without a sail, or a saxophone player without wind.
Training and conditioning are certainly vital to the development of peak performance. No one can dispute that. But, without the availability of full potential, the fruits of training and conditioning are wasted. Of what benefit are training and conditioning to a long distance runner who develops the flu the day before the race?
So, just what is meant by potential? Potential refers to genetic capacity, design limit, inherited abilities: physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. Everyone has a different design limit; some are like a race car, others are like a Mack truck. Some are gifted with speed, others with strength and endurance. Some are creative and intuitive, while others are more logical, rational thinkers, etc. But, whatever the unique combination of genetically inherited capacities one may possess in one's potential, the ability to manifest, express and utilize one's full potential is highly dependent upon the presence of one essential, imperative ingredient: ENERGY.
If one does not have the energy needed to express his full potential, whatever talent is possessed will remain unexpressed; whatever training and conditioning is done will be undermined. In whatever aspect of life is considered, energy will be the primary determining factor in the quality of that aspect of life.
What else is emotion if not energy? The ability to feel and to have emotion, whether it be love or hate; anger or laughter; is dependent upon the availability of energy. Fatigue or the absence of energy can reduce the tidal wave of emotion to a mere ripple. Aggression, competitiveness, drive, motivation, high emotion and the sustained will to win are all dependent upon the body's energy production and its sustained availability.
What else is thought if not energy? When one is “too tired to think,” the ability to think clearly and quickly is diminished. Mental reaction time slows; mental lapses and “space-outs” occur. Quick reaction time, intelligence, concentration, the ability to focus and yet see the big picture at the same time, awareness itself, all are dependent upon energy availability.
And naturally, all physical activity is dependent as well upon sufficient energy production by the body. The activity of the senses (sight, touch, hearing); speed; agility; coordination; strength; endurance; quickness; all the bodily processes (cellular, organ, glandular, etc.) — each depends upon energy availability.
If ever there can be said to be a bottom line ingredient necessary for the manifestation of peak performance in athletics, it would have to be energy. The ability to manifest one's genetic potential, to reap the rewards of training and conditioning, and to express the fullness of one's talent, all require peak and sustained production of energy by the body — the realization of optimum health.
So, where does energy come from? How is it produced and maintained in the body?
There are three major areas of the body which are involved in the creation, maintenance, and control of energy: the autonomic nervous system (ANS); the endocrine system (ES); and the oxidative system (OS), the intracellular combustion of nutrients with resultant energy production. Through the numerous processes of metabolism, an interaction — or energy exchange — occurs between the body and the environment. Air, water, light, and food are used by the body for the maintenance of life. All of the nutrients found in food — vitamins, minerals, enzymes, etc. — comprise the fuel for the cells, the body's “engines of metabolism”.
Then, all one needs to do is to eat a well-balanced meal and everything will be fine, right? . . . Wrong, or at best, only half right. Enter metabolic individuality and the need for Metabolic Typing®.
Every human being is unique. We are as different from one another in all the facets of our beings as we are in our fingerprints. Genetically inherited differences in size, shape, strength and efficiency extend from the outward physical structure to the internal makeup of organs, glands and systems, right down to intracellular processes of metabolism in the cells. These differences translate into variances in energy output on the part of the cells, organs, glands and systems, which in turn give rise to individuality and infinite variation in physical characteristics; psychological, behavioral and emotional traits; and conditions one becomes prone to.
Just as each human being has inherited unique characteristics and capacities, so too has each inherited specific genetic requirements for the raw materials (vitamins, minerals, enzymes, etc.) necessary to maintain life in a state of optimum health. Any variation from this genetic requirement causes a loss of homeostasis (metabolic imbalance), which automatically results in deficient energy production — quantitatively and qualitatively.
The symphonic interplay of the numerous vitamins and minerals is highly complex. Each influences numerous others; phosphorus alone, for example, is known to affect (either raise or lower) at least nine other nutrients. Each nutrient not only influences many other nutrients but also directly affects the autonomic nervous system, the endocrine glands, and intracellular oxidative mechanisms, including aerobic and anaerobic metabolism. For example, potassium tends to stimulate the parasympathetic system, while calcium excites the sympathetic system. Too much potassium in relation to calcium can cause “parasympathetic dominance,” causing a systemic shift into alkalinity, resulting in tendencies toward lethargy, apathy, depression, loss of muscle tone, drive, concentration, and emotion. On the other hand, excess calcium can cause “sympathetic dominance,” resulting in hyperactivity, explosive temper, irritability, anxiety, high blood pressure, and a general systemic shift toward acidity.
Calcium will also slow down the rate of cellular oxidation of carbohydrates, causing a shift toward alkaline venous plasma pH, while potassium will speed it up, resulting in an acid shift
Calcium is a catabolic, aerobic nutrient, great for long distance running, while potassium is an anabolic, anaerobic nutrient, bad for long distance running but great for sprinting.
From an endocrine standpoint, a high calcium to potassium ratio can cause insufficient hydrochloric acid production, poor digestion, and a weakened thyroid gland, leading to weight gain, energy loss and lethargy. Excessive potassium can result in hyperthyroid activity, nervousness, excessive hydrochloric acid production and acid indigestion.
Foods and nutrients have very precise, very specific stimulatory or inhibitory effects on all the systems involved in the creation, maintenance and control of energy! ANY nutrient can have EITHER a stimulatory OR inhibitory effect on all the qualities necessary for peak performance. Whether a nutrient is stimulatory or inhibitory depends the Metabolic Type®! That's why a diet that makes one person lose weight will cause another person to gain weight or why a certain nutritional product will increase energy in one person but lower energy in another.
The process of the combustion of nutrients within each cell for the purpose of energy production is known as oxidation. The oxidative process is quite complex and requires the successful completion of activity in a step-by-step process involving some 18-20 steps. At each step is a specific requirement for vitamins and minerals. Should those requirements not be met, the process of energy production on the cellular level gets “uncoupled,” resulting in deficient energy production. On the other hand, when the nutrients are available according to the individual's genetically programmed requirements, the result is optimal and sustained energy production. Following the example from above, an excess of potassium causes the utilization of carbohydrates to be too rapid, whereas an excess of calcium can result in the combustion of carbohydrates being too slow, each resulting in faulty energy production, but for literally opposite biochemical reasons.
But, when all the nutrients are available in the proper amounts, in the correct balance, at the right place and at the right time, maximum energy output is possible, and one's full genetic potential is available. Then, the autonomic nervous system, the endocrine system, the oxidative system, and catabolic (aerobic) / Anabolic (anaerobic) metabolism work harmoniously, efficiently and in balance with one another. Only then — with the maximum energy production available — can one's maximum potential be realized.
These general concepts can be more clearly understood when applied
to a more concrete situation. Below are listed many characteristics
that would be specifically desirable for a football or basketball
player, but which are also considerations for any athlete of any
age. Those in the sympathetic column are known to arise from the
strength of the sympathetic nervous system and its associated
organs and endocrine glands. Those in the parasympathetic column
stem from parasympathetic strength. Note that what one has, the
|yes||Good Muscle Tone||no|
|yes||Fast Reaction Time||no|
|yes||Good Physical Coordination||no|
|yes||Good Hand/Eye Coordination||no|
|yes||Strong Will to Win||no|
|no||Large Muscle Bulk||yes|
|no||Good Immunity, Good Health||yes|
|no||Fast Repairing, Rebuilding, Healing, Rejuvenating||yes|
Most players have some, if not most, of the characteristics listed. Hardly anyone, however, would have all of them, and very few would be likely to sustain them at a maximum level through four quarters. Some may have speed, but they lack endurance. Others may have good muscle bulk, but they lack tone. Some may lose their concentration or emotional will to win by the third quarter. Others may have a tendency toward illness or take a long time to recover from injuries or to rejuvenate in time for the next game.
Whatever the situation, The Healthexcel System of Metabolic Typing® provides the capacity to maximize and maintain the strengths and minimize or eliminate the weaknesses totally. By understanding (1) how to determine the individual biochemical (nutritional) requirements and (2) how to influence the autonomic nervous system, the endocrine system, the oxidation rate, adn aerobic/anaerobic metabolism, The Healthexcel System of Metabolic Typing® can provide the proper fuel for the individual Metabolic Type®. The proper fuel will influence dramatically the potential capacities of the athlete before the game, during the game, and after the game.
Those who have speed can build endurance. Those who have bulk can develop tone and flexibility. Whatever the weakness, it can turn into a strength. During the game, instead of one's talent diminishing with fatigue, peak performance can be sustained until the end by assuring the presence of the optimum fuel supply for the energy systems of the individual's Metabolic Type®.
The name of the game is ENERGY. If the body does not receive the proper fuel, then it will be unable to produce sustained levels of peak energy throughout a game much less a season. If adequate energy can't be produced, then the chances of winning are undermined before the game even starts. When the body fails in energy production, speed decreases; agility lessens; coordination is disrupted; thought processes slow; concentration is lost; mental lapses and “space-outs” occur; hand/eye coordination is disrupted; drive, motivation and the will to win are undermined; high emotion is deflated; strength is weakened; endurance is lessened.
Whatever the strong points of the individual athlete that have given him the competitive edge, they are now lost. Fatigue and loss of energy are the great equalizers. With them, greatness drifts into mediocrity; the high tide of victory easily turns into the low tide of defeat.
And after the game is over, win or lose, injuries need to heal, the potential of peak performance needs to be restored. But, if all the raw materials are not acquired by the body in the proper balance for which there is a genetic need, then healing will be slow and restoration of potential will be relegated to wishful thinking. The right fuel can cut recovery and healing time in half.
To acquire peak performance and athletic excellence, one must develop the optimal physical potential within the individual metabolic design limits. A lineman has a different design limit than a safety or a quarterback. But each has his own optimal potential that needs to be addressed. If one accepts that his design potential is indeed different, it should make sense that what each person needs to develop that potential should also be different.
This concept of Metabolic Individuality demonstrates the fallacy of the “well-balanced diet for everyone” approach to nutrition, or the allopathic approach of giving so-called “energy foods” or utilizing specific nutrients for energy, strength, endurance, etc. The question should be: “What is a well-balanced diet for a lineman, a safety or a quarterback?” The Healthexcel System of Metabolic Typing® provides an answer to these questions.
The reality is: foods which build energy in one kind of metabolism will suppress energy in another. What causes one Metabolic Type® to put on fat, will cause another type to lose fat. What will increase speed and reaction time in one person will diminish it in another. What enhances and speeds healing in one Metabolic Type® will slow it in another Metabolic Type®. Nutrients that stimulate aggression and high emotion in a lineman may cause lethargy, poor concentration and a loss of competitiveness in a quarterback.
Every athlete, professional or amateur, of any age and from any sport can benefit from an understanding of his or her own Metabolic Type®. Every aspect of athletic performance is influenced by diet and nutrition. Proper nutrition for each individual's Metabolic Type® assures peak performance. Just as important, it also assures tissue integrity and will thereby maximize protection against injury as well as maximize healing and rebuilding processes when necessary.
Not only are the kinds of foods important, i.e., those that contain the proper balance of nutrients for the individual's requirements, but also the quality of foods is critical for performance and should not be overlooked. Junk foods, being devoid of natural nutrients, provide “empty calories.” Although often pleasing to the palate, they are poor sources of energy and actually disrupt the natural balance and efficiency of the body's energy-producing systems. Just as any intelligent person would only “feed” the proper kind of fuel to his automobile's engine, so too should the intelligent athlete understand his or her own unique nutritional requirements and feed his or her body's engines of metabolism accordingly.
Metabolic Typing® is the systematic, testable, repeatable and verifiable scientific means whereby each individual athlete's optimal nutritional requirements can be determined. Only by supplying each individual athlete's body with its own specific and unique “fuel supply” can training and conditioning come to maximum fruition, can talent be fully utilized, and full potential be maximized. Only then can one achieve excellence in athletics and sustain peak performance.