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What is Metabolic Flexibility

A closer look into the benefit of exercise and the way to improve metabolic health

You may have heard of metabolic flexibility before, but perhaps you're not quite sure what it is and if it's for you. Read on for more information from the CU Sports Medicine and Performance Center experts:

What is it? Metabolic flexibility is a person’s ability to burn carbohydrates and fats and the ability to switch from one to the other. Both carbs and fats are burned in the mitochondria and this allows an individual to measure their mitochondrial function via their metabolic flexibility. 

Why do we test it? Metabolic disorders show up when a person’s ability to burn carbs and fats is hindered or weakened. Individuals with Type 2 Diabetes, obesity, or metabolic syndrome show to have metabolic inflexibility and mitochondrial dysfunction. By measuring metabolic flexibility, one can assess the metabolic health status of any individual. 

Why should someone do the test? Exercise is the only known ‘medication’ to improve metabolic flexibility and mitochondrial function. Each individual’s system reacts differently to intensity, duration and frequency of exercise in order to elicit the most efficient and correct metabolic adaptions and create sustainability. Based off of years of working with elite athletes, individual exercise training has been adapted to the population as a whole, including anyone that is just starting to get into working out to athletes wanting to dial in their training zones. 

Want to learn more? Visit or call us today at (303) 315-9900 and schedule an appointment with our Sports Performance team. Scheduling is easy and flexible with your schedule. Parking is free!