Peter Defty: Optimizing Fat Metabolism with a Healthy Body and Mind, Plus: Special Considerations for Female Athletes, and the Role of Ketosis

February 15, 2016


This episode is brought to you by Cool Fat Burner, the world’s first brown-fat calorie-burning cooling vest that can boost metabolism by 300%, burning over 250 calories an hour at higher intensities, as well as help build muscle, aid in recovery, promote overall wellness and allow for a good night’s sleep. EP fans 10% off the purchase of a CFB with the code “EndurancePlanet” here.

On this show:

  • Who is Peter Defty? GM of VESPA, nutrition expert and ultra athlete who developed a safe, healthy approach to fat adaption for endurance athletes called “Optimized Fat Metabolism” (OFM). Peter got into running circa 2000, going from carb burner with poor results to a fat burner with success in racing. He’ competed in the Western States 100, among many other events, and also coaches ultra athletes on using fat as fuel (Timothy Olson, Nikki Kimball, Zach Bitter, etc). He works with guys like Stephen Phinney, Jeff Volek, etc., on refining this approach for success in life and racing.
  • When is low carb dangerous, when is it appropriate?
  • Why do athletes get it “wrong” with low carb (and/or trying to become “fat-adapted”) and see detriments? Overthinking it? Too low cal? Not healthy to begin with? Not enough carb refuel for an athlete’s needs?
  • Female vs male differences. Why females need special considerations, and looking at it from an ancestral perspective.
  • “Ketosis for females is actually a natural state if you look at history!”
  • What is “Optimized Fat Metabolism” (OFM) and what makes it different than low carb if they both promote burning fat for fuel? How does it differ from Seebohar’s metabolic efficiency?
  • “Any volume of exercise with glucose is doing more longterm harm than good.”
  • Fat is your aerobic energy source and glycogen/glucose is your “fight or flight” fuel. Avoid that chronic fight or flight…
  • Strategic carbs: We don’t cut carbs, we use them wisely. Race day up to 90% of calories may be carbs, but that’s ok because it’s just a small percentage overall.
  • Phases of fat-adaptation:
  • OFM for optimal fat adaptation is not a keto diet, it’s not chronic low carb either. But with OFM one of the stages is getting into nutritional ketosis. How is this done healthfully and safely?
  • Periodizing ketosis: in offseason, and maybe once and a while during recovery blocks. Avoid during high-volume or intense training.
  • On vegetarian, vegans.
  • How evolutionarily speaking humans developed a bigger brain at the cost of a robust gut system–thus, we need to take careful care to manage gut health.
  • “An under-appreciated yet vital aspect of fat-adaptation is the nutritional benefits of metabolizing the fat soluble Vitamins A, E, K & D and their co-factors found in animal fats.”
  • Creating optimal metabolic conditions, pathways and hormonal balance with “strategic carb restriction” and optimizing fat metabolism.
  • If an athlete is unhealthy and/or overtrained, where do we start? Ketosis in an unhealthy body is not wise, so what’s the steps to getting to this optimized state if you’re starting off in a “deficit.”
  • The quality of food vs how we stress over food.
  • Just eat fresh whole food–even if it’s not organic–and ditch the stress instead! You’re better off managing stress than worrying about organic or not.
  • “The food industry is not as bad as we demonize it to be, compared to the vegetable oil manufacturers who should be sued.”
  • If one meets all these conditions of fat-adaptation, good health and a good diet, can they remain healthy while doing extreme endurance endeavors (ironman, ultras, etc) without setbacks? And not just healthy, but perform well (i.e. Kona qualify, elite ultra, etc)?
  • Closely monitoring diet/carbs with the female cycle, in particular during the mid-luteral phase avoid heavy carbs intake in order to avoid inflammation and increased cortisol and insulin levels. If we treat ourselves well nutritionally during mid-luteal phase (before the period) we may offset some of those nasty PMS symptoms.


More resources:

Comments (6)

  • […] it makes perfect sense,(childbirth, and our hormones) make us, women perfect for fat burning.  Peter Defty podcast about this.  However, I do have to be aware that too low carbohydrate isn’t always a good thing.  […]

  • chasingdreams14 says:

    Amazing Podcast!!! I have been using Vespa for 3 years now!!!

  • isnad4 says:


    Really enjoyed the Podcast. Just wanted to make a minor correction,. I've been trained with the folks at ENRG performance and they are on board with saturated fats! Good stuff!

  • cck197 says:

    I don't think it's fair to say the farmer's market is more expensive. It depends on what you're buying and when. Some farmer's markets are kinda fake and expensive, e.g. the in the Ferry Building in San Francisco, versus our local market in Santa Cruz. The farmer's market makes it very difficult to buy expensive fruit and vegetables out of season. Also, when was the last time you heard someone talking about the money they saved on their food bill after receiving a gigantic medical bill?

  • jny243 says:

    Question about the interview comments on fat adapted as a natural state and the consumption of carbs (like fruit) was a.) a short-term seasonal opportunity at harvest where it rotted quickly and b.) carbs are designed to be stored as fat (from the insulin spike that came with the infrequent quick consumption of the harvest). Are there any references on this that I can read more about the concept?

  • […] During Peter’s first appearance on EP we covered OFM in more detail and this time just a refresher on OFM concepts, tying in the ancestral aspect of eating and pros to using fat for fue […]

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