You probably already know you can have a slow or a fast metabolism but are you aware you can have a flexible one? Sam takes a deep-dive into her metabolic health using the device that claims it can ‘hack’ your metabolism: the Lumen metabolism tracker…
How’s your metabolic health?
Metabolic health has been touted as one of this year’s wellness trends as we look to more scientific-backed methods to reach peak health. And with that, you should expect to come across the term ‘metabolic flexibility’.
Metabolic flexibility is the body’s ability to efficiently switch between burning fats or carbs as fuel. The benefits of good metabolic flexibility include a stronger immune system, weight loss/maintenance, the ability to build lean muscle and enhanced workout performance.
Until recently only elite athletes have been able to measure their metabolic flexibility in a lab. But now you can do it at home using a device you breathe into every morning.
How to hack your metabolism
Lumen metabolism tracker review
Lumen is the first hand-held device that enables you to “hack” your metabolism. The tracker (£299) works with an app and can measure the body’s carbon dioxide levels in a single breath.
This reading is used to determine whether you’re burning fats or carbs (high C02 levels indicate burning carbs and low levels indicate burning fat) and create a daily custom nutrition plan.
Lumen also provides other insights such as how you should eat around your workouts and your menstrual cycle. It’s like having a “nutritionist in your pocket”, it claims.
Once you have recorded your breath every morning for two weeks you are given a “flex score”, which determines your body’s metabolic flexibility.
Lumen metabolism tracker results
I’ve been using Lumen for just under two weeks and I’ve found the experience fascinating.
Firstly, let’s address its usability. The Lumen is a sleek little gadget that’s easy to navigate after a few practice rounds. You breathe into the mouthpiece, hold your breath for 10 seconds and then exhale, which sounds simple enough. However, exhale too quickly or too slowly and it’s not able to get an accurate reading.
You’re supposed to record your breath first thing in the morning, having fasted for at least 12 hours – not a problem if you eat your evening meal early enough.
Most days I’ve been waking up in a state of fat burn (a score of 1-2), which Lumen says is the goal. Largely, I think this is down to the fact I eat the bulk of my carbs earlier in the day thereby giving my body a longer window to metabolise them.
This brings me on nicely to my next observation regarding macros. Lumen provides you with a daily breakdown of carbs, protein and fat based on that morning’s reading. The app doesn’t yet have a built-in food logging function, which is my only gripe, but you can use other apps like MyFitnessPal.
I found the nutritional advice especially helpful in terms of when to have a low-carb or a high-carb day (also called a ‘boost day’) to stay in fat-burn mode.
Lumen can also be used to indicate what eating (and drinking!) habits could be derailing your health and fitness goals. My most interesting reading of the fortnight was the one after a virtual Friday night vino party. I tracked a score of 5 the next morning, which means I was only burning carbs for energy (remember, 1-2 is the desired score).
The app explained this was because my body had been metabolising the alcohol and then had shifted to using available carbs. Of course, confirming what I already knew – alcohol is the devil.
I’m yet to find out how flexy my metabolism is but I’m hopeful of a pretty decent score. My biggest takeaway from using Lumen is that I’m in tune with my body and fuelling it correctly (most of the time!).
My final thoughts? Throw away your bathroom scales because metabolic tracking is the future.
Main image: Lumen
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