Are you “hormonal?” All men and women should be. Optimum hormone levels can be a sign that you’re healthy and the nerves in the inside of the inner walls of our intestine can directly impact our ‘gut’ (our second brain), digestive health aka our Endocrine System… we need microbes to ensure we are in fact “hormonal.”
Hormones play a big factor when it comes to a person’s health and fitness in terms of what we consume in our diets and nutrition as well as how we train and achieve our peak results through our exercise.
As someone with a variety of hormonal issues such as hypothyroidism (low thyroid hormone) which I am told (but don’t believe) is life-long, I have been listening to podcasts by Aviva Romm and Alisa Vitti as well as speaking to personal trainers such as Mike Green and Liberty Mills about ways we can all make sure our hormonal health is as good as possible… naturally (I do take medication as well and this shouldn’t replace medical advice):
Individuals need to work with their own energy cycles, to supercharge themselves rather than battle against natural rhythms such as the Circadian Rhythm (sleep-wake cycle impacting all humans) and the Infradian Rhythm of the menstrual cycle for women during their reproductive years.
So it’s much more than just being “hormonal,” as our gender-specific hormones estrogen in women is released by the ovaries and is involved in bone formation and blood clotting as is a muscle and bone mass with testosterone (predominantly found in men’s testicles and women’s ovaries). It is testosterone levels that can help or hinder muscle-building activities for example, which is why it is unlikely for women to build muscles like their male counterparts as men tend to have higher levels of the hormone.
There are some general non-gender specific tips we can follow to boost our hormones which also include cortisol & adrenaline (stress response found in adrenal glands), insulin (found in the pancreas and helps to reduce blood glucose levels), melatonin (pineal gland controls circadian rhythm) and thyroid (helps to control metabolism), to name but a few which make up our Endocrine system.
Reduce stress levels where possible through gentle exercise, mindfulness, and breathing techniques. The link between cortisol and abdominal fat comes from the signal the hormone sends for fat storage to your abdominal fat cells. The fat cells in your abdominal area have four times more cortisol receptors than fat located elsewhere in the body hence why body fat tends to store around the mid-region.
So trying to do thousands of sit-ups trying to get rid of fat from your abdominal area is 100% pointless.
If you have high-stress levels continuously this will elevate cortisol and drop testosterone like a bomb-making fat loss virtually impossible you will become a non – responder to exercise!
Elevated cortisol causes your body to store more of our calories as fat, especially around your stomach and the sides of your face and this increases the breakdown or catabolism of muscles. The physical profile associated with chronic high cortisol is a bit like Humpty Dumpty – you have a rounded moon face, large belly, and skinny arms and legs.
Reduce refined Sugar: Look at reducing your intake of refined sugar; this can be challenging as many processed foods include it and it has many names, such as fructose, sucrose, dextrose, molasses. All these words are names for sugars and are often lurking in much marketed low fat, low sugar, and gluten-free products.
“Sugar is a huge endocrine disrupter and also encourages yeast and candida overgrowth, which negatively affects the gut, where nearly 70 percent of your immune system is housed.” Liberty Mills explains on https://mamamei.co.uk
Get sleep and rest by boosting your circadian rhythm. Try to aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night. Nothing will help boost hormone production and muscle repair more than a good deep sleep. So get out in the fresh air once a day at least and power down at night with less lighting and limited blue screen-time.
Eat plenty of healthy unsaturated fats, earth-grown nutrients, and a balanced diet. Avoiding processed foods, non-organic produce, and alcohol where possible.
Try to avoid all factory-farmed animal products and non-organic produce (the drugs and chemicals contained in these foods can negatively affect your hormone levels). How food is grown also impacts our consumption and our gut which impacts our Endocrine system.
Keep workouts 45 minutes or under. For example, testosterone production starts to dip after about 45 minutes, and cortisol levels will rise. Focus on big compound lifts like dips, chins, pushups, squats, and deadlifts.
Don’t train to failure. When you do so the adrenals get fried. When the adrenals are fried testosterone production drops.
When it comes to our hormonal health and fitness we need to adopt an integrative approach so that we are optimising our health, fitness, nutrition, and essentially our energy for daily life.
If you’re a woman looking to supercharge her health, vitality, and fitness training around her cycles or life phases, go to: https://www.mamamei.co.uk/