Could Your Hormones be Impacting Your Results?

Could Your Hormones be Impacting Your Results?

Have you ever started a fitness journey and started to see some incredible results, only to hit a harsh plateau with no explanation? Or perhaps you’ve made all the changes required to prime your body for weight loss, yet no results? Believe it or not, your hormones play a significant role in either supporting and accelerating your goals, or hindering them. And the latter is much more common than you may realise.

 

So, the question must be asked: How much do you really understand about your hormones? What they do and how they influence your metabolism? The role they play in progressing or stunting your fat loss or muscle growth? Let’s be honest, the answer is most likely very few of us. So, let’s take a closer look at three key hormones that affect both men and women: Cortisol, Human Growth Hormone, and Thyroid Hormones.

 

But first, what on earth are hormones? According to the Hormone Health Network, hormones are chemical substances that act as messengers to signal reactions within your body to carry out functions to cells and/or tissues. As such, hormones impact many different processes in your body, including growth, metabolism, sexual function, reproduction and mood.

Cortisol

You don’t have to be a hormone expert to have heard of the word ‘cortisol’. Whether it’s through Facebook or media publications, ‘stress’ has become the hottest buzzword of this decade, and for a legitimate reason. Did you know – According to the World Health Organisation, stress is the health epidemic of the 21st century!

Yet, despite the negative rap it gets, cortisol is extremely important to survival and is certainly not as bad as it’s made out to be. Wondering why? Cortisol is essentially nature’s built-in alarm system and is best known for controlling your body’s fight or flight instinct. Cortisol works with parts of your brain to influence your mood, motivation, and fear.

 

But, what exactly is cortisol? Cortisol is a hormone (also known as the stress hormone), which is generally released during times of stress. However, cortisol is not only known for stress. As most of the cells in your body have cortisol receptors, it plays an important role in various functions (You and Your Hormones, 2019). As such, cortisol helps to:

  • Regulate your metabolism
  • Influence memory formation
  • Act as an anti-inflammatory
  • Control salt and water balance
  • Support the growth of a foetus during pregnancy

 

How does Cortisol work?

 

Your hypothalamus and pituitary gland (which are both located in your brain) can detect if the correct level of cortisol is in your brain. If the level is too high or low, your brain will generally make adjustments to the number of hormones it’s producing. As a result, your adrenal glands adapt and adjust the amount of cortisol they release, accordingly.

 

Likewise, your cortisol receptors may have different hormone requirements each day, meaning what and how they receive these hormones may vary daily. For example – If your body is highly stressed or perceives a threat, cortisol may adjust or stop other functions that interfere, such as your digestive or reproductive systems, your immune system, or even your growth processes.

 

What happens when you produce too much or too little Cortisol?

 

If your body is producing too much cortisol, you may experience the following symptoms¹:

  • Chronic conditions – ie high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and osteoporosis
  • Weight gain (particularly around the face and abdomen) – Cortisol increases appetite and sends signals to the body to store fat.
  • Mood swings – Generally shown as anxiety, depression or irritability
  • Impaired brain function – Cortisol interferes with memory, resulting in brain fog
  • Infections – When cortisol is high, it can impact and compromise your immune system, which makes you more susceptible to infection and illness.

 

If your body’s producing too little cortisol, you may experience the following symptoms:

  • Ongoing tiredness
  • Dizziness
  • Weight loss
  • Weakened muscles
  • Mood changes

 

Note: Without treatment, having too much or too little cortisol are potentially life-threatening conditions and should be treated immediately. If you suspect you fall into either of these categories, we urge you to seek medical attention.

 

Human Growth Hormone

Human Growth Hormone (HGH) is a small protein produced in part of the brain (known as the ‘pituitary gland’) every few hours and more frequently during sleep, particularly our non-REM sleep (Better Health Channel 2019). HGH is responsible for stimulating growth by travelling to all tissues in the body via the bloodstream.

But, how important is HGH? Well, to put it straight – A lack of HGH is suggested to cause slower growth in children and also hinder health and fitness progress for adults (Health Direct 2018). In fact, did you know that growth hormone plays an important role in influencing your height, and helping build your bones and muscles? When secreted, HGH is responsible for stimulating smaller protein hormones that help the following actions and reactions occur in the body:

  • The growth and/or maintenance of muscle and bone
  • Enhanced tissue repair and skin/injury healing
  • The breakdown of fatty acids in the adipose tissue to be used for ATP production
  • The regulation of glucose to be used as energy and reserved for times of shortage

There’s no denying that HGH is vital to your overall health and day-to-day functionality, and when it comes to reaching your health and fitness goals, it can either progress your results or hinder them. For instance, according to Better Health Channel, those with growth hormone deficiency may experience a variety of symptoms, including poor bone density, reduced muscle mass, fatigue, depression, poor memory, and increased body fat around the waist.

What can you do to promote the secretion of HGH? Try incorporating the following tips:

  • Get serious about your sleep – Non-rapid eye movement sleep, more commonly known as deep sleep, is important for secreting healthy levels of HGH. Try aim for 6-9 hours of sleep per night, if possible.
  • Prioritise exercise and lower stress – Try to minimise the amount of stress in your life, and incorporate more exercise to maintain healthy HGH levels (but not too much).
  • Keep an eye on other hormones – Other hormones may also play a role in stimulating HGH levels, including insulin, oestrogen, and cortisol. We recommend that you consult your health professional to assess your hormones, should you have concerns or queries.

Additionally, it’s important to be aware that sleep deprivation, a lack of protein and amino acids, an unhealthy amount of fatty acids in your diet, hypothyroidism and obesity can also decrease the production of HGH in your body.

If you’re looking for a fantastic amino acid supplement to enhance your intake of aminos, our go-to is Evolve Damage Control. Whether you want to boost muscle protein synthesis and prevent muscle breakdown or accelerate recovery and enhance performance, Damage Control contains the innovative PeptoPro formula and world-renowned Ajinomoto Aminos to bring you the ultimate full-spectrum EAA protein accelerator.

T4/T3 (Thyroid Hormones)

Ever heard of Triiodothyronine and Thyroxine? Despite what looks like random letters jumbled together, these two words are also known as T3 and T4 and are referred to as your thyroid hormones. Let’s take a closer look at how T3 and T4 work and how they can impact your results!

But first, what are they? To understand what T3 and T4 are, it’s important to first understand what the thyroid gland is. The thyroid gland is a small gland located in the front of your neck that is primarily responsible for taking iodine (which is found in various food sources) and converting it into the thyroid hormones: T4 and T3.

Once released into the bloodstream and transported throughout the body, T3 and T4 regulate and operate your metabolism, which as we know, is essentially the conversion of nutrients into energy.  Every cell in the body relies on thyroid hormones to regulate their metabolism. As such, ensuring a healthy balance is of utmost importance (Sargis 2018).

Hyperthyroidism – Hyperthyroidism is a condition whereby your thyroid gland produces too much T3 and T4, resulting in your metabolism working too fast, and thus, converting your nutrients into energy too fast. According to the Better Health Channel, hyperthyroidism can result in:

  • Excessive weight loss
  • Muscle depletion
  • Sensitivity to heat
  • Hair loss
  • Anxiety
  • Irregular menstrual cycle for women

Hypothyroidism – Hypothyroidism, on the other hand, is much more common and essentially means your body isn’t producing enough T3 and T4, for various reasons (including iodine deficiency, or potentially an autoimmune disease). According to Healthy WA, Hypothyroidism can potentially result in the following symptoms:

  • Unexplainable weight gain
  • Fluid retention
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Constipation

So, how can you help maintain the right T3 and T4 balance? Well, this is certainly a question for your health professional, as every person is unique and requires unique care. However, if your iodine levels are too low, that’s a great place to start. Try incorporating the following iodine-rich foods into your diet:

  • Tuna and salmon
  • Oysters and other shellfish
  • Eggs
  • Sea vegetables like seaweed, nori, kelp, etc.

 

Let’s recap: From unexplainable weight loss and weight gain, depression, ongoing fatigue, reduced muscle mass, poor memory and more, there’s no denying that a hormonal imbalance can have a detrimental impact on your ability to lose weight, gain muscle, muster up the motivation to make health a priority, and ultimately, reach your goals.

As hormones are vital to memory formation, muscle and bone growth, metabolism, tissue repair and more, it’s no secret that maintaining the right balance of hormones is the key to optimal health, functionality, and results. Just remember, everything we do affects our hormones, which in turn, affects everything we do. So, how much do you really know about your hormones? If you feel you may be struggling with any of the symptoms above, put your health first and visit your local healthcare professional for a checkup!

References:

 

Better Health Channel 2018, Growth Hormone, Better Health Vic, viewed 9 September 2019, <https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/growth-hormone

 

Better Health Channel 2011, Thyroid – Hyperthyroidism, Better Health Channel, viewed on September 11 2019, <https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/thyroid-hyperthyroidism>

Health Direct 2018, Human Growth Hormone, Health Direct, viewed on 6 September 2019,<https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/human-growth-hormone>

Hormone Health Network 2019, Your Health and Hormones, viewed 9 September 2019, <https://www.hormone.org/your-health-and-hormones>

 

Sargis, R 2018, How Your Thyroid Works, Endocrineweb, viewed on 10 September 2019, <https://www.endocrineweb.com/conditions/thyroid/how-your-thyroid-works>

¹ Thorpe, M 2017, 11 Natural Ways to Lower Your Cortisol Levels, Healthline, viewed on 10 September 2019, <https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/ways-to-lower-cortisol#section1>

 You and Your Hormones 2019, Cortisol, viewed 6 September 2019, <https://www.yourhormones.info/hormones/cortisol/

 

 

 

 

5 Stress Management Strategies for Improved Fat Loss

5 Stress Management Strategies for Improved Fat Loss

 

5 Stress Management Strategies for Improved Fat Loss

 

There’s no denying how prevalent stress is in today’s society. In fact, according to the World Health Organisation, stress has been classified as the health epidemic of the 21st century. Whether it’s work-related stress, financial struggles, relationship troubles, or even physical stress placed on our body during an intense workout, it’s no secret that stress can present itself in many different forms!

 

Yet, contrary to popular belief, stress is not entirely bad. Stress is technically our most important survival mechanism… after all, it’s what helped keep our hunter-gatherer ancestors alive thousands of years ago. Likewise, in today’s day and age, stress is also extremely beneficial for helping us meet those work deadlines, train harder and lift heavier, and check the road before crossing for any potential threats. So, what’s the downside? In today’s society, most of us are struggling to find the ‘off button’ for stress, which is having a detrimental impact on our physical and mental health…and in many cases, our ability to lose weight!

 

First things first, how on earth does stress impact weight? During periods of heightened tension, the stress hormone, cortisol, rises. As a result of this, increased cortisol may also cause higher insulin levels and drop blood sugar, causing you to crave sugary and fatty foods. The result? Well, when we’re stressed, we’ll often eat the wrong types of food in excess!

 

With that in mind, here are our top five tips for stress management:

 

Tip 1: Exercise
Exercise is one of the most effective ways to combat stress, while simultaneously working on your physical health. As ironic as it might sound, putting physical stress on your body, by way of exercise, can relieve mental stress.

 

Did you know that people who exercise regularly are less likely to experience anxiety, as opposed to those who don’t exercise? And here’s why:

  • Sleep – Exercising regularly can help to improve the quality of your sleep, due to the way it physically exhausts your body. As stress and anxiety are known to negatively impact sleep quality, this can help to alleviate the symptoms.
  • Endorphins – Did you know that exercise helps to release endorphins, which are chemicals that improve your mood and act as natural painkillers? Additionally, exercise is also suggested to lower the body’s stress hormones over a prolonged period, including cortisol.
  • Confidence – Who doesn’t feel better after breaking a sweat? When you exercise regularly, you’re likely to feel more confident and comfortable in your skin, which ultimately enhances mental wellbeing and reduces stress.

 

Whether you’re new to exercise or a gym veteran, the best way to find a sustainable and enjoyable exercise routine is to base it around something you love. Love to run? Start your day with a morning jog. Love feeling refreshed? Try hitting the pool for a few laps. Not much into traditional sports? Why not join your local yoga or pilates class. Love strength training? Head to Dukes Gym!

 

 

Tip 2: Get your sleep right

When you’re experiencing stress, you’re more likely to lay awake at night restless and unable to get a good night’s sleep. However, the lack of sleep also causes stress, which means it’s a never-ending cycle. The cherry on top? When we lack sleep, we crave a quick source of energy, such as sugary treats, which often leads us further away from our health and fitness goals. Not to mention, a lack of sleep may also interfere with key appetite hormones, ghrelin and leptin.

 

So, how can you improve your stress by improving your sleep cycle?

  • Two to four hours before bed – Avoid any intense exercise that will make you alert and buzzing. Also, avoid large meals that will keep you up at night while your body works hard to digest everything.
  • One hour before bed – Reduce the amount of artificial light surrounding you by dimming your lights or putting a lamp on. Also, switch your screens to night mode. This will help to increase melatonin, which helps to get you into a sleepy state.
  • 30 minutes before bed – Switch off all electronic devices and screens. If you need your phone alarm for the morning, simply switch your phone to aeroplane mode to minimise any distractions that may disrupt your sleep!

 

 

Tip 3: Take time out for yourself

Do you often get caught up in the hustle and bustle of everyday life and forget to take time out for yourself? Whether it’s the mental stresses associated with work deadlines and pressure, the physical stress of exercise, or the mental and physical stress of raising little ones, there are many reasons why we just sometimes don’t find the time to put ourselves first. However, the downside is, without our ‘me time’, our happiness, motivation, and potential for success greatly diminish.

 

When you subject yourself to extreme pressure and stress day-after-day, without taking time out to recuperate, you are not only preventing yourself from performing at your highest level, you’re also exposing yourself to a greater risk of illness and disease. Truth be told – your body will not perform or look the way we want it to if you’re constantly subjecting yourself to physical and mental stress. Not long after the mental symptoms kick in, the physical symptoms will start to show!

Try incorporating the following ‘me time’ tips into your weekly schedule:

  • Recovery time – Dedicate one day a week or a month to ‘recovery time’. This should be time spent relaxing and unwinding. For instance – Get a massage, go to the movies alone, read a book, listen to a podcast… whatever it is you love doing to unwind, make it a staple in your routine!
  • Learn new skills – We spend so much time bettering our skill set to progress in our careers, but how much time do we really spend improving our skills to better ourselves as people? For most of us, the answer will be: never. So, we urge you to find a skill you’d like to learn – whether it be photography, drawing, running, a language – and commit to it for six months. Never underestimate how important learning is and how much it can influence our mental health!
  • Change up your routine – It’s easy to become stagnant in your routine and your attitude when you do the same things at the same time every day. Whether it’s your workouts or your downtime, try switching things up to keep your routine fresh and exciting.

 

Tip 4: Run your own race

There’s no denying that social media is an extremely effective and beneficial tool for helping us to connect with new and old friends, discover new places to eat, and unwind while laughing at the never-ending stream of memes. However, in today’s society, the downside of social media is starting to outweigh the positives: It’s starting to replace one-on-one human interaction. I mean, let’s be real – receiving a like on Facebook or Instagram just isn’t the same as catching up with friends in real life. The enjoyment is fleeting!

 

Believe it or not, stress can present itself in several ways, and it’s not always just work, finance or relationship-related. More often than not, it stems from confidence and self-worth. As such, comparing your progress to what others post on social media can be very damaging. With the advent of Photoshop, FaceTune and Instagram filters, social media gives us an unrealistic expectation of how our lives should be, or, how underwhelming our gym progress might appear to be in comparison to your social media buddies.

 

However, in actual fact – seeing the progress of others should inspire you, not demotivate or irritate you. If social media is having a negative effect on you, switch off and focus on your own progress…after all, everyone is running their own race and it’s probably time you did the same. Better still, those 30 minutes you spent scrolling aimlessly through your feed could’ve been much better spent working towards your goals, meditating, reading or just simply unwinding.

 

 

 Tip 5: Incorporate supplements

Do you feel like you’ve tried just about everything and are still unable to reduce the stress from your life? Perhaps it’s time to call on the help of a friend. Yep, we’re talking about supplementation!

 

If you’re looking for the right solution to enhance energy, improve wellness and reduce stress, it’s important to find one that won’t leave you feeling scattered and run down once it wears off. So, what do we recommend? * drum roll * Project U Vitality!

 

Just like all things in life, maintaining optimal vitality requires ongoing maintenance of your internal health. Thanks to Project U Vitality, ensuring your body has all the goodness required to boost your brain functionality and overall health, just got that much easier.

 

So, what can you expect from this formula?

Simply put, Vitality is designed to stimulate brain function, support gut health, boost energy, enhance mood and lower cortisol!

 

Project U Vitality contains Apple Cider Vinegar to aid digestion, support gut health and act as a natural antibacterial and antioxidant. As well as Lemon Balm to also support digestive health and to help increase GABA in the body, which may have a calming effect strong enough to help lower cortisol levels and reduce anxiety. Additionally, Moringa Leaf Powder is rich in antioxidant properties and natural anti-inflammatory benefits, and Reishi Mushrooms boast powerful immune-boosting and mood-enhancing properties.

 

This impressive formula doesn’t stop there. To supercharge Vitality, a combination of powerful nootropic and brain-boosting ingredients have been added. Huperzine A has been added to help boost memory and neuro function, Cognizin Citicoline to reduce age-related memory impairment and boost attention, and Tyrosine to improve alertness and mental performance. Lastly, the key ingredient, Lion’s Mane, has been added to help relieve symptoms of anxiety, boost immune health, reduce inflammation and oxidative stress, and to help speed up recovery from nervous system damage.

Everything you need to know to get up to speed on weight loss: Cardio vs Weights

Everything you need to know to get up to speed on weight loss: Cardio vs Weights

The topic of weights vs cardio has been an age-old debate with the common misconception that lifting weights will make you bulky and big and a lot of cardio will cause you to strip high amounts of fat. However, nutrition plays a pivotal role in fat loss, using exercise as a tool will assist fat loss further and there are both pros and cons of choosing either cardio or weights.

Staying on top of your nutrition is essential as it is a vital aspect of your fitness journey. Food provides you with energy and also calories. In order to achieve fat loss, it is advised that an individual should be in a caloric deficit meaning they should consume less food than they burn. This is considered a negative energy balance. An alternative to being in a caloric deficit is to calculate your maintenance calories which is the amount you need to consume per day in order to maintain your weight after doing physical activities whether sport, occupational or leisure.  Here is a link that will assist you with calculating your calories (https://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/macronutcal.htm). To avoid dropping your calories and constantly being hungry, you can utilise weights or cardio as a tool to increase your energy expenditure. This will also result in weight loss, as you will exert more energy than you consume, without starving yourself.

So why should you choose cardio? Cardio exercises are great as it is an easy way to burn calories in a single session, you can do then anywhere without needing any equipment and it is also proven to improve your cardiovascular system. On average, you will be able to burn up to 250 calories in a single session. However, there are many factors that contribute to how much you will actually burn. These factors include; age – as the older you are the fewer calories you can expect to burn, workout intensity – the higher the intensity, the faster your heart rate and the more calories you will expect to burn, overall daily activity – the more sedentary you are, the fewer calories you will burn. You will not need any specific equipment in order to do most cardiovascular exercises. Such examples are running, jogging or bodyweight circuits. These are great to do at the park, the beach and even better if you have a dog to go on runs with. The main benefit of doing cardio exercises is that they will improve your cardiovascular health. You will improve your cardiac output – the amount of blood pumped around your body per beat, which is the product of your stroke volume and heart rate. Having a greater cardiac output will result in a higher amount of oxygenated blood available to your working muscles and thus greater potential output.

Although there many benefits in doing cardio, there are also negatives. Cardio exercises will not help in building or retaining muscle mass. Long durations will put a lot of strain on your joints and ligaments, especially in your legs and most steady state activities usually require the lower body thus you will be neglecting your upper half. Due to the nature of most of the exercises, you will not be putting direct load or stress on the muscles, which will not stimulate them to grow as effective as lifting weights will. Steady state cardiovascular exercises will put your body in a catabolic state, which means the loss of your hard-earned muscles. Long durations of cardio will strain and put stress on the joints and ligaments. Take running for example, it requires the understanding of biomechanics and correct running motion, in order to ensure you can run effectively and efficiently. The most common injury is knee pain which can set you back for a long period of time. In addition, most steady state activities require the use of the lower body, which means you will be neglecting your upper body. This is not ideal as it your body will be disproportioned and therefore a lack of upper body strength, which can affect everyday life tasks.

Weights on the other hand is the best option if you are looking to maintain/build muscle mass as you can actively target specific muscles and there is much more scope to add variations to your routine. Due to the nature of lifting weights, you can directly put load on and target specific muscles selectively for them to grow. Lifting weights stimulates the muscle fibres, causing them to tear during your workout and then rebuild bigger and stronger during your recovery due to a cellular process to form new muscle protein strands. This process will allow you to recruit more motor units and lift heavier over time. You will also improve your posture as you will be able to activate muscle such as your erector spinae and upper back to be more upright. One major benefit of weight training, especially with the older population is to maintain their bone density. Due to the risk of arthritis, it is important to ensure that your joints, ligaments and bones are strong and healthy for as long as possible. Weight training will develop and strengthen them which will be very beneficial in the long run. With a heap of exercises to choose from, you can add many variations to your routine, which will ensure you’ll enjoy your training. Unlike cardio exercises which is limited to only a few options. You can also do circuits or HIIT training with weights to improve your cardiovascular system.

As we are a gym that is strength/weight focused, it is inevitable that we will be biased towards lifting weights. However, if we had to pick some drawbacks, it would be investing time to learn the right form and technique and correct programming will be vital to ensure maximum gains. Learning the right technique will take some time as it is crucial to ensure you prevent injury. Similar to running, understanding the movement pattern and biomechanics of the exercises is important as you will be able to hit the correct muscles or lift the most amount of weight efficiently.

The take home message is that fat loss only comes from a caloric deficit and this can be achieved with the help of steady state exercise and weights. Cardio will help burn a substantial number of calories in a single session, but you will look like you don’t train. Weights on the other hand may take longer to achieve fat loss, but if you want to get a lean and toned physique, this is definitely the more effective option, and you will look like you go to the gym.

Happy training!

How To Bring Up Lagging Body Parts

How To Bring Up Lagging Body Parts

Bringing up your lagging body parts is something everyone will work towards when in the gym. Whether you want to get your arms and shoulders bigger for summer, you need a wider, stronger back for your athletic pursuit, or you’re after rounder, fuller glutes and thighs, there needs to be a plan put in place to achieve these goals.

We can pin this down to a few main factors, that cause majority of these weaknesses to stay that way and unless these are addressed, you’ll be left spinning your wheels. So let’s dig a bit deeper into 5 pillars, crucial for progress;

1. Perfecting Technique – It’s been touted a thousand times, but if you can’t feel a muscle contract, you’re not going to be getting the most out of it in any given movement pattern. If necessary, cut the weights back to begin with, nail in your execution of lifts so you can really get everything out of the movement and muscle. From here, with each and every rep, apply both intent and focus, as you gradually get stronger. Challenging yourself every time you come back around to that muscle and movement pattern

2.  Frequency – Stimulus is what we’re really looking at here. We want to stimulate a muscle, cause some micro tears in the tissue, signalling to the body to recover and repair, making it stronger for the next training bout. The more often we can do this the better, and given the protein synthetic rate of musculature, we’ve got a 48-72 hour recovery time before we can hit it again.
With this in mind we’ve got the opportunity and potential to train a muscle 2-3 x per week, that over the course of a year is 104 – 156 possible sessions to grow your glutes or chest.
Working this into your training week we can go with 2 lower body sessions per week, Monday and Thursday, then adding in an additional couple of sets for glutes on Saturday where we also hit say shoulders and back. This quite easily increases how often we’re signalling to the body “Hey, I’m using the muscle quite a lot, we need to make this bigger and stronger”

3. Volume – Think of volume as how many hard sets you’re doing per week. If you’re currently hitting a full “chest day” once per week, you do 5 exercises, 4 sets on each, that’s 20 work sets. In this session you’re annihilating the muscle, but only hitting it once then leaving it for 144 hours before the next chest day rolls around.Keeping those 20 work sets you’re doing, we can space it out, increasing the frequency and dropping the individual session volume;e.g. 8 sets on Monday & Thursday, then 4 on Saturday.

By dropping the amount of work you’re doing on one single day, you’re not completely demolishing the muscle but stimulating it enough to cause an adaptation. You’re also then in a better place to push your strength as you’re not accruing more and more fatigue which only leaves you “feeling” like you’ve done a lot of work.
This leads on well to the next point of….

4. Strength – Now it’s all well and good to feel the muscle, then hit it often, but if strength is not progressing, your muscle won’t adapt. We need to push hard, log booking your sessions, ensuring week in, week out we’re testing new grounds and moving forwards, challenging the muscle and forcing the adaptations we require. That can be via a bit more weight, an additional couple of reps or taking on one more set, but we need to challenge the body to cause the adaptation we’re after. Strength is a key driver of growth; a stronger muscle will be a bigger muscle. If we take your Barbell Hip Thrust from 90kg for 6 reps, up to 180kg for 6 reps, I guarantee you your glutes and hamstrings will be bigger as they’ve gotten significantly stronger. It’s a basic physiological adaptation, but this requires you to be diligent and work hard!

5. Calories – With the previously mentioned factors we’ll be in a place where we’re pushing hard and training frequently, we need the calories there to recover, signal surplus to the body to continue strength progressions and increase the potential for new tissue to be gradually be gained. If you really want to progress you can’t be scared of the calorie, if you are, then that’s something we’ll need to address if you really want to push ahead in your progress. See the performance progressions you are making and the potential for you to keep going, you need to fuel the body to get the most out of it. If you train like you mean it, don’t sit on your phone all sessions, challenge yourself and keep pushing progress, the calories are well deserved and aiding that recovery process (if you need to work out intake see my previous blog posts)

There are many moving parts when it comes to training and bringing up weaknesses, but it is really quite simple; Train well, train hard, push ourselves often and eat to support our goals. It takes time, commitment and continual effort. It always comes back to consistency and your ability to do the necessary today, to move ahead tomorrow to turn your weaknesses into strengths.

If you want help with building muscle, losing body fat or just improving your overall health and fitness get in touch

Brady Curtin

A | 99 Murphy St RICHMOND

P | 0458 957 686

E | bradycurtinfitness@gmail.com

 

Everything you need to know about Oestrogen

Everything you need to know about Oestrogen

When it comes to the body and hormones it is unfortunate, but very common, that oestrogen is seen as the devil and by no means is it that. It’s important to find the sweet spot of balance to have everything in the body running efficiently.

To get a good idea of what the hormone is, let’s start with the basics; oestrogens are a group of steroidal hormones that are found in both men and women and we have a number of different types, or groups. There are three big ones that we will focus most upon;

Oestrone (E1) – The weakest of the 3, E1 can be converted and serves mainly as the precursor to Oestradiol(E2). It is a minor female sex hormone, synthesized from cholesterol and secreted mainly from the gonads, as all oestrogens are.

Oestradiol (E2) – Broadly, when we speak of Oestrogens, this is the one we are referring to. It’s the major female sex hormone, regulates menstrual/reproductive cycle and development of reproductive tissues. E2 is produced in the follicles of the ovaries in women, testicles in men and adrenal glands, fat tissue, liver, breasts and the brain in both.

Oestriol (E3) – Often seen as a urinary metabolite that is measured. Close to undetectable in women unless pregnant, it is synthesized in very high quantities in the placenta. For both men and women E3, like E1, has a far weaker activity in the body.

When it comes to the importance of oestrogen in the body, both men and women have their own levels required for optimum function and they have different roles for each sex.

We obviously think mainly about its role in women, the reproductive processes, libido, and regulation of menstrual cycle along with bone health, mood, brain activity and other things like that.

Whereas in men, oestrogen still has a role when it comes to the reproductive system, just not to the same extent, as the testosterone steroidal hormone governs/regulates it’s input. Oestrogen helps with how well and strong a man’s sperm can swim, the stronger the swimmers, the better the fertility rate. It also helps modulate immunity and has an effect on the cardiovascular system.

So they have similar roles in both sexes, but different interactions with other hormones which facilitate different impacts on the body.

The many ratios in which we see the metabolites of oestrogen, some of the metabolites are considered more protective and good for you, while others, not so beneficial. So, if some of the metabolites are far too high, that’s where you can run in to some health issues. To regulate these potential negative effects of oestrogen it runs through the liver where it goes through a detoxification process to try and get the right ratios in check, suited to your physiology.

If someone is very poor at this detoxification process, both men and women, are likely to notice symptoms of memory loss, lack of libido, decreased mood, greater levels of body fat, decreased recovery and impaired gut function can become impaired to name a few. It’s a hard one to pick apart, but these above symptoms can suggest something is not going quite right.

Now to combat these issues, the best one, in most cases, is a reduction of body fat, this is because of an enzyme called aromatase. Aromatase is what converts testosterone into oestrogen, the more body fat you have, the more aromatase you will have and the more aromatase you have, the more oestrogen you will be likely to produce and/or convert.

To reduce negative oestrogens, we can reduce our exposure to environmental oestrogens; these are very similar to in genetic make-up to the oestrogen receptors we have in our body. These xeno-oestrogens are the “bad” oestrogens that bind to our natural oestrogen and can throw the body’s ratios insanely out of whack over extended periods of exposure.

To reduce this, be mindful and watch out for:
– Plastics,
– BPA,
– Parabens found in cosmetic products and unnatural body lotions,
– Petrochemicals,
– High Oestrogen foods (soy, wheat, corn, conventional dairy & meat)
– Excessive alcohol consumption
– Hormonal contraception’s
– Insecticides

Don’t stress, it’s not the end of the world if you use these things, but it is an accumulative thing. Over time they will catch up on you and begin causing negative health effects.

It can be fixed though, not all hope is lost, it comes down to some simple things:
– Manage reasonable body fat levels, no higher than 15-20% in males and 20-25% in women
– Exercise regularly, the resulting hormonal output will improve the oestrogen ratios in your favour
– Eat a balanced diet inclusive of beans, cruciferous vegetables, leafy greens, varied nuts, pumpkin, artichokes, avocados, berries, chia seeds, coconut based products, lentils, peas and quinoa
– Limit your exposure to environmental oestrogens. Use glass containers, natural products etc
– Maintain healthyfFibre intake to keep your gut in check so oestrogen doesn’t hop back in the blood stream
– Manage inflammation, don’t stress too much, balance the yin and yang in your life

So those are all the key things to really balance out your oestrogen levels in your body. Don’t go crazy on supplements to remove it entirely, it is important. Do the above, get your bloods tested, train hard, eat well, manage your recovery and look after yourself.

Help balance your body.
– Brady

 

If you want help with building muscle, losing body fat or just improving your overall health and fitness get in touch

Brady Curtin

A | 99 Murphy St RICHMOND

P | 0458 957 686

E | bradycurtinfitness@gmail.com

 

The guide every beginner needs to read before commencing their weightlifting journey!

The guide every beginner needs to read before commencing their weightlifting journey!

Congratulations, you’ve decided to start hitting the gym and craft that perfect physique to gain some self-confidence or even impress that girl in your class. Whatever your motivation, there are a few tips to keep in mind when first stepping foot in the gym.

Before we start, it is crucial to mention that most of your gains will occur during your first year of lifting (AKA noobie gains). Thus, it is imperative that you implement these tips to ensure you maximise your progress in the gym.

Firstly, become informed. This is by no means an all-inclusive guide for first timers. There are many sources to expand your training knowledge. Hiring a fitness coach, watching YouTube videos and browsing the web are all great methods to provide you with a level of guidance in the gym. You can use these sources to learn about how to perfect your form, choose the right workout split or what exercises to perform. It may seem overwhelming once you start learning, but I can assure you that armed with this information, you are at a significant advantage to your peers who failed to conduct their due diligence. This is because you’ll make smarter decisions in the gym optimising your muscle development and preventing your risk of injury.

Secondly, frequency is king. Since you are a beginner, it is pivotal you get your body used to performing the exercise and feeling the stress on the muscle. You may see a plethora of opinions online, however, we recommend a full body workout three times a week. This may seem like a lot, but since you are training your entire body, the amount of volume per muscle group would be much less compared to training a single muscle group per workout. As much as us gym bros like to think that we can go hardcore in the gym every day, rest is paramount for optimal muscle growth and recovery. Thus, we propose one or two rest days in between your full body workouts. This higher frequency will allow you to adapt quicker to the movement and acquire what’s called neurological efficiency or muscle memory, a form of procedural memory that creates maximum efficiency within the motor and memory systems and improves your muscle retention abilities. Once you feel comfortable performing the exercises and the movement pattern has been ingrained, you can scale back the frequency to once or twice a week and bump up the volume.

Lastly, like doing anything for the first time, it is critical to take it easy and slow. Loading the bar with preposterous amounts of weight and training to utter failure, is the fastest way to get yourself injured. Use a weight that you can handle comfortably and perform 8 – 12 reps, leaving a few reps left in the tank. Once you have introduced it to the movement with low to moderate intensity and familiarised yourself with the motion, you can slowly increase the weight as well as the intensity as your body is constantly adapting.

Whatever your motivation for hitting the gym for the first time, abiding by these three guidelines will ensure you develop a strong foundation and maximise your muscle growth. By becoming more informed, hitting the gym frequently and performing exercises steadily with perfect form, you place yourself in a position where you can train smarter and more consistently, allowing you to start packing on crazy amounts of mass in no time.

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