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Flip Your Switch and Lose The Weight
Strength and stamina are controlled by four key hormones: thyroid, insulin, cortisol and adrenaline. Keeping these little powerhouses balanced will deliver lasting, steady fuel to help you get through your next workout. Unfortunately, life's mishaps (stress) and diet can negatively affect the function of these little guys.
Hormones play a huge role in what our bodies look like and how they function: skinny, strong, obese, lean, weak, lethargic, energetic, happy , sad (you get the point).
So, what are hormones? Oxford Dictionary defines hormone as originating from the Greek word hormôn, meaning to set in motion, excite, stimulate. "A regulatory substance produced in an organism and transported in tissue fluids such as blood or sap to stimulate specific cells or tissues into action."
Basically, an organ creates a hormone which acts as a messenger to stimulate some type of change in the body. When it comes to strength and stamina, the main categories that we focus on are anabolic and catabolic hormones.
Anabolic hormones, such as insulin, builds molecules (muscle or fat) that later can be used as fuel. Catabolic hormones, like cortisol and adrenaline, break down molecules and release energy. Thyroid hormones regulate the body's metabolism. In other words, thyroid hormones have the ability to make, store, and use energy.
Insulin has a bad rap because of its ability to build fatty tissues which can lead to many health issues, including type 2 diabetes. But it can also aid in building muscle. It just depends on the health of your body and whether you are sedentary or active. Insulin pulls glucose from the blood and into the muscles, which it uses for fuel. If your daily grind is at a desk all day, it's likely that your body will be more susceptible to fat synthesis because your fatty tissues are more insulin sensitive. To keep insulin in healthy working order and energy levels high, it's best to participate in an aerobic activity at least 3 times per week. It has been found that insulin activity improves for two days after exercise. When you exercise, the muscles draw glucose from the blood to use for energy without needing insulin.
Cortisol is the stress hormone. Cortisol regulates alertness. Levels are normally higher in the morning and begin to taper off throughout the day. Cortisol levels may remain high if you did not sleep well or are constantly stressed out. Your body likes to break down carbohydrates for energy first, then fat, then protein. However, when cortisol is released (due to lack of sleep or high stress) the order is reversed, meaning protein gets broken down for energy first, and that means, your body will store carbs as fat. Destress, sleep, and use a supplement such as ashwagandha root, if necessary, to help regulate your adrenal system.
Adrenaline is the fight-or-flight hormone. It has the ability to spark cortisol production and flood the body with glucose for an immediate energy spike. Which brings us back to the danger of too much cortisol. One way to combat the adrenaline rush, is to relax. Listen to soothing music, meditate, or practice yoga. Any calming activity will work.
Thyroid hormones are crucial in regulating the body's metabolism. There are certain foods and products that may inhibit the proper functioning of your thyroid. Raw vegetables, such as broccoli, corn, cauliflower, turnips and some others contain natural chemicals called goitrogens (goiter producers) that can interfere with thyroid hormone synthesis. Fortunately, cooking or lightly steaming these veggies inactivates the goitrogens, making them safer to eat for those who already suffer from low thyroid function. Another cause for concern are bisphenol and phthalates - two chemicals found in plastic products, like water bottles and food containers. These chemicals can throw off thyroid function and cause fatigue. Avoid using plastic products whenever possible and no matter what, do not heat plastics. Doing so can cause BPA and other chemicals to leach into your food.
All four of these hormones work together. If one fails, it becomes like a domino effect with the others - each leaping into action, wreaking havoc on your body. The goal is always to keep your energy working at an optimal level so that you can get through each day with strength and stamina. Flip the switch on these hormones and release those extra pounds for good.
As always, I'd love to continue the conversation over in the forum. See you there!
I am not a doctor and the articles I write are intended to increase your knowledge about the subject. It's always a good idea to check with your personal doctor before changing your diet, taking supplements, or starting an exercise program.
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