Your Hormone Cheat Sheet (Part1)

 

Hormones are the chemical messengers that trigger changes to take place in your body and are responsible for your:

  • Libido

  • Metabolism

  • Motivation

  • Hunger and satiety

  • Building muscle

  • Losing body fat

  • Mood

  • Reproductive capabilities

  • Bone health and structure

  • Body hair

  • Energy

  • And much much more

Hormones are released from tissues and circulate until they reach the target cells which receive the message to change.

The organs of the endocrine system are what primarily releases hormones to make the necessary changes around the body.

Something may surprise you is that men and women have relatively speaking many of the same hormones, but the levels differ immensely.

Hormones interact with each other and are required to be in the proper ratios respective to other hormones in the body. When a hormone is deficient or dysfunctional it can negatively impact others associated hormones as well. 

When we’re discussing all the following hormones I encourage you to start thinking of the body as a system that works together, not just a bunch of parts.

Hormones are incredibly complex, and control so many functions in the body that explaining them to the degree that they deserve goes beyond the span of this blog, so think of this a very basic explanation.   

I should note that the information contained in this blog is not medical advice, and should not be used as a way to diagnose or treat any health problems.

Because I know that people love cheat sheets and bullet points, after each hormone explanation I am including a short list of the top ways to optimize that specific hormone.

Because there are so many important hormones in the body this is going to be split into a multi part blog series revolving around different classes of hormones.

 

TestosteroneJPG.jpg

Testosterone

This is the main male sex hormone, and while women still have testosterone it’s nowhere near the level that men have.

Testosterone in men is responsible for:

  • Sex drive

  • Energy

  • Confidence

  • Recovery from workouts

  • Lifespan length

  • Facial and body hair

  • Bone structure Energy throughout the day

  • Ability to build muscle.

With testosterone deficiency in a man they will notice: 

  • Sex drive decreases

  • Erectile problems can occur

  • Lack of energy and fatigue

  • Difficultly building muscle mass

  • Cognitive function can also suffer

  • Bone density decreases

  • Rates of depression and anxiety increase

Losing body fat is one of the best things a man can do to help with testosterone production.Body fat contains the enzyme aromatase which converts testosterone into estrogen.

This is why some of the testosterone replacement gels that men use never actually improve their testosterone numbers.

If a man has a lot of body fat that testosterone from a cream will be converted into estrogen only making the ratio of testosterone to estrogen worse.

If you want to learn more about how to optimize testosterone and all the hormones associated with it I wrote a book you can get HERE.  

Testosterone cheat sheet:

  • Lift heavy weight (deadlift, squat, lunges, press, bench, power cleans, pull ups, dips)

  • Sprint ( most people do better learning the mechanics on a hill, start slow)

  • Interval training (tabatas are very effective)

  • Eat enough carbohydrates (intake dependent on activity)

  • Smart supplementation (Vitamin D, Zinc, Fish oil)

  • Eat brazil nuts for selenium (3-4 per day) or supplement

  • Sleep more ( 7-9 hours)

  • Eat saturated fats ( butter, coconut oil, eggs, animal fats, dairy if tolerated)

  • Avoid excess sugar consumption

  • Don't chronically under eat

  • Consume adequate protein ( 0.8-1 gram per pound of bodyweight)

  • Have sex

  • Don't overtrain

  • Reduce your stress ( develop a stress management practice: walks, meditation, yoga)

  • Reassess your body language ( sounds weird but it’s covered in the book)

Estrogen

 

Just because the Notebook is your favorite movie doesn’t automatically mean that you have high estrogen, but it could be a sign...

While estrogen is the primary female sex hormone it is also present in men’s bodies and you need it, but in the proper ratio to testosterone.

Estrogen is the predominant hormone in women that triggers puberty and causes the growth of breasts, hair in the pubic area and regulates menstruation.

Estrogen helps women to:

  • Have a regular menstrual cycle

  • Protects bones in both men and women

  • Keeps cholesterol numbers in range

  • Maintains muscle mass

  • Aids in recovery from exercise

  •  Increases insulin sensitivity

  • Reduce food cravings

Just like all other hormones that ratio of estrogen in the body is important. For women who are low in estrogen it can lead to:

  • Insomnia

  • Hot flashes

  • Irregular menstruation

  • Decreased Libido

Excessively high levels of estrogen are no good either and can lead to:

  • Excessive weight gain

  • Impaired thyroid and metabolic function

  • More severe PMS symptoms

  • Irregular menstruation

  •  Associated with cancer.

I just released a free seven part mini video series that discusses why fat loss is more difficult for women that men and a lot of it pertains to hormones and menstruation. You can watch that HERE.

Estrogen Cheat Sheet:

  • Don’t under eat for extended periods of time

  • Avoid Soy (soy contains phytoestrogens that mimic estrogen)

  • Stress management

  • Get enough sleep ( 7-9 hours)

  • Eat adequate fiber (shoot for 25-30 grams of fiber per day)

  • Eat enough carbohydrates to support activity and thyroid function

  • Incorporate higher calorie and carbohydrate days when dieting

  • Consume calcium and magnesium rich foods ( leafy greens, dairy, nuts and seeds, liver, oysters)

  • Environmental Toxins ( shampoos, body washes, plastic cups or containers contain phytoestrogenic compounds that disrupt hormonal function)

  • Eat adequate protein

  • Get adequate Omega-3 fatty acids and saturated fat (fatty fish, coconut, butter, full fat dairy) 

  • Consume colorful vegetables and greens

  • Eat cruciferous vegetables (helps to remove excess estrogen)

 

Growth Hormone

 

Testosterone and growth hormone are powerful on their own, but they pack a much stronger hormonal punch when they are working together.

With optimized growth hormone levels you be able to build more muscle because it increases protein synthesis, allowing you to use more dietary protein to increase muscle mass.

GH helps provide restful sleep that allows us to recover from stressful days and tough workouts.

Sleep is one of the most important steps in boosting overall hormonal function and growth hormone is no exception.  

Some of the benefits of optimal growth hormone levels include:

  •  Reduced liver burden

  • Increased bone strength and healing

  • Increased ability to build muscle mass and

  • Protects and improve the immune function

  • Reduced Cardiovascular disease risk

  • Better Sleep quality

One of the biggest roles of growth hormone and why it has become popular in the anti aging community is that is promotes healing and regeneration of damaged tissues.

Growth Hormone Cheat Sheet:

  • Intermittent Fasting ( this can take a few forms but a popular 16/8 works for most)

  • Sleep more (7-9 hours in a pitch dark room, you are going to hear this alot)

  • Improve sleep hygiene for better quality sleep (Click HERE to learn more)

  • Eat your carbs and the majority of calories at night

  • Lift heavy weight (deadlift, squat, lunges, press, bench, power cleans, pull ups, dips)

  • Supplement with BCAAs when training fasted

  • Sprint and do metabolic conditioning

  • Don’t eat too much or too much fat pre workout

As always I appreciate you taking the time to read, and stay tuned for next week when we discuss the hormones ghrelin, leptin and insulin to discover how to maximize them naturally.