Your entire body is controlled by your hormones. They do all the work. They control your mood, your temperament, your energy level, how much fat you burn, your hair quality, how healthy your skin looks, and even how long it takes for your muscles to recover. It’s extremely important to make sure your hormones are working properly before you start an exercise program. Especially after age forty!
If your hormonal system isn’t working right, you may have trouble seeing results even if you train and eat properly. Dr. Samar Yorde, my coauthor, experienced this herself. Suddenly, everything that had worked for her when it came to controlling her weight, and what she applied to her patients with very good results, stopped working for her. She went on strenuous diets and endured grueling workouts; however, her weight loss was minimal, and as soon as she veered off track, even if it was for just a little while, she’d put the weight back on. The problem was in her hormones.
One of the most important hormones in your body is testosterone. Yes, just like men, women have — and need — testosterone. Testosterone levels in women start to decrease when they are about twenty-five years of age, and a woman in her forties will probably have about half the testosterone levels of a woman in her twenties.
Something many women don’t know is that when their bodies are lacking in testosterone, they can often experience chronic fatigue, a decreased libido, and even lack of happiness. Yes, when you have low testosterone levels, you lose your sense of well-being. So make sure you keep your eye on this hormone. Testosterone regulates many important processes in the body: it maintains the proper amount of muscle mass and bone density, and it regulates your sleep cycle and your red blood cell count, among other things. As you get older, your testosterone levels drop naturally, but this process can accelerate due to high levels of stress, a poor diet, low levels of vitamin D, weight gain, or a sedentary lifestyle.
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Symptoms of Low Testosterone Levels
- Decreased vitality
- Mood swings
- Always feeling tired
- Decreased libido
- Hot flashes
- Bone loss
- Loss of muscle mass and strength
- Weight gain
- Memory loss
- Difficulty sleeping
Another hormone you have probably heard about is the human growth hormone (HGH). A drop in this hormone often goes unnoticed. But did you know that HGH is a natural testosterone booster?
If you are feeling depressed, with decreased strength and muscle mass; if you have hair loss or dry skin; if you have difficulty concentrating or you notice that your memory is failing; if you have gained weight especially around the waist, and you have a decreased sexual desire . . . you need to go to your doctor to get your hormones checked! If your tests come back showing low hormone levels, hormone replacement therapy may be necessary to improve your well-being.
But the good news is that in addition, you can naturally increase these two hormones — testosterone and HGH — if you follow these six steps:
1. Exercise with weight training and intervals
If you want to naturally increase your testosterone and HGH levels, you can combine weight training with high-intensity interval training (HIIT). Focusing on weightlifting exercises (eight to twelve repetitions) that involve large muscles — such as quadriceps, femoral, hamstring, back, shoulder, and chest muscles — will help your body to increase these values.
Additionally, interval cardiovascular training is the most effective way to burn the sugar stored in your body (glycogen). It causes your body to burn fat during the following thirty-six hours in order to replace its reserves. In addition to increasing your hormone levels, HIIT can help you burn three to nine times more fat, lower your resting heart rate, lower your blood pressure, keep your brain young by increasing circulation, and stimulate your body’s lymphatic system.
2. Eat good fats
Eating excessive amounts of junk food and carbs won’t help you improve your hormones. On the other hand, coconut oil; fermented dairy products such as kefir; omega-3 fatty acids; flaxseeds; chia seeds; and avocado, olive, almond, and walnut oils are great allies if you want to increase your testosterone and human growth hormone.
3. Watch your vitamin D
Vitamin D3 is one of the most important nutrients when it comes to increasing your testosterone levels. It’s very important to sit in the sun for at least thirty minutes in order to get your daily fix of this vitamin.
4. Eliminate sugar
Excess processed foods and sugar raise your blood glucose levels. This means that in order to maintain normal blood sugar levels, your pancreas has to work overtime to produce insulin, which helps transport blood sugar to your cells, where it can be metabolized. If your cells are bombarded with insulin over an extended period of time, you will develop insulin resistance, which causes type 2 diabetes. And once you develop diabetes, your body is no longer able to produce the levels of testosterone it should be producing.
5. Rest well
Sleep is essential to the proper functioning of our physical and mental capacities. But it’s not enough just to sleep. You need to sleep well. The better you sleep, the better you will be able to perform your daily activities. Scientific evidence has shown that a lack of sleep can reduce testosterone and HGH levels.
In addition to sleeping more hours, it’s important to be able to sleep soundly. Most of the testosterone and HGH we produce is secreted during the deepest sleep phase (the REM, or rapid eye movement, phase), which is also when the brain is able to recover and rest.
If we don’t get enough deep sleep, our bodies end up producing more cortisol — also known as the stress hormone — which will immediately bring changes to our metabolic activity.
6. Supplement properly
Vitamin C, L-arginine, and L-glutamine seem to improve HGH values, as well as help you with your performance.
If you are over forty, you absolutely must ask your doctor to check on your hormones. Your hormones might be preventing you from losing weight without your knowing it. Hormones need to be taken very seriously. They cause many unwanted symptoms, as well as hinder and slow down the entire process. Your body needs to be in perfect balance in order for you to reach your desired results.
From HOT BODY DIET. Copyright © 2018 by Michelle Lewin. Reprinted by permission of Celebra, an imprint of Penguin Books USA, a division of Penguin Random House, LLC New York.
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