Your body is controlled by your hormones.
If you don’t think this is true, just think back to a time when you were sleep deprived, hungry, and really stressed out.
In any one of those instances, your hormones were almost definitely out of tune.
A big reason professional and amateur bodybuilders worry so much about their hormones is because fluctuating hormones can affect their training (that’s what steroids are supposed to do, regulate your hormones).
Since you’re most likely not at the professional or amateur level (amateur meaning you’re working your way up to the professional level), your hormones don’t need to be a central focus.
Especially in the beginning of your bodybuilding career, this shouldn’t be a huge concern for you.
However, understanding the basics of how your hormones and your body works is never a bad thing.
The science behind how cortisol and insulin can affect your bodybuilding is very interesting.
Want to learn more about this?
Keep reading below!
What is Cortisol?
Cortisol is usually cited as being testosterone’s opposite.
This is partially true, but not the full story.
Cortisol is catabolic.
Meaning it breaks down tissue, including both muscle AND fat tissues.
The primary focus of cortisol is helping the body release energy stores in time of stress. These energy stores typically come from fat and muscle.
So, when on a fat loss diet, your body becomes more catabolic due to the increased stress from the lack of necessary calories.
Along with this, the extra energy stored in fat is released to be used by your body as fuel.
When you’re in a prolonged period of high-stress, your body’s cortisol levels will be higher.
During these times you will see a breakdown of muscle, as well as fat tissues.
What are the Combined Effects of Cortisol & Insulin Together
Something interesting happens when cortisol and insulin come together in the body.
Insulin helps your body convert glucose (aka sugars) from carbohydrate sources, into energy.
A high insulin sensitivity means insulin will do its job better.
A lower sensitivity to insulin means the glucose/sugar will more-likely turn into stored fat, than be used as energy.
The interesting part comes when both insulin, and cortisol, are present in high amounts.
These two hormones counteract the purpose of each other!
Insulin in large amounts blocks the fat burning properties of cortisol, and increases the fat storing properties.
This is done either due to a decrease in insulin sensitivity (from too much eating), or because of considerable amounts of stress.
All in all, more fat will be stored, and more muscle will be wasted, if these two hormones are both released by the body in excessive amounts at the same time.
How to Help Regulate These Hormones in Your Own Body
Here are some effective ways to help keep these two hormones in check and keep your bodybuilding gains strong.
Keep Stress Low
This is sometimes easier said than done, but it is a very important tip nonetheless.
Find more time to do enjoyable activities, hang out with friends and loved ones, meditate, and find time for yourself.
Along with these activities, using cannabidiol oil is also an excellent help for alleviating stress in your mind or body.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-psychoactive extract of the cannabis plant which is excellent for relieving stress and anxiety.
Get Better Sleep
There are numerous reasons you need to focus on being able to get better quality sleep each night, and regulating hormones is only one of them.
If you are having trouble with sleeping consistently, melatonin is an excellent supplement. Melatonin itself is beneficial for reducing cortisol levels and can be very effective when taken before you attempt to go to sleep.
Eat Whole Foods
If you are a person who relies on fast food or supplements too much, you will most likely be missing out on many important macronutrients and micronutrients which can improve your overall health.
If you are going to use supplements, I do suggest you use high-quality supplements such as the ones from RSP Nutrition.
For the most part though, your diet should consist of healthy whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, and lean protein.
A combination of weightlifting, and low frequency high-intensity cardio, will do just fine for most people.
Along with this, taking a brisk morning walk on an empty stomach is another excellent for of exercise, which will also help relax you.
Fasted cardio has emerged as an excellent way to burn fat, but it is also excellent for stabilizing your hormones as well.
A 30-45-minute walk on an empty stomach in the morning will do wonders for lowering your cortisol levels!
Stop Drinking Coffee, Switch to Tea!
Even if you switch to a high-caffeine tea such as yerba mate tea, you will still reduce your cortisol levels quickly by avoiding coffee.
If you are going to stick with coffee, drinking Bulletproof Coffee is an excellent option.
There is still a lot of stress-inducing caffeine in this drink, but the healthy fats in Bulletproof Coffee are great for stabilizing hormone levels.
Drinking herbal tea throughout the day is an easy way to de-stress and regulate your hormones.
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