You should consider your body to be a successful business. There are a number of different departments all working together to reach a goal. However, sometimes those goals conflict with each other, just like the sales and marketing teams.
Keeping your body healthy can be more complicated than you think. After all, it’s more than just eating well and exercising. There are some things you don’t even think about, like your hormones.
The hormones are what do the hard work for your body, ensuring you sleep well at night and choosing which calories should be converted into fat and which should be converted into muscles.
Most people don’t have control over their hormones, and they can become disheartened when their hormones are out of balance.
However, with practice and the right strategy, you can learn to control your hormones.
It will help you look and feel better than you ever did, even in your 20’s! Keep reading to find out the best treatment to control your hormones and how that can help turn you into the man you’ve always wanted to be.
Leptin and Ghrelin: The Hunger Regulators
These two hormones are constantly battling each other to tell you whether you need to eat that juicy burger or not. Ghrelin is the one that always wants to eat it; it is secreted along the stomach walls to make you feel hungry.
Leptin, on the other hand, knows when you should turn it down. Leptin tells your body when you have eaten enough, and it is released from your fat cells.
Once these bad boys enter the bloodstream, the hormones head up to the hypothalamus in the brain. Those who show up with the bigger numbers tend to win the argument, especially when you are healthy.
However, if you stop looking after yourself, your body can become leptin-resistant. The ghrelin starts to win the majority of the battles, making you constantly hungry.
The easiest way for men to control the ghrelin and leptin to keep them balanced is to get a better sleeping schedule. People who only sleep six hours or less tend to have large quantities of ghrelin in their hypothalamus.
Boost Your Metabolism with Thyroid Hormones
The thyroid is the gland in your neck that produces hormones T3 and T4 which tell your cells to produce energy and use it. This determines your base metabolic rate, or how many calories you burn each day without working out or doing other daily activities.
Even small changes in your T3 and T4 levels can send your metabolism into a dead stop, causing the pounds to add up. If you notice a sudden dip, you might have an autoimmune issue like Hashimoto’s disease or a tumor.
If you want to give your thyroid some much-needed therapy, you might want to check out a doctor to get a blood test. The blood test will tell you if you have a thyroid disorder.
Keep your thyroid health by eating at least 150 micrograms of iodine each day. Iodine supplements are also available over the counter.
The Muscle Builder: IGF-1 and HGH
You have probably heard of professional athletes and other men using human growth hormone, otherwise known as HGH to bulk up and build muscle.
HGH uses insulin-like growth factors to grow muscles. HGH and IGF-1 help your body break fat down and turn energy into stronger muscles. Men’s bodies naturally produce HGH, but once you turn 20, the levels start to decrease.
To naturally spike these muscle building hormones, work out to the point of fatigue. Use the heaviest weights possible for four sets for up to 12 reps. Between sets, don’t give yourself more than a minute break.
You need to feel the burn in your muscles. When you can feel the burn, your body is turning slightly acidic, causing it to produce more HGH.
Melatonin: The Sleep Wonder Hormone
Melatonin helps your body sleep when it is released during 2 A.M. and 4 A.M., but sometimes your glands don’t release enough of the hormone for men to sleep soundly.
The pineal gland produces melatonin based on how much sunlight you get, which stimulates your skin from the sun and even smartphones. If you spend a lot of time scrolling through social media after the sun goes down, you might be messing with your natural sleep cycle.
This causes you to feel absolutely exhausted when your alarm goes off.
To give some melatonin therapy to your body, start turning off your screens two hours before you go to bed. Even the backlit e-readers mess with your sleep cycle. You can also take over the counter melatonin supplements.
Low-T: The Libido Killer or Maker
Having low-t, or low testosterone can cause a dip in more than just your sex drive. It can also have an effect on your hair, causing it to fall out or thin. Low-t can also cause reduced bone mass, muscle mass, and energy levels.
Testosterone works by bringing the protein to your muscle cells, driving up your sex drive and boosting your sperm count. Testosterone typically drops as you get older because you put on some extra pounds, stay less fit, and you live a more sedentary lifestyle.
To control your testosterone, lower your drinks. Alcohol will often stop the chemicals in your body that produce testosterone, causing you to suffer from low-t.
Fitness is more than just a new trend these days, and with celebrities being role models for today’s youth, it can put a lot of pressure on a male to look “fit.” Use these tips below to boost your testosterone, and help you gain muscle quickly and safely.
What is Testosterone?
Testosterone is a hormone that stimulates growth and the development of many physical characteristics. Men aren’t the only ones who produce testosterone, women do too, in their ovaries.
Testosterone hits its peak during puberty, but then slowly declines after and around the age of 30. If a male’s testosterone levels are low, it can lead to low amounts of sperm production, therefore leading to infertility.
If you would like to build more muscle in a shorter amount of time, increasing the amount of testosterone in your body is one of the best ways to make this happen!
Testosterone and Muscle Production
The receptors on the surface of muscle cells are bound by testosterone and then amplified by biochemical signals in the muscle tissue- and the result is protein synthesis. Lifting weights (specifically heavy-weights) increases the need for these repairs, meaning more testosterone is recruited to allow for more protein synthesis.
More receptors are activated when there’s more testosterone, and this means more muscle tissue is used and more muscle mass is gained.
By lifting heavy-weights, it can help to improve the connection between the muscular system and the central nervous system.
How to Boost Your Testosterone Level?
This may sound boring and pretty much common sense, but sleeping plays a big part in your testosterone levels. When you’re tired and are lacking in sleep, it can cause your hormone levels, as well as the chemicals in your body to function strangely, which can influence testosterone levels.
Vitamin D is a great help when trying to improve your testosterone levels. Foods such as fatty fish, dairy products and salmon are a great source of Vitamin D. Furthermore, sitting in the sun for around 20-30 minutes per day helps raise Vitamin D levels.
Another way to boost your testosterone levels is to lose weight. Losing excess fat can help increase your testosterone levels. You can check websites like testosteroneland.com to find out more information on how you can boost testosterone levels.
3 Exercises That Boost Your Testosterone Level
There are tons of exercises which boost your testosterone levels. However, full-body or “compound” exercises are better than “isolation” exercises.
Also, you should use free weights instead of machines as well.
The conventional deadlift is an amazing exercise that will help you boost your testosterone levels. Stand properly with your feet hip-width, then bend your hips back to reach down and grasp the bar. Keep your lower back in its natural position and pull the weight up along with your shins.
Other options include the deficit deadlift, sumo deadlift, or snatch grip deadlift.
It is best to have your friend or a trainer around you to support when you bench press for the first time, but overall it is a safe exercise. Start by lying down on the bench and grasp the bar just outside your shoulder width.
Slowly pull the bar out of the rack and lower it to your chest while you tuck your elbows inwards.
As the bar touches your chest, use your legs to apply pressure on the floor and push it up.
Bonus Tip- Try the Dumbbell Floor Press
One of the most common freehand exercises that will boost your testosterone levels are chin-ups. You can find chin-up bars in most parks, but it is recommended to get a pull-up bar in your home.
Fix the bar in your door entrance, grab the bar underhand at shoulder width, and pull yourself up until your chin is over the bar.
Testosterone levels start to decline from the age of 25-30 and obesity is one of the biggest reasons for this.
Healthy testosterone levels are very important for women as well, along with other important hormones like estrogen and progesterone.
Cortisol and Insulin: Two of the Most Important Hormones in Bodybuilding
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).
Even thought 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 need to be a central focus of your life if you want an aesthetic physique. Even if you want to try fat burning methods such as do it yourself coolsculpting, your hormones need to be properly balanced to achieve the best results.
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 Insulin?
Insulin keeps your sugar levels steady in your bloodstream, helping your body store energy in fat and muscle cells. If your body stops responding to it the right way, it can cause your blood sugar levels to rise, causing you to be more at risk for type 2 diabetes.
The goal is to keep the blood sugar levels balanced by keeping your insulin in check.
Your insulin might naturally spike after a hard workout, but it will use the sugar to keep your body fueled. A simple treatment is to eat some carbs after your workout, so your insulin levels don’t go haywire.
Adding protein after your workout will also help your muscles synthesize the carbs.
Understanding the Relationship Between Cortisol and Insulin
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. All of these actions are contrary to your goals of developing an aesthetic body, which is why it is so important to understand these hormones!
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 Cortisol and Insulin Levels
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. If you want to learn more about CBD, check out my Infinite CBD Review, or any of the other CBD product reviews on my website!
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.
If you are interested in trying a melatonin supplement, check out my article for advice: Best Melatonin Supplement for 2019
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.
Concluding Thoughts – Insulin and Cortisol
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DHT (Dihydrotestosterone) – The Hair Hormone
“Your hair is your crowning glory.” You’ve likely heard this countless times, back when you were a child. Perhaps this line came from your mother, who religiously brushed your hair every night before she sent you to bed.
With the most important woman of your life showing you this kind of devotion to your hair, it’s little wonder you grew up thinking highly of your crowning glory too. Maybe your locks have always been a source of pride: thick, lush, shiny with health.
That is, until a malignant entity stepped in and wrecked your pretty picture of your hair.
Hair loss is a product of several factors (or a combination of all). But scientists, once and for all, sat down and looked this problem over from every angle. Thus they came to this conclusion: hormones play a role in hair loss.
What’s a hormone, anyway? A hormone is a substance naturally produced by the body, and has a say in how the body functions and develops. Said substances play a large role in how the body systems function, and they also influence one’s moods and emotions.
Because hormones are basically found all over, it’s no surprise they’ve a hand in hair-related matters. The pros have figured out one hormone largely responsible for baldness: dihydrotestosterone.
Dihydrotestosterone Goes Wrong
The hormone dihydrotestosterone, simply referred to as DHT, is a primary factor that contributes to stunted hair growth, particularly in males (this condition is referred to as male-pattern baldness).
It’s derived from the hormone testosterone. When testosterone interacts with the enzyme 5-alpha reductase, the hormone is converted into DHT. This derivative is more potent than its source, so you can deduce this conversion is bad news to hair follicles.
To be clear, though, DHT isn’t out to get you—nothing personal, just out doing its thing. Now this may be a challenge when you’re staring at that bald spot in the mirror, but really, this little guy’s not out to do you harm.
What does it do then?
DHT, being a sex steroid and an androgen hormone, brings about the emergence of sexual characteristics; in other words, it ushers in puberty, especially in males.
But what turns out to be a favorable occurrence quickly becomes a sour one when DHT brings about hair loss. You see, the hormone is responsible for the hair-loss process called miniaturization.
Miniaturization Is Set in Motion
In a nutshell, miniaturization is when hair has difficulty or is unable to thrive in the follicles, thanks (or no thanks) to DHT.
The process involves a couple of steps. First, DHT gets clingy and eagerly latches on to the receptors—called derma papillae—present in hair follicles.
When the hormone has attached itself onto said receptors, second, it blocks any form of nourishment from entering the follicle and thereby into the hair.
Because of this blockage, the third step kicks in: the hair follicles shrink. Lack of nourishment has a direct detrimental effect on the life cycle of the hair. The anagen (growing) phase of the hair grows (no pun intended!) shorter, while the telogen (resting) phase drags out.
With this shift in the hair cycle, the follicles end up producing finer, thinner hair. Eventually, the hair ceases to grow. Thus begins the period of torment.
How to Control Your Hormones and Show Hair Loss Who’s Boss
Fortunately, scientists are working around the clock to beat hair loss to a pulp. They found getting right into the root (again, pun not intended) of the problem delivers better results.
This solution is achieved by blocking DHT formation, right before the hormone attaches itself to the follicle and adversely affects hair growth. Note, though, that some “DHT” blockers don’t exactly block DHT itself but rather 5-alpha reductase.
If you recall, 5-alpha reductase converts testosterone into DHT. If experts apply the needed blockers to halt this conversion, they can likely deal with hair loss effectively.
You need not look far and wide to find these DHT blockers, because Mother Nature herself has come to the rescue and provided humanity with good, natural blockers.
There are a lot of them on the market, but for starters, take your pick from these best natural DHT blockers. The methods on this list have been shown to deliver excellent results.
Try one (or choose all!) of them yourself, and experience the goodness of these nature-derived hair loss deterrents.