In case you havn’t hopped on to it yet… hormones are what control your every move, mood and determine your meal choices! You can think of hormones as little text messages that regulate every process performed in your body! They’re literally the cops standing in the parking lot with the orange probe’s directing traffic – but instead of cars, it’s cells! They’re are a TON of different hormones released by the body, but today I want to touch on one’s that are influenced by fitness specifically.
- IRISIN – this hormone is named the exercise hormone! It fights fat by activating the genes that turn bad fat cells into good fat cells (sometimes referred to as white and brown fat) and can also turn fat cells into bone building cells to reduce things like osteoporosis and osteopenia. This humble hormone also plays a role at preventing brain cells from aging and protecting them from injury. Ways to stimulate the production of irisin: moving, sweating, lifting weights, working out, being more active, etc. etc. etc! Anything from moderate to intense exercise at least 30 minutes a day can increase your body’s production of irisin by up to 12 percent. A study was performed and proved that intermittent fasting also has the ability to increase irisin production. Take home message: get up, get out, move more, sweat more, take the stairs, pump your own gas, clean your own house, spend time outside in the sunshine sweating and moving your body to stimulate the production of irisin and boost your metabolism!
- ESTROGEN – this “oh so talked about” hormone is one of the most important for the female body! It regulates our physical features and is the controller of our menstrual cycle. The key with this hormone is to regulate it, having enough but not too much. Many are quick to call estrogen the devil when it comes to mood swings, hot flashes, period problems etc. but the key with estrogen is having enough, but not too much. Estrogen is important for my mentions above, but too much can put you at risk of breast cancer. Excess estrogen can be a result of having excess fat cells, pesticides found on inorganic produce, and drumroll…… THE PILL! (as if the pill doesn’t do our gut micro biome enough harm, it also may lead to breast cancer…one more reason to toss the birth control pill my lady friends!) Okay, off my soapbox, back to estrogen. Exercise helps to reduce estrogen dominance trends which then leads to a lower risk of breast cancer. Take home message: exercise helps regulate your estrogen levels, keeping you in balance. Go sign up for Zumba stat! 🙂 Totally kidding, you should go for the Hot Boxing class instead!
- TESTOSTERONE: What?! I thought this was only for the guys?! Believe it or not, testosterone is present in the female body, as well – just in lesser amounts. It plays a huge role in muscle growth and is responsible for repairing muscle proteins damaged by exercise. Exercise can stimulate the production of testosterone, which can benefit us women by boosting our sex drive and helping to increase muscle mass and can reduce excess belly fat. Take home message: see irisin 🙂 !
- HUMAN GROWTH HORMONE: HGH plays a role at contributing to muscle and bone strength, but the real beauty in this hormone is it’s ability to regulate fat metabolism (aka: the way your body handles fat). Your body naturally produces HGH when you sleep, but as you participate in exercise (specifically high intensity using resistance and explosive movement at an elevated HR) you stimulate your body to produce more HGH, resulting in optimal fat metabolism! Take home message: participate in a mix of training methods (HIIT, endurance, plyometric, and resistance) to keep your body guessing and properly processing fat!
- CORTISOL: Sometimes refereed to as the stress hormone, cortisol takes on the role of regulating any change in the body that happens in response to anxiety and/or tension, whether it’s physical or mental. When you have extra cortisol in your blood stream, you will start to store fat in the abdominal area. Which last time I checked, wasn’t want anyone was after! However, cortisol in a healthy amount is important for regulating other systems! Exercise affects cortisol levels in two ways. Low intensity exercise decreases cortisol levels and moderate to high intensity exercise raises cortisol levels. However, the raise in cortisol is not long term and can be balanced with correct nutrition and lifestyle habits! Adaptogens are great to add to your diet, as well as proper sleep, practicing meditation, and breathing techniques. Take home message: exercise in an amount that is beneficial, give yourself the proper amount of rest, know when to go hard and when to call it quits!
Here’s a little HIIT routine you can try that requires no weights and can be done anywhere!
Repeat Circuit 5 times through, performing as many reps as possible for 30 seconds of each exercise:
- Reverse Lunge Knee Drives
- Heel Click Squats (bodyweight)
- Mountain Climbers
Rest 2 minutes
- Split Squats
- Wall Sit
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