Hormones are the catalyst for many bodily processes, and contribute strongly to body composition levels. There are both good and bad hormones; increase the good ones and feel energetic, happy and strong, but spike the bad ones and watch your mood turn irritable, your energy levels decrease and your body get weaker! These 5 basic steps will help nurture the good hormones and keep the bad ones at bay.
1. Less Screen Time
Learn to switch off a couple hours before bed time!Our eyes pick up a certain spectrum of light, and the different colours/brightness trigger different hormonal responses in the body. Modern technology back-light screens deliver white light. This would be fine normally because white light is given off by the sun during the day - at least for most of it... As the sun goes down, this white light is slowly refracted into yellow light, which when picked up by your eye triggers sleeping hormones and adjusts the body into 'sleep mode'. This change does not happen when exposed to screen back-lights, and then through the evening it's hard for your body to establish sleep hormones, which can make sleeping difficult and hinder Testosterone production. You can download a program called f.lux which will mimic natural light changes for your computer screen, however there is limited tech that does the same for mobile phones.
2. Smaller Meals
It's recommended to have nutrient dense meals rather than calorically dense meals. While you can have a meal that's both nutrient and calorically dense, if too much is consumed at one time, the body may store the excess as fat, and insulin hormone levels will remain unstable. Cortisol (bad hormone) can also be released if the digestive system is too stressed, which can inhibit Testosterone levels. When every gram of food on your plate has purpose, meals do not need to be calorific. Have 4-5 meals per day of similar nutritional values, do not over indulge just because you had a hugely tiring workout. Be methodical, your body doesn't need much as long as you feed it what it needs. Read this article here to learn more about your nutritional needs.
3. Stay Hungry After Training
While nutrient absorption is higher after a workout, what you want to take advantage of is Growth Hormone. HGH is vital for recovery, muscle building and fat burn - and it is at its highest level right after a workout. Remember, the digestive system and muscular system do not synergise well. The body doesn't function optimally during a workout with food in the stomach, and your muscles and organs do not recover well with food hitting the digestive tract immediately after finishing an intense workout. Eating food will raise insulin, which will drop HGH levels quickly. So, if you want to take advantage of one vital muscle building AND fat burning hormone then refrain from eating for 15-30mins after your workout. If you eat a high nutrient meal 2-3 hours before training there will already be plenty of nutrients to start the recovery process before eating a post-workout meal.
4. Increase Natural Light Exposure On Skin
Natural sunlight triggers the production of Vitamin D. While there are Vitamin D supplements, the bio-availability of them can be questionable, so it's best to maximise natural production. Vitamin D levels directly correlate with Testosterone levels in Men, a key hormone governing muscle growth and maintenance, as well as fat burn and storage. 15 minutes of direct sunlight on the face and arms a couple days a week is enough to have a positive impact on Vitamin D levels. Try to prioritise more outdoor activities to take advantage of Vitamin D benefits, e.g. Lunch, walks, or sitting by the window.
5. Eat Only Apples And Banana For Fruit
These two fruits are incredible. Banana is high in potassium and very quickly absorbed - the perfect post workout snack to fill your depleted muscles back up with glucose fast. Apples are high in Malic Acid which is great for the immune system. Both have moderate effects on Insulin and help keep blood glucose stable, thus providing the perfect sweet craving relief. These should be the only fruits you eat on a daily basis, most other fruits are very high in sugar in comparison to their micro-nutrient profile.
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