I can almost guarantee that 90% of the men who saw this title have skipped over it, but hormones have EVERYTHING to do with your goals! I don’t care what your fitness goals are, if your hormones are out of whack you’re going to struggle, man or woman.
The problem is most men think of hormones as a ‘girly thing’ to do with feelings and emotions… and yes, they’re right but there’s so much more. The trouble women have with hormones is normally a lack of knowledge: for example quite a lot of women that come to me say they have been on all kind of diets (a subject I’ll post on later) Many of the diets need calories to be counted or an allocated amount of ‘points’ per day. Now don’t get me wrong, calories matter, without a doubt they matter, but hormones matter more and most women haven’t considered them.
I normally like to introduce people to hormones by talking about Leptin, so that’s exactly what I’m going to do here. I like to talk about Leptin first because it shows how powerful hormones can be and the side of it I’m talking about is easy to explain and understand. Leptin has many ‘jobs’ within our bodies but I’m going to focus on the hunger effects it causes. Leptin can be thought of as a ‘fuel gauge’ that works on a day to day basis telling the brain how much fat is on the body. It is released by the fat cells within the body, the bigger the fat cells the more Leptin is released.
So, Leptin has been released and is in the blood stream on its way to the brain. Once it gets to the brain (in an obese person) it tells the brain “we have too much fat on the body” and the brain reacts by turning down hunger levels to use the fat storage as fuel instead. Leptin also travels to the thyroid gland (which controls metabolism) and adrenal gland (assists with metabolism) and it tells these two glands the same message. They then speed up metabolism to burn fat.
So you’re telling me if I eat too much my brain will shut down hunger and my metabolism will rise balancing me out? Fantastic!…. if only.
Have you ever walked into a room with a really strong smell? You’ve stayed in the room a while and you don’t notice the smell anymore. Somebody else could come in and comment on it because it’s just as strong as when you first went in. So what happened? Your body adapted and became resistant to the smell. If you left for a few minutes and returned your body would reset and you could smell it all over.
This can happen with a number of hormones. Have you ever heard of diabetes? This is when the body is resistant to insulin. The same thing happens with Leptin, the body becomes resistant to it and the signal no longer gets through. The same levels of leptin are released and more if we start putting on more weight. The major problem with this is not that the brain goes back to a ‘normal’ hunger level and the metabolism slows down a little, what happens is because the body has become blind to Leptin it thinks there is no fat at all on the body! Hunger levels go through the roof, metabolism hits the floor and it’s a downward spiral. Ever seen that “big guy who just won’t stop stuffing his face – gross right?!” – NO, he has a serious condition where he just feels constantly hungry and nothing satisfy’s. He’s probably been told to eat less and exercise more, well guess what, there are other hunger hormones as well as Leptin so by eating less he gets even more hungry, by exercising he’s burning fat, yes, but this raises hunger again! It’s the same with resetting our sense of smell in that room, he needs to reset his Leptin.
Now don’t go away thinking that Leptin is the be all and end all, it’s not. It matters and can have big affects but there’s a whole world of hormones and they all have BIG implications.