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From the Desk of Dr. Len

Can Hormones Effect Your Workout

Dr. Len Lopez - Wednesday, August 19, 2015


Yes they can!


Hormones can affect your Workouts and Results.


The first thing you need to realize is that when you exercise you activate your stress hormones. These are your fight or flight hormones, cortisol and adrenaline. The important thing to understand is that running from a saber tooth tiger causes the same physiological response as a good hard workout.


The biggest reason for plateau’s, sticking points or hormone imbalances has to do with overwhelming your body. People basically over tax their adrenal glands, which are responsible for producing your stress hormones, and keeping your body in that ‘catabolic’ breakdown phase.


Exercise is a form of Stress! The more intense the workout - the more stressful it is on your body, and the more cortisol and adrenaline you produce. Think about how much cortisol and adrenaline your adrenals have to produce from all the physical demands you place on it. Now add up all the mental stresses going on in your life. Could your adrenal glands be exhausted and depleted? Take the Stress Test.


The reason exercise can throw your hormones out of balance is that estrogen, progesterone and testosterone are produced secondarily to your stress hormones.


What I mean by that is that your stress hormones are pretty much life and death, and surviving and having enough energy and strength to run and fight are more important that digesting your meal, having a baby (hormone balance), or getting a good night sleep.


As the diagram shows, if your body is constantly being triggered to produce more of your stress hormones, you may not have enough reserve (you can’t expect your body to magically produce an endless supply of hormones unless your properly nourish your body) to make the other necessary hormones.   Think about it...don’t they always tell someone who is struggling with fertility to relax and de-stress? Stress management is beneficial because it reduces your demand and need for your stress hormones, thus allowing your body the ability to produce those other important hormones.


FYI: To make cortisol, your body needs progesterone, which means a portion of your progesterone is pulled away to make your stress hormones. This can lead to an imbalance of estrogen to progesterone (estrogen dominance) and all the other associated problems that come with it.


So if you’ve hit a plateau or struggling with hormone imbalances, you might want to first make sure your adrenal glands aren’t exhausted.  The best way to know is a 24-Hour Saliva test. You don’t want to over-train an already exhausted body. Keep in mind, if your adrenal glands are always pumping out cortisol and's signaling your body that it is in that ‘catabolic’ breakdown phase…when and how do you expect to re-build and repair your body after a good workout, if your body is constantly in that catabolic phase?


This is why it is important to train and diet smarter – not harder or longer!  I hope that answers some of your questions as to why you aren't getting the results you are looking for.  If you need help reviewing your health and fitness program, let us know and we can help you sift through if your diet or workout is correct for your current level of health and fitness.

dr len lopez, to burn or not to burn fat is the question, leonard lopez, stress and weight loss


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