[fancyquote]”What do our hormones have to do with our body fat?”[/fancyquote]
Hormones play a huge role in how and where we store our body fat. For example, the thickness of a person’s umbilical skin fold is a direct reflection of cortisol output (the stress hormone). At Cre8 Fitness we use the ‘holy grail’ method of fat loss – BioSignature Modulation. This method allows us to access hormone imbalances and see where and why we maybe storing fat in certain areas of the body over others. Here is how to target those stubborn areas….
Arms – “Bingo Wings”
Flabby arms, commonly nicknamed as “Bingo wings” are very common in women and can indicate a lack of the so-called male hormone, testosterone. In fact, both men and women need estrogen and testosterone as they both play a large part in producing lean body mass. Often, a lack of either of these hormones can indicate high levels of cortisol caused by stress.
How to change
Diet: Fat, or cholesterol, is essential for the production of many hormones, particularly testosterone – so eat nuts, eggs and butter but no hydrogenated or trans-fats found in cakes and biscuits. That means DO NOT follow a ‘low fat’ diet as this often cuts out good fats also. Get enough protein to build muscle, but avoid soya which has been shown to have a negative effect on male and female sex hormones, as well as the thyroid. SURPRISE…..cut down on Alcohol!
Exercise: Weight training with very short rests has been shown to boost testosterone. Pull up’s and press up’s and that goes for women as well. You will not get bulky, just lean.
Supplements: The best supplement for this is sleep, however if you don’t get enough of this naturally, Magnesium and Phosphatidyl Serine can really help you get a good night’s rest.
Gynecomastia – “Man Boobs”
“Man boobs” are becoming more and more common due to excessive poor nutritional habits coupled with leading a very sedentary lifestyle. Also a huge contributing factor is beer, the hops in beer is incredibly estrogenic and regular consumption of beer will always have a feminising effect.
How to change
Diet – Cut beer out of your diet full stop, seriously reduce your beer consumption, or face the option of getting sized up for a good bra, as you will need one if you binge on beer! Plenty of green veg, watercress, broccoli & cauliflower are great veg to help with this common body composition problem.
Exercise – Lift weights and train with a hight intensity to boost your testosterone levels.
Supplements – Improving your zinc levels will help you become more manly, a simple test carried out by one of the Cre8 team will show if you have deficiency. Also we have seen great changes using the supplement Dim Avail which helps reduce estrogen levels.
Hips – “Love Handles”
This can indicate over stimulated insulin production from too many refined carbs and sugar. Alcohol can show up here too, since when you have it in your bloodstream you cannot burn fat, and it also affects blood sugar and hormone levels.
How to change
Diet – This area can be drastically changed through diet alone if you can cut sugar out. Insulin is one of the easier hormones to control. Stick to eating good quality protein, meat, nuts, eggs and plenty of vegetables.
Exercise – Again resistance training, aiming for 3 solid workouts per week.
Supplements – Take l-carnitine to boost general fat burning and performance in the gym. Try green tea, which can stimulate metabolism, and other health benefits because of the catechins and theanine it contains. All supplements used in the fat back area can be applied for this one.
Stomach – “Spare Tyre”
The big culprit is a high level of stress hormones, primarily cortisol. This puts sugar in your blood, proven to increase fat around the middle. People who store stomach fat may appear stressed, edgy or exhausted.
How to change
Diet – Cut out gluten, this is your usual suspects such as bread, pasta, potatoes. (Tip – if you have blonde hair & blue eyes, there is an extremely high chance that you are gluten intolerant). No client we have ever met functions well with gluten in there diet.
Exercise – Try to cut out training late in the evening, especially long bouts of cardiovascular work as this shows to raise cortisol levels.
Supplements – Omega 3 fish oils, vitamin D to maintain lean body mass, plus a B complex to help combat stress.
Subscapular – “Fat Back”
Excess fat near your shoulder blades and back is often caused by your body’s inability to effectively break down sugars and starchy carbohydrates like pasta and cereals. The hormone insulin helps store foods after eating. If your insulin system is easily overwhelmed by starchy carbs and sugars, it’s likely you have inherited this from your distant ancestors. The diet of ancient hunter-gatherers focused on meat and seasonally available fruit and vegetables, combined with vigorous exercise. This meant their insulin systems didn’t wade through sugars and starch. High levels of fat in the back puts you at risk of CHD (Coronary Heart Disease).
How to change
Diet – As we were designed for a ‘meat & veg’ diet, cut out starchy carbohydrates and if you do have carbs stick to low glycemic load carbs such as brown rice, sweet potato, oats & quinoa.
Exercise – Any type of exercise improves insulin response.
Supplements – Omega 3 fats in fish oils help the body manage sugar and lose fat generally. Two supplements, Fenuplex and Insulinomics, help improve insulin response.
Legs – “Thunder Thighs”
Fat around the thighs and bottom area tends to point to an excess in estrogen levels. Estrogen levels are naturally higher in women than men – hence curvier thighs. Increased fat in this area can come from contraceptive pill, alcohol intake, refined carbohydrate intake and even from poor water supply.
How to change
Diet – Remove refined carbs such as sugar, sweets, white bread and commercial breakfast cereals and eat more ‘cruciferous’ vegetables such as cabbage, sprouts, broccoli and kale. They contain a phyto chemical which improves the efficiency of estrogen processing in the liver. (Tip – Check your thyroid function with your GP, as those with an under/overactive may need to be more restrictive with the veg they can eat).
Exercise – Try to cut out training late in the evening, especially long bouts of cardiovascular work. Aim for an earlier work out and weight training where possible.
Supplements – Dim Avail is a concentrated form of the compound found in cruciferous vegetables, and helps with PMS. Another great supplement is calcium-dglucarate, which supplies the body with the molecule used to de-activate estrogen.