It is not just about calories in and calories out. The hormonal balance inside your body affects how much weight you lose, the type of food you crave, and the energy level you have. It can be tricky to understand this complex system, but luckily we are here to break it down for you!
We will discuss four hormones: cortisol, insulin, thyroid, and sex hormones (testosterone in men and progesterone in women). We will go over what they do and how they affect metabolism to achieve your fitness goals in true Power Girl Fitness fashion!
Hormones are chemical messengers that transmit information between cells.
Hormones play an important role in every aspect of a person's life. They can affect how much weight is lost, what food they crave, and the energy level they have.
There are two main hormones that affect fat loss: cortisol and insulin. Cortisol works to increase blood sugar levels, so it acts as a counter-regulatory hormone to insulin. When cortisol levels are too high, it can cause individuals to gain weight and body fat —especially around the midsection.
Conversely, you burn more fat for energy instead of storing it when you have low cortisol levels, such as after an intense workout.
On the other hand, insulin is responsible for regulating blood sugar levels by transporting glucose from the bloodstream into cells, where it can be used as fuel. Insulin also helps to reduce blood sugar levels by inhibiting the release of glucose from the liver and increasing the uptake of glucose in muscle and fat tissue.
We all know that insulin is a powerful hormone, but did you know that high insulin levels put your body at risk for weight gain and diabetes?
When you have high levels of insulin, it inhibits lipolysis (the breakdown of fat cells). Consequently, increasing the storage process puts your client at risk for prediabetes or type II diabetes. On the other hand, when insulin is kept in check through exercise and dieting, then your client will lose weight and body fat.
The thyroid gland produces two hormones: triiodothyronine (T-three) and thyroxine (T-four). These hormones control the rate at which the cells burn energy, also known as the metabolic rate.
When you have low levels of T-three or T-four, you are at risk for weight gain and/or slower metabolism. On the other hand, when you have high levels of these hormones, it can increase their metabolic rate, which will help you lose more fat!
After a workout, the sex hormone progesterone works with cortisol to reduce muscle protein breakdown while increasing glycogen (stored carbohydrates) synthesis. In other words, progesterone allows you to have more energy and lose weight faster because it helps your body store glycogen instead of breaking down muscle tissue for fuel which slows down your metabolism.
Exercise can increase the production of certain hormones, such as testosterone and growth hormone.
Testosterone is the primary male sex hormone responsible for muscle mass, facial hair, libido, and sperm production. It is also a fat burner because it increases lean body weight, which in turn boosts metabolism.
Growth hormone helps you burn more calories throughout the day by increasing cellular respiration (the amount of energy required to maintain your client's body). It also increases protein synthesis, which in turn preserves lean muscle mass.
Balancing these four hormones is essential for weight loss. Women who want to be true power girls through fitness and nutrition should be aware of the effect of these hormones on their bodies.
While there are many other important things to consider when trying to lose weight and get fit (sleep, hydration, etc.), a healthy hormone balance is one of the key elements.
Testosterone has been shown to improve mood, reduce depression symptoms, and promote muscle growth.
Trying to lose weight and staying fit can be stressful. At MPower Fitness Coaching, we've seen dozens of individuals who claimed to be hopeless at losing weight. They've tried different diets and workout routines, but the weight just wouldn't budge.
Instead of pushing them too hard, we advise our clients to relax and take a step back.
Why? Keeping stress levels low increases cortisol production, which helps individuals burn fat faster.
Women already have enough on their plates without being stressed about losing weight. Our MPower Fitness trainers take the worry out of it by teaching our clients how to balance these important hormones through healthy exercise and nutrition.
This is why it's so important to keep your cortisol levels in check while losing weight and getting fit!
When you have high-stress levels, you will burn muscle tissue instead of fat for energy which slows down your metabolism! This has the opposite effect of what you want to happen.
Growth hormone aids in protein synthesis, which assists with lean muscle mass development.
MPower Fitness coaches will teach you how to keep your stress levels low through healthy exercise and good nutrition; then, it will increase cortisol production, which helps to burn fat at a faster rate.
Exercise also positively impacts other hormones like cortisol (stress) and thyroid-stimulating hormone (metabolism).
Exercise can lead to an increase in the production of certain hormones, such as testosterone and growth hormone, which are both important for helping you burn more calories throughout your day!
The more you exercise, the better your mood and concentration will be. You'll find that your MPower Fitness exercise routines are working for you around the clock, not just during your workouts.
Boosting Your Metabolism for More Efficient Weight Loss
Besides being aware of how your hormones are working for you, you can also boost your metabolism through several natural ways. These include:
- Reducing your sugar intake - Sugar increases your blood sugar levels, which can lead to insulin resistance. Having too much in your body makes it harder to lose weight because the extra sugar has no place to go. It's simply stored as fat.
- Keep track of your calorie intake - You need calories for energy, but if you're taking in more than what you're burning, you'll gain weight. Eating a healthy breakfast and lunch helps keep your metabolism going because it's fueled with nutritious foods, which give you consistent energy throughout the day.
- Exercise - We all know that exercise helps us lose weight, but it also works in pumping up your metabolism. For every half hour you exercise, your body continues to burn calories for up to 24 hours after you're done with your workout.
- Keeping a food diary - Writing down what you eat and when can help you track what's going into your body. This includes the amounts and whether they came from a processed or whole food source. MPower Fitness can also take note of how you felt before and after eating to see if there's a correlation between what you ate and how you felt.
- Eat enough food - You need to eat nourishing foods for your body to work at its best. Not only will it boost the rate at which you burn calories, but it also helps keep cravings under control. This way, you'll have an easier time sticking to your reduced calorie intake.
- Get enough sleep - Getting too little or too much shuteye can lower the levels of leptin, which tells your brain when you're full, and ghrelin, which alerts your brain when it's time to eat.
- Be active throughout the day - Moving around instead of sitting too much can help you burn more calories. You can even find ways to incorporate physical activity into your daily tasks, such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator or pacing while talking on the phone.
- Avoid extreme dieting - Crash diets can lower your metabolism because they limit how many calories you take in. They also deprive your body of important nutrients, which can lead to health risks.
- Avoid stress - Stress from work, school, and home can wreak havoc on your body because of the hormones it releases. These stress hormones have been linked to weight gain because they tell your body that there's a threat and that you need extra fat for protection. If you're stressed, try meditating, taking walks, or doing yoga.
Weight loss is a tricky subject to tackle, but it's not impossible. It all starts by understanding the hormonal balance inside your body and how this influences weight gain, cravings for certain foods, and energy levels.
If you want to take control of your health and nutrition without feeling overwhelmed or frustrated, contact us at MPower Fitness Coaching today! We can help you figure out what type of exercise will work best with your body chemistry so you can finally start seeing results in the right direction.