This is a 2 part (possibly 3!) blog highlighting my main learnings from a recent two day seminar on the hormonal effects of fat loss.
Whilst the course was very ‘sciencey’, I’m going to disseminate it in laymen terms, to get to the nitty gritty of useable information.
1. That fat loss can be attained way easier when your overall health is in a better shape- meaning your hormones are in better balance too. This is why I always look at a clients life not in isolation, but as a whole, holistically. Obesity is actually a hormonal imbalance. If there are key factors out of whack, if makes your chosen goal at best very difficult, at worst nigh on impossible! Before we get onto the correct type of exercise and food plans, there are many important factors that have huge impact on you attaining your goal. Stress,happiness, relationships, sleep, rest and recovery, mental state, are just some pointers which have profound effects on hormones. Think of it this way – watch a horror movie and you heart rate raises, your fight and flight senses are heightened, you can sweat, pupils enlarge , etc this is a hormonal effect from just watching something, not actually doing. Now think what that does to you when you have negative self talk, a toxic relationship, an unhappy work life, poor sleep, unmanageable stress,etc This all has a big impact on overall balance of hormones and hence overall wellness. You can see why some people struggle with fat loss and this is before exercise prescription and food manipulation!
2. That genes account for very individual differences for the same stimulus i.e. Why some people can eat and eat with seemingly little effect and others just look at a donut and lay down fat! We all would like to know the ONLY way to go, but in truth we can only go by current research and consensus and even then try and see what works for you as an individual. We know of some people who can get in shape seemingly very quickly and others who really struggle. As difficult as it is not to compare its going to upset your mindset if you expect a certain outcome based on genetic freaks!! Think about your body type and your muscle fibre types. There are 3 main body type classifications ecto/meso/endo – morphs. Skinny/thin – muscular – rounder/fatter. Then there are combinations of each. Different types react differently to the same training stimulus. We also have combinations of different muscle fibers – some quick acting explosive and some slower endurance. These also suit different training modalities.
3. That what you think about yourself and your moods can effect you MORE than food. Yes, read that again!! We have learnt that mere thoughts change hormonal levels. Consider working on loving and looking after yourself as a priority. You are what you think!
4. That for a fat loss focussed workout, high intensity weights should be done first, to mobilize/release the fats into the blood stream, then cardio second to help burn it all now its free.
5. That it can be much easier to get the body to access fat stores when your body’s glucose stores are diminished. This is where ketogenic eating is key in this strategy. Low carb eating diminishes the bodies stores then the body is forced to burn fat as it’s main fuel.
6. That exercise intensity is key to greater results. The body needs to be challenged to change the status quo. During the course we looked at high intensity weights – hi reps (20) minimal rest in between exercises for about 30 minutes. Followed by 30 minutes cardio. We also did harder compound (multi joint) heavier weights. The commonality of both workouts however were where you got very breathless, and both muscles and metabolism where very much stimulated. This forces the body to adapt.
7. That the body needs to be pushed to get past homeostasis. The body is very clever and it can normalize (adapt) to each training stimulus. This amount varies between individuals unique genetic makeup. It’s good to mix up the training -frequency depends on muscle groups and individual specificity.
8. That obesity levels in the early 80’s in the U.K. have gone up from 2% to 67% in 2017!! That is huge!! Chemicals, processed and refined foods are thought to contribute significantly to this.
9. That the body is extremely reactive to change and can adjust up or down if it feels it’s threatened. This is where intelligent planning and adjustment is key. Learn what can work for you as an individual. One of the key factor here is that it debunks the calorie in/calorie out equation for fat loss- it’s not that simple!! The body can adjust the metabolism up or down! It can conserve energy when it needs to, to keep what it has. So if you do too much the same it can get used to it, if you are too restrictive it can slow down, if you push too hard and over-stress the body it can adjust hormones to go against what you want. It’s very clever, complex and down right sneaky!!
10. That all the macro food nutrients – carbohydrates, fats and proteins are metabolized differently. Protein and carbs have similar calories per gramme but the body reacts/treats it differently. The body has to work harder metabolically to break down protein. (Hence some suggest having it with every meal and most find it more satiating than carbs). So all calories are NOT the same. When you track calories it can be useful BUT 200 kcals of chocolate is going to react differently to 200 kcals of eggs. Don’t just tally calories think of what make up those calories! Think of how these foods affect your hormones!
Fascinating stuff I hope you’ll agree? Loads more to come next week!