Your hormones play a major role in weather you achieve your results or not and unfortunately the vast majority of the population suffers from some sort of hormone imbalance stopping or slowing down their results dramatically.
What are hormones and what do they do?
Put simply, hormones are the chemical messengers that control major bodily functions from basic needs like hunger to more complex functions like reproduction, emotions and even mood. The major hormones that contribute directly to the performance of your body and your body composition goals are:
- Estrogen – is the main sex organ for women. It is responsible for puberty, preparing the body for pregnancy, and more importantly the menstrual cycle.
- Progesterone – is very similar to estrogen but is regarded as the secondary sex hormone in women.
- Cortisol – is called the ‘stress hormone’ because of its role in assisting the body in responding to stress.
- Melatonin – is responsible for sleep. Without decent sleep your body will not recover properly and will not be able to perform at an optimal level.
- Testosterone – is the main sex hormone in men and is responsible for puberty, increased bone density, triggers facial hair growth, and increases muscle mass and strength.
If all these hormones are in balance your body is in the perfect environment to thrive, but small imbalances can prevent any health and performance results and more importantly cause major health issues.
How do you know if you have any hormone imbalances?
Unfortunately, there aren’t any particular signs or symptoms which will diagnose a hormone imbalance BUT there are certain traits, irregularities and signs which may help you discover the possibility of any hormone imbalances. These signs include:
- Uncharacteristic fat deposit sites
- Lack of energy/ feeling lethargic and unmotivated
- Regular changes in mood and attitude
- Persistent weight gain
- Fat gain and loss of muscle
- Anxiety, irritability and depression
- Insomnia and poor sleep patterns
- Digestion problems
If you feel like a number of these symptoms are present in your body it is important that you see your local GP or doctor and let them know of the symptoms you are suffering. They will most likely run tests that will help determine if there are any hormone imbalances within your body.
What should I do if I have a hormone imbalance?
Once a hormone imbalance has been diagnosed, the next steps are very important in addressing and fixing these issues to prevent further health and performance issues later down the track AND to create the optimal level of health to achieve your desired results.
There are a 3 very important steps you must take to fix a hormone imbalance:
- 1. Implement a proper exercise and training program – the first step is to design and implement a training program that is going to be beneficial not only to your goals but the way your body responds to certain training techniques. If you are not sure of how to structure and implement a training program be sure to see a personal trainer or fitness professional to help you.
- 2. Follow a hormone specific nutrition plan – this is the most important step in the process so it is vital that you seek the right information from either a nutritionist, naturopath or a personal trainer who specialises in hormone balancing programming. The function of your hormones are subject to the foods you eat and the nutrients that are consumed through these foods. Lack of nutrients in your diet can cause further hormone imbalances and health issues so it is imperative that you apply a nutrient specific meal plan in relation to your training program.
- Follow a prescribed supplement plan – this is extremely beneficial for someone who suffers from a hormone imbalance, as it aims to provide your body with extra vitamins and nutrients that you wouldn’t normally be able to consume in a nutrition plan. When you have a hormone imbalance it generally means that your body is deficient in certain nutrients, vitamins and minerals so by adding supplements to a specific nutrition plan you will improve these levels.
I’m sure after reading this article you have no doubt that hormones are a MAJOR FACTOR in the way your body functions and the role they play on you achieving the results you are after, but I can’t stress enough how important it is to identify a hormone imbalance so it can be treated sooner rather than later.
Unfortunately, in my line of work, it is not uncommon to see someone bust their ass for months on end only to end up with nothing more than a tired and fatigued body and mind without realising that the only thing holding back their results was a hormone imbalance. I see bodybuilding competitors (females in particular) putting themselves through weeks and months of comp prep on minimal calories and nutrients just because their ‘coach’ told them they needed to in order to be ‘comp ready’ for 1 day.
There is some good news but! There is absolutely no need to go through all that stress only to do damage to your body and ego! All you need to do is speak to a personal trainer or coach who specialises in hormones or has had experience dealing with similar clients. Do your research, and ask them questions, as this will give you an idea of who you want helping you instead of hindering your results.