The Hormone Connection to Exercise

The Hormone Connection to Exercise

To use exercise to trigger fat-burning hormones, it is important to discuss the variables of exercise:

1) Intensity (the power behind the exercise) and difficulty
2) Frequency
3) Duration (total time of exercise)
4) Type
5) Rest (The goal is to use exercise strategically to maximize and keep your body in fat burning and minimize fat-making stress hormones.)

Today we will discuss the first two: Intensity and Frequency.

Intensity and Difficulty

Intensity is a primary factor; it is the most powerful stimulus for the fat-burning hormones. Growth hormone is the best example of this. If the exercise is not intense enough, you won’t be able to stimulate growth hormone.

At the beginning of this exercise program you will stimulate these hormones to burn fat. The body will repair itself and get used to it. The more you get used to the difficulty, the less the fat-burning hormones are affected. So, with time, there will need to be a progressive increase of intensity to create the same effects on fat-burning hormones. You have to keep the difficulty level high in order to keep the intensity high enough. Therefore, you need to keep challenging yourself.

I personally started out biking around my neighborhood on flat pavement. I used to ride my bike through some trails and initially could barely make it up a steep hill—this was intense. Several years later, I am going up very steep hills, which I never thought I could achieve, and it’s not even a challenge. So I’ve had to set my gears lower to make it very difficult going up the hill in order to keep the intensity high. This way I can stay in fat-burning mode. The body adapts and you need to keep challenging it.

Frequency

There are two different frequencies we are talking about. The first is the frequency of repetitions of exercise during one session. The second is how many days per week one exercises.

It is important to keep your workouts short and intense. For anaerobic exercise the repetitions don’t have to be many, because as you increase intensity, adding lots of repetitions will also trigger the adrenal stress hormone cortisol and defeat the purpose. If you are doing weight training, instead of increasing repetitions add more weight to increase intensity, but keep the duration short. In the beginning, you’ll start out with five repetitions and progress from there. The thing to not do is use light weights with a high number of repetitions, as there’s not enough intensity to trigger fat-burning hormones. Anaerobic exercise should be done every other day—not daily— unless you are still sore, in which case you should wait till most of the soreness goes away before working out again. Take more rest between exercises and keep soreness at the low end.

To use exercise to trigger fat-burning hormones, it is important to discuss the variables of exercise:

1) Intensity (the power behind the exercise) and difficulty
2) Frequency
3) Duration (total time of exercise)
4) Type
5) Rest (The goal is to use exercise strategically to maximize and keep your body in fat burning and minimize fat-making stress hormones.)

Today we will discuss 3 -5:  Duration, Type, and Rest.

Duration

The actual duration of exercise is also key. If you are being intense and doing it for a long time, you will automatically nullify fat-burning hormones by again stressing the adrenals to pump out cortisol. It’s better to keep the intensity high and the duration short and quick. Intense bursts of repetitions for short periods of time, starting at one minute, are best. It is vital to rest for about five minutes between these bouts.

Types of Exercise

There are two main types of exercise with anaerobic:

1. Weight training or resistance training

2. Increased pulse rate

Since the key to stimulating fat-burning hormones is intensity, it is best to find the exercise that will give you the best intensity based on your capabilities. If your body doesn’t allow you to do hockey, you might want to stick with either doing weight training or using a resistance machine at the gym, where you could get good intense exercise.

Rest and Recovery

This is the most important variable, as the fat-burning hormones are using up fat during the rest between exercises and up to two days after exercise. Without resting, you get very little fat burning. With some people, an extra 30 minutes of sleep per night as well as reducing their exercise routine to twice or even once per week, with lots of rest in between, will cause them to start burning more fat.

Plateau

The body adapts to the stress of exercise within two to three weeks. It then takes another two weeks to stabilize these tiny body cell structures. This is why people tend to plateau when attempting to lose weight or when starting any exercise program. This is also why it is crucial to change your exercise routines, keeping them new. I recommend rotating their sequence every two to three weeks. That way your body will never get fully accustomed to the routine and your difficulty and intensity will remain high. This is the most important key to staying in fat burning and getting more out of your exercise. Examples of different types of exercise that can be switched would be biking, step aerobics, running, Curves routines, weight training, yoga, boxing routines, rollerblading, racquetball and swimming.

The exception is the Adrenal body type, for which you would want to keep the intensity lower and keep the stress of exercise also on the low side. If you have an Adrenal body type, you would focus on aerobic exercise until your adrenals are stronger, then graduate to higher intensity type exercise.

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