Hack Your Hormones: How To Get Lean, Sleep Like a Baby and Stay Young
Hormones are a bit like your body’s board of directors. You know they exist, you know they do an important job. You’re just not quite sure what that job is. But behind closed doors they’re running the show. They choose when you sleep or get hungry, whether you build muscle or store fat – they can even make you happy or sad.
The trouble is, left to their own devices these guys can cause you a lot of trouble – think the global financial crisis except the bankers are your hormones and the markets are your body. (We don’t know what quantitative easing is in this analogy, maybe your spleen or something)
In short, you need to learn to control your hormones, get in there and go full Angela Merkel on their asses. Here’s how…
1 – Sort Your Love Life
Key Hormone: Testosterone
Testosterone is the hormone of manliness. It builds muscle, makes you ambitious and decisive and instills an instinctive distrust of the music of Michael Buble. It also dictates libido. Unless you already require a hedge-trimmer to shave, more testosterone is better.
Make it Work For You – Of course this can be done through chemical assistance, but you can increase testosterone naturally by lifting weights three or four times a week. Pick big exercises like squats and bench press and keep your rest periods between sets under 60 seconds. The more intense the better and you need to be consistent.
2 – Sleep Like A Baby
Key Hormone: Cortisol/Melatonin
Cortisol (the “stress” hormone) should be high in the morning and low at night. When you’re under chronic stress this can flip on itself, meaning you’re wired when you should be nodding off and sluggish when you wake up.
Make It Work For You – Melatonin production is inhibited by light hitting your retina, so sleep in a pitch-black room or use an eye-mask. Or gouge them out with a fork if you’re hardcore.
Cortisol is a little more slippery but it all comes down to stress management. Make a to-do list for the next day. This gives your mind permission to stop thinking about work when you’re trying to nod off.
Do something to relieve stress daily. Smokers find cigarettes a stress relief as it’s often the only time of day they take deep breaths. You can get those benefits (while swerving the whole cancer thing) by practicing deep abdominal breathing. Lie on your back with your hand on your stomach. Inhale deeply, filling your stomach with air. Breathe out, fully emptying your lungs. Repeat for 20 cycles.
Finally, try herbal teas. Tulsi tea at night and licorice tea in the morning may help reset your wonky sleep patterns.
3 – Stay Lean Year Round
Insulin is like your least reliable mate. Sometimes it’s awesome, sometimes it pukes on your carpet. When it’s being awesome insulin takes nutrients from your blood stream and shuttles them into your muscles. This helps them grow and recover from exercise. But insulin can also cause those nutrients to be stored as fat.
Make It Work For You – Clearly you want to get insulin on your side, and you do that by increasing insulin sensitivity in your muscle cells. How? By lifting weights (surprise surprise). Exercise increases insulin sensitivity for up to a few days at a time.
We also recommend saving carbohydrates for your post-exercise meal. This gives you the best chance of getting those nutrients into your guns instead of your gut. Basically; Earn your carbs!
4 – Live Forever
Okay maybe not forever, unless it’s in the metaphorical sense of living forever in the collective memory like Churchill or Spiderman.
But more and more research suggests IGF-1 is important for predicting life expectancy. IGF-1 is high when cell division is high. Cancer cells are like bad copies that grow and spread so we’d ideally like to keep IGF-1 down. The easiest way to do that is through calorie restriction.
There’s a problem with that approach though; it’s a rubbish way to live. Eating rabbit food forever may make you the world’s oldest man but you’ll also be the worst to be stuck at a party with. However, delaying breakfast until three o’clock twice a week (also known as intermittent fasting) may have similar benefits, and you’ll get leaner too.
If this all seems a little complex, you could just let us take care of it for you. Just join our Warrior Tribe, starting September 10th at both our Blackfriars and Liverpool Street locations. You’ll get a bespoke nutrition plan, four training sessions a week and regular measurements making it impossible for you to fail. To grab a space, contact us on [email protected]