Friday, October 5, 2012

A more complete view - The perfect storm for fat gain

Update 11.1.12 - added link and quote on sleep.

"I used to be able to get away with eating whatever I want when I was younger.  I just need to exercise more."

It's not exactly accurate to say that you gained weight just because you stopped working out. There are a host of other factors.

What's the real reason you gained weight?


What impacts your hormones?… 
  • Genetics
  • Age
  • Stress
  • Sleep and Recovery
  • Nutrition
  • Exercise/Lifestyle

Snapshot of your leaner days from the ages of 10-18 years old...
  • Genetics
    • Thank your Mom and Dad.
  • Age
    • You're in your peak growing years, meaning Growth Hormone, Testosterone, and Estrogen are shooting through the roof. 
    • More calories are going toward building bones, muscle tissue, organs, etc. 
  • Stress
    • Most likely much lower levels of stress as you're living under your parents roof and finances.  
    • Typically lower amount of life responsibilities. 
    • Teenage pressures are there but not the same as an adults. This results in lower levels of Cortisol and Adrenaline as compared to adults.
  • Sleep and Recovery
    • With less responsibilities comes more time to rest, relax. Reduced levels of Cortisol and Adrenaline. 
    • Want to lose more weight… screw exercise… sleep more. Think about it, its the longest period you go throughout the day without adding calories to your system.  I consider it the free magic pill to fat loss.
    • Update 11.1.12 - came across a cool article on sleep via
      • "It seems crazy: One third of our lives are spent sleeping. But those hours are far from unproductive. During sleep, our bodies repair muscles, consolidate memories, and release hormones and chemicals that regulate everything from energy to appetite."  
  • Nutrition
    • At this age you can typically get away with more carbs and calories as the body is using more of those calories to "build" during puberty. Insulin (for the sake of this blog post… your Muscle and Fat storage hormone) may be higher, but your body is using this storage hormone to its advantage to construct an adult body. 
    • Although the starchier and sugary carb calories don't have as big of an impact on your system at this age, your'e conditioning your brain and body to  crave and operate off of certain foods for your later years.  
  • Exercise/Lifestyle
    • Perhaps exercise may be higher due to sports and other activities… Many more calories are being utilized for energy or rebuilding.  
    • On the other hand, we are also priming our bodies for a relatively sedentary lifestyle based on sitting all day for school. 

Snapshot of your Not So Lean days now...
  • Genetics
    • Thank your Mom and Dad again.
  • Age
    • You're body is no longer in a stage of growth… yet your midline is… 
    • Growth Hormone, Testosterone (lean muscle hormones) are slowly reducing due to age and other life responsibilities.  Bummer!
  • Stress
    • Stress is typically much higher as life responsibilities (work, finances, kids, pets, etc) have drastically increased.  
    • This results in much higher levels of Cortisol and Adrenaline.  
    • This also plays a role with reducing testosterone in the body.  
    • Here's a tip… take a vacation without your kids and get some sleep… watch what it does for your sex drive (testosterone increases, reduces cortisol).  Magic.
  • Sleep and Recovery
    • With more responsibilities comes LESS time to rest, sleep, and relax. 
    • No sleep and recovery time contributes to higher levels of Cortisol and Adrenaline and higher demand for calories (see below).
  • Nutrition
    • Increased Cortisol and reduced sleep means the body is going to require more energy(calories)… resulting in a craving for quicker energy sources (starchy or sugary carbs)… 
    • Increased blood sugar, results in increases of Insulin (Fat and Muscle Storage Hormone)… 
    • Increased Insulin + Low Activity =   Muffin Top Jones!
  • Exercise/Lifestyle
    • Based on increased stress and responsibilities mentioned above, typically exercise reduces dramatically and becomes least priority (adding to reduced testosterone and growth hormone)… 
    • Combine that with the increased calories/insulin mentioned in the nutrition section above and you have the perfect storm for fat gain.

Immediate Actions...
    • Make moves on reducing the stress in your life. 
    • Might help by reducing your unnecessary costs, commitments, etc. 
    • Figure out whats important and do it every day.
  • Get Rest!
    • Figure out ways to get more sleep, schedule time to relax every day, take a vacation. 
  • Re-Train your body to operate primarily off of things like Protein, Fats, and Veggies. 
    • Reduce your dependency on starchy/sugary carbs and alcohol, and create rules for yourself so you can still enjoy those things in moderation.
  • Re-learn how to move.  Sitting, your shoes and life over the past 20-40 years has probably left you with some awful biomechanics.  
    • Exercise is great, but when done without proper movement patterns can leave you injured or in a worse place bio-mechanically than you started. 
    • Once you move well, make sure regular resistance training is part of your life in some capacity or another. 

The End. Make Moves and learn to squat... Batman Style!

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