When I turn the ignition on my vehicle, the battery is connected to the starter, immediately electrical energy flows, from the battery to the stater, which in turn the stater changes into mechanical energy by turning the engine over, allowing it to start. When the engine is running it turns the alternator mechanically and the alternator in turn changes this to electrical energy that flows to the battery. The battery is a chemical storage unit for energy, storing electricity in the chemicals and lead plates.
We are like our cars battery, a chemical storage unit so to speak. We are constantly producing chemical reactions in our bodies in response to activities. There is the digestive system, circulatory system, reproductive system as well as many more that all have there chemical reactions. We are concerned only by two key hormones that we produce and with increased production when we exercise.
We need to address the decline of growth hormone as well as testosterone in our body. Well you say why not just make these hormones and inject them into your body, problem solved, Yes? No, this will only further exasperate the problem by shutting down our own natural production of these hormones.
We are a mechanical machine that needs to function regularly at near peak performance daily.When we do this we mechanically, by exercise stimulate a host of positive chemical reactions in our bodies,not the least of which is hormone production. These hormones are directly linked to increased muscle,decreased fat, stronger libido, better sleep, better mood,better energy and others that seem to increase our vitality.This reversal of the signs of aging are readily within our grasp.
So I made my case for exercise, but what specifically because many “work out” with less than dramatic results.
#1 The type of exercise that is most effective in soliciting an increase in hormone production is a multi-joint( 1/3rd), moving your body( 1/3rd) freely(1/3rd) through space movement. A pull up is one example of a compound exercise that freely moves your body through space. Do the same movement seated on a lat machine and you eliminate the body moving through space, one third less effective. Now isolate your lats or biceps with a machine that guides you through the movement you delete another third of effectiveness, two thirds less effective. Pull ups are very effective in recruiting most of the upper body muscles to complete and they are difficult. When is the last time you saw someone spend a half hour doing pull ups at your gym, not likely. You can pick any exercise you please but know you sacrifice some effectiveness in increasing hormone production.
#2 The timing of exercise can have a dramatic effect on hormone production. First thing in the morning on an empty stomach after a 15 hour fast. This is actually harder than it sounds and it sounds difficult. So much for a pre-workout energy drink. Why this is so effective is complex, but here is the short version. When we exercise with intensity after being totally carbohydrate depleted our bodies respond to this extreme physical stress with extra hormone production. I cannot regularly do the above protocol but I do work out in the morning on an empty stomach (10 hours fasting).
#3 Intensity of exercise is much talked about by many but what it means is not clear to most. Turn on your TV and your work out guru will say things like “push hard, two more reps, feel the burn.” What he is attempting to do is to challenge you to greater intensity but he does not show you. Intensity is a mind set that starts with the first rep,it is focused,strict, using your mind to challenge your body. What we typically see is loud grunting,sloppy form,excessive weights used with little range of motion. If every rep is strict with your mind moving yourself through the range of motion,you may have achieved intensity. You will know because of the amount of consistent mental focus you used. Hormone production responds only to intense physical exercise.
#4 The volume or the amount of work performed during each workout greatly affects hormone production and of course muscle growth. Too many people stop short of enough volume to effectively do anything. Spending an hour and a half in the gym does not guarantee you meet your necessary work load. About 100 reps of a compound movement, with slow, strict reps, placing the muscles under tension for several seconds per rep should begin to meet this key volume.
#5 The frequency of repeating this workout is very important. Repeat this, without completely resting the muscle group, will only cause you to over train and thus go backwards, rather than progress forward. Waiting too many days for rest and you will loss the potential for more gains. The body needs enough stress to challenge it but not so much that it drains the body. The standard is 72 hours rest for that particular muscle group ,then another intense workout. Typically my body needs an additional 24 hours rest and every four days of the same muscle groups works best for me. I have divide my body into four muscle groups with corresponding strength work outs. Aerobics is squeezed in as extra or on days off but you can cut back on the number of strength work outs in favor of more aerobics. Remember to daily stir the chemical pot of our body with some intense exercise.
#6 We balance the above five work out factors by recording our progress in a daily work out log. Only by putting down on paper what we did and how we respond in subsequent work outs will we have an idea what factors need to be increased or decreased. Under stress your body and their is no stimulation of these hormones and if you over stress the body it will react by producing negative, fat producing hormones like cortisol.
#7 Some typical pitfalls of following this protocol is that if we cannot perform all the factors to the letter then we might not bother at all. This is not true,every effort you make in each of the above factors has a positive effect. No one will immediately be able to adopt totally and consistently this protocol. I remember my first attempt at this protocol, after the first work I could barely function, later I tried again and was successful for a three week period before hitting the over training wall. It was many more attempts before there would be three or four month stretches of consistent work outs.
To summarize: Workout daily 3 strength with 3 aerobics day
or 6 strength with 2or 3 extra aerobic sessions.
Work out mornings (if possible) and or, on empty stomach ,and or, preceded by a long fast up to (10- 15) hours.
Work out intently, strictly and with great mental focus.
Work out with limited rest between sets,cut out the socializing til your work load is complete.
Work out on schedule,missed days should be rare,something should be done daily,one days rest every 7 to 8 days is plenty of rest days.
Work out log is a priority.
Work out as often, as regular as you can and do not give up, even if you fall off the wagon, so to speak, for days or weeks,get back into it.
Get into the work out habit,next is diet,but diet is off little use if you cannot consistently apply some of the above principles for exercise. Next week or so we will see how diet can further optimize our workouts and their hormone production in our bodies for rejuvenation.