Hormonal Optimization: Simple Guidelines
Hormonal A-Bombs: How to Ruin Your Health and Hinder Results
Here the 3-step recipe to create the perfect hormonal storm. They represent exactly what NOT to do to get results, yet I see them done often by misguided trainees.
Step #1 YOLO
The hell with the cortisol to testosterone ratio. You can train for hours on end every weekday. And pull out all-nighters, partying and drinking alcohol on weekends!
Your anabolism will bloom unabated in total disregards of the laws of physiology. Sleep is for the weak and only applies to common mortals.
The testosterone/cortisol ratio dictates the training effect. Short of using anabolic steroids there isn’t much to do to elevate already healthy baseline levels.
Side note: the main side effect of steroid abuse appears to be poor training. That’s why I always recommend reading training books that date back before the 80s aka before steroids ruined training
So, according to the law of least effort: Your best bet is, not to focus on raising testosterone itself, but rather to manage your cortisol. This will favor anabolism and help you grow bigger and stronger.
Words to the wise:
Don’t misread that cortisol is the arch villain. For instance, high cortisol is a good thing DURING training when the goal is strength as you may recall from my article on Pre-Workout Nutrition.
A disrupted cortisol curve or chronically high cortisol are problematic.As a man you should wake up under a teepee every morning. #PoliquinismClick To Tweet
Step #2 Join the Resistance… to Insulin
Eat carbs round the clock, preferably fast sugars.
Don’t monitor the main tell-tale signs of insulin resistance or rationalize them away. If you feel drowsy after meals, well, it’s no big deal. Arnold himself took a daily nap. Signs such as: no belts fit your ample love handles anymore? That’s what suspenders are for! You crave sugar so bad you sold your roommate’s left kidney to buy doughnuts?
Unmanaged insulin disrupts many bodily systems:
It paves the way towards inflammation. Chronic inflammation makes it unlikely that you would ever reach your physique goals. Building muscles or shedding body fat will drop a few notches on your body priority list with this scenario.
- It upregulates the enzyme aromatase’s production. This will deplete your testosterone and compromise your success in the gym.
- It causes thyroid dysregulation. Thyroid controls your metabolic rate. Hence, any disturbance will tamper with fat loss or muscle gains.
- It lowers GH production. More on this later.
- It generates misfolded, dysfunctional proteins which can lead to all sorts of degenerative diseases down the road.
Provided you are not a type 1 diabetic, Insulin production is 100% under your control.
Nobody was ever mugged by a wild pack of doughnuts.
Step #3 What Happens in the Gut doesn’t stay in the gut
If your life goal is to grow nipples the size of a Frisbee by all means skip the greens and the probiotics. Heck, if you’re truly committed, you can even keep eating from microwaved plastic Tupperwares and use toiletries heavily loaded with chemical xenoestrogens.
A sub-optimal transit is the fast way to estrogen toxicity as well as the perfect recipe for an over-burdened liver. Think about it, whatever waste products (spent hormones, and various metabolic by-products) will recirculate into the blood giving unwanted estrogens yet another chance to wreak havoc. Then, they will be sent back to the liver. Your liver filters your entire volume of blood more than 500 times, on a daily basis! Suffice it to say you don’t want to shovel more in its backyard. This will most likely result in an estrogen overload.
Plus, what happens when you are overworked? You cut corners. One task that might get swept under the carpet is the conversion of GH to IGF1. No need to go over its importance in everything anabolic. Again, not something you want if you are aiming at more muscle.
All in all, if you are after optimal health and performance, taking care of these three points will go a long way in terms of hormonal optimization.
Yours in health,
Coach Charles R. Poliquin