Published on January 23rd, 2013 | by George Conte2
Hormones and weight loss
For people of a certain age (over 40 years old) a big problem isn’t just how to gain muscle mass, but also how to lose fat. Unfortunately as we grow older stored fat becomes even harder to lose. This phenomenon is called “hormonal weight gain”
This problem has lately concerned some of my friends that are dangerously approaching the age of forty and due to our discussions I’ve started to research about it. The following are my opinions on this matter. I’m no expert and I have gathered data from my own research and experimentation, so I welcome any disagreements and additions.
Problem number #1
As we age we become “diabetic”. I mean that with age insulin sensitivity is being reduced, in result carbohydrates are converted to an increased rate in fat.
Problem number #2
Hormonal changes that lead to hormonal weight gain. Testosterone and growth hormone reduce over time, while estrogens increase. Also cortisol increases. All of the them are conducive to adding more fat.
Problem number #3
We tend to maintain. We believe that we are good now as we are so we adjust our schedule to stay that way instead of always try to improve. This mindset is a huge mistake and is the beginning of our downturn.
There are several solutions to these problems in my opinion:
Solution for problem number #1
Permanently keep the insulin at low (but not hypoglycemic) levels. Treat it as follows:
- Have a low to medium carbohydrate diet. Medium amounts of carbohydrate consumption at days of training and the rest days just use a low carbohydrate diet plan. Types of carbohydrates that you should use are brown rice, boiled potatoes, legumes, oats and peas. Completely avoid wheat and its derivatives since I consider them to be aggravating to your health. Especially for wheat there are many who say it raises insulin to high levels due to the mutation of gluten from the ongoing hybridization. For sugar and similar types of carbs I will not comment at all (just avoid at any cost).
- Only one or two controlled cheat meals per week are not affecting insulin levels.
- After exercise do not consume high amounts of carbs, I do not think it is so important.
- Do not follow a bulking diet, ideally keep it isocaloric.
- Use supplements that help like R-Alpha Lipoic Acid and omega-3 fatty acids.
- For those of you that want to research more into this subject I recommend to check “metformin”. It is a drug with minimal side effects, and physicians in the U.S. use it for anti-aging purposes (off label usage). I personally do not recommend it but I think that over the years it will become a miracle drug.
Solution for problem number #2
Within the site you will find articles on how to naturally increase testosterone.
Insulin is the great enemy of the “Growth Hormone” (or the hormone of youth) because high levels of insulin are actually blocking it. There you have another reason to keep insulin at low levels. Also very hard aerobic workout like High Intensity Training (HIT) causes growth hormone to rise. HIT is great but you need to be careful because it requires excellent physical condition and affects the recovery rate of weight lifting.
Too much estrogen is unfortunately not good for men. Estrogen favors deposition of fat and combined with DHT (dihydrotestosterone) form a toxic mixture for the prostate.
A method that can reduce estrogen is to maintain low fat percentage throughout the year. Estrogens are produced from testosterone by an enzyme called aromatase. There is a very high amount of concentration of aromatase in adipose tissue.
It also seems that eating cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, etc.) helps. Substances that help are I3C and DIM. These exist in supplements if anyone wants to try.
For cortisol levels try to be calm and do not stress. Be sure to consume foods with vitamin C. Also something that I find important is to reduce the time of training. Do not exceed the 40-45 minute limit. If you can do it then increase intensity and decrease volume of training.
Solution for problem number #3
It is a lifestyle that many have adopted. In my opinion it is a big mistake, a retreat and if someone makes that mistake it is a matter of time before similar decisions follow. In other words, it puts you in a defeatist mode, don’t accept that.
On the other hand there is certainly overkill. What I do personally is to always look at the result in relation to my age. See if you wish respected athletes or stars at your age and set similar targets. Probably you will not achieve the same results but you will be much better than if you settle.
Finally, I would like to emphasize the importance of aerobics, but this is independent of age.