Anyone who has taken seriously to dieting and weight loss or who is in intense physical training knows that losing the first significant chunk of weight is fairly easy. They cut their food intake and upped their physical output and were able to see awesome results in a short amount of time. Now that the initial weight loss has slowed, frustration is starting to set in. What is going on?
- Estrogen - the female sex hormone that is responsible for lower body fat in buttocks and thighs
- Cortisol - thoughtfully termed the "stress hormone" that creates excess fat in our stomach
- Insulin - the hormone that contributes to love handles
Now do you remember these hormones? Good. Let's look at how we can pit these hormones against other hormones with these exercises designed to combat the fat and blast past that weight loss plateau.
Estrogen vs. Testosterone - Density Training
Estrogen is the main contributor to lower-body fat that is stored in the thighs and buttocks of most women. So it only makes sense to combat estrogen with the male hormone testosterone - and we're not talking about illegal steroids. We want to raise testosterone levels naturally through density training.
What is density training? I am glad you asked. You can accomplish density training and increase testosterone levels naturally by doing reps of weights in a given amount of time and then repeating the exercises with increased weights, increased reps, also in the same amount of time. Here is an example:
Overhead Press - 25 pound dumbbells for 20 reps
DB Row - 40 pound dumbbells for 18 reps
Squat - 100 pound barbell for 22 reps
Now, let's do all of that again but this time we will increase the reps and weight, but still keep the same time frame. So your second set might look like this:
Overhead Press - 30 pound dumbbells for 23 reps
DB Row - 50 pound dumbbells for 20 reps
Squat - 120 pound barbell for 25 reps
This type of density training is highly effective at producing enough testosterone to counterbalance the estrogen being produced and burns a lot of fat and calories in the process. Just get ready to say goodbye to that pear-shape and hello to a shapelier and toned body.
Cortisol vs. Growth Hormone - Lactic Acid Training
Remember cortisol? It is more commonly known as the "stress hormone," but I like to call it the "sneaky hormone." This is because the more we exercise or physically stress our bodies, the more cortisol that we create, making it doubly hard to lose the weight around our middles.
However, our bodies also create growth hormones that are awesome at combating cortisol and keeping that fat off our bellies. The time that we produce the most growth hormone is during sleep so it goes without saying that sleep is essential at combating cortisol production.
While sleep is great, lactic acid training is better. As I mentioned in my previous article, cortisol is produced in abundance when we engage in marathon cardio sessions. So instead, let's get our muscles burning, literally, with lactic acid so our bodies produce growth hormone to ease the burn.
Okay, so to produce the most lactic acid possible (and in turn the most growth hormone possible), we need to be in the working zone as long as possible. This means that if we are doing squats, we lower quickly, but rise back up as slow as possible to keep our legs in the work zone as long as possible. With this training it is essential to use lighter weights in order to keep your form as tight as possible.
Insulin vs. Insulin-Like Growth Factor One (IGF 1) - Dynamic Training
When dealing with the hormone insulin, we are basically dealing with the problem of insulin resistance, specifically insulin sensitivity, which creates fat in our lower back and love handles. To combat this sensitivity, we need to create more IGF-1 and that can be accomplished through dynamic training.
Dynamic training deals specifically with burning all-over body fat through fast-paced movements to train the body to move more efficiently while burning enormous amounts of calories. The best way to achieve this is through circuit training that incorporates movements for every major muscle groups in the body which creates a significant amount of IGF-1 and helps to combat insulin sensitivity.