There is such an intense focus on calories in and calories out that many women forget about the most powerful fat burning tools: hormones.
You see, you could drastically restrict calories only to end up hitting a weight loss plateau because of hormones. On the other hand, you could modestly restrict calories while maximizing hormonal output and experience the fastest rate of fat loss your body can naturally handle.
So here is how to maximize your hormonal output for maximum weight loss and arm toning:
1. Testosterone: It’s not just important for men, it’s also extremely important for women. Its biggest benefit is increased protein anabolism which means muscle growth. And recall that muscle controls how many calories you burn 24/7. To a lesser degree, testosterone also helps burn fat. Here are two ways to increase it:
a. Make sure at least 30% of your calories come from fat.
b. Lift heavy weights.
2. Growth hormone: Similar to testosterone, it stimulates protein synthesis while also burning fat. It can be considered a “restorative” hormone. Here are two ways to increase it:
a. Get deep sleep.
b. Don’t eat carbohydrates before bed.
3. Epinephrine and norepinephrine: These are “fight or flight” hormones (aka adrenalin) that can turn an average workout into a ground-shaking workout. As an added bonus, they mobilize fat cells for oxidation. The key here, however, is to make sure they are not chronically elevated by stress or overconsumption of caffeine. Here are two ways to increase them before working out:
a. Have a small amount of caffeine.
b. Have a pre-workout ritual that arouses your emotional state like listening to charged music.
4. Thyroxine: Produced by your thyroid, it stimulates oxidative metabolism in your mitochondria which means it helps your body burn more calories 24/7. It’s also considered a permissive hormone since it regulates how well other hormones can work. Here are two ways to increase it:
a. Don’t restrict your caloric intake by more than 20% of your needs.
b. Spike your caloric intake on a regular basis.
5. Insulin: Produced by your pancreas, insulin pushes nutrients into your tissues-including fat cells. So less insulin is better here. Here are two ways to decrease insulin:
a. Balance the majority of your meals with the following: unsaturated fats, vegetables, slow digesting carbohydrates and low-fat protein sources.
b. Resistance train regularly.
6. Leptin and ghrelin: Both these hormones influence your appetite. If you can keep them in balance, you won’t feel as hungry when eating fewer calories. Here are two ways to keep them balanced:
a. Eat every couple of hours, never going over five hours between meals.
b. Get a full night’s sleep.
While the amount of calories you eat does influence how much weight you can lose, ignoring hormones is a big mistake you do NOT want to make. I can guarantee that once you master your hormones, you’ll tone your arms faster than ever before!