Hormones, hormone levels and hormone balance – a very complex topic that impacts how well we age in very big ways.
Before we get into that, an explanation of the photos at the head of this weeks column: clearly this is Frank showing off. My buddy/workout partner Tony B. took these while we were working legs last Wednesday. The first thing that hit me when I saw them was; how is it possible for those scrawny legs to push that kind of weight? The second thing was how hard it is to get a digital camera to go off when you want, like at the bottom of a leg press move, so it doesn’t look like you’re cheating. He’s telling me to stop and hold at the bottom and my brain is screaming really loudly to push now! So, it ain’t pretty, but it is a 66 year-old, 174lb senior demonstrating the kind of strength that weight training can develop. The first photo is from our 4th set and I got 8 reps before failure. The second, with 7 plates/side, is our 5th/last set and I got 5 reps before giving up. He and I work legs once a week on Wednesdays so we can heal enough to do sports (Tony) or yard work (Frank) on the weekend.
Hormones – a little understood topic that would take volumes to cover adequately, and which the medical community has no clear direction for optimizing. First, hormones control/regulate most of your body’s functions, and have the most dominant influence on body composition and aging. Second, the balance between the many significant hormones is critical to both physical and mental function. Third, hormones administered exogenously (from outside the body) always disrupt the delicate interdependency of the endocrine system, even human- identical hormones. And last, the aging process results in a long- term decline of the hormones involved in building muscle, staying lean and having abundant energy. It has been demonstrated that restoring hormones to youthful levels and balance results in almost immediate reversal of most markers of aging.
Fortunately, hormone levels and balance can be positively influenced by exercise, diet, and specific nutrients that can act as raw materials and precursers for hormone production. At any age, you can influence hormone levels toward youthful values. You can become more anabolic, build muscle, lose fat and gain energy. As I said, this is a very complex issue, and the information in the media is often conflicting and confusing. In all my searching over the last 35 years, I have never seen the whole picture as well presented as it is in the book by Rob Faigin – “Natural Hormonal Enhancement“. He also has a training video and a exercise book, available at his website. I urge you to make this a ‘must read’ in your search for understanding. It is not light reading, because the subject is complex, but he keeps your interest and explains the mysteries very well.
We will be adding another category to our site this week for hormone- related information, because hormones govern much of the aging process and how well we live.
Good living – Frank