In my last post, we’ve established that there are three specific hormones that cause the three most common types of regional fat storage.
As a quick recap:
1. Estrogen - the female sex hormone responsible for lower body fat storage patterns.
2. Insulin - Or rather, insulin resistance; this nasty little dude heavily influences fat storage in the love handle and lower back area.
3. Cortisol - the appropriately dubbed stress hormone is part of the reason you’ve got more flab than ab.
Those are your enemies.
Now, I want to talk to you about how you can actually increase the production of other hormones that offset the above "bad" hormones--through the manipulation of training methods.
Estrogen vs. Testosterone
Now that we’ve established (again, with apologies to the ladies) that estrogen is the main reason lower body fat storage occurs, we need to know how to work around that.
Well, how else would you combat estrogen but with testosterone? In all honesty, when if comes to fat loss and muscle gain, testosterone good, estrogen bad.
It’s for that reason that professional athletes, bodybuilders and the juicers down at the Jersey Shore use illicit steroids that are derivatives of testosterone.
Of course, that’s not an option for us--and certainly not desirable. Instead, we are going to increase testosterone levels naturally, through training. Not only will this increase the net fat-burning effect of all exercises, but more appropriate to our purposes here, it will also facilitate in getting rid of lower body fat.
I should mention something here to alleviate any concerns: it is NOT possible to produce a detrimental amount of testosterone through training. So ladies, you don’t have to worry about any masculinizing effects.
Instead, training produces what we would term a ‘high’ amount of testosterone from a physiological perspective, relative to what your body normally produces. For the guys, this means that such training will help you put on a bit more muscle--just not steroid muscle.
Insulin Resistance vs. IGF-1
As I mentioned in the video above, insulin resistance is combatted very nicely by a hormones called IGF-1, or Insulin-like Growth Factor one.
Producing extra IGF-1 via training will help you (and me!) improve insulin sensitivity and begin to rid ourselves of love handle and lower back fat.
Insulin resistance is very common, particular in people who were previously overweight; so if you have lost some fat and you’re now struggling to lose a bit more, and that fat happens to be in your love handles, I’m willing to bet you’re suffering from some degree of insulin resistance.
In order to get rid of that fat, we have to do fat burning workouts (obviously) and increase insulin sensitivity to the greatest degree that we can through the training effect. To that end, we need to employ what I call Dynamic Training.
Dynamic training is pretty much the over-arching concept of how I design fat loss training programs--it consists of using fast-paced movements to teach the body how to move more efficiently such as combination movements, like the squat-to-press or "thruster" I demonstrated below.
Because this style of training is extremely expensive in terms of energy (Calorie) demand, by and large dynamic training is excellent as a general fat loss modality.
Perhaps more importantly, however, is the fact that utilizing these types exercises and setting them up in a non-competing circuit fashion under the dynamic training umbrella is an incredible way to produce IGF-1--and that is one of the most effective methods to mitigate insulin sensitivity.
Cortisol vs. Growth Hormone
We have touched on cortisol a bit, so I won’t rehash that too much. Suffice it to say that the higher your cortisol levels are, the more fat you’re going to be storing on your belly. Given that fact, it stands to reason that if you store fat primarily in the abdominal region, you’re a victim of high cortisol.
Never fear, though: Growth Hormone is here.
Also known as the “fountain of youth”, growth hormone is the single most effective compound your body can produce to affect both fat loss and muscle gain. The more you produce, the faster you’ll lose fat and build muscle. It’s just as simple as that. Now, in addition to that awesome little fact, growth hormone is going to whoop cortisol’s ass and help you burn belly fat.
Also, you’ve probably heard that one of the ways to reduce your cortisol levels is to get more sleep. That’s something you hear on nearly all the medical TV shows. What you don’t hear is the reason.
You see, sleeping is one of the main ways by which your body produces growth hormone. Or, saying it another way, while you're asleep is your body’s primary opportunity to produce growth hormone.
And, as I stated previously, growth hormone is one of the main hormones that reduces the effects of cortisol.
Sleep more and you’ll produce more GH. Produce more GH and you’ll have less cortisol. Therefore, sleeping more results in lower cortisol levels. Got it?
Of course, I’m not suggesting you can just sleep your way past a fat loss plateau; although getting more sleep does help. I’m merely illustrating the relationship between cortisol and growth hormone.
Which leads us to the production of growth hormone as it relates to training.
While nearly all forms of exercise produce both growth hormone and cortisol, some types are better than others. Cortisol, as I mentioned in the previous article, is produced heavily in long duration cardio sessions--so let’s not do that.
Instead, we’re going to utilize a style of training that produces more growth hormone.
To do that, we’re going to employ a training method known as Lactic Acid Training.
In order to get to the growth hormone, you must first produce lactic acid.
Lactic acid, by way of a definition, is a byproduct of the chemical reactions that take place during exercise. This substance is wildly irritating to the nerves, and your body responds.
Think of lactic acid as sort of a type of oil igniting fires as it flows through you--your body will call the fire department to put those fires out.
And your body will do that by dousing them with soothing, cooling growth hormone.
Okay, maybe I’m being a little simplistic with my metaphor, but it gives you a general idea.
In any event, we must structure training to produce the most lactic acid possible. And, because lactic acid is primarily produce in the concentric (positive) phase of anaerobic exercise, we extend that period, and decrease the eccentric period.
What that means is that we lift the weight very very slowly, and lower it very very quickly so that we can have a fast turn around.
As an example, if you’re doing a squat, you’ll descend to the bottom the squat very quickly (drop down fast, but still controlling the weight somewhat) and then lift the weight sloooowly, oh so sloooowly--over a period of 4-6 seconds.
This will create tremendous amounts of lactic acid, which will intern send GH production into overdrive. I must mention that training in this way necessitates the use of lighter weights than you normally would on any given exercise. Therefore, if you’re interested in lactic acid training, I suggest you reduce the weight you’d use on any exercise by about 30% in order to be both safe and effective.
With traditional training methods, you’d lift the weight pretty quickly and lower it slowly. Here, we’re doing the opposite, in order to produce the most lactic acid possible, which will then lead to a corresponding increase in the production of growth hormone.
This will result in not only reducing cortisol, but also reducing cortisol related fat storage in your belly. On top of it all, it’s great for fat loss in general!
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