Living Life Aggressively and Optimizing Sex Hormones: Part 1
- 10-04-2009, 10:02 AM
Living Life Aggressively and Optimizing Sex Hormones: Part 1
Aggressive Strength Magazine Issue 142, 10/30/2007
by Mike Mahler
"Many things are half the battle, losing is half the battle, lets focus on the entire battle." From The Movie "The Untouchables"
What Living Life Aggressively is all About
One of the most important ingredients for a healthy and enjoyable life are optimal levels of the sex and "good-feeling" hormones. These hormones include testosterone, DHT (for men), progesterone, growth hormone, DHEA, epinephrine and the fat burning hormone, leptin. While hormone replacement is effective (and in some cases the only feasible option) it should be a last, rather than first, line of defense. Nutritional supplement strategies, while useful, should be viewed as supplemental to, rather than substitutes for, major lifestyle changes. We live in a quick-fix society wherein the masses seek rapid solutions yet more patient and consistent methods need be applied for real world, long-lasting change. In other words, get out of your comfort zone and take charge of your life.
Lifestyle Recommendations for Optimizing Hormones
#1. Quality sleep is your in-house factory for hormone production. Without quality sleep, your body and brain never receive optimal nourishment in order to restore and recuperate from daily living. Most anti-aging hormones, such as human growth hormone, DHEA and testosterone are produced in abundance while you sleep and the deeper the sleep, the better the hormone production. Longer, and higher-quality, sleep provides increased time for optimal hormone production. While ideal sleep varies with the individual, few do well long-term on less than seven to eight hours of deep, REM, sleep. The more stress you have, the more sleep needed for adequate restoration. Thus, 7-8 hours is the minimum, rather than the ideal, amount. If you don't have time to sleep, then make time for illness. Turn off the TV, kill your cable service, and spend more time sleeping.
#2. Stress management is critical since the stress hormone, cortisol, prohibits production of anti-aging hormones. Further, high levels of stress hamper sleep due to attendant anxiety.
#3. Determine, and eradicate, the negative stresses in your life. Since we've been taught, as a society, to address symptoms rather than the source of problems, we often wait until things become problematic before taking action. Ideally, you want a proactive approach to your well-being.
Human beings are inherently purpose-driven organisms. While many are content with merely existing and getting by, few are genuinely happy with such a meager approach to life. Feelings of helplessness and/or lack of control is an incredible stress. Such internalized perceptions result in unrewarding career choices and other draining relationships.
A proven stress-reducer and wellness-enhancer is daily meditation. A minimum of thirty minutes should daily be allotted to meditation--an hour is even better. However, consistency is the key and thirty minutes done daily is better than an hour once a week. As effective as meditation is, it's a skill that can take years to acquire. Merely sitting still for thirty minutes gives only the appearance of meditation, just as lying down without REM sleep provides only the appearance of quality sleep. The objective of meditation is to get the brain hemispheres communicating more effectively with each other, thus increasing your “genetic set point” stress threshold. An effective program for reducing meditation's learning curve is the Holosync meditation program. You can read more about it at my site: Mahler's Aggressive Strength Kettlebell Training
Deep breathing is both an effective stress reliever and catalyst of the "good-feeling" hormone, epinephrine. Take daily walks while inhaling through the nose to a count of four, then exhaling to a count of four. Practice deep-breathing while meditating--or whenever you need a good-feeling boost or stress reduction. Legendary bodybuilder Steve Reeves referred to deep breathing as a natural anti-depressant and advocated daily walks while focusing on deep breathing. He wrote that no one ever committed suicide following a deep breathing-focused walk. Walking is one of my favorite ways to clear the head and reduce anxiety. No need to turn it into a workout, just get into the habit of walking first thing in the morning, to loosen up and get ready for the day, and later in the evening to clear your head and relax.
A well-rounded exercise program literally eats up cortisol. Ideally, cortisol levels will be elevated before training, providing an additional energy boost, then lowered after training. A solid training program covers the following categories:
As beneficial as exercise is, too much increases cortisol, thereby lowering levels of important anti-aging hormones. Signs of over training include: lowered sex drive/poor sexual function; depression; decreased strength; lack of interest in training; and poor recovery from workout-to-workout. Bottom line: if you're not improving you're deteriorating. While it's unlikely the average person needs to worry about over training, dedicated trainees can easily become stimulus-addicts, which is a sure-fire way to end up over trained. For a solid training program covering all the above-mentioned categories, see: General Fitness Training for People Who Don't Care About Getting Big or Ripped
Keys to avoid over training:
· Have a back-off week for every three weeks of hard training.
· Take exercise vacations, in which you switch to a program of exercises you rarely do, or have never done.
· Get a massage from a qualified body-worker every other week. Weekly is even better if training at a very intense level.
· A significant amount of your daily calories should be consumed within four hours post-workout but not less than 30 minutes post workout because that is when IGF-1 levels are peaking and eating or drinking a shake during the 30 minutes after a workout spikes insulin which competes for the same receptors as IGF-1 just as IGF-1 is peaking.
· Avoid inflammatory foods, such as dairy, wheat, peanuts, soy, corn, and eggs. Preferably, have testing done to determine to what foods you might be allergic.
· Take systemic enzymes several times a day on an empty stomach to reduce inflammation and scar tissue. Five caps, three times a day, is effective during periods of intense training. My friend, Dr. William Wong, is coming out with a new and improved enzyme product which will soon be available from my site. In the meantime, Labrada Nutrition’s Sorenzyme looks like a good option but I haven't personally used it so can't comment.
· Take 10 grams of glutamine an hour before training and 10 grams of BCAA during workouts.
· Take 200-300mg of phosphatidyl serine (PS) before bedtime and after workouts. On non-workout days, take only one dose before bedtime. PS is great for lowering cortisol and has positive brain-health properties as well.
· Take 2-5 grams of vitamin C each day (Ester C is best).
What to do if you are over trained?
· Take a week off from training
· Limit exercise to joint mobility, swimming and walking
· Get one or two refresher massages to increase circulation and a sense of relaxation
· Get 10-12 hours of sleep each night
· Take 10 grams of glutamine and 20 grams of BCAAs each day
· Do extra meditation sessions with a focus on deep breathing.
Tips to reduce stress at the source
· We spend a great deal of the time in our lives on our chosen career path--make sure it's both gratifying and something you love. Barring negative relationships and serious health disorders, an unrewarding livelihood is surely the greatest stress. Feeling excitement about what you do, and achieving meaningful goals, increases good-feeling hormone production.
· According to top strength coach Charles Poliquin, testosterone levels rise big-time after meaningful goals are accomplished. A critical aspect of well-being is linked to achieving meaningful goals. Take every opportunity to prioritize and pursue your goals.
· Surround yourself with good people who bring out the best version of yourself and avoid people who drain your energy.
· Reduce your television viewing time--especially the news. While an hour or two of television can help you unwind, it's easy for two hours to turn into six hours...or more. There are correlations between t.v. watching and childhood obesity, as well as between television and stress levels. Television watching, at its essence, is vicarious living and vicarious living is a major form of unconscious stress.
· Live junk and clutter-free. Recently, my brother told me of an article delineating the connection between clutter and high-cortisol levels. You can't have a clean and focused mind when you're surrounded by junk on the material level. Make your home a haven where you can relax and unwind, rather than a source of unconscious stress. Before buying anything, think about where the item end up in a year's time.
· Be assertive and prevent people from pushing you around. Behaving like a pinball in life's game is no way to go. Respect yourself and require the same from others. Allowing people to push you around is a tremendous source of conscious and unconscious stress and you deserve better. The resentment that builds from passive living is a potent poison.
· Many so-called personality traits are learned behaviors. Being overly reliant on what others think creates stress. Reduce your stress by thinking for yourself instead of letting others run your life. Do great things for the sake for their own sake rather than for approval from others.
Nutrition supplements also have a place in optimizing hormones.
One supplement that everyone can benefit from is magnesium.
Magnesium is needed to extract energy from food and for optimal insulin function. The more energy you extract from food the less you have to eat to feel great. Magnesium's benefits go on forever. For more information on the best magnesium option on the market go to: http://www.mikemahler.com/magnesium.html
A great supplement called Quadracarn is also excellent for androgen receptor uptake and insulin sensitivity. For more info go to: http://www.mikemahler.com/quadracarn.html
Eat a balance of protein, fat, and carbs at every meal. A good starting point is 30% protein, 40% carbs, and 30% popularized by Barry Sears as “The Zone" diet. This won't be the perfect ratio for everyone--you will have to experiment to see what works best for you--but it is a reasonable starting point.
Trying to lose fat? Take a page from Byron Richard’s outstanding book Mastering Leptin and stick to two to three meals a day, with five to eight hours between meals.
The extended food-free meal breaks provide opportunities for the body to call on stored fat for energy. Instead of snacks, your body will fuel itself with free fatty acids, as long as you're not in the aerobic zone.
To ensure a growth hormone surge while sleeping each night, best to quit eating at least four hours before bedtime. GH optimizes fat loss and muscle growth, which is all the more reason to prioritize the recommended 7-9 hours of good quality sleep each night--what could be more hard core than aggressive sleeping? And the longer duration and greater intensity the sleep, the better the results.
So turn off GH killers, such as late night television and internet--and alcohol, and apply yourself to better sleeping and recovery habits.
For hard training athletes--especially those with low body fat levels--three meals a day will probably not cut it. Four meals per day--with about four hours between meals--is better. Still, cut off eating three hours before bedtime for best recovery from tough workouts.
- 10-04-2009, 02:54 PM
10-04-2009, 03:05 PM
I think there is a bit of a trade-off between what you're accomplishing and what you're losing... Especially if you're in a job that doesn't provide a very stable platform to work in all of these steps (12 hours of sleep would pretty much give me time to lift and shower before going to bed). It also competes with the average "lifter goals and lifestyle". Not to be completely dismissed by any means but something likewould be detrimental to some people depending on their goals.Avoid inflammatory foods, such as dairy, wheat, peanuts, soy, corn, and eggs. Preferably, have testing done to determine to what foods you might be allergic.
10-04-2009, 03:07 PM
10-04-2009, 03:18 PM
Agreed Jay; and as much as I would love to go for long walks and do deep breathing, I just don't have the time. Also citing Poliquin and not the study he based it on (if that) is a bit weak in my book. Still a few good tidbits in there.
10-08-2009, 08:46 PM
10-08-2009, 08:54 PM
"7-8 hours is the minimum, rather than the ideal, amount. If you don't have time to sleep, then make time for illness. Turn off the TV, kill your cable service, and spend more time sleeping."
I agree with your other points,everything needs to be personalized.
10-08-2009, 09:32 PM
Mahler actually did a free teleseminar on the topic found here:
Why stress management skills are critical for hormone optimization
Why hormone optimization starts in your brain
The importance of eating organic food and why it is even more critical if you eat meat.
Why Insulin is the #1 hormone to optimize regardless of what your goals are
Why you should have long stretches in between each meal
Why real hormone optimization is essentially lifestyle optimization
Why focusing on one hormone is a big mistake
What adrenaline exercise is and why it must be balanced with restoration exercise
The connection between doing the job you love and creating an optimal hormone environment
What supplement works for sex hormone receptor uptake and for increasing insulin sensitivity
Why hormones need to be optimal for long term fat loss and muscle gain
Part 1 http://ds1.downloadtech.net/cn1086/a...971226-001.mp3
Part 2 http://ds1.downloadtech.net/cn1086/a...971226-002.mp3
10-09-2009, 10:38 AM
I realize it would be nice to love your job and feel strongly about what you do or get alongf well with all colleages but I just don't think it is feasable. My largest and practically only real stressor in my life is my job/career.· We spend a great deal of the time in our lives on our chosen career path--make sure it's both gratifying and something you love. Barring negative relationships and serious health disorders, an unrewarding livelihood is surely the greatest stress. Feeling excitement about what you do, and achieving meaningful goals, increases good-feeling hormone production.
It is just not practical, to feel that you have to love your job. Whether you like your job or not you need to make an income.
10-09-2009, 11:13 AM
I really agree with many of these points as I have incorporated many into my life over the past two years, especially since during that time I lost a parent. However, some of those points are not feasible to the least.
For instance: Even a career that you love will bring on surging stress. It may not be the constant stress from a job which you hate but definitely stress at times. I love the engineering field, supplement industry, and retail field (all 3 of which I am deeply involved in business wise), however, I do get severely stressed out from each...
Granted, it's not the same stress that I got from being a stock boy at wally world when I was 22 but still it's stress. I think it is impossible to eliminate stress from the workplace for extended periods of time.
Also, the portion about staying away from certain foods is somewhat personal. This especially if you are a mid 20 adult who is trying to bulk and gain muscle. Though, I feel that this information is not geared toward individuals that are beyond the stage of "building massive physiques" and made for people who are in it for the long term health, in that case, I do agree with many points.
Very interesting on those seminars. I will try and listen to many of those this weekend.
---The internet is the father of the electronic lynch-mob---
10-18-2009, 01:57 AM
On the job topic he wrote an interesting article called:
"Hate Your Job? You Are In A Dark Place"
By Mike Mahler
"If you don't like your job, your boss, or the associates with whom you spend a third of your daily life, you're in a dark place, a pit. Sometimes the money explains the compromise, the benefits, the hours, and the convenience." - Dave Draper
"I will start by stating that I respect anyone that works for a living. There is pride that should be taken in working and there are so many losers that just want hand outs such as some homeless people and worse trust fund recipients.
That said, I will begin my weekly rant ;-)
There is no reason why you should not be excited about working. Work should be fun, fulfilling, and enjoyable.
The achievement of goals is fleeting even if you do love what you do. It is the process that has to be enjoyable. You need the goal so you know where you are going and the achievement of goals is how you measure growth. However, enjoyment of the process is a critical component.
If you do a job in which you make a nice paycheck but the process is miserable, you are really cheating yourself and the effects will be all too apparent with your health.
There is certainly a correlation with low levels of Testosterone, Growth Hormone, and DHEA and having a job that you hate regardless of how much money you make. Now I am not saying that having a job that you love guarantees optimal anabolic hormones. However there is no doubt in my mind that it will help a great deal for a lot of people. The main reason being that your stress levels (cortisol) will be much lower. The higher the Cortisol, the lower the DHEA, T, and GH. If you hate what you do, your cortisol levels will be high.
The effect that doing jobs we hate and being in relationships that we do not want to be in should not be trivialized. The negative effects on our health are profound. Also, the behaviors that are a side effect of not enjoying your occupation are often negative as well such as eating junk food and getting overweight or abusing alcohol and drugs. Becoming a stimulus freak in the gym to make up for not getting any positive stimuli through work is another common action step that should be avoided.
Back in early 2002, I was making good money. However, I was doing a job that I hated and working for a guy that had the ethics of a street peddler in India (Yes I have been there).
I had to set an alarm clock and drag myself out of bed every morning for work. I dreaded going to work and had no energy when I got there. I would come home wiped out every night.
Not because I was working so hard, but because the job was not fulfilling at all. Having been around the world, it seems trivial to complain about having a good paying job. I realize that there are people that are starving all over the world and that I was fortunate to even have a job. Let alone a good paying one.
However, that is no excuse to lead an unfulfilling life. Just because there are people that would love a job that I hate does not mean that I should do it.
In fact it is more reason to create an opportunity to do what you love. Yes, there is risk involved and only you can decide it if it worth it. Many of your have families and other responsibilities.
I respect that completely.
However, don't you think you would be a better person to be around if you were doing a line of work that you really enjoy? Also, there is not necessarily correlation between loving what you do and not making good money. I make a lot more now than I ever did working for others. When you take into the equation the that I work 3-4 hours on most days, I make even more.
As I stated in my last newsletter, I put it all on the line to have what I have now and would gladly do it again. The person you become in the process is worth the risk. Also you only fail if you give up. One thing that is for damn sure is that life is too short to be miserable. If you have an opportunity to be happy and excited about your life, you owe it to yourself to take it. By the way, fake excitement and enthusiasm is not the same as the real thing. Either you like what you do or you do not. You should not have to think about it. Forget about watching four hours of TV every night and living vicariously through others. Live through yourself. Just remember that nothing is more expensive than regret. Nothing! Well time to walk the dogs. See you next time ;-)"
10-18-2009, 01:14 PM
I used to be self employed. It was quite fullfilling even though I would leave from home when it was dark and return to h ome when it was dark quite often. I didn't make half the money I make now but I was proud of it. Maybe some day I can go back that route and still make good money.
Then I was offered a good position for well respected company in our area it seemed like th right thing to do. Five years later sometimes I'd rather stay home with the flu than go to work...
Maybe we need an article about how to love a job you hate but can't afford to leave...
10-18-2009, 02:56 PM
Too complex of a situation to summerize it into a nice little and/or scenario, imho.
How much to you not like your job?
Even if you find a job you absolutely love, a simple change in personnel can change that whole situation. Are you explected to constantly change because of this?
How much interaction do you have with those you do not like at work?
I may hate my boss or a co-worker but they may only negatively effect me a small % of the time.
How much time does that job allow you to do the things that do make you happy?
I may hate my job but I may only work three days a week which allows me to be happy four out of five days.
What type of activities does your job allow you to accomplish once you're away from the job?
Again, i may hate my job but the income allows me to do the things that truely make me happy outside of work; things that a low paying 'happy' job would not allow me to do.
Where are your highest stressors located?
If personal time, family time, money issues and quality of off-time are a higher priority then finding a happy job with no stress will, in itself, be a stressor.
I've always had issues with people, in general, who take a personal experience and turn it into a way of life for everyone and somehow believe that everyone that does not follow their same path are somehow lost. He throws around a lot of scientific info along with things like 'no doubt in my mind'.
Extremes in any lifestyle choice can be disruptive and negatively impact your health. Putting out a smoldering match with a water cannon isn't the answer, even if it does keep a potential fire from igniting...
10-18-2009, 03:02 PM
10-19-2009, 08:51 AM
10-19-2009, 09:25 AM
I'm sorry, I am the eternal pessimist ( and bad speller). I know what is wrong with work... It is one person that drives me NUTS in the office. I'm done bitching, I am really sounding like a whiny a$$...
10-30-2009, 10:59 PM
I don't think the entirety of the point is to completely ELIMINATE stressors at all times, but be able to mitigate them efficiently (work being the primary one for most of us). At no point can I completely eliminate my job stress, but many of the suggestions in here will allow me (you) to refocus or maintain your mental health in ways that are manageable.
I have done many of these things (eliminated toxic job situations, friendships, etc.) and it has improved my life immeasurably.
And if you question your ability to leave your job due to your financial situation, my question to you is-can you afford NOT to? Without totally hijacking the thread-I quit everything I had ever done/known cold turkey (with a wife and 6 children to support) and moved across the state to attend college. We left town with $650 and a Uhaul. I ended up stumbling into the best job I have ever had in my life, and it was the best decision (along with the largest risk) I have ever taken.
Don't ever think money keeps you at a job.
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