When it comes to exercise, whether it be to stay in shape or to excel in athletics, there is one key aspect that most of us probably do not think of—hormones. Certain hormones play a pivotal role in supporting improved fitness. These mostly come into play during the recovery period. That is why rest and recovery are such an important part of any training schedule. It is only during these periods of rest that hormones are released. Too many times I see people want to go so hard on their body to see results faster, not allowing that critical period of rest to allow those results to form properly. Hormones are not only key for health, but for athletic performance as well.
Growth Hormone- This hormone supports healthy body composition and bone health. GH production is naturally produced through sleep and exercise.
Thyroid Hormones- These hormones regulate the rate of metabolism, muscle function, and bone health. T4 specifically plays an important role in regulating body weight, body temperature, and muscle strength. Hypothyroidism causes a decrease in athletic performance and capacity while hyperthyroidism can also cause a decrease in athletic performance through weight loss and tachycardia.
Steroid Hormones- These hormones are important in maintaining energy stores, building muscle, increasing oxygen capacity, decreasing fatigue and recovery time, and optimizing hand-eye coordination. The main hormone responsible for these effects is testosterone.
Testosterone is found in both men and women. Progesterone, estradiol, and cortisol are also important hormones regarding athletic performance and must be balanced along with testosterone.
Progesterone helps maintain the proper activity of the thyroid, which can help increase energy availability and helps keep inflammation in check. Estradiol is the main sex hormone in women, but also important in men as well and is responsible for controlling inflammation, reducing muscle damage, and helping break down fat for fuel. Cortisol helps in regulating metabolism, blood sugar, and water/salt balance. Excess cortisol can cause muscle breakdown and fatigue.
HORMONES AND OVERTRAINING
It is important for everything to stay in sync and balanced. When the balance between training and recovery gets out of sync, this is called overtraining syndrome. This is a result of the body not being able to return to homeostasis after physical exercise. This brings me back to the key aspect of rest and recovery. If exercise continues before recovery completes and before the release of all those important hormones is complete, an accumulation of fatigue occurs. More intense problems/complications can occur if overtraining is prolonged.
In addition to allowing sufficient time for rest and recovery, fueling your body, and proper hydration, it is very important to check your hormone levels for any athletic performance in general. This allows for a baseline and can determine if additional supplementation is needed or to ensure that all the key hormones are in sync and at optimal levels.
For more information on how to optimize your hormone levels for you exercise routine, please contact Premier Health and Wellness by visiting the site or by contacting the staff at (512) 459-4405.