Most want a direct approach to abs: workout harder; eat less. But the industry’s dirty little secret (let’s keep it between you and I) is that it doesn’t work. Or, rather, it doesn’t work for very long. By that I mean you can apply those to changes to your life, and for a brief time, you’ll look your best. You may not feel your best, but hey. . . . how important is that?
Frankly, it’s the most important. Because how you feel is a more accurate reflection of your current state of health; and, it’s also an early indicator to your future state of fitness.
That’s why your hormones are so critical. Your chronological age is just a number; your hormonal age is a much more critical look at whether or not you’re aging like a fine wine or that smelly science experiment in the back of your fridge. The former is what this article is all about.
Attempting to naturally optimize your hormones is critical in remaining youthful, strong, health and fit. At fifty, after nearly a decade of applying natural solution, successfully, they started to no longer work, at which point, I began replacing them (Hormone Replacement Therapy). If you’re my age, in order to really experience what I’ve experienced (go from dad-bod to super hero), these natural tactics need to be employed before ever replacing them. Otherwise, you’ll counteract that life-enhancing treatment. My doctor won’t even write a prescription until the following is at least partially accomplished.
- If you’re experiencing my symptoms, (there are more which you can google) get your labs done: joint pain, extended muscle soreness, brain fog, poor sleep quality, irritability, muscle loss, fat gain, anxiety, depression.
- Lose weight, but do it with periodic diet breaks (no caloric deficit).
- Train with weights. That does not mean stop running, or doing yoga, or whatever else suits you.
- Improve your gut health. This is a big topic, but if you have too much bad bacteria, you’ll likely have compromised testosterone levels. You can read my tactics for improving gut health in another article.
- Get your blood sugar under control by eating enough protein.
- Optimize your liver health. One simple way in which to do this is eliminating alcohol. It will also help with blood sugar. Even if your doc says you’re fine, stop drinking for a month and see what happens.
- Sleep well. Another giant topic. I’ll be posting about this soon. Here’s where you should start: if you sleep seven hours per night, try seven and a half.
- Eat lots of foods high in Omega 3 Fatty Acids: salmon, mackerel, sardines, and the plant-based options like flax seeds and chia seeds. You can find a longer list by googling it. You can also use supplements (I do both). Omega 3’s are essential for hormone signaling. In their absence, you’re getting older, fast!
- Keep your stress under control. The best way in which to start is meditation with an app like HeadSpace. While under stress, your primary stress hormone (Cortisol) spikes, having an inverse impact on Testosterone.
- Take these foundational health supplements: zinc, magnesium, and vitamin D.
- Avoid all foods, products, and water with chemicals mimicking estrogen. These will include commercial produce and meats, processed foods, as well as skin-care and hair-care products, make up and drinking water out of plastic water bottles.
This was me at around my natural peak at 47
Me and my brother, Mark Vande Hei at 38