Working out at your local gym, living room or favourite nature spot is great for your mental and physical health. Regular exercise helps keep your heart healthy and boosts your mood. Whatever activity you choose to stay healthy helps maintain your weight as well as your mental health.
Exercise helps reduce stress levels, regulates hormones and helps gain muscle. If you have conditions caused by hormones or a metabolic disorder, exercising regularly is one of the ways women can not only build muscle but balance their hormones and feel better.
How Do Female Hormones Affect Weight Loss?
The key to losing weight seems as simple as burning more calories and eating less, but other factors can derail any health and fitness journey.
Hormones affect several vital functions of the body including feeling stressed, hungry, or our ability to burn fat. If a hormonal imbalance occurs it can become more difficult to lose weight.
But hormones aren’t the end all be all. It’s important to make choosing quality food and caloric intake a priority. This will help maintain healthy and optimal hormone production. A few of the hormones that affect weight loss in women are thyroid, cortisol, oestrogen and progesterone.
A healthy calorie balance is how many calories you consume daily compared to how many calories you burn. If the amount you consume is less than you burn you’re in a calorie deficit. This means you should lose weight, but losing fat is a longer process for women than it is for men. But if you stick to a healthy lifestyle regimen you should have positive results. But losing weight and staying fit isn’t all about calories. Hormones play a major role in the process of maintaining body weight, diet and stress.
If a hormonal imbalance occurs in women, sometimes losing weight may seem nearly impossible. Keeping hormones in balance is key to your success. This brings us back to the two you should pay attention to if you feel like you’ve plateaued on your weight loss journey.
Oestrogen and progesterone are the primary female hormones that play a role in weight regulation and loss. They help regulate your metabolism, appetite and eating behaviours. Making sure you have the right levels of these two hormones for your age can help combat fatigue, weight gain, and premenstrual syndrome.
Although it’s a natural occurrence, the fluctuation of hormones during the menstrual cycle may cause some women to consume more calories during the luteal phase as opposed to the follicular phase. This is the effect of progesterone on the appetite. The increased hunger during the luteal phase can make it a lot harder to begin a weight loss program. So it may be better to begin during the follicular phase instead. Ultimately, sometimes the effects of hormones on women’s bodies can’t be controlled, but the choices that are made concerning food and the activity performed are paramount to any weight loss program.
What Hormones in Women’s Bodies Help Build Muscle?
The two hormones that are associated with gaining strength and building muscle are human growth hormone (HGH) and testosterone. When these hormones are released into the bloodstream, they focus on muscle cells and growth.
Women have about one-tenth of the level of testosterone that men have. That number can vary in women and affect the way they can gain muscle. The level of testosterone in women doesn’t change all that much during resistance training but androstenedione does during the luteal phase in women. Unfortunately, androstenedione doesn’t have as much effect on building muscle as testosterone does.
But HGH stimulates protein synthesis which in turn promotes muscle growth and the metabolism of fat. HGH levels rise during resistance training in women. The release is at its highest during the luteal phase which suggests that HGH is the main hormone for building muscle in women. The more muscles are fatigued, the more HGH is released. So doing compound exercises to failure is a good way to promote the release of HGH and build muscle.
What Factors Can Cause Hormone Imbalance in Women?
During different points in their lives, all women experience hormonal imbalances. These normally occur during puberty, menstruation, pregnancy and menopause. But lifestyle habits, endocrine, gland malfunctions, and environmental and medical conditions can also affect women’s hormones. The endocrine system generates, stores, and releases hormones into the bloodstream for different bodily functions.
Hormonal imbalances can be caused by some of the following factors:
- Excessive stress
- Unhealthy diet
- A high percentage of body fat
- Type 1 & 2 diabetes
- Pancreatic inflammation
- Environmental toxins
- Underactive or overactive thyroid
- Birth control medication
- High cortisol levels
- Anorexia and other eating disorders
What are the Side Effects of Hormone Imbalance for Women?
An imbalance in the hormones occurs when there are too much or too few hormones in the bloodstream. Because they’re essential to a healthy balance in the body, any increase or deficiency can have side effects. If there’s an imbalance in adrenaline, growth hormones, steroids, or insulin, it can affect women on several levels.
The symptoms most frequently affecting women are:
- Irregular menstrual cycle
- Mood swings
- Constipation or diarrhoea
- Abdominal or lower back pain
- Unexpected weight gain
- Weak libido
- Brittle bones
- Skin rashes
Foods that Can Help Balance Hormones and Build Muscle
A balanced diet of healthy food choices is the cornerstone of any lifestyle. Keeping your hormones in balance is crucial to your overall health. Here is a list of a few foods that can help manage and maintain hormonal balance.
Blueberries. They contain antioxidants and are sweet. Consuming 3 to 4 cups of this superfood per week will not only help keep your hormones balanced, but they’ll also improve your heart health, and vision and help prevent urinary tract infections.
Broccoli. These are great for maintaining hormone balance. Broccoli has a direct effect on how the body processes oestrogen. Broccoli also contains sulforaphane which helps ward off cancer and helps with fatty liver disease and detoxification. These are crucial in metabolising oestrogen. This superfood contains calcium, magnesium and potassium which strengthen bones and help improve muscle functionality and growth.
Almonds. These help regulate blood sugar and reduce the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. They’re a little high in caloric content but they help reduce bad cholesterol in the body.
Apples. These are another great antioxidant. They’re rich in quercetin which helps reduce inflammation in the body. They also help reduce high blood pressure and the risk of cancer. This is a great fibre-rich fruit to consume to build muscle and lose weight due to its low calories and dense nutrition.
Avocado. Rich in fibre and healthy fats, it’s considered one of the healthiest fruits. It lowers the absorption of oestrogen and raises testosterone levels to build muscle. Avocados are another fruit that’s high in calories so they should be consumed in moderation but are a must for any healthy fitness diet.
Pumpkin seeds. These are a wonderful source of magnesium, which is a great anti-stress mineral. Magnesium works well with vitamin B5 and C to support the adrenal glands. This helps lower stress and promote muscle growth and hormonal health.
Green Tea. It boosts the metabolism and accommodates theanine which reduces the release of cortisol in the body. Green tea also contains antioxidants that can lower the risk of disease and inflammation in the body.
Supplements that Can Help Women Balance Hormones
If you’re looking for a little help on your fitness journey, there are some great supplements available to add to your healthy lifestyle. These supplements can help support hormonal health and create balance in the body.
If you’ve been working hard to lose body fat and build lean muscle but feel like you’ve hit a plateau and could use a little help, you’re in luck. The health professionals at HERC’s are happy to guide you on your fitness journey. We’ve got an array of supplements that can give you the boost you need and help keep your hormones in balance. We’ve got same-day delivery service in Calgary and GTA for all orders placed before noon. Stop by our website for more info!
Suggestions for Hormone Balancing
Promote healthy mood balance and assist the immune system. In addition, Reclaim helps maintain healthy oestrogen metabolism and reduce premenstrual symptoms and cycle irregularities, while supporting skin health and mood.
Help boost your libido and energy levels, while reducing excess fat and cellulite. It also can aid in easing the daily effects of premenstrual syndrome.
Formulated for women’s hormonal system, this supplement helps support healthy weight and burn fat.