Having Leptin on your side over the Christmas break.

Christmas, what a wonderful time of the year. Holidays, gatherings, happiness, gratitude the list goes on. But what about the waist line? how does the waist line fair over the festive season? Well it doesn’t fair to well and I bet you knew that too…

I don’t need to mother you on controlling yourself over Christmas, but I will educate you on the hormone Leptin which is responsible for the metabolic management of our weight and also weight loss.

Have you heard of leptin before? No? GREAT! I will give you a quick nerd lecture on leptin and why you should know about it, and how you can control it…

Leptin is a hormone produced in our adipose tissue and functions as a food inhibitor, YES food inhibitor by regulating weight and homoeostasis. Our Hypothalamus which is an area of the brain that is responsible for releasing hormones like leptin and much more receive information by leptin in our adipose tissue  and this sends information to our leptin receptor in our brain (LEP-R) which becomes a neurotransmitter  and decides what happens next. This will lead me to overeating over the Christmas break and how it affects our leptin and communication in the brain.

When we overindulge in a 12hr period or 2-4 weeks are leptin becomes more resistant. Now what do I mean by resistant? your hypothalamus in your brain gets tricked by your overeating. And that it’s energy demands have increased, but they haven’t have they? So what happens next? because leptin becomes resistant. Leptin increases fat in our adipose tissue…oops… and we have weight gain. This leads to all sorts of hormonal problems and leptin becomes misinformed on your homoeostasis.

So, how can we keep leptin more sensitive? Exercise! especially incorporating aerobic (20-30+ min of moderate intensity) and anaerobic (10-20 sec high intensity 1:1 work to rest ratios, 3-6min) into your strength training. This will increase leptin sensitivity and anabolism WIN! Or getting involved in the back yard with cricket which is always fun.

Intermittent fasting, under consultation with your Doctor/naturopath has been shown to improve leptin sensitivity, cognitive function, decreased blood pressure and glucose uptake. Fasting for 12-16 hrs before Christmas lunch would be a good example of intermittent fasting.

Lastly the BIG one, Controlling your portion sizes. It’s a no brainer but excessive calories especially foods high in sugar will illicit a spike in your insulin levels along with an abundance of good hormones (Serotonin) and thus again the want for more. There is more to this with rewards centres in the brain and  behavioural addictions but that’s for another time.

So there we go ladies and gents. I’m sure your not sick of the word “Leptin” yet…. There is a array of ways to keep the weight off over the Christmas period.

 

Happy Holidays 🙂

James

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Calm down brah…

Don’t do cardio brah, you’l loose your gains…

Will we really loose are gains?

Here’s the million dollar question, and something worth exploring to all the keen hypertrophy goers out there, males and females.

Stress inoculation is important. We are biologically wired to be stressed on a daily basis. This can be in the form of learning a new phone number to sitting an exam or chasing down a bus. But when we think about stress we always put stress into the negative category and this is where I feel aerobic exercise gets it’s poor rap.

Lets think of stress as an off and on switch. We only turn on our lights when it gets dark , and we turn them off when it’s daylight. The same can be said with our sympathetic nervous system. When we exercise we are under stress. Lots of wonderful things are happening in your brain, heart and periphery.  When we finish exercise we (should) fall back into a state of rest/repair and thus using our parasympathetic nervous system.

Lights turn on…lights turn off. You get the point.

Now what happens when our sympathetic nervous system stays on? Digestion stops, we convert glycogen into fat in our abdomen for “reserves” which thus makes insulin resistant (hello diabetes). Are brain is in high arousal hyper sensitivity, anxiety increases, and finally, our brain wastes valuable glucose to maintain alertness. You can tell by just reading this that was exhausting and it is. And this is what people with PTSD and social anxiety deal with on a daily basis. But this doesn’t happen with aerobic training (done wisely).

Now there is more to the paragraph above that needs addressing, but not today. And even though PTSD and social anxiety are common, what I am trying to get at is that stress is good and stress can be controlled.

So hypertrophy goers. If you knew the above was more the culprit in regards to cachexia (muscle wastage) and you then knew that aerobic exercise, 30min, 3 x plus per week of 70-90% intensity would bolster stress robustness, decrease anxiety, improve cognition, improve memory, improve insulin sensitivity and all the wonderful neurotrophins we know so much about now. Would you hit the pavement, treadmill or bike with your weights to amp up your stress inoculation knowing that if you could control your own light switch, you wouldn’t loose your sweet, sweet gains….brah?

Try it for a month yourself.

Happy mind and body’s peeps 🙂

 

James