by Joel Lopez, MD, CNS
Ever wonder why some people go to the gym regularly but don’t get results whatsoever or worse, they just get injuries? Well, let’s see the possible reasons why this is so.
A lot of times, people aren’t able to accomplish their goals because they don’t have the nutritional support for their bodies (to create muscle tissue or lose body fat). There is a greater need for protein during the anabolic process. And this doesn’t mean just any protein. A high-quality protein source is needed by the body during this time, whether it’s from an animal or plant source (depending on a person’s individual needs).
For those with busy lifestyles, using a protein meal replacement would work (whey, rice, pea). And it’s not enough to eat a diet that’s high in protein, however. Are you actually digesting and assimilating the nutrients from your food? Beginning in our 30′s, we actually produce less digestive enzymes (HCl, pepsin, pancreatic enzymes, bile). People usually manifest this lack of enzymes with symptoms such as heartburn, burping, indigestion, bloating and gas. So, it would be beneficial to take some digestive enzymes especially with high-protein meals or meals that are primarily cooked.
If a person’s nutritional needs are already met but they still have a hard time reaching their goals, then it might be a good idea to have their hormones checked. Hormonal imbalance could lead to issues such as muscle and bone loss as well as fat accumulation. Deficient or even “low normal” levels of the androgens in men (DHEA and testosterone), estrogen/progesterone imbalance in women, imbalance in thyroid and adrenal hormones, and deficient or “low normal” levels of anabolic hormones such as growth hormone can all lead to futile work-out efforts. It would be really helpful to work with an anti-aging practitioner when someone is trying to optimize their hormone levels.
One thing to remember by the way, is the difference in sexes when it comes to trying to achieve a certain body fat percentage. For men, the normal is between 10-15%, while in women, it’s 20-25% (since women are genetically programmed to have a higher body fat percentage). If the hormones are still out of balance in spite of efforts to optimize them , then it may be important to look at the role that toxins play in this scenario. Heavy metals, pesticides, herbicides and other environmental toxins could create hormonal imbalances. Therefore, it’s also important to rule them out if one is intent on achieving their health/fitness goals. More on this later.