Jack and Jill

Jack and Jill went up a hill because both of them wanted to lose some fat and get stronger! Jack dropped a bunch of weight and Jill was left to wonder what else she could do to catch up and how much longer! (Did you see the rhyme there??)

This article is mostly for all those husband and wife crews out there. Anyone can benefit from this info but I think it will help to begin answer some of the questions that many couples find themselves asking when they start working out together or at least working out at the same time in their lives. Let’s set the scene:

A Jack and Jill are both 35 years old (would apply in the 20’s as well). Neither have worked out in a year as they had their second child about a year ago and just fell completely off the wagon. They have started working out again at a local gym. Jack shows up, walks about 10mins on a treadmill and then hits the weights. Jill, does the exact same thing except she is putting in extra treadmill work at the end of her workout because she wants to get that cardio in! At home, Jill does most of the cooking and all of the shopping. She is all in which means their meals have been on point but Jack has continued eating pretty much the same way he was originally. After about 4 weeks, Jill hops on the scale and she’s dropped about 5 or 6lbs. She’s ecstatic! Jack hops on the scale and he’s down 14lbs! He only outweighed her by about 40lbs to begin with!

Have you witnessed this situation? Have you been a part of this before? Well, over the next few blog posts we will help clear this up a bit with some practical tips and cover everything from gut health to fiber intake.

Here it is. Get ready…… Men and women are different! You knew that…… right?? I think we all understand that on some level but for some reason, we expect physical exercise and nutrition to affect men and women to the same degree. It’s actually quite a bit more complex than just differences between man and women. There can be differences due to ethnicity variances in DNA, differences from past history, environmental differences, and of course, physiological differences. Where we measure many of these differences is in the hormones.

To give you an idea of what I mean (From Precision Nutrition Literature Review):

  • One study found that urinary testosterone excretion was 16 times higher in Swedish men than Korean men.
  • African-American women have significantly lower ratios of urinary estrogen than American women of white European descent.
  • There are ethnic differences between women after menopause as well.
  • In women, living life on a constant diet (or living without enough calories for a long time) can actually suppress ovulation and lower libido.
  • In men, however, living life similarly doesn’t seem to cause the hormonal differences that it does in women.

The Role Of The Gut In Hormonal Health

Since the “Gut” is Such A Hot Topic These Days, let’s start there and examine how it affects hormonal health.

The role of the bacteria in the gut seems to be what most folks have heard of. We’ve all had probiotics shoved at us for several years now and for good reason. When gut bacteria are compromised (for example, with antibiotic use), hormonal excretion is affected. Hormonal metabolites may accumulate inappropriately, leading to a higher risk of reproductive cancers and other chronic diseases.

On the other end, having diversity of bacteria in the GI Tract is associated with healthy hormonal regulation and excretion.

What does this mean:
A healthy gut keeps our hormones in check.

What else affects hormonal health?

Fat intake and metabolism

Our sex hormones are created from the breakdown of cholesterol.This is why many folks have begun to discuss and understand the importance of fat in our diets. In fact, at most meals, we recommend about a thumb sized portion of fat for most people whether from olive oil, nuts, or avocado.

If fat intake or cholesterol intake is low, like in some vegans and anyone restricting their calories, and/or the client is stressed out (Stress matters!), this means that we won’t have what we need to create or utilize sex hormones. These are mostly the ones you hear about in estrogen and testosterone.

Basically, we won’t have any bricks to build our hormone house that we so desperately need to live a healthy life.

How do we combat this from a practical standpoint?

Increase saturated fat intake from whole food sources (e.g. egg yolk, fatty pastured meats, butter, coconut). All it takes is eating 2-3 eggs when you eat eggs, whole eggs, or utilizing certain oils without over cooking them, or eating about a palm sized portion of meat at a meal. This doesn’t mean you need to go crazy and load up on fat or go straight to a ketogenic diet.

If you are going to work on fat intake through your meals, with meat it would be about a palm sized serving of meat for women and 2 palm sizes for men at each full meal.

Increasing monounsaturated fat intake may also help (e.g. olive oil, nuts, avocados). This would equal about a thumb sized serving or 2 thumb sized servings of nuts or oil at each full meal.

Sex hormones are fat-soluble. Look for potential hormonal disruption in clients with altered fat metabolism — for instance, in the case of gallbladder disease.

If You Are Jill, What Can You Do Today:

  • Consider a probiotic
  • Make sure you are getting a small serving of fat at each meal, hopefully in three to four meals a day (remember a thumb sized portion of oil or nuts and palm sized piece of meat)
  • Don’t stress!!! Start slow and be consistent. If you have more questions, feel free to ask away in the comments section or send us an email at info@breakawayfitnessandperformance.com

Phewww! That was a lot of info right out of the gate. I think that is a great stopping point for today. Stay tuned next week as we continue to dive into reasons Why Exercise Alone Won’t Work For Women!

Your Friend,

Coach Joe Rouse MS, USAW1, ACSM-CEP