Monday, October 27, 2014

Masters Training To Whip Me Into My Place: Crossfit

In Crossfit, you are considered a Master based on your age. 35 years and up means your workouts might be catered a little differently than the standard WOD (workout of the day). In other words, they are modified for masters by a minuscule amount. This means I am two years away from the downhill... I felt like hugging random strangers when I saw my old Crossfit gym (Front Range Crossfit) was starting a new training program - Masters-only training on Saturdays (for age 30+ only). This meant I could have someone push me past my limits and be surrounded by 30 year olds+ while doing it. Yep. Sign me up. 

We had two coaches for class. One was Scott Olson, 1st place Crossfit Games Masters winner and Rhonda who both drilled me some spot-on coaching advise.  To start us off, Scott prepped us with the outline for the 2 hour training. He said double unders would be in our WODs, plus rowing practice. I actually stopped listening (and breathing) when he said double unders because I was hit in the gut with intense fear.

Double Unders and I have a history. And while I have recently been able to link some of them- my double unders are a complete debacle. Luckily, I wasn't the only one who had a double under dilemma, so I wasn't holding anyone back. Instead, I realized that, self-respect be damned, it was the perfect class for me because I got to improve my skills! I ended up getting more double under links than I ever have (IN MY WHOLE LIFE!) And just to brag a little bit, Scott told me that I am extremely close to becoming very efficient at double unders. And to think I almost peed my pants for nothing!

Masters Training Class Schedule:
  • Warming up
  • Rowing technique - Jon Kissick Team US Rowing to critique our rowing skills
  • Double Under and thrusters instruction
  • WOD #1 - 5 KB thrusters - 10 Double Unders - 150 Meter Run -
    EMOM (every min on the min.) 12 Min.
  • Rest/Recover
  • WOD #2 - 300Meter Row, 20 Double Unders, 10 Barbell Thrusters (95# male-65# female)
    4 Rounds on the 6:00 Interval

Double Under Fail. Look where the rope is
If you are asking yourself what a double under is, let me explain briefly. It's where you are jumping rope and you have the rope come under your feet twice while you only jump up once. So it's a fast rope movement with a high, slow jump. It requires practice, patience and coordination. I am completely convinced there has been a conspiracy against me being able to link them. One of the best things Scott taught us is that you want to make your double unders so effortless that when they are in a workout, they become a rest period for you. This is exactly what I want, I am done with them leaving me exhausted.

Current Double Under face
The rowing critique was helpful, it's my second time taking a class from Jon Kissick and I think he's full of amazing information. Jon rowed for the US Rowing team and even won a gold medal...Totally famous. My form was brought up a lot in class for all different mistakes but I enjoyed applying better methods and seeing the improvements on my rowing screen. Here's what I remember:
  1. My food pads need to be at #2 station because my knees were coming over my toes (I have super flexible hamys- thanks Yoga!)
  2. I was not leaning forward enough on the front end, need to wind all the way to 11:00 (like I'm about to pull a heavy load)
  3. I was pulling back on the rower before my legs fully finished their pull. This gives me less power because I start using littler muscles like my back instead of my legs
  4. I was retracting after the pull, and allowing my knees to bend before the bar. I need to bar to go past my knees before I bend my knees

So many fun tricks and manipulations to help you row better! It's so thrilling to see notable improvements in a skill set.  I saw huge drop offs in my split time when I hinged forward more so I was elated to see that.

Common rowing errors video here!

Our last WOD completely KILLED me:

300 Meter Row
20 Double Unders
10 Barbell Thrusters (95# male-65# female)
4 Rounds on the 6:00 Interval

 4 Rounds of this shenanigans was insane. It reminded me that I'm made of steel and I haven't been pushing myself hard enough in the gym to value that steel-made self. I Love you Crossfit. Back to the story, I finished each round between the high 2:00 min mark and low 3:00 min mark. I think officially my last time was 3:12min. which was my worst time, I can easily blame the exhaustion. I was able to do the thrusters unbroken and I rowed in 1:58/500m splits but the double unders were what slowed my roll. Hopefully not for long, Double Unders are beginning to become my bitch. Considering all the whip marks I have received from double unders, it's about time I take control back from the rope!

Stay tuned for more training!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Hormonal Games, Your Troubleshooter. Part 6 of Making Your Meat Suit Habitable

Making Your Meat Suit Habitable, Part 6...Hormonal Games 

Our hormones are like an orchestra; intended to play beautiful music together, but things can get wacky when one trumpet tries to go solo and the other instruments try to cover him, ending in a musical disaster. Be aware that hormones need to all play together to the same sheet music, with the same conductor, in the same room, on the same night. You absolutely CAN NOT man-handle one hormone without instigating changes to another.

When your hormones are out of sync, you could suffer from depression, brain fog and other less-than-exciting emotions, plus you are more apt to...drum roll please... store fat. The great part is you can lovingly (and naturally) down play hormones we need less of while offering some TLC to the hormones we want more of. Let's work to orchestrate your masterpiece.

The holy grail of your body fat storage: THE BODY FAT MAP, FOUND HERE:

Not who you want conducting your hormones. I like the guy in the middle's expression

Making Your Meat Suit Habitable part 1  - Setting the Wheels in Motion
Making Your Meat Suit Habitable part 2 - Your Liver
Making Your Meat Suit Habitable part 3 - Body Fat Map
Making Your Meat Suit Habitable part 4 - Exercise

THYROID. Ya, I Got A Dud.


Disorderly thyroids are all around us. There are low and high functioning ones, goiters and Hashimotos (which is the majority of low thyroid cases.) If you don't know already, Hashimotos is where your body treats your thyroid hormone as poison (and yep, I got that one!) Blame the rebel in me, but I actually resisted taking any medication for my thyroid for a full year. It was finally when I was so tired my bedtime was as soon as I got home from work. Plus, I was seriously considering shaving my head because I barely had any hair on it.

Your thyroid regulates a large portion of your bodily functions and being born with a dud initially made me feel victimized to no end. Instead of letting the victim mentality wage an ugly war on my control, I instead decided to do everything I could to help my thyroid naturally. Besides that, I also pop a thyroid compound pill every morning, 30 minutes before breakfast, and try to eat sushi and seaweed more often and get natural morning sunlight. I have proven I am in control of my weight but I do think sometimes I have to work a little harder than some. That's OK, I know it's worth it to me and that others have to work even harder than I do. In life, you work with what you're given and try to make it damn good.

How to Help Your Thyroid Naturally
  1. Get outside in the morning and look in the direction of the sun, not directly at it. Do this for 15 minutes daily
  2. Sprinkle kelp on salads and or use it as a salt replacement
  3. Go Gluten free. That stuff is NOT your thyroid's friend
  4. Heavy on the proteins, they will send the thyroid hormone to necessary body parts
  5. Cook your calciferous veggies - broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and the like need to be cooked. Raw can interfere with thyroid function
  6. Eat salmon, tuna, eggs, broccoli
  7. Avoid soy - this is in almost all processed foods if you check the labels you will see eating crap foods is destroying your thyroid function thus your ability to lose weight

What I have learned is that if your thyroid is not functioning where it should your other hormones will not either. They are interplay off each other. It's like a party, how one person can come in and dominate the room with positive, lively energy. Or their nemesis can come in and bring down the mood of the room. Thyroid controls so much, so treat it well because you don't want to try to lose weight, feel good, or have hair without your thyroid.

The Testosterone Level of a Teenage Boy. Yes, Please.


In Jillian Michael's Book Master Your Metabolism, one of the best parts is when Jillian compares herself to her thinner friend based on their hormonal tests. Her friend's hormone levels show she is high in testosterone. Now, I can spot this testosterone-heavy body type out in a crowd any day. I'm not thinking of the overly bulky body builder! Instead, its the perfectly thin girl who can eat anything she wants and doesn't know what it feels like to put on jeans and have your thighs and lovehandles bulge out. Sometimes it's to skinny girl's demise, because this high-testosterone girl tends to be lacking in organic curves, but often she's "that girl" the other gals envy for her effortlessly skinny self. Her blood result will usually show high testosterone, so you wanna get yourself some of this, and I'm here to help.

For the guys, the heavy in testosterone male will look like this, maybe. And rest assured, these boobs are muscle not moob-fat. But high testosterone males will also have ample facial hair, lots of energy, and be motivated, be extra motivated to hit the gym. Women are by nature more attracted to guys with high levels of testosterone because it's a sign of health. Did I get your attention now?

In both males and females, testosterone will help you to
- Build muscle
- Have a smaller waist
- Have confidence, like you own "it"!
- Have an active libido (sign me up!)
- Increase attrativeness to females

What does LOW TESTOSTERONE (Boo...) looks like:
1. Beer belly
2. No motivation
3. Moobs
4. Depression
5. Reduced sex drive
6. Loss of body hair
7. Reduced muscle
8. Increased body fat

Causes of Low Testosterone: (some were surprising to me so I wanted to share)

Image from Anti Aging Clinics

And now folks, for the goodies!
Here's how you can increase your testosterone naturally:
  • Sleep! Deep sleep, in a dark, cool room. Watch the YouTube Video below for proof
  • Intense exercise, fast and hard. And lift heavy weights (done and done!)
  • Take zinc citrate, and Vitamin B 
  • Eat lean red meat (grass fed preferred!) Red meat +burly men go hand in hand in my mind
  • Eat a low inflammation diet and lose weight. You can do both by adopting the paleo diet
  • Stop eating sugar. This is important with ALL things good for your body but specifically for Testosterone wellness
  • Increase your healthy fats (avocado, olive oil, coconut, nuts) don't be scared of saturated fats, that's an old school way of thinking, instead get educated on their benefits
  • Magnesium oil. I love this stuff to help me recover quickly and I can spray directly onto sore muscles, plus it helps you sleep well
  • Wonder Woman pose
  • Masturbate and/or have a lot of sex (saved the best for last)

Best of luck to us all!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Low DHEA. Oh Hell No.


DHEA is the building block of very important hormones, so you don't want to mess with it. Men manufacture testosterone and DHEA in their reproductive glands which helps them to have facial hair, have a sex drive, and keep up their energy. Sadly, both testosterone and DHEA decline with age so it means we have to work a little harder to keep these hormones pumping. DHEA is important because it converts to testosterone.

Testosterone, for women, is produced by the adrenal glands, which means if you are chronically stressed out, you are not producing enough DHEA. This rule applies to both males and females- cortisol can reduce DHEA which can thus reduce your body's access to testosterone, yuck. This hormone is simple. If you want to increase your DHEA (I do, because I don't like flabby arms) then you need to increase your testosterone. You also need to work on your stress levels. It always comes back around to cortisol, doesn't it.

Another tricky part of your hormonal orchestra is when testosterone begins to convert to estrogen within the body. This tends to happen when you are gaining weight. This is not a good place to be. The best way to prevent testosterone converting to estrogen? Stay away from flour and sugar, mostly at night time. Also ensure you have enough zinc in your system.

1. Anxiety
2. Depression
3. Moobs
4. Being unmotivated
5. Fatty tricep area

Increase DHEA Naturally:
1. Detox the liver- mostly for females
2. Increase Testosterone by lifting heavy weights, eating more protein
3. Stress Management by sleeping more, walking, meditating
4. Control your insulin with a proper, real-foods diet: Paleo/Mediterranean. No Sugar. No Flour.
5. Consider taking ginseng and zinc


Low Progesterone. But High Hopes. We've Got This!


While I was in the middle of writing this blog post, I had my own hormone levels checked for several yucky symptoms (moody, bloating, and gaining weight in hips/butt) that I couldn't ignore. Can't argue with the objective facts, the results showed my progesterone level is 'very low'. Where the normal range is from 1.7-27.0, this girl's progesterone level came in at .4. Bummer dude.

I had an ah-ha moment thinking this explains why I have more "junk in the trunk" than I should, The hubby didn't sound very enthusiastic of me losing my All-About-That-Bass booty. But here goes! 
All About That Bass, No Treble

Progesterone does not work alone. Progesterone and estrogen are a power couple. Progesterone for a woman helps regulate her monthly cycle, and protect a new pregnancy. However, if a woman is not ovulating, then she doesn't produce progesterone and there is too much estrogen roaming around solo. (I suspect estrogen is looking for progesterone at the time and feeling lost, humph). A drop in Progesterone is also what contributes to carb city central, when you are craving that dessert (chocolate?) right before you start your next period. Now you know who to point your finger at, its your hormones.

Men also manufacture progesterone and use it for a healthy brain, heart and bones. Their levels would likely be more stable since their levels are not dependent on ovulating. But we all need progesterone for the same reason, to rid ourselves of excess estrogen. Without enough progesterone, we tend to be off balance. It also goes both ways, we can have too little Progesterone because we are estrogen dominant. 

Signs of Progesterone imbalance:

  • Belly fat/ Fat storage to hips/booty/hamstrings
  • Carb cravings
  • Dry skin
  • Extreme PMS
  • Hair loss
  • Heavy periods
  • Missed periods
  • High blood sugar
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • PCOS
  • Anxiety & nervousness
  • Reduced facial hair in men
Causes of Low Progesterone:
1. Anovulation (woman not ovulating) Don't know if you are? Read here
2. Too much stress!
5. Birth control pills
6. Smoking/pollution/Toxins

Natural ways to Balance Progesterone:
1. Acupuncture 
2. Manage your stress with meditation, yoga, deep breathing, etc.
3. Progesterone cream
4. Royal Maca or Vitex are known to balance hormones
5. Vitamin B6
6. Magnesium
7. Evening Primrose Oil
8. Decrease sugar
9. Increase fiber
10. Nix the Alcohol and caffeine to help the liver detox the hormones

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Insulin Reduction. Reduce the Sugar to Reduce Your Weight

BODY FAT STORAGE: Belly/Lovelandles


  1. Abdominal obesity
  2. Depression
  3. Irregular menstruation and infertility
  4. Lowered sex drive
  5. Skin tags, acne, dark skin patches on armpits, groin, neck and elbows

Eating a lot of sugar or high glycemic foods raises insulin levels, which deposits energy from foods into fat your fat cells. 

Years ago, having tests done at my acupuncturist's office, I remember when he told me I was slightly insulin resistant. At the time, I did not know what that meant but I dove into some serious research to figure it out. Oh man, was I was disappointed, it meant I had Pre-diabetes.  This knowledge forced me to become very aware of insulin and it's impact on my emotions and body shape. I want nothing to do with insulin resistance, so I stay away from things that contribute to it. 

For me my physical symptoms of excessive insulin showed up as love-handles, a sweet tooth of MAJOR proportions, an extra 20 pounds of body weight, plus it effected my mood. There I was happy one minute then grumpy and chunky in the next. 

An explanation for insulin's purpose in the body: 

When your body notices that sugar is elevated, it is a sign that you've got more than you need; you're not burning it so it accumulates in your blood. Insulin will be released to take that sugar and store it. How does it store it? Glycogen. Your body stores very little glycogen at any one time. All the glycogen stored in your liver and muscle wouldn't last you through one active day. Once you fill up your glycogen stores that sugar is stored as fat. 
-from Mercola



- Nutrient deficient carbs (soda, fast food, fruit drinks, chips, etc)
- Processed foods
- Breads/grains/cereals (screw you Fruity Pebbles)
- Sugar & artificial sweeteners
- High glycemic foods 
- Excessive fructose (fruit+honey)
- Large meals
- Liver overload (too many toxins)
- Not eating enough fat & protein
- Not getting enough fiber
- Lack of exercise

Insulin is involved in the blood sugar roller coaster. It starts with a yummy dessert. You feel like a million bucks after and while eating it, then later, your blood sugar crashes and you crave more sugar and your mood plummets. So, where it starts with dessert , it ends with a sugar crash, weight gain and possibly sugar addiction.

This whole blood sugar mess speaks numbers to me since as a kid, I grew up eating sugar. My family ate dessert every night growing up. In fact, running out of ice cream in the house was a huge mistake in my Mom's grocery shopping. I remember how upset we got when we ran out of our crack, uh, I mean ice cream. Getting away from sugar has been incredibly difficult but so very life changing.

We all need to feel accountable for our choices rather than victimizing ourselves with talk of genetics and food cravings. But we do live in a modern world where good choices are sometimes the more difficult. It's not easy to go to the grocery store instead of a drive thru. Its easier to go home after work and veg out with the TV, instead of go to the gym. No one judges you when you watch TV, nothing makes you feel uncomfortable. 
The big take away from this is the easier way is NOT the more powerful way. The more powerful way tends to yield BIG results that give you warm fuzzies inside. Just like the vegetarian who turns down meat tends to feels an endorphin rush from declining the food. Powerful choices build your confidence, encourage you to be more powerful and will lead you to good things in life.
It's my opinion, the more you do make those powerful choices; the easier and more rewarding they become. I think the paths we chose continually propel us in that same direction. If you are eating well and working out, that becomes easy; if you're not taking care of yourself, that too can become easy. That's why it's important to keep making the right choices, the ones that will make you hold your head high, make your children and family proud and help you look and feel healthy.

6 Easy Steps to Lower Insulin:
1. Turn off the TV. TV and obesity are both evil. Together, TV + Obesity are deadly. Turn off the TV for a month and you will want to thank me with a thousand kisses. You will get so much done and feel ALIVE again! Plus you can turn off your cable and use that money for a gym membership. 

2. Say "eff you"  to sugar. Its not a real food, it's chemically made and it's hurting your body. Substitute coconut sugar, honey or real maple syrup instead. 

3. Movement. Get up and walk around, clean the house, jump up and down. Feel your body, let your blood flow.

4. Start taking fish oil. I drink mine but others take it in pill form. I prefer Cod Liver Oil because it's got vitamin D in it but either way- fish oil is a staple in our house

5. Take cinnamon pills and or sprinkle cinnamon on everything. It helps!

6. Eat protein with your high glycemic foods to slow the insulin roll

If you are ready for a huge dietary overhaul, I suggest moving toward eating paleo. Paleo is good for keeping you eating real foods and not feel like you are dieting. Plus, you get to keep your body in a low inflammation state which means you won't get sick much; if ever. 

What to do when you slip up and you ate ALL that dessert? It happens to all of us! Get away from the dessert if there is any left, and go for a power walk. Your body will have an easier time if you give the sugar somewhere to go. I wrote about how I used to do burpees after I ate poorly. Movement helps with the food guilt.

Making Your Meat Suit Habitable part 1  - Setting the Wheels in MotionMaking Your Meat Suit Habitable part 2 - Your Liver
Making Your Meat Suit Habitable part 3 - Body Fat Map
Making Your Meat Suit Habitable part 4 - Exercise
Making Your Meat Suit Habitable part 5 - Human Growth Hormone

Master Your Metabolism, Jillian Michaels (Book)

Getting Put in My Place...With Crossfit. My WOD Struggles

One of my local Crossfit boxes, Crossfit Cherry Creek has you sign up online for class before class so they know who's attending. Since decided to do a 530am drop in, I signed up online last night. This also meant I had no idea what the workout was going to be. Doing it this way is both very good (bravo for having balls!) and also very bad (you have NO idea what you're walking into). This is what I got:

Warm up: 10 kettlebell swings, 8 goblet squats, 6 rings dips  x 2
Squat clean + Hang Clean at 65% working up to 80% max (don't drop the bar during each set)
5 Sets total with 45 sec. rest between sets to add weight

WOD: 10/7/14
50 Double Unders (my personal nemesis) or 100 singles
40 Weighted sit ups (14#)
30 Hand release push ups
20 Wall balls (14#)
10 Burpee toes to bar
400 Meter Run
2 rounds

Soooo... turns out I can't do hang cleans to save my dear little life. The coach came over and had me drop weight, change my grip and alter my form but I was still a floppy mess. It was like the first days of Crossfit were coming back to remind me of my non-lifting roots. Why was I never taught hang cleans? WTH. I felt like a Crossfit wanna-be but now I know I'll be doing more hang cleans in the gym. The coach told me people are either good at A) power cleans from the ground or B) hang cleans and I was the opposite of most people because I was better from the ground. Or was he saying that to make me feel less dorky. Dunno, but it did warm my awkward heart just a little.

The hardest part of this WOD was the non-double unders. My goal was to do all double unders and not change to singles, but if I had done that I would have never made it to the weighted sit ups in round 1, seriously, I might still be there right now - 30 minutes after class. My personal work on double unders has been dedicated and deliberate but I have yet to reap the rewards! Why can't I do double unders linked and classy like? arg. I also had a hard time with hand release push ups but I think everyone did; they were tough. The burpee toes to bar were a new move and I actually really liked them, they might make it into my repertoire at the gym.

The weighted sit ups were with a wall ball overhead touching the ground above head and then bringing it between the legs to touch the ground again. Those KILLED my traps. Let me mention, there are two places that I NEVER want to be sore:

1) My Calf muscles - My Dad has HUGE calfs for a guy, and I got a pair to match my Dad's (in my most sarcastic voice...YAY!)

2) My traps - Come on, what girl wants big traps? Not this one, two thumbs pointed this direction. 
I think she might like my calf & trap muscles

What is the place I got put this morning during Crossfit? Into the humbling room. Adding my positive spin I would say it's nice to know there's a LOT of room for improvement. 

Friday, October 3, 2014

Troubleshooting CORTISOL.

NAME: CORTISOL, The Get The Eff Out Of Here, NOW Hormone 
ACCOMPLICES:  Norepinephrine and Epinephrine


Cortisol (one of the stress hormones involved in the "Flight or Fight" response) raging through your body means you are angry, irritated and storing fat around your midsection. That's reason enough to take deep breaths and chill out during traffic. Through my research, I have been learning a TON about the dangers of excess cortisol running through your body. The biggest eye opener is that excess Cortisol causes you to have high blood sugar. And high blood sugar causes weight gain, especially around your belly. This is BAD news! Cortisol, which tries to be so helpful (I say this with a roll of my eyes) in saving your life, ends up causing you to hold onto excess weight because it assumes you might need the fat storage soon.

1. Increase blood sugar which makes you store fat (gasp! the nerve)
"Another connection is cortisol’s effect on appetite and cravings for high-calorie foods. Studies have demonstrated a direct association between cortisol levels and calorie intake in populations of women.3 Cortisol may directly influence appetite and cravings by binding to hypothalamus receptors in the brain. Cortisol also indirectly influences appetite by modulating other hormones and stress responsive factors known to stimulate appetite."

Side note: When I was in 1st grade - or was it 3rd...hmmm. I used to be afraid of getting up to go ask the teacher to use the bathroom. So one day I decided to hold it in. Instead, I ended up peeing in my school desk and my helpful friend Elizabeth announced to the teacher and entire class that there was some sort of liquid under my chair. Yes, it was my urine. So, my point is cortisol is like that good friend who means to help but can really end up just making situations worse for you. Cortisol is your Elizabeth when you have too much stress.

2. Reduces absorption of thyroid hormones into body. Like I said before, an orchestra. Having excess cortisol means your thyroid function is messed up where T4 doesn't convert to T3. Then you also become thyroid hormone resistant, where your body is producing thyroid but not responding to it. If you don't have proper thyroid hormone absorption, you're moving towards Hashimotos/hypothyroid symptoms which means you have dry hair, hair loss, you're moody, depressed and you're gaining weight. Hypothyroid (that's me) does not make for the "life of the party" people; unless you're into hairless, dry-skinned, grouchy people.

"Other areas to address are high cortisol to progesterone or estrogen ratios. Excess cortisol is characterized by a round face and stomach along with a puffy appearance on the body (Cushings syndrome patients, who have very high cortisol levels, illustrate this point). As cortisol rises and progesterone falls, women can begin to develop fat storage at the belly. Working to lower stress by engaging in cortisol lowering exercise like yoga, Tai Chi, and meditation could be helpful, as would high intensity shorter duration cardio and weight training."
- excerpt from website here


The most effective way to reduce cortisol? EASY! Get some sleep. Your best sleep will be in complete darkness, I promise. Getting plenty of Z's (including naps) means you are keeping your body in a fat-burning zone instead of a muffin-top zone since Cortisol equates more sleep= low stress = skinny. And there's nothing bad about more sleeping, less stress and being skinny.
Want more info? Read More here.

Lighten Your Cortisol Influence Naturally:

  1. Move at a snails pace for a long time. Go for an hour long stroll or hike, do a low-intensity yoga class, whatever you can to let your body "chill." All exercise increases cortisol, and intense exercise will increase it more; it's all about the recovery time and how you spend it that will determine the rest of your 24 hour cortisol release. While slow walks go against all the hard-core training I emphasize, low-intensity is necessary to balance out your cortisol levels. A one hour stroll is great for bringing peace into your body, as is being outside.  Don't mistake me here, an intense one-hour workout is good too, and some people (guilty!) need this more than others. I tend to worry a lot, high intensity workouts tend to make that worrisome ideas much less compelling. But too much high intensity can reverse the whole game and make my worrisome mind go into over drive. Easy does it partner.
  2. Eat your B's. B vitamins are good for stress reduction. Salmon, eggs, asparagus, and parsley step up to the plate.  B vitamins supplements are always an option and give you extra energy which I rarely say no to. Plus, extra B vitamins turns your pee bright yellow which fills me with pride when I flush.
  3. Load up on Vitamin C: Bell peppers, lemons, kiwi, potatoes. Cortisol depletes your body of Vitamin C, thus reducing your immune system. Vitamin C helps to reduce the amount of stress hormones in your blood, a great study here. 
  4. Easy does it on the caffeine. Caffeine lasts for 6 hours in your system. All the while, your body thinks a war is going on, kinda rude. Read my liver blog post for more of an argument. Keep caffeine to 200 mg if you gotta do the Jo.
  5. Take an epsom salt soak. Epsom salt is full of much needed magnesium. Magnesium helps you to detox excess cortisol. Oh dear lord. Just take a bath in epsom salt and I promise magic will happen. Epsom salt is CHEAP (you can find it in the bath area of your grocery store) and by adding magnesium back into your body, ridding yourself of muscle soreness and relaxing at the same time you are creating pure sweet rainbows and clouds for your body. Don't ask questions, just get in the bath
  6. Meditate or at least just lay down for 5 minutes (even when you can think of 50 things that are pressing). Give yourself 5 min of nothing time to take deep breaths and reassure yourself that "all is well" If nothing else, do it just to remember that it will help your jeans fit better.
    Savasana. Feels soooo good AND calms the brain, relieves stress, insomnia and lowers blood pressure
    Where Cortisol invokes the "flight or fight" response, this Savasana pose counters it  the with the parasympathetic nervous system which invokes the "rest and digest" response. Just one minute of this will take an immediate effect on your nerves. Take that cortisol.

  7. Laugh! No, I mean laugh HARD. Don't be the lame person who doesn't laugh, instead watch a comedy show: This guy makes me cry from laughing so hard. In a weekly yoga class I do, we take 30 seconds to laugh together. I feel silly when I do it, which makes me laugh even more. Let loose, life is funny, why else do you think we have armpit farts and this talking dog:

  8. Yoga poses for Hormone balancing. Always funny to talk to guys about yoga. They think it's all about stretching, until you force them into a yoga class. They see the yoga pants and they suddenly don't judge it harshly anymore. Weird.Yoga has a deeper purpose and is more than stretching, I promise.

Still Not Sure If You Have Too Much Cortisol? 
10 Signs from Lisa Rankin MD
1. Not sleeping well
2. Still tired after you sleep well
3. Gaining weight around abdomen even with exercise and a healthy diet
4. Catch colds
5. Crave unhealthy foods
6. Backaches/Muscle aches
7. No sex drive
8. Gut acts up
9. Anxious
10. Feeling blue

I might add that I dove into this cortisol issue pretty deep because I am struggling with it myself. My workouts, plus raising 2 young kiddos and not handling stress well has left me feeling like a wreck lately and experiencing pretty much all of the symptoms I listed. So, I wanted to know how to fix it, immediately. So my research was not just for you, but for myself. I hope it helps us both! Best of luck to you, stay tuned for help with your other hormones, I'm working on posting the rest very soon!

Making Your Meat Suit Habitable part 1  - Setting the Wheels in MotionMaking Your Meat Suit Habitable part 2 - Your Liver
Making Your Meat Suit Habitable part 3 - Body Fat Map
Making Your Meat Suit Habitable part 4 - Exercise
Making Your Meat Suit Habitable part 5 - Human Growth Hormone

My references if you want more detailed info:

Troubleshooting ESTROGEN. Estrogen Dominance

ACCOMPLICES: Works with progesterone

Estrogen Dominance has begun to take effect in the world at a quick rate, maybe even a critical rate. Moobs are all around us, fish are changing from males to females (true story) and girls are starting puberty at very young ages (like 9 years old!) Yes, we live in a toxic, estrogen-dominant world. 

Excess Estrogen Happens when:

  • We get exposed to xenostrogens (fake estrogen) which comes from toxins like plastics, house cleaning products, environmental chemicals in air and our water. Toxins in these products accumulate in the body and create excess estrogen.
  • We are carrying body fat percentage greater than 28% (estrogen is stored in fat)
  • We are taking birth control pills
  • We eat foods with preservatives
  • We eat low fiber/low fat diets without much lean quality protein
  • We are stressed out and overproducing cortisol
Estrogen Dominance, borrowed from

Signs of Imbalanced estrogen in Women: 
Acid reflux, belly fat, bloating, Decreased libido, Dry skin, Hair loss, Heavy periods, Crave carbs, high blood sugar, asthma, increased allergies, night sweats, mood swings, weight gain, insulin resistance, impaired memory, hot flashes, irritable bowel syndrome

Signs of Imbalanced estrogen in Men:
Increased body fat, low sperm count, Reduced facial hair, depression, Man-boobs, decreased muscle tone, Erectile dysfunction

  1. Ditch the Dairy! Dairy is full of estrogen.And those poor cows kept in the factory they just keep impregnating over and over against their will, ug. Poor things.
  2. Eat grass fed beef and steer clear of conventional cows (pun intended.)  More info here Grass-fed is more yummy. You can buy grass fed beef here
  3. Eat your broccoli, brussel sprouts and Spinach. (I am siding with our Moms on this one)
    Cruciferous veggies help your body get rid of estrogen and fight cancer - Goooo Broccoli! (cheerleader pom poms waving!)
  4. Become friends with FIBER from veggies and fruits. Estrogen gets excreted from going #2, so you don't want to stay constipated, get it out! Your best allies for fiber-rich foods are prunes, lettuce, avocados, apples and pears. Make it easy with a green smoothie for breakfast.
  5. Lose weight. This seems to be a win-win when it comes to so many things. You're in the right place!
  6. Drink your green tea. Lowers estrogen levels
  7. Limit your boozing. Alcohol increases estrogen. Besides that it makes you feel like a bag of poop the next day too. 
  8. Reduce your soy intake. Isoflavones are present inside soy and will mimic estrogen. This is pretty common with processed foods so if you're limiting your fake foods, you're golden.