Why beast mode is wrecking your results
If you’re a fitness enthusiast and somehow unfamiliar with the term “beast mode,” just look back to the last time you went all-in on that new diet and fitness program….when you attacked each workout with a vengeance! When motivation met laser-focused action/output. When you were dead set on crushing your own personal best and maybe even crushing the competition. When each workout was an all-out throw-down! That was your own personal beast mode.
How’s that intensity looking these days, and what results did you obtain AND sustain?
Why beast mode is hurting you and not helping you
A fundamental understanding of SAID principals is imperative to grasping where we’re headed regarding this topic. SAID stands for: Specific Adaptations to Imposed Demands. Simply put, impose an external physical stressor and the body will adapt to that specific stress.
Example: by regularly doing 3 sets of 10 barbell back-squats and 150 lbs., your body will become adapted to this specific physical demand, but not necessarily adapted to lunging, running faster, jumping higher, etc.
Goal specific training programs are rooted in understanding that specific stressors will illicit specific adaptations. The stress component of these programs is the exciting and sexy stuff – training schedules, sets, reps, loads, HIIT, watts, distance covered, etc. AND, all the beast mode you can muster.
For the desired adaptations to occur, a proper and adequate platform for recovery must exist. This includes many components including proper nutrition, rest, stress management, and arguably the most important component: balanced hormone profiles.
Bottom line, for a positive physical adaptation to occur, positive physiological adaptations must occur. Hormones are like keys to unlock your potential physiological adaptations.
A short lesson on exercise and hormones
When you exercise, the hormone cortisol is released to manage protein, fat, and carbohydrate metabolism for fuel. Cortisol is a positive hormone in this process as it triggers other hormones to take action.
Trouble mounts when excessive amounts of cortisol released from chronic stressors brought on through exercise, lack of sleep, poor nutrition, and environmental stressors.
In short, too much cortisol creates an imbalance in the regulatory systems responsible for managing metabolic hormones, sex hormones, and thyroid function. This imbalance creates a down-regulation of hormone production and can be described as HPA Axis Dysfunction (sometimes called “adrenal fatigue”). HPA Axis Dysfunction symptoms can look and feel like:
- Chronic fatigue
- Increased body fat
- Decreased libido
- Brain Fog
- Inability to fall asleep of stay asleep (tired & wired)
The thing is, several other aspects in life can contribute to these stresses: diet, alcohol consumption, caffeine consumption, the job, commuting, kids, relationships, finances, and trying to win at life.
For most, we’re constantly in a state of recovery from all the stressors we encounter outside of exercise.
Continually being in a constant state of recovery/STRESS, results in constantly elevated cortisol levels.
Prolonged cortisol exposure increases inflammation. Increased inflammation decreases insulin sensitivity leading to a litany of issues: heart diseases, diabetes, CVD, the list goes on. Too much cortisol triggers the down-regulation of sex hormones and thyroid function. And, before you know it, all the Beast-Mode training you’ve been doing to create the fat-loss-adaptation sends you into HPA Axis Dysfunction.
When you train at LEVEL beast-mode constantly you create an additional demand for recovery beyond the recovery deficit your body is already most likely in. Simply stated, overtraining will leave you broken.
Steps to Improve Your Hormone Balance
The physical adaptations you seek won’t happen without positive physiological adaptations. Those positive physiological adaptations start with cleaning up and improving your gut health, providing your body adequate QUALITY macro & micronutrients, getting 7-8 hours of restful sleep, and appropriately addressing other factors in your stress management profile. Go beast mode on THESE things and address what type of workout intensity is truly appropriate to meet your goals and needs!