Hormone Cascade prompted by stress: Unfortunately there are so many Bikini athletes dealing with this due to chronic dieting and too much cardio. Their hormones are out of whack and then dysregulation of key hormones impact regulation of metabolic functions. In general this seems to affect female athletes primarily.
Dieting, cardio, training, stressing to get leaner and general stressing in life all add up to huge stress on the body. Our bodies’ response is to produce more cortisol. If you produce too much cortisol that is when problems start. Your body uses progesterone from the progesterone/pregnenolone pathways to create more cortisol. This is generally fine if cortisol stays in a normal range because for the most part there is plenty of progesterone remaining to still form other hormones. However, when cortisol gets too high, progesterone becomes depleted and you don’t have enough remaining for other critical hormone creation. You need progesterone to create DHEA and eventually testosterone, thus disruption in the pathways will eventually lead you to become low in testosterone.
A Bikini athlete with high cortisol, low progesterone, and low testosterone typically ends up being estrogen dominant (which causes many issues, one of which being difficulty losing body fat). The dysfunction also affects the thyroid as it starts to down-regulate due to the disturbances. This does not always occur, but most of the time it’s what we will see happening. So now you have an athlete that is in a much more sympathetic state, not sleeping, insulin resistant, holding water, not burning calories or using them properly, etc. Additionally in most cases they have coinciding digestion issues since the body is not digesting food properly due to the fact that high stress/cortisol leads to lower stomach acid.
If you’re looking to correct this: First, YOU NEED TO REST! Training should be pulled back and nothing should be taken to failure. Also, it’s helpful to add in 1-2 days of restorative yoga. The focus during this time is to restore hormones.
Estrogen Dominance and Blood Glucose: For supplementation, athletes can take Core-21 https://1stphorm.com/products/core-21/?a_aid=glamgirlbikini&a_aid=glamgirlbikini&a_bid=4b7ce806&chan=AE to bring down cortisol correctly since that is the main issue. Adding Harmony https://1stphorm.com/products/harmony/?a_aid=glamgirlbikini to bring down the estrogen dominance and help the body begin to raise testosterone since there is an inverse relationship. This product will also boost progesterone. With cortisol high it can cause insulin resistance; so adding a GDA https://1stphorm.com/products/gda/?a_aid=glamgirlbikini can help as well. If you have high cortisol levels it’s important to check fasted blood glucose levels and post prandial (due to Dawn phenomenon). If you have high blood glucose you will lose insulin sensitivity, which needs to be restored.
Thyroid and Gut: In order to support the thyroid during this time use: Thyro-Drive https://1stphorm.com/products/thyro-drive/?a_aid=glamgirlbikini&a_aid=glamgirlbikini&a_bid=4b7ce806&chan=AE because it will help to minimize weight gain. Digestion will also need to be addressed in order to get the body properly utilizing nutrients again, which is vital for recovery. An physique athlete will do well to utilize a digestive enzyme: https://1stphorm.com/products/digestive-enzymes/?a_aid=glamgirlbikini and GI Advantage https://1stphorm.com/products/gi-advantage/?a_aid=glamgirlbikini for gut health.
Adrenals: NOTE: if someone complains of being super tired all day they will very likely need to also support their adrenal glands. Take Adrenal Restore: https://1stphorm.com/products/adrenal-restore/?a_aid=glamgirlbikini&a_aid=glamgirlbikini&a_bid=4b7ce806&chan=AE as it is perfect for this.
As an athlete is able to rest more and raise calories over time they will continue to improve the health of their body.
To close, it’s best to take measures to prevent this entire cascade from happening again, so any time you “diet” (eat in a caloric deficit) OR if you just have very high stress in your life it’s going to be important to keep these hormones in check. For athletes who compete, they should be considering taking care of keeping cortisol at bay the entire prep. Then after the show or prolonged diet be sure to take Adrenal Restore to get your adrenals back in working order since they were taxed heavily during the lean out phase. This strategy should help prevent that nasty wind up from occurring.
Don’t be that person who comes into the sport who looks worse after competing than before starting. Some upfront time and money can help prevent a lifetime of battle.