The truth is, you could spend years studying endocrinology and still have a lot to learn. Even if your only concern is body fat storage, there is a myriad of hormones that play into the equation. Plus, hormones are exceptionally interdependent; a change in one hormone will undoubtedly affect other hormone levels. But let’s focus on a few that we have a lot of control over: insulin, estrogen, and testosterone.


What it does: Produced by the pancreas, which regulates carbohydrate and fat metabolism, it tells cells to absorb glucose from the blood and store it for use as energy. But… Too much insulin means we’re always in glucose-absorption/fat-storage mode. The best thing about insulin is that we have complete control over it (unless you have diabetes) because insulin levels are dependent upon the types of food we eat. Fat has no effect on insulin levels. Protein has little effect on insulin levels. Carbohydrates are the insulin commanders. Smarter people than me have figured all of this out and even catalogued how certain carbs affect insulin levels. We call this the insulin index. How to control it: Look up the insulin index of the foods you commonly eat and opt for foods that are lower. White bread is the standard and is given a score of 100. I’ll give you a hint. You shouldn’t be eating white bread.


What it does: Known as the “female sex hormone,” it controls a lot of the magic that is the female reproductive process. In addition to this, it encourages the body to store additional fat—especially around the hips, legs, and booty. But… Estrogen dominance is becoming a common problem, especially amongst men (yes, men) because of stuff in our environment that our body absorbs and mistakes for estrogen. We call these xenoestrogens. Soy is an estrogenic compound. Commercially raised beef, chicken and pork are common sources, as well as plastic water bottles, cosmetics (are you wearing makeup?), detergents, and even household cleaners. How to control it: Check out the website to review your products and to evaluate your exposure level. Using more natural products, cleaners, and household goods will help decrease your xenoestrogens exposure. Also, if you don't already, switch to organic and "hormone free" foods.


What it does: Known as the “male sex hormone,” it controls a lot of the awesomeness that is the male reproductive process. In addition to this, it encourages the body to increase muscle mass and bone density, decrease body fat stores, and improve energy levels. But... No but. As long as it's produced naturally, too much testosterone shouldn't be a concern. How to control it: Lift heavy weights, get plenty of sleep (eight hours a night is ideal), eat meat and consider taking a fish oil supplement. According to a recent study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Omega-3 fatty acid (the good stuff in fish oil) has been linked to an increase in lean mass and a decrease in body fat stores. This crash-course in endocrinology only touches on the basics. If you’re looking for more solid information on the profound relationship between hormones, exercise, nutrition and life, check out Charles Poliquin at In the meantime, control your insulin levels, decrease your estrogen, increase your testosterone and you’ll become one ripped USDA cut choice human being.   Rob Sulaver is owner and operator of Bandana Training. For more smart info, check him out at or follow him on Facebook or Twitter @BandanaTraining.