Steroids. Is it really the dirty word you – and the rest of the personal training fraternity – think it is? When we hear about steroids, most of us take it to mean the synthetic chemicals that some bodybuilders and athletes use to bulk up their muscles and enhance their performance. Seeing as these chemicals can cause health-damaging side effects, it’s no wonder they have a bad rep.
The truth is that your body naturally produces steroids. You know the names of some of them – cholesterol, oestrogen, cortisol and testosterone. Steroids are actually incredibly important to the healthy function of your body. Read on to find out more.
What do steroids actually do?
Steroids perform a range of functions, including controlling your metabolism, reducing inflammation in your body, balancing your body’s salt content, managing immunity – and much more. Of course, steroids are also responsible for building muscle and giving you strength. The question is, what should you do and what should you eat, to boost the production of your natural steroids?
First off, get into weight or resistance training. There’s a direct link between lifting weights and an increase in the body’s steroid production. Consider doing something wild, like chopping wood or chasing a friend (scientists have found that these activities ramp up your testosterone level faster than any other activity!).
Secondly, get good sleep. Experts have found that when you’re sleep deprived, the body cannot produce steroids effectively.
Thirdly, eat right. Make sure you include these foods in your diet:
1. Celery: Expert nutritionists say that the scent of celery stimulates testosterone production in men. This vegetable is high in two steroids called androstenone and androstenol.
2. Spinach: There’s a reason Popeye the Sailor Man lived on spinach – it’s very high in phytoecdysteroids (a plant steroid), which have been shown to play a role in protein synthesis in the body – or muscle building.
3. Quinoa: This super-seed is also high in ecdysteroids, as well as saponins, which boost the body’s level of testosterone and luteinising hormones.
4. Eggs: The yolk is high in cholesterol while the egg whites contain muscle-boosting amino acids.
5. Fava beans: Hannibal Lecter was onto something. These beans naturally raise the body’s levels of human growth hormones and dopamine; and in turn, these spike your testosterone levels.
6. Avocados: These are high in healthy fats. Tests have shown that men who consume more fats produce more testosterone.
7. Extra virgin olive oil and extra virgin coconut oil: The healthy fats in these oils will boost the body’s testosterone levels.
8. Foods high in Vitamins C, A and D, zinc and magnesium: These nutrients and vitamins are shown to kick up the body’s testosterone.
If you’re passionate about exercise, diet and the role of good physical strength, consider signing up for the Trifocus Fitness Academy Comprehensive Personal Training Certification. And turn your passion into your career today!