Shape Up: Which do you choose -- man boobs or muscles?
By Damien Maher
Monday July 11 2011
Monday July 11 2011
A FEW weeks ago we saw how easy it is for women to gain a dress size in just weeks, so this time we'll turn our attention to the blokes.
Testosterone levels in men have decreased by 20pc in the last 20 years. Testosterone is the raw material that's needed to build muscle. In tandem with this, the level of the female hormone oestrogen in men has risen, which is why it's not uncommon to see so many overweight men with man boobs.
It's easy to be part of a crowd but it's much harder to do something different and stand out from it. A whopping 61pc of Irish men are now classed as overweight so will you follow this herd or choose a leaner life instead?
If you are overweight you are increasing your risk of weight-related diseases such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease. Cardiovascular heart disease accounts for 36pc of all deaths in Ireland each year -- do you really want to become part of this growing statistic?
When you are overweight you can develop insulin resistance, which means the foods you eat turn into sugar and go straight into the fat cells, not the muscle cells. Insulin resistance makes it harder to build muscle, and it also ensures that your fat cells are well fed.
Fat cells are the hardest working cells in your body. Once you gain fat cells you can never get rid of them, you can only hope to shrink them. They will be your friends for life, and they are very hard workers. They never take holidays and they are very demanding.
As you increase the number of your fat cells you can increase the amount of aromatase enzyme in your body, which will help convert your testosterone levels into the female hormone oestrogen. The better the conversion of testosterone to oestrogen, the quicker you will get your man boobs.
For those of you who are fond of a few pints, remember that alcohol contains ingredients, which your body doesn't excrete, that mimic oestrogen, and this only adds to the problem.
Charlie Chaplin might have fathered a child when he was 80, but these days sexual dysfunction is rampant because men are simply unhealthy. Low-fat diets that are lacking in omega-3s will lower your testosterone further, meaning you'll have no desire for sex or any manly activity like weight training.
Machine-based weights workouts have become popular again because they are easy to use and they will make you look like you are training hard. But performing too many machine-based exercises seven days in a row will make you weak.
This is because machines bring you through a guided path of movement and they do not require the work of the other muscles that stabilise your shoulder joints.
Instead, what you should be doing are compound exercises like squats, dead lifts, chin-ups and dips. These increase the release of testosterone and other hormones that are necessary to build fat-burning muscle.
These exercises are movements that fight against gravity and hence they develop more muscular physiques than machine-based exercises.
Another way to a fatter belly is to increase the amount of the stress hormone cortisol in your system -- dehydration is the fastest way to do this.
If this isn't a wake-up call for you then maybe your next clothes shopping trip will be. Back in the halcyon days you may have reached for 34, 36, or even 38-inch trousers, whereas now you're forced to consider elasticated waistbands instead. Is this really where you want to be?
- Damien Maher