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Gyms and hormones

Hormones and the Elephant in the Gym

I’m Tim Leposa, a personal trainer from Geelong where I run the Fit For Living Gym (address further down).

I want to talk about an important but underestimated and often totally ignored aspect of our clients’ health, hormones. Motivation and hormones are intertwined, energy and hormones are too so Iv’e always wanted to speak up on the topic. Strange how something that affects everything from energy to motivation, attitude to weight gain, is hardly ever discuss in the gym.

As Trainers, Should We Start The Conversation?

Looking beyond the session and considering a client’s overall holistic health is what we trainers do every day right?. Observation and assessment of your client from session to session is necessary to gauge progress and provide feedback.

But some factors playing for and against our clients are not always obvious. Like alcohol intake or poor diet, some things are kept on the down-low. Poor medical or mental health are often hidden from view, especially amongst men trying to ‘keep it real’. Some of us trainers ask questions, try to dig deeper, stick our nose into it, you could say.

Hormones are one of these invisible factors, and that’s why I raise the subject. Yes, we know at least something (and a few know a lot) about the various roles they play from puberty to menopause, but it’s not generally discussed. How are they tested? What happens if they’re out of whack? What do you do? etc. All these questions have simple answers, which we can provide.

So I suggest that hormones are too central to fitness and motivation to ignore . And with testing our levels so simple to do, it’s something all trainers should be introducing to their clients.

Why Include Hormone Testing in Your Client Care Plan?

  • Rule out lifestyle induced hormone imbalance for peace of mind
  • Strengthen client / trainer relationships
  • Improve the quality and depth of your care plans
  • Eliminate excuses and improve attitudes
  • Rule out worries over previous steroid use
  • Increase clients’ knowledge base and physical awareness
  • Help detect previously unknown abnormalities

A Word About Steroid Use, Hormones, and Motivation

All  PT’s know about anabolic steroids and the well-documented impact they can have when used long term. Use of anabolic steroids, which is usually a synthetic type of testosterone,  is growing. Firsthand experience with people that use steroids or have used them in the past is common.

Whilst a very personal and usually private issue, the lasting impact, be it psychological or physical, real or perceived, could be a hindrance to motivation. If your client has opened up to you about previous steroid use, good. It may present the opportunity to engage them on the topic.

Ask your client if they are concerned about the impact this use had. Get them to open up. Why? Because this topic right here is potentially crucial to their motivation.

Using Hormone Tests in the Care Plan

It costs us trainers nothing, and could possibly be a game changer for our client. So, yes, I reckon it’s a sound idea. With results in and showing normal, your client has no more excuses. Time to train. Harder even.

And of course, if it turns out that their hormones are out of balance,  there is help available. In the rare case they have a severe abnormality, like hypogonadism or chronic adrenal insufficiency, medical intervention and possibly stabilizing drugs can mean big improvements to quality of life. Their long term health will be better, and their training will benefit too. And they’ll have you to thank.

No GP Required in Australia

Most PT’s would know this by now, here in Australia, your clients can get a wide range of hormone tests online, and without a GP referral. Hormone test kits can be sent to the client’s home in a couple of days. Those kits contain everything required to complete the process.

So What Test Kit? I’m no hormone expert, but after getting advice i decided these two tests were the way to go. For male clients I almost always suggest the Estrogen Dominance test which is $85.00 everything included. As mentioned up top, that test lays to rest any fears about masculinity. With my female clients it’s dependent on age, but the Female Active Hormones test ($153.00) indicates the performance of a bunch of key health factors and overall health.

Results In – What’s Next?

The TestoChecker lab provides a report that you average person can understand, although reading them together and discussing them with your client is a good idea. In most cases your client will fall into the normal range for their age: Easy, no action required. Then the whole topic can be put to bed once and for all.

There will however be some that do fall outside normal range, which hormone replacement therapy or other medical intervention may help. In those cases, I refer the client to their GP. This can be particularly important as some hormone irregularities can indicate serious disease and illness. They may even thank you for it, but that isn’t the point.

That’s it, and if you happen to be down Geelong way, come and see us at the Gym!

Tim Leposa
Fit For Living Gym
37 Mercer St,
Geelong, VIC.