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How to Fight “Bad” Hormones with “Good” Hormones

Posted by Joel Marion

The below article is being reprinted with permission of John Romaniello and FinalPhaseFatLoss.com

Beings that John is such a good friend of mine, he’ll be stopping in again throughout the day today to answer questions you might have about the article and the awesome content he’s been providing at FinalPhaseFatLoss.com for the last week or so.

Fighting Hormones with Hormones
By John Romaniello

As I’ve covered previously, when you are breaking through a fat loss plateau or trying to get to the Final Phase of leanness, things get a bit murkier than they do with traditional fat loss.

Rather than dieting excessively in order to create a Calorie deficit, we seek to enter into energy debt by way of intelligently designed training protocols. In addition, keeping energy intake high ensures that leptin levels don’t drop and throw another hormonal monkey wrench into the machinery.

Because, as we know from yesterday’s article, when you’re getting very lean or you’ve hit a plateau, fat loss is not just about Calories in vs Calories out–it’s about your hormonal environment and the way that affects fat storage, and thereby fat loss.

When you’ve lost the first 20 or 30 or whatever pounds, you’ve lost the “easy” fat. What you’ll notice about your body is that you’re now holding fat specifically in your trouble areas; and those trouble areas are determined by your specific hormonal environment.

If you’ve been following along, by now you know that it’s not just about energy debt or cardio or to a lesser extent diet (although all of those things do factor in quite a bit, obviously).

When your fat loss has stalled and you’re trying to break through that wall, or when you’re trying to rid yourself of those last stubborn 5-10 pounds, it’s a hormonal battle.

And there is only one way to win: fight hormones with hormones.

fp4We’ve established that there are three specific hormones that cause the three most common types of regional fat storage.

As a quick recap:

1. Estrogen – the female sex hormone responsible for lower body fat storage patterns.

2. Insulin – Or rather, insulin resistance; this nasty little dude heavily influences fat storage in the love handle and lower back area.

3. Cortisol – the appropriately dubbed stress hormone is part of the reason you’ve got more flab than ab.

Those are your enemies. 

Now, I want to talk to you about how you can actually increase the production of other hormones that offset the above “bad” hormones–through the manipulation of training methods.

In this corner…

Estrogen vs. Testosterone

Now that we’ve established (again, with apologies to the ladies) that estrogen is the main reason lower body fat storage occurs, we need to know how to work around that.

Well, how else would you combat estrogen but with testosterone? In all honesty, when if comes to fat loss and muscle gain, testosterone good, estrogen bad.

It’s for that reason that professional athletes, bodybuilders and the juicers down at the Jersey Shore use illicit steroids that are derivatives of testosterone.

Of course, that’s not an option for us–and certainly not desirable.

Instead, we are going to increase testosterone levels naturally, through training. Not only will this increase the net fat-burning effect of all exercises, but more appropriate to our purposes here, it will also facilitate in getting rid of lower body fat.

I should mention something here to alleviate any concerns: it is NOT possible to produce a detrimental amount of testosterone through training. So ladies, you don’t have to worry about any masculinizing effects.

Instead, training produces what we would term a ‘high’ amount of testosterone from a physiological perspective, relative to what your body normally produces. For the guys, this means that such training will help you put on a bit more muscle–just not steroid muscle.

Got it?

Okay, moving on.

At this point, I know you’re thinking, ‘all right Roman, get to the point, what do I do?”

Great question. And the answer is Density Training.

fp2Training in a way that seeks to increase training density is one of the best ways to spur your body to produce and release more testosterone, which will (obviously) help you lose that estrogen related fat storage.

Training density can be defined as the amount of work you do in a given amount of time during a training session. If you want to increase density, you can do more work (sets, reps, or both) in the same amount of time, or do the same amount of work and decrease the time in which you do it.

However, I’ve come up with a method of density training that is specific to radical fat loss, and this means that not only will you produce the testosterone necessary to mitigate your regional fat issue, but you’ll also lose more fat on the whole.

Pretty cool, eh?

So here is how we do it. As an example, let’s pick 3 exercises: the overhead press, the dumbbell row, and the squat.

Setting these up in a circuit fashion, you perform them one after another with little rest in between.

Sounds like just about any circuit training protocol, right?


Instead of having a set number of reps, we’re going to be forming each of these exercises for TIME–you simply have to do as many as you can in a given time period.

To make it easy, let’s say you did each of the above exercises for 30 seconds. In performing such a circuit, your results might look like this:

Overhead Press: 25 pound dumbbells for 20 reps
DB Row: 40 pound dumbbells for 18 reps
Squat: 100 pound barbell for 22 reps

Not too shabby. Now, HERE is where it gets crazy.

We’re going to take advantage of some cool things that happen in the body; triggers that happen which will make you more efficient and more capable.

To do that, we’re going to INCREASE the weight by 10-20% and try to do MORE reps.

Does that seem impossible? It isn’t. Due to neuromuscular junction and neural activation, in almost ALL cases, you’ll be able to do just that.

Your second attempt at that circuit might look like this:

Overhead Press: 30 pound dumbbells for 23 reps
DB Row: 50 pound dumbbells for 20 reps
Squat: 120 pound barbell for 25 reps

I know you’re having trouble believing that outcome is even possible, much less common, but I implore you–try it for yourself!

Density training is fun, challenge-based, burns a heck of a lot of fat, and–most importantly–is one of the best training modalities around for increasing testosterone production and release.

Training for increased workout density will help you shed stubborn lower body fat, and as we’ve mentioned more fat on the whole.

Insulin Resistance vs. IGF-1

As I mentioned in the video above, insulin resistance is combatted very nicely by a hormones called IGF-1, or Insulin-like Growth Factor one.

Producing extra IGF-1 via training will help you (and me!) improve insulin sensitivity and begin to rid ourselves of love handle and lower back fat.

We established yesterday that insulin resistance is very common, particular in people who were previously overweight; so if you have lost some fat and you’re now struggling to lose a bit more, and that fat happens to be in your love handles, I’m willing to bet you’re suffering from some degree of insulin resistance.

In order to get rid of that fat, we have to do fat burning workouts (obviously) and increase insulin sensitivity to the greatest degree that we can through the training effect. To that end, we need to employ what I call Dynamic Training.

fp3Dynamic training is pretty much the over-arching concept of how I design fat loss training programs–it consists of using fast-paced movements to teach the body how to move more efficiently. Combination movements, like the squat-to-press I demonstrated in the above video are also brought to bare.

Because this style of training is extremely expensive in terms of energy (Calorie) demand, by and large dynamic training is excellent as a general fat loss modality.

Perhaps more importantly, however, is the fact that utilizing these types exercises and setting them up in a non-competing circuit fashion under the dynamic training umbrella is an incredible way to produce IGF-1–and that is one of the most effective methods to mitigate insulin sensitivity.

Take it from someone who knows; nothing is better for combating love handle fat than increasing insulin sensitivity–and one of the most effective ways to do that is to produce more IGF-1 through dynamic training.

Cortisol vs. Growth Hormone

And now we come to our final bout of the evening–the main event, as it were.

We have touched on cortisol a bit, so I won’t rehash that too much. Suffice it to say that the higher your cortisol levels are, the more fat you’re going to be storing on your belly. Given that fact, it stands to reason that if you store fat primarily in the abdominal region, you’re a victim of high cortisol.

Never fear, though: Growth Hormone is here.

Also known as the “fountain of youth”, growth hormone is the single most effective compound your body can produce to affect both fat loss and muscle gain. The more you produce, the faster you’ll lose fat and build muscle. It’s just as simple as that.

Now, in addition to that awesome little fact, growth hormone is going to whoop cortisol’s ass and help you burn belly fat.

Also, you’ve probably heard that one of the ways to reduce your cortisol levels is to get more sleep. That’s something you hear on nearly all the medical TV shows. What you don’t hear is the reason.

You see, sleeping is one of the main ways by which your body produces growth hormone. Or, saying it another way, while you’re asleep is your body’s primary opportunity to produce growth hormone.

And, as I stated previously, growth hormone is one of the main hormones that reduces the effects of cortisol.

Sleep more and you’ll produce more GH. Produce more GH and you’ll have less cortisol. Therefore, sleeping more results in lower cortisol levels. Got it?

Of course, I’m not suggesting you can just sleep your way past a fat loss plateau; although getting more sleep does help. I’m merely illustrating the relationship between cortisol and growth hormone.

Which leads us to the production of growth hormone as it relates to training.

While nearly all forms of exercise produce both growth hormone and cortisol, some types are better than others. Cortisol, as I mentioned in the previous article, is produced heavily in long duration cardio sessions–so let’s not do that.

Instead, we’re going to utilize a style of training that produces more growth hormone.

To do that, we’re going to employ a training method known as Lactic Acid Training.

fp1In order to get to the growth hormone, you must first produce lactic acid.

Lactic acid, by way of a definition, is a byproduct of the chemical reactions that take place during exercise. This substance is wildly irritating to the nerves, and your body responds.

Think of lactic acid as sort of a type of oil igniting fires as it flows through you–your body will call the fire department to put those fires out. And your body will do that by dousing them with soothing, cooling growth hormone.

Okay, maybe I’m being a little simplistic with my metaphor, but it gives you a general idea.

In any event, we must structure training to produce the most lactic acid possible. And, because lactic acid is primarily produce in the concentric (positive) phase of anaerobic exercise, we extend that period, and decrease the eccentric period.

What that means is that we lift the weight very very slowly, and lower it very very quickly so that we can have a fast turn around.

As an example, if you’re doing a squat, you’ll descend to the bottom the squat very quickly (drop down fast, but still controlling the weight somewhat) and then lift the weight sloooowly, oh so sloooowly–over a period of 4-6 seconds.

This will create tremendous amounts of lactic acid, which will intern send GH production into overdrive.

I must mention that training in this way necessitates the use of lighter weights than you normally would on any given exercise. Therefore, if you’re interested in lactic acid training, I suggest you reduce the weight you’d use on any exercise by about 30% in order to be both safe and effective.

With traditional training methods, you’d lift the weight pretty quickly and lower it slowly. Here, we’re doing the opposite, in order to produce the most lactic acid possible, which will then lead to a corresponding increase in the production of growth hormone.
This will result in not only reducing cortisol, but also reducing cortisol related fat storage in your belly.

On top of it all, it’s great for fat loss in general!

Closing Thoughts

Although the battle against hormone-related fat storage can be a tough one, it’s certainly easier when you yourself have hormones on your side–tougher, stronger, better looking hormones!

Say goodbye to cortisol and belly fat with increase growth hormone production via lactic acid training.

Make lower-body fat (and man boobs) along with estrogen issues history through density training.

And combat the ol’ love handles and insulin resistance with dynamic training and IGF-1 production.

With Final Phase Fat Loss, stubborn becomes easy. Slow becomes fast. And it’s all because every single workout within the Final Phase system has been specifically created to combat the hormonal reasons you’re NOT losing fat.


Again, John & I are here to answer your questions, so go ahead and ask away by posting a question or comment below!

Secondly, John is giving away FIVE FREE copies of the entire Final Phase Fat Loss System right now at his blog — Click HERE to Win a FREE Copy of Final Phase Fat Loss ($369 Value – ends today)


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39 comments - add yours
Reply  |  Quote

Originally Posted By chrishey john
i take an everyday birth control pill which keeps my estrogen level stable. is this hurting me or helping me? thanks for the insight

Well, that’s debatable. It’s definitely helping you NOT get pregnant, which I have to assume is one reason you’re taking it.

Keep estrogen stable is better for lifestyle than the way you feel when it’s fluctuating.

Hard to say from a physique perspective–but I’m going to go ahead and say there is no benefit to changing it that wouldn’t be outweighed by the rebound of coming off the drug.

Plus…ya know. The whole pregnancy thing.

Reply  |  Quote

@Adrian Lowther

Great interpretation, Adrian! I think you’re mostly right. Combining things in the way I have is, from what I’ve seen in the past 5 years doing it, is a lot more effective than doing any of them one their own.

Having said that I do agree with you that anything done intensely and with good nutrition will yield results.

Regarding Test increases in women, i have seen studies that go both ways, and I have no shame in admitting that like any author, trainer, or theorist, I’m looking more closely at anything that confirms what i’m thinking rather than those that tell me I’m an idiot.

I tried something, noticed results, posited a theory and looked into it, finding some support.

I suppose, rather, I should have looked at research first, then created a theory–that would have been closer to the scientific method and I guess I’d draw a bit less ire from guys who are really into studies.

I’m willing to admit thatITS POSSIBLE I’m premature in my conclusions based on the evidence, and therefore overstating the relationship a bit for the purposes of supporting my theory.

Which, to be honest, I think is fair.

On the other hand, I have seen 90% of the results I describe well above 90% of the time with regard to lower body fat, and I do believe there’s a relationship there–even if it is not scientifically as strong as I may think.

I hope that’s a fair statement.

Reply  |  Quote

Originally Posted By RyanThanks John and Joel for a great article. A quick question I have is when doing the lactic acid training is there specific set,reps, or time that make for most effective results? Also it, seems like these three hormone specific training techniques could be used simultaneously in a given workout, any thoughts?

I’ve tried it. I work a bit of dynamic stuff into the lactic acid workouts in FPFL. I have also added density work t a lactic acid workout, but that didn’t workout as well.

Reply  |  Quote

@Liz Hastings – Ah HA!

In FACT, in each week of FPFL, you do 4 workouts: lactic acid, dynamic, density, and PURE STRENGTH!

Keeps you strong and helps you retain LBM. I do this with ALL of my fat loss programming. GREAT instincts!

Regarding altering it for muscle gain–I think if you doubled or tripled the rest periods and bumped calories a lot it could work pretty well.

In that case, given the longer rest periods you could probably use heavier weight for your working set, so that would be a factor as well.

Can’t hurt to try it–and I may do just that

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@John Romaniello

That is what I figured you would say. Thanks John! ;-)

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Originally Posted By JorgeJohn: Quick question. I’m looking to add more muscle while getting rid of that last little bit of stubborn fat in the mid-section. Is FPFL the program for me? I’m 25, just shy of 6’2″ and about 180lbs. Thanks!

It’s more of a dedicated fat loss program, but people often gain muscle and usually gain strength. Which will have carryover to muscle gain down the line.

I think you certainly CAN do both, but this program isn’t designed specifically for that. If you’re looking SPECIFICALLY to rip that last bit of fat off of you, I wholeheartedly recommend FPFL

Reply  |  Quote

Originally Posted By MichaelJoel, very interesting. I’ve heard that the negatives are the most important part when working out, it provides more muscle tearing and thus more growth. So would you recommend going slow on lowering usually, and only switching it up when you’re in a leaning phase? Or is it more like you want to do slow positives 1/4 of the time to boost your GH then go back to slow negatives? Or do I have it all wrong?

Outside of this particular protocol, I am actually not big on tempo prescriptions in general. I like it for producing a lot of GH, but speaking generally I wouldn’t say, “lower your weight for 4 seconds.” I’d rather just say, “lower the weight under control”

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Originally Posted By Adrian Lowther
Just one question. Can you comment on how you make use of strategic cheating as per Joel’s stuff, whilst keeping insulin levels down?

Just realized I didn’t answer this question. This is actually something I struggled with for a long time until I finally realized that it was kinda pointless.

THere’s no way to “manage” the effect that ingesting massive amounts of carbohydrates is going to have on insulin levels. =(

That’s the bad news.

The good news is, it doesn’t actually affect anything negatively.

Whatever problems that surge of insulin might create is 1) mitigated by the increase in insulin sensitivity you’ll see with the workouts, and 2) superseded by the fat loss magic of the cheating protocol.

The only change I’d make is to do a dynamic workout the day of your cheat day, and a lactic acid for your next workout.

But it is VERY doable and highly effective.

Reply  |  Quote

Hi Joel
Ok, so help me out here… I’m going to adopt the density training because being a female, I want to fight estrogen with testostorone, so that will probably leave me toned but flat chested, right?

Reply  |  Quote

Help Joel!!!! Information over load….I am very confused. I got cheat my way thin…then vinces program now this one. Why do I keep getting all these offers if each program is supposed to be the best one that will get me all the results i want?

Do i take bits form each one
stick to one program( for how long)
alternate back and fourth monthly

just overwhelmed because the links promise everything with each workout and diet. Whats next ? I am very frustrated. Everyday I get another email and it just seems each one is leading up to another dvd i need to get.

I believe in a lot of what you say but it’s hard enough to focus without the distracting emails about another program.

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John and Joel,

Great article! My question is: I don’t have access to a gym and the current weights I have at home are mostly kettlebells (2 35lbers and 2 53lbers), so it’s not possible for me to increment the weight in that 10-20% range. Would it be advisable, then, to simply go for more reps in less time with the same weight and to focus more on the concentric part of the movement (impossible with some ballistic KB movements like the snatch; but very possible with turkish getups, presses, and squats)?

Reply  |  Quote

Hi Joel from Australia, Your w/site, info, and educational stuff is great.
I am trying to rebuild (in a smaller scale) my old body. as an ex super fit sportsman footballer I miss my previous fitness, I have lost 7kg (15lbs) in 8 weeks just thru moderate (no processed carbs ) dieting and no exercise. now the hard work starts. at 68 inches tall, 176 lbs 10 lbs to go I have a serious problem, my rectus abdominals are seperated and I need some advise on getting them back to half normal. I would appreciate any hints or exercises you can suggest.
Looking forward to hearing from you.

Trevor Gerard

Reply  |  Quote

As a 46 year old female figure competitor, I struggle with getting my lower body as lean as my upper body. Will density training be effective in helping me achieve a lean lower body, or is this method more effective to the general public? Are there anymore suggestions to get past the estrogen roadblock? How does using birth control effect the results?

Reply  |  Quote

you are very helpful admin.
thank you

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