A look at which phytoestrogens are good and those we want to avoid as well as how dietary macros can affect workout results and hormonal balance.

Did you know that what you eat determines how you look? You should, especially if you are actively looking to improve your body composition. Sure, exercise helps a lot, but without sound nutrition (or smart nutrition), you are just shooting in the dark hoping to hit something that gives you results.

Sadly, it doesn’t work that way, as you are about to find out. Depending on your goal, here is what will likely result in the biggest bang for your time (and buck!)

Fat / Weight Loss
Weight loss is not merely about reducing calories or burning more than you ingest, as is believed to be the foundation of any weight loss plan. What you should be doing, is trying to optimize for fat loss, and not weight in general, as you are likely to lose a lot of muscle in the process (and look horrible for it). Instead, opt for a low carb ketogenic diet, which is excellent for achieving weight loss. This diet keeps fat intake high, protein moderate and carbs extremely low. This places the body in a unique metabolic state to burn through more fat for energy production, while protein will help to preserve muscle mass.

Weight / Muscle Gain
If you want to maximize the speed of muscle accumulation, you will need carbohydrates. However, this can be a problem as people have different carbohydrate sensitivities, resulting in some people accumulating excessive fat along with some muscle. A better result may be to cycle carbohydrates around the workout period. By doing this muscle, synthesis is kept high as carbs are shuttled into muscle for storage as glycogen, and not fat. Some people respond much better, however, and can take carbohydrates in throughout the day, likely as a result of superior insulin sensitivity. These individuals also have better muscle building potential and do not accumulate fat as easily.

Take Note Of Pseudo-Estrogens
Pseudo-estrogens can really make it difficult to achieve a lean physique, as they mimic the actions of the natural estrogens produced by the body. Estrogen is a fat-sparing hormone that also increases fat storage, and may explain why women possess more fat stores than men. Not all pseudo-estrogens are bad, as there are some found in plant foods that can benefit health. These are the ones that actually compete with estrogen, either reducing its actions or blocking it altogether.

Of Particular note, avoid the following:

  • Soy and soy products
  • Wheat products
  • Beer and hops
  • Flaxseed
  • Barley

There are dozens more of these phytoestrogens that do not help you achieve the physique you’ve been dreaming of, as they make fat loss very difficult. Instead, opt for these natural Phyto-estrogens which can help you get a hold of estrogen in your body:

Pomegranate juice has demonstrated its ability to inhibit an enzyme (aromatase) that converts testosterone to estrogen, according to results of a study. It also works to increase testosterone levels.

A compound found in grapes and red wine, resveratrol is a potent anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory agent that binds to the estrogen receptor, preventing the hormone from negatively affecting the body.

It takes more than training to get a physique of your dreams. You need to take into account your genetics, as you may or may not do well on a high carb diet. Minimizing your exposure to pseudo-estrogens and consuming only those beneficial will allow you to enjoy the benefits of estrogen where it is needed, and preventing the negative where it is not desired. Consider using a natural estrogen blocking supplement for extra support, if you find it difficult to consume enough phytoestrogens on a
daily basis.

By Alex Eriksson