We consider a lot when we choose our birth control.
- Is it safe?
- How much does it cost?
- Would it be convenient?
- Does it fit my lifestyle?
- Would my partner be okay with it?
These are all valid questions. How about how your birth control affect your results at the gym? Have you ever thought about that?
Most women have no idea that the hormones in birth control pills can affect their fitness progress and results. With so many choices in birth control methods available today, it is indeed important to learn about how each effects our bodies and the repercussions they may entail, and hormone based contraception, like birth control pills is a good place to start.
What Hormones Do To Our Bodies
The biggest difference between men and women, besides the obvious, is the difference in our hormones. These hormone levels make us unique. Men have testosterone that allows them to get big, strong muscles, think about sex half the day, and respond in a competitive, dominant way. Women have testosterone, too, but in much smaller amounts.
Women have estrogen, the hormone that makes us soft, and round in more places than one, able to give birth, and causes us to have menstrual cycles and mood swings. Estrogen and testosterone levels as well as progesterone, another hormone women have, all fluctuate depending on our monthly cycles. Testosterone levels are highest when ovulation is occurring.
Birth control was meant to throw all that out of whack so we can’t get pregnant and in particular, the cycle where a woman’s body produces testosterone to facilitate conception. Birth control pills change the chemical makeup with synthetic or fake hormones.
So how does this affect our workouts?
Testosterone And Muscle
As already mentioned, testosterone is what makes men able to get strong, manly muscles. It does the same for women, to an extent. We only have enough testosterone in our bodies to create lean muscle and strength. That’s why women have to try extra hard to lose weight and get lean. Don’t you hate it when you and your man go on a diet and he loses 10 lbs like nothing while you are straining to lose 5? It’s all in our chemical makeup, people.
Therefore, when you take birth control pills that inhibit what little testosterone is being produced in your body, you’re making it extra hard on yourself. Your results at the gym could come to a screeching halt. Your energy levels will take a dive; you will lose strength and the ability to create sexy lean limbs.
Apparently, that wasn’t enough however, as birth control pills have another detrimental effect on your testosterone levels through a side effect called sex hormone binding globulin. It’s a very long word for trapping whatever testosterone is left in your body so you can’t use it.
Other Medical Problems
Birth control pills can seem like a girl’s best friend and save her from responsibility before she is ready for it but there are so many dangerous side effects of birth control that really make you think twice.
• Venous Thrombosis – This is a fancy word for blood clot in the veins. Birth control greatly increases your chances of getting a blot clot in your vein because of the amount of synthetic (remember-fake) hormones that it pumps into your liver making it increase its clotting factors and platelets. If left untreated this can result in a pulmonary embolism. Dangerous!
• Heart Attack – Birth control has been proven to increase the user’s risk of a possible heart attack, even if you are young and healthy and especially if you smoke.
• Breast Cancer – The earlier you start using birth control the more your chances are of developing breast cancer. This is because the synthetic estrogen causes an increase in new breast tissue before the natural breast tissue is fully developed through puberty. These mutated cells in the breast result in breast cancer.
Put all these things together and you have a recipe for not only disaster in your workout program, but also potential disaster in your life.
Birth control is definitely a necessity for some women but it may be time to look into non-hormonal methods of birth control for your own health. Talk to your family doctor or gynecologist to learn the options that are available.