exercise, hormones,

Fit-Body Secrets: Hormones

A few simple tweaks can maximize your body's response to exercise hormones. Here's how.

From what’s in our food to the fabrics of our fitness gear, the modern athlete wants transparency—and when it comes to your workout, it’s no different: We want to know what’s going on beneath the skin.

So when a recent study identified an exercise hormone called irisin—which could have implications for weight loss and fat burn—it turned heads. “Irisin is supposed to be almost magical,” explains Keith Baar, Ph.D., an associate professor at the UC Davis School of Medicine. Some say it can turn white fat—used as an energy store—into brown fat (which produces heat and burns calories), Baar explains.

Even though irisin’s effects in response to exercise continue to be investigated, when you exercise, you change not just a single molecule, but the entire soup that your body is bathed in, says Baar. Levels of testosterone, growth hormone, cortisol, and other hormones ebb and flow.

And you don’t need a Ph.D. to maximize your chemical response to exercise. Simple adjustments (inside and out of the gym) can help you burn fat, boost metabolism, and more. Start here: