Genetics, stress, hormones and tequilla

By Brian Cole, Personal Training Associates

Before I talk about what they have in common, I’m going to spend a little time with each.

Our GENETICS affect just about every aspect of our being. Genetics can increase our likelihood for osteo-and rheumatoid arthritis, high total cholesterol level, cirrhosis of the liver, obesity, diabetes, arteriosclerosis, high blood pressure, heart disease and many other conditions.

HORMONES are chemical messengers in our blood. They influence bodily functions in distributing nutrients, in growth and development, in fluid and mineral balance and in reproduction. When stressed, we release the hormone epinephrine/adrenaline. Our heart rate and blood pressure go up, our muscles tense, our pupils dilate, etc. Excessive release of this hormone has proven links to immune problems, diabetes, asthma, high blood pressure, migraine headaches and heart disease.
In a previous lifestyle, I often referred to TEQUILA as “fast forward” because being late to the party only required a few quick shots of tequila to catch up to whatever nonsense was going on.

What’s my point? Where am I going with this?

Start thinking of all three of them as excuses.

TEQUILA as in “Honey, you know I never ever would do something like that. It’s just not me. You know it’s not. If I hadn’t been drinking tequila—you know how I get blah blah whine whine....” OK, it’s a lousy excuse. But it’s no worse than not taking care of ourselves when the information and opportunity are right in front of us.

GENETICS don’t sneak up on us. We have plenty of notice. And there is overwhelming evidence the majority of genetic disorders are greatly affected, positively or negatively, by the lifestyle choices we make, choices we make daily regarding food and activity. Research clearly shows that identical twins separated at birth may have interesting similarities but they have completely different health conditions. (I have identical twins and their daily work routines, their lifestyle habits and their responses to stress are directly connected to their health concerns). Remember, we are just genetically predisposed; we are not genetically condemned. And we are not helpless. We can take charge of our lives.

HORMONES are branded as excuses because we have warning signs and we can act on them. Harmful stress (not the kind that inspires us) is just an imbalance between life’s demands and our individual coping capacity. Warning signs that a bit too much of that stress hormone is being released are increased general anxiety, digestive problems, headaches, fatigue, insomnia and neck or back pain. Daily exercise—walking, running, biking, swimming—has been consistently proven to reduce the level of stress-released hormones and simultaneously stimulate a comforting sense of well being.

Our clients have genetic traits, they have hormones and they surely have access to tequila. But they have chosen self improvement over excuses. And as successful people they know that requires commitment, effort and prioritizing. I encourage you to address the challenges life has given you. You’ll be glad you did. So will those who care about you.

So if you’ve been kind of hiding behind any of these excuses, come out, come out wherever you’ve been. You have the very best motivation to do so: to be healthier, to feel better, to move better and to have more energy!

For yourself first but also for your relationships. And, of course, to set an example for your children. (We don’t want them using GENETICS, HORMONES—or TEQUILA as excuses.)

Brian Cole is owner of Personal Training Associates with studios in Newport News (Port Warwick and Hilton Village), and Virginia Beach. He can be reached at 757-599-5999.

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