What Are the Eight Dimensions of Wellness?

As modern Americans, we tend to share an extremely limited ideal of what real health actually means. 

The pursuit of the inextricable duo of health and wellness requires much more than simply avoiding illness or disease – it demands exploration and development across multiple dimensions of the human experience.

Western society by and large has been conditioned to look at things in reductionist terms. Black and white, good or bad, healthy or sick. But the World Health Organization, seen by many as one of the primary authorities on human health, has developed their own standards (they go as far as to call it their constitution) for what they believe comprises actual wellness – and it covers far more than just avoiding disease of dysfunction. They believe that real health requires a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and that governments worldwide have a responsibility to provide the right atmosphere, resources, and opportunities for each and every one of their citizens to realize their full potential. 

To achieve a state of physical, mental, and social well-being, attention must be paid to each and every dimension that contributes to creating this state. As it turns out, there seems to be either entirely unique, and yet interconnected dimensions that collectively contribute to overall wellness. These dimensions are physical, emotional, social, intellectual, environmental, financial, spiritual, and occupational wellness. None of these can create a sense of overall wellness alone – they all feed into one another to achieve balance and harmony. Each must be cultivated and nurtured over time. 

As human beings we are extremely adaptable, and we can survive without fulfilling many, or even most of these dimensions – but we won’t thrive. This disparity is precisely why we have written this article – to illuminate each of these dimensions as well as to provide you with a few actionable steps for each to help you begin to curate and maintain more thorough health and wellness habits and practices into your daily life. Each dimension may have more or less importance than others, depending upon who you are and where you are at on your health and wellness journey, but the very nature of these unique aspects is that they are all deeply and fully interconnected with each other. 

Physical Wellness

Something that we need to recognize about our modern lifestyles is that they just aren’t very conducive to good physical health. We sit far too much and move far too little. We are overfed but undernourished. We are fully displaced from our ancestral ancestors in these ways. But our internal biology is still basically the same! It is no wonder we are experiencing an astronomical increase in chronic disease and dysfunction. So once we acknowledge this context, the necessity for prioritizing better sleep, more movement, and a more whole-foods based diet becomes increasingly apparent. 

There are an endless number of ways that we can improve our physical health. But the good news is that there are a few key points to focus on that will get you most of the way there. Prioritize the following aspects for physical wellness:

  • Move, alot. 
  • Eat food with actual nutritional value.
  • Sleep, well. 

There is, of course, much nuance that applies to each of those. For example, how much movement, and what kinds are appropriate for each individual might vary a bit – but generally these three statements apply to each of us to some degree. 

You may need to look deeper into each of these points to determine how they specifically apply to you. Moving more is something that most modern humans can benefit from – it should be no surprise to hear that. Finding what kinds of movement you enjoy and can do consistently is a good place to start. And tracking your daily steps appears to be one of the most effective strategies for losing weight or maintaining a healthy weight for long periods of time. Once daily activity is one of your non-negotiables, perhaps the logical next step is to begin resistance training. Lifting weights has been linked to a whole host of beneficial effects, some of which will last a lifetime. 

Eating food with actual nutritional value is crucial for many reasons. You need vitamins for enzymes to work and cells to function properly. Some minerals are utilized by your immune system to get toxins out of your body. Your brain needs fatty acids and beneficial plant compounds to thrive. Specific amino acids are required for certain tissues, hormones, and neurotransmitters to be built. Whole, natural foods and the wide variety of nutrients they contain are an enormous part of how we can maintain our physical health. You can also utilize supplementation to procure certain nutrients that are difficult to get from the diet. 

It also might be beneficial to verify that your gut is in proper working order. With the rise in chronic inflammation and gut-related dysfunction, consider strategies with proven gut-healing properties like fasting, certain diets, drinking bone broth, collagen, BPC-157, colostrum, or zinc may just do the trick. 

Sleeping well means more than just being in bed for 8 hours a night – though that would be a big step in the right direction for most people. To make sure we are getting the most out of having a free healing/restoration mode, we need to put in actual effort to protect the quality of our sleep as well. Reducing light exposure at night, and waking up at the same time everyday seem to be the two biggest requirements to entrain your circadian rhythm and guarantee you are going to enjoy the countless benefits that sleep provides us. 

Emotional wellness

It is tough to say if the world is becoming more or less stressful for the people living in it. Life has become easier for most people, but it has also become more demanding, busy, and distracting at the same time. 

We are (virtually) connected with more people than ever before – with the COVID lockdown only increasing the digital nature of these relationships. But most of us aren’t exactly designed to be as isolated as our modern society is, especially as we have been for the last year or so. Humans evolved with social interaction and dynamic relationships at the core of our how we coexist and grow with one another. These modern shifts in the human experience bring with them an increased need for finding coping strategies that are, at the very least, not destructive. This is what emotional wellness means to those of us living in modern society., and we can look towards some basic principles of wellness to help kickstart the development of emotional wellness. If you need to improve this dimension, start doing the following:

  • Reduce stress. 
  • Learn to simply acknowledge and cope with emotions – good and bad. 
  • Give your brain an edge. 
  • Manage inflammation to improve emotional resilience.

The general stress response is an extremely beneficial part of life – chronic stress on the other hand, couldn’t be less beneficial for our long term health. There are countless psychological and physiological reasons why stress is bad for us, but most everyone is aware of these by now. It is more important that we direct attention towards stress management practices that will help ameliorate some of the harmful effects of chronic stress. Practicing meditation or another mindfulness approach, get enough sleep, engage in breathing exercises often, do some yoga, and move enough everyday. These stress management techniques will often have the added benefit of helping you on a fundamental level to deal with all kinds of emotions.

Social Wellness

The relationships we have with other people can have an unbelievably deep impact on our overall sense of well-being. 

If you wish to develop a sense of connection, belonging, and rock-solid support system that you can count on no matter what, forging relationships is a big part of where you should focus your energy.

This dimension often goes overlooked because we live in a very work-focused culture. We all know we should spend time with family and friends, but that can always wait – or so we seem to think. Social wellness is absolutely crucial to building emotional resilience as well (though it is entirely unique from the emotional wellness dimension) and it allows us to better communicate with the people around us. Here are just a few ways that you can start to build up your sense of social wellness:

  • First, take time to reflect on yourself and your unique social needs. What aspects of your current social life do you actually enjoy? What parts do you wish you could improve upon?
  • Make an effort to keep in touch with supportive friends and family – especially during times of increased isolation such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Become a better listener – practice!
  • Join a club or organization with like-minded people.

Intellectual Wellness

Your brain is like a muscle – it needs to work in order to thrive. This is the essence and basis of developing intellectual wellness. We are inherently curious creatures, and acknowledging that fact allows us to find ways to satisfy this drive in productive and creative ways.

Curating a state of intellectual wellness will likely be lifelong pursuit – as is the case with all other dimensions. Yet, we tend to stop seeking intellectual development as we age. We are never too old to benefit from engaging in creative and mentally stimulating activities. It is never too late to expand your knowledge or skills, and share it with your friends, family, or community. 

Every dimension of wellness will take work to develop, and intellectual wellness is no different – it will take effort and focus to create balance. What is most important of all however, is that you remain open-minded and receptive to new situations. If you aren’t open in this way, no amount of work will manifest intellectual wellness in your life. Some more useful tips to begin curating intellectual wellness within your own life include:

  • Be more mindful and listen. If you aren’t actively listening, fully present, and engaged, you won’t fully receive the information being given. 
  • Find a hobby that allows you to learn, develop skills, and grow your capabilities.
  • Traveling to experience other countries and cultures will change your perspectives and allow you to grow intellectually.
  • Find a way to be creative. This can be fulfilled by a hobby, or even a career (which we will discuss again later). Remember, we are creative beings – express yourself.

Environmental Wellness

Nobody would argue that the environment around us can’t have a profound impact on the way that you experience life. Environmental wellness is about recognizing this potential for your surroundings to either enhance or degrade your life, and taking action to redesign them to benefit you, and those around you.

Environmental wellness is really quite a broad term. It can refer to that which is in close proximity to you like your home, bedroom, office space, cubicle, etc. – or it can be expanded to the world at large. The concept is all the same, though. We must be inspired and intentional about living a lifestyle that is respectful of our surrounding and practice habits that promote a healthy environment. Some more tips to help develop a more complete sense of environmental wellness include:

  • Do your part to conserve energy, recycle, and limit your footprint on the world.
  • Volunteer with, or donate to organizations dedicated to improving the environment.
  • Appreciate and understand our earth’s finite resources. 
  • Spend time in nature by camping, hiking, or just generally experiencing the natural beauty of our dwindling natural resources.

Spiritual Wellness 

The realization of the profound importance behind cultivating spiritual wellness escapes more people than perhaps any other dimension. It may be because this dimension is shrouded by an intersection of religious beliefs and convictions – but it shouldn’t be. 

Spiritual wellness can, and often does, have absolutely nothing to do with organized religious practices. Though traditional religious practices can fulfill the need for developing spiritual wellness, and often do so extremely well, having this somewhat limited perception of what this dimension means can perhaps dissuade people from cultivating it in the first place.

At its fundamental core, spiritual wellness is about finding meaning and purpose in life, developing your own personal morals and beliefs, and exploring your inner self. This exploration and development can allow you to create balance, become more resilient to obstacles and setbacks, and find a more comprehensive appreciation for the human experience. 

As we said, organized religion can play a major role in developing this dimension, but spiritual wellness doesn’t have to exclusively come from this avenue. What is most important for developing wellness in this dimension is the practice and exploration of your inner self. To start cultivating your own sense of spiritual wellness, try doing the following:

  • Take time to be alone, and think about your inner self.
  • Reflect and explore life changing events. Consider your perceptions of each situation, whether they are productive, and whether or not they are congruent with reality. 
  • Practice meditation or engage in another mindfulness approach.
  • Actively practice acceptance of situations.
  • Remain curious as you age. Explore new topics and ideas that interest you.
  • Consider traditional religious faiths and find one that you align most with.

Occupational Wellness

Many of us work to earn a paycheck, so we can do what we enjoy on the weekends with the ones we love. But this may not be enough. Not enough of us derive actual satisfaction and fulfillment from our work. Developing occupation wellness in our lives requires us to acknowledge this fact and inspires us to work towards finding a profession that satisfies this itch. 

Our occupation can be more than just a paycheck. Some of us may find our calling in life almost by accident. Maybe you’ve always wanted to be a nurse, and no other occupation will allow you to be fulfilled in the same way. Perhaps a career in law enforcement or firefighting will enrich you each and every day – and you’ve known that was your path for as long as you can remember. For some of us however, it can take much more time. The occupation that helps you derive a sense of meaning and purpose in life may be something you haven’t even considered yet. This is why it is absolutely essential to keep trying, and keep searching. More tips to enhance your sense of occupational wellness are:

  • Take an honest assessment of yourself and your occupational needs. What kinds of tasks do you enjoy? Which would you rather never do again?
  • Consider both paid and volunteer opportunities that interest you. (remember you may find a path you had never even considered)
  • Actively practice communication and proper conflict management with your coworkers. Perhaps better work relationships can help create a greater sense of fulfillment in the job you already have.
  • Set career goals for yourself and constantly work towards improving and accomplishing these goals.

Financial Wellness

Though the financial and occupational wellness dimensions seem quite similar, they are quite different in reality. Financial wellness focuses on developing a sense of satisfaction and security with current and future financial situations – whereas the occupational wellness dimension is a bit more existential in nature.

Financial stressors are one of the more common pitfalls of modern life for many people. We aren’t commonly taught how to manage our finances by tracking expenses, budgeting, or becoming financially disciplined in general. Setting both short and long term financial goals is a great first step towards developing wellness in this dimension, but to take it further than that, consider trying:

  • Actively work to analyze finances to identify problems before they occur.
  • Maintain organized records of your finances.
  • Plan ahead. Set budgets, and stick to a plan to reach your goals.
  • Take classes to better understand your financial situations and learn to create discipline. 

8 Dimensions of Wellness

By now it must be abundantly clear that each of these eight dimensions of wellness are entirely connected and dependent on one another to reach their full potential – and for you to reach yours as well. 

Each of these dimensions will take work to develop and maintain, but that isn’t to say that the process won’t be enjoyable. Keep in mind that every bit of progress you make will help to balance your wellness overall and create a sense of congruence within different aspects of your life.

CJC-1295 & Ipamorelin Combined

CJC-1295 is an incredibly safe and effective compound that is able to stimulate the production and release of growth hormone from your pituitary gland.

If you are searching the internet in order to find a way to naturally increase your levels of growth hormone, CJC is probably just what you are seeking to improve your overall quality of life.


After we reach the age of 30, our growth hormone levels drop by as much as 15% on average, for every further decade of life. CJC-1295 is able to provide an increase in growth hormone levels naturally by binding to receptors designed for growth hormone releasing hormone (GHRH) on your pituitary gland. This helps turn on a switch in your growth hormone factory that otherwise loses its ability to function optimally as we age. In a study conducted with healthy men and women between the ages of 21 and 61, CJC-1295 was able to increase serum growth hormone levels by 200-1000%. In these subjects, improved growth hormone production and release continued for up to 6 days. This extended capacity for improving hormonal function is due to CJC-1295 having a half life of about 6-8 days – an impressively long duration when compared to other peptides that also act on the GHRH receptors. Interestingly, it’s potency as a growth secretagogue is just one reason that CJC-1295 has become such an effective tool for safely increasing growth hormone levels.


Thanks to the fact that CJC-1295 stimulates your own body to produce and release growth hormone in a biologically harmonious way, it is possible to achieve increased growth hormone levels without having to resort to traditional hGH treatment. Introducing GH directly through injections is notoriously rife with major side effects. In contrast, the side effects of CJC-1295 are generally mild and transient, with the most common being irritation at the injection site, headache, flushing, and dizziness. Understanding the benefits and side effects of CJC-1295 will help you make an informed decision about whether starting treatment is right for you.


Though at first glance it may seem similar to CJC-1295, Ipamorelin is a completely different kind of growth hormone secretagogue.

Yes, it accomplishes the same task as CJC-1295, but it does so in an entirely unique and complementary way.

While CJC-1295 binds to GHRH receptors, Ipamorelin stimulates the production and release of growth hormone by binding to receptors for the lesser-known hormone named ghrelin on your pituitary gland. Ghrelin is one of three hormones that act to regulate the release of growth hormone (the other two being somatostatin which stops release, and GHRH which CJC mimics). Because they turn on completely different hormonal switches, CJC-1295 and Ipamorelin are often stacked together to create an even more profound effect than either would in isolation.

Before you buy Ipamorelin online, consider the pros and cons of using this incredibly effective peptide for increasing growth hormone. Side effects of Ipamorelin are relatively mild and include headache, flushing, dizziness, and more – similar to CJC-1295, Ipamorelin is widely regarded as safe and highly effective.


CJC-1295 and Ipamorelin work together well for many reasons. One you should already know; they activate separate switches (receptors) on the pituitary gland – resulting in the increased production and release of growth hormone in a natural and biologically regulated way.

Well, that’s one reason they are so effective at elevating growth hormone levels – the other is that CJC-1295 takes 1-4 hours to reach peak serum levels, while Ipamorelin works much more rapidly, and is essentially cleared from your system quickly as it’s half life is about 2 hours.

Ipamorelin gets to work quickly and begins stimulating growth hormone release before being broken down in your body, right about when CJC-1925 is beginning to take effect, a one-two punch for increasing growth hormone levels.

Unlike some other treatments that are used to increase growth hormone levels, these two peptides are incredibly specific (this specificity is exactly why peptides are gaining traction in precision medicine). Neither Ipamorelin nor CJC-1295 have an effect on other hormones, particularly cortisol which is commonly elevated as a result of many anti-aging or hormonal replacement treatments.


When you use CJC-1295 and Ipamorelin, your growth hormone levels will rise, resulting in the potential for a myriad of health benefits.You should expect an increase in muscle mass, lower body fat levels, increased appetite, and better sleep – the importance of all these factors for long-term health cannot be overemphasized.

Recent research has found that increased levels of lean body mass (primarily muscle, but also bones, and organs to a lesser extent) plays a causal role in promoting health and longevity – especially in the latter half of life

Overall, the combination of CJC-1295 and Ipamorelin is an effective way to increase vitality and quality of life for those of us who are experiencing the unwanted effects of aging and decreased growth hormone levels. Because there is the potential for some very mild side effects, Ikon Health will put you in touch with our medical professionals to help you determine if treatment is right for you. Peptides like CJC-1295 and Ipamorelin are by no means the only route to health and fitness, and a sound training, nutrition, and recovery plan are all invaluable in the process. Ikon Health can help you determine exactly how tools like peptides, IV therapy, injections, sauna, and more can be used to optimize your uniquely individual transformation process.

The HCG Diet Protocol

An introduction to the HCG Diet Protocol

What is HCG?

HCG or Human Chorionic Gonadotropin is a hormone that our bodies produce naturally. During the early stages of pregnancy, women’s HCG levels will increase to nearly 2000 times the standard HCG dosage for the HCG Diet.

HCG and the Hypothalamus

What is HCG?

Our bodies have a regulatory system that helps to control our body weight. At the core of this system is a part of the brain called the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus receives signals from the body through the use of hormones to help determine if weight loss or gain is necessary. The hypothalamus has many functions, including:

  • Control of hunger and appetite
  • Regulation of body temperature
  • Storage and burning of fat

Obesity: A Growing Problem

Eating habits and activity levels have changed dramatically over the last 50 years. The availability and ease of calorie dense foods with few nutrients is a key factor, but sedentary lifestyles are also playing a huge role. The human body is designed to store extra calories in preparation for a possible calorie famine. Once a person is overweight or obese, additional problems arise, and weight loss becomes considerably difficult.

Can the HCG Diet Help You Lose Weight?

The HCG Diet utilizes a VLCD or Very Low Calorie Diet in conjunction with HCG hormone injections. A very low calorie diet will cause anyone to lose weight, but in the case of the HCG Diet, the HCG hormone helps to preserve muscle mass in what would be a very catabolic state, normally. So the short answer is yes, the HCG diet can help you lose weight, but it isn’t easy. Dieters will still get hungry and struggle at times.

Before You Start the HCG Diet

Get Started on the HCG Diet

Weigh Yourself

Weighing yourself is important for you to see progress and to provide feedback on how your body is responding. Most doctors recommend weighing yourself every day. From time to time, weight will shift up and down without warning. This is perfectly normal as water weight increases and decreases.

Measure Yourself

Taking body measurements is a better indicator of progress. Weight loss will often slow down, stop, reverse, or speed up without warning. Measuring will give you a more consistent indicator of success and help ease your nerves if weight loss stalls for a time.


Goals are an essential part of any weight loss plan. It might be helpful to also set milestones, or smaller goals that lead up to the larger goal.

Set a Goal Date or Event

In addition to measuring progress, you will need to have a specific date that will motivate you to achieve your goal. This date can be adjusted during the diet to better motivate you, rather than discourage you.

Personal Accountability

Personal accountability may be the most important step after setting goals. If you keep your goals a secret, it becomes easy to give up later. The most successful individuals are those who follow the diet with a friend or family member.


Rewards can be very helpful. Most dieters decide to set rewards based on how much weight they lose, but there will be times when you are following the diet closely without seeing changes. It is important to reward yourself based on adherence to the diet protocol. Find ways to reward yourself, without using food as the reward.

HCG Diet Phase 1: Loading

During the Loading Phase you will take HCG each morning and eat a lot of food for two full days.

Before the Loading Phase

Here are a few precautions to think about before starting the loading phase.

  • If you are sick prior to starting the loading phase, please make sure you have completely recovered.
  • Women Only: Prior to starting the diet, make sure you have at least 5 days before your next period starts, and no sooner than 2 days after your last period ended.

Two Day Loading Phase

The loading phase lasts for two days. During these two days you will take HCG injections each morning, and eat to stay full all day.

  • Take 150 IU’s of HCG in the morning on both days (15 mark on syringe). If you are using sublingual HCG, follow the pharmacy label instructions.
  • Load up on calories both days, and keep yourself full
  • Eat calorie dense foods, and try to get a lot of carbohydrate rich foods
  • Start weighing yourself each morning

After the loading phase, you will begin Phase 2, and continue taking daily HCG injections.

Phase 2: Very Low Calorie Diet

Phase 2 is a 3-6 week Low Calorie Diet which can be repeated after phase 3 as many times as needed, until you have reached your goal. Phase 2 requires you to follow a low calorie diet while eating from a strict list of foods. Also, continue taking 150iu’s (15 mark) of HCG every morning.

HCG Diet

Very Low Calorie Diet

Immediately after the loading phase, dieters are to follow the low calorie diet outlined below.

Minimum Amount of Time on the HCG Diet

After starting the HCG Diet Protocol, Dr. Simeon noted that a person must follow the diet for a minimum of 3 weeks in order to adapt to burning fat as a primary fuel.

Maximum Amount of Time on the HCG Diet

Dieters will often get excited about the rapid changes in body weight and shape, and try to overextend the duration of the Low Calorie Diet. In the long run, this will most likely cause a reduced metabolic rate. In order to maximize results over time and guard against rebounding, follow this set of guidelines:

  • Don’t exceed 6 weeks on the HCG diet.
  • Follow Phase 3 after every 3-6 week round of HCG.

The HCG Diet Plan (800 Calories)

Protein1 Serving1 Serving1 Serving
Vegetable1 Serving1 Serving
Fruit1 Serving1 Serving
MCT/Coconut Oil1-2 tbsp1-2 tbsp
Water2-3 cups2-3 cups2-3 cups

HCG Diet Phase 2 Food List

Chicken BreastCrab
Ground Beef (93% Lean)Shrimp
Game MeatScallops
PorkEggs – 2 whole
FishCottage Cheese – 1 cup low-fat
TunaProtein Shakes
Serving Size: 3.5 oz. / 100 g (or otherwise listed)
BroccoliBeet Greens
CauliflowerLettuce – as much as desired
Peppers – as much as desiredFennel Root
Hot Peppers – as much as desiredChard
Green BeansCelery – as much as desired
MushroomsRed Radishes
Spinach – as much as desiredCucumbers – as much as desired
Asparagus – as much as desiredZucchini
Cabbage – as much as desiredYellow Squash
Onions – as much as desiredArtichoke
Field Greens – as much as desired
Serving Size: 1 cup (unless otherwise listed)
Apple – mediumCantaloupe – 1 cup
Orange – mediumHoneydew Melon – 1 cup
Grapefruit – halfBanana – 1/2
Strawberries – handfulGrapes – 1 cup
Blueberries – handfulKiwi – 2 Kiwi Fruits
Raspberries – handfulTomato – 1 tomato
Blackberries – handfulPeach – 1 medium
Huckleberries – handfulPear – 1 medium
Serving Size: As listed: Do Not Exceed

Additional Phase 2 Instructions

Water: Try to drink at least 8 cups of water each day. Water is an essential element in the weight loss process. You should drink enough water to have at least 3-5 clear urinations per day.

Calorie Counting: Don’t worry about counting calories during Phase 2. Just eat foods from the list in the quantities allotted.

Coffee and Tea: Black coffee and tea are permissible in the morning. If you would like, you may flavor coffee or tea with stevia and/or almond milk (40 calories/serving).

Diet Soda: While diet soda won’t cause the diet to fail, you should not exchange it for any of your water servings. You still need to drink at least 8 cups of water in addition to any diet soda you drink.

Crystal Light and other Calorie Free Beverages: Other non-caloric drinks that you are accustomed to drinking should be handled like diet soda.

MCT Oil or Coconut Oil: MCT, or Medium Chain Triglycerides are fats that are derived from Coconut Oil. MCT works great for low carbohydrate and low calorie diets because it supports ketosis, provides energy, and guards against constipation. MCT Oil can be used for lunch or dinner as a salad dressing ingredient, mixed with any combination of salt, vinegar, and seasonings. Also, you should use it as your cooking oil.

Salad Dressing: There are a few options for salad dressings. The first is MCT Oil. MCT Oil is a perfect complement to the low calorie diet. You can mix it as mentioned above to make a dressing. Walden Farms offers calorie free salad dressing and condiments that are okay to use on the HCG Diet as well.

Protein Shakes: Some protein shakes are okay to use on the HCG Diet for a protein serving, although whole foods tend to keep you fuller for longer. Choose shakes with very little carbohydrates and fats.

Seasonings: Any calorie free seasoning is permissible on the HCG Diet. Be sure to check labels.

Sweeteners: We recommend using Stevia, Splenda or Sucralose to sweeten your foods.

Plateaus on the HCG Diet

The human metabolism is adapted to maintain homeostasis (a state of balance). This means the body fights against weight loss.

Plateaus on the HCG Diet

Rate of Fat Loss on the HCG Diet

It is important to understand how fast you should be losing weight on a weight loss program, and have realistic expectations. Most clients can lose up to 1 pound per day, but it isn’t the same for everyone. The larger you are, the faster you lose. Women who only weigh 120-150 lbs will probably not lose a pound a day, but a man who weighs 300 lbs probably will lose a pound a day for a time.

Water Retention on the HCG Diet

Fluctuations in water weight happen at the beginning and end of all low carbohydrate diets. Generally, this water fluctuation can account for somewhere between 2-5 lbs. Do not panic if you experience these rapid changes in weight because they are not related to fat loss or gain.

Combating Hunger on the HCG Diet

Hunger is an extremely complicated subject that is affected by both physiological and psychological reasons. Most of the time hunger is a combination of the two.

Vegetables and Fiber Effect Hunger: Fiber can help with hunger in at least two ways. The physical stretching of the stomach is one signal of how much food has been consumed; when the stomach is stretched the brain thinks you’re full. High fiber/high volume foods (e.g. foods that have a lot of volume/few calories) accomplish this most effectively. Additionally, fiber slows gastric emptying, or the rate at which food leaves the stomach. A high fiber intake keeps us feeling full by keeping foods in the digestive system longer. Always eat your vegetables.

Hormonal Hunger: Hormonal hunger is hard to control. Often women will notice that during their period, hunger dramatically changes. Also, when we don’t eat for extended periods of time, our brains and intestines start releasing powerful hormones that cause us to feel very hungry. By that time, our hormones are often too strong, and it causes us to binge. Be sure to at least have a small breakfast each day to help control this. Also keep in mind that this hunger will pass.

Carb/Sugar/Starch: When starting a low carbohydrate diet you may feel cravings for carbohydrates, especially for the first few days. This will pass as your body converts to fat as its primary source of fuel.

Dehydration: Mild dehydration is often masked as feelings of hunger, when the body simply needs water. The confusion starts in the hypothalamus, where hunger and thirst are both regulated. Diet drinks don’t hydrate well, so make sure to get at least a gallon of water per day. Less than a gallon per day is known to slow weight loss.

Salty Foods: There are a couple of different reasons that a person may be craving more salt. Dehydration: occurs when you aren’t getting enough minerals/electrolytes and water. Adrenal exhaustion: often occurs when a patient has a history of using stimulants; coffee, energy drinks, etc. This can also occur when you have a lot of stress.

High Fat Foods: Most often fatty foods are comfort foods. This is usually a psychological matter, and a matter of habit. Be aware of physical or emotional cues that may cause your desire for high fat foods.

HCG Diet Phase 3: Diet Break

Phase 3 will provide an immediate increase in calories which will boost the metabolic rate, and provide you with a break. Phase 3 should be thought of as a practice round to see how well you can maintain your weight after a rapid weight loss stint.

3 Week Diet Break

The Diet Break will last 3 weeks. During this 3 week break, the goal is to increase calories, and allow the body to reload glycogen stores and allow the metabolic rate to recover. If you don’t increase calories, it may set you up for failure for the next round.

Introduction of More Carbohydrates

When you start your diet break, you will likely gain 3-5 pounds immediately, but don’t be alarmed. After following a low carbohydrate diet for an extended period of time, you will be depleted of glycogen (sugar). When your body stores glycogen in muscle tissue, water is also stored; this can account for a few pounds.

Increasing Calories (Reverse Dieting)

Phase 3 increases calories to the amount needed to maintain body weight. This amount of calories will differ from person to person. Your goal is to eat enough to maintain your weight. If you are gaining weight, reduce calories. If you are losing weight, increase calories. It’s that simple.


Phase 3 is a perfect time to start learning how to be more aware of macronutrients. Macronutrients are the nutrients that contain calories. The macronutrients are:

  • Protein: (4 calories/gram) – start with around 1gram per pound of bodyweight
  • Carbohydrates: (4 calories/gram)
  • Fat: (9 calories/gram)

MyFitnessPal We recommend MyFitnessPal on your smart phone to track your calories. By tracking your macronutrients, you will begin to have a much better idea of what you eat daily, and what foods contain the most calories. Only use this app during Phase 3, Phase 4, and afterwards to track calories.

HCG Diet Phase 4: Transition and Maintenance

Phase 4 increases calories to the amount needed to maintain body weight. This amount of calories will differ from person to person. Your goal is to eat enough to maintain your weight. If you are gaining weight, reduce calories. If you are losing weight, increase calories. It’s that simple.

HCg Diet Transition and Maintenance


Maintenance calories is going to be different for each person. There are a number of factors that affect how many calories you should be eating, which include:

  • Weight
  • Gender
  • Age
  • Activity Level


Protein is the basic building block for most tissues in the body. It is also the most effective macronutrient for maintaining a healthy body composition. Protein satisfies hunger very well, supports lean body mass, increases metabolism, and tastes good.

Note: The maintenance phase provides only a basic guideline for maintenance dieting, and should be adjusted based on individual needs as time moves on. We recommend using an application such as MyFitnessPal.com to track calories for a few weeks after the diet. This will help you get a better understanding of what you are eating, and how many calories your body burns.

Weight Loss Tracking


  • Weigh yourself in the morning
  • Make sure that your daily habits before weigh-in are consistent (i.e. empty bladder first, don’t drink water, dressed or undressed)


  • Use the scale as your only method of tracking success
  • Weigh too often (1x/day max)

Body Measurement Guide

Measure yourself on the HCG Diet

Body measurements are one of the most accurate ways to monitor changes. While the scale can indicate slowed weight loss, body measurements can tell a different story!

Why? Keeping track of a few key measurements will keep you motivated and be a voice of reason when the scale is not reflecting what you want to see. A happy dieter is a more successful dieter!

Where? The key areas for measurement are as follows:

  • Chest (under armpits)
  • For Women: Waist (smallest part of waist)
  • For Men: Largest part of belly
  • Hips (largest part around buttocks for women, Belt-Line for Men)
  • Thigh (upper thigh)

When? The body fluctuates during the day. Pick a time where you will be relaxed and stay consistent on the time of day. We recommend that this measurement be done weekly.

How to Get Started on the HCG Diet

If you are want to start the HCG Diet, we have made it easy for you. We have made a list of all the best HCG Diet Providers that you can visit online to Buy HCG Injections from the comfort of your own home.

The Ultimate Guide to Vitamin D

When you take a hard look at the list of potential benefits vitamin D can provide, you might quickly realize they are really just a perfect example of the powers of genetic expression.

Nearly all of the power that vitamin D wields comes from its ability to influence what is known as the expression of your DNA. This influence over how your genes are expressed comes from the choices you make (or don’t make) in the realms of nutrition, training, and lifestyle. Being protective of your vitamin D status should be near the top of your health priority list – along with getting enough quality sleep, adequate movement, and nutrition as a whole. You might be wondering why vitamin D deserves to be mentioned with three major pillars of health and wellness. To understand vitamin D’s VIP status, it’s best to start with the importance of micronutrients altogether – there are roughly 40 of them on the essentials list. All of which we must get from our diet in order to survive, let alone thrive. After that we can shift the focus of our conversation to vitamin D in particular and highlight some fascinating research that illuminates just how important it is. There will also be some clues on how to determine if you may be at risk for a deficiency, and how to bring your levels up to what is known as the “sweet spot” for long term health.

The importance of micronutrients in general cannot be overemphasized, and vitamin D is one that should be given an even higher priority than most in your nutrition plan.

What Are Micronutrients?

Vitamin D Shots

Collectively, micronutrients are a family of roughly 40 vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, and amino acids that we require for stuff in our body to work properly.

Nearly every biochemical process (there are a lot) within us requires some sort of micronutrient to function optimally. We may not feel a deficiency right away, in fact many people live years with suboptimal levels of many micronutrients. Our modern diets tend to be devoid of most micronutrients, although it is possible to get everything you need from whole foods – if you work hard enough at it. Another factor limiting our nutrient intake is the fact that certain classes of micronutrients are more readily absorbed by humans than others.

Vitamins for instance, are divided into water-soluble and fat-soluble varieties. Those that are fat-soluble require fat to be eaten with them in order to be absorbed effectively.

This is just an example of one potential reason why Americans are generally suffering from an insidious depletion of most micronutrients – even if they are getting all their fruits and veggies. For example, in the United States…

  • 70% of the population does not get enough vitamin D.
  • 60% is missing out on adequate levels of vitamin E (a group of compounds that are extremely effective antioxidants).
  • 45% of the population in the US does not get enough magnesium (required for energy production, DNA repair, and so much more).
  • 35% of the population grossly under-consuming vitamin K.
  • 30% of the population is not getting enough vitamin A.

Each of these missing micronutrients has countless roles to play throughout the human body, and when you are not getting enough of one, your body uses whatever you do have for tasks that are required for immediate survival. Long-term tasks such as DNA repair, that will take years to develop into dysfunction, are placed on the back-burner – a phenomenon known as the “triage effect”.

Benefits of Vitamin D

So what is that makes vitamin D so special among this list of these already important building blocks of health we call micronutrients?

Vitamin D is so important, that we’re able to make it from the sun’s UVB rays. Once created from UVB rays, it is converted to what is known as vitamin D3 (if supplementing, you should be getting it already in D3 form). Once in D3 form, it is converted by the liver to 25-hydroxyvitamin D. From there it is converted once more in the kidneys to what is known as the active form or 1,25-hydroxyvitamin D (this is what they test the levels of in your blood). Once in this form, vitamin D is able to do its work all around the body as a steroid hormone. Steroid hormones have the ability to regulate the expression of genes within our DNA – essentially turning them on or off. Flipping this switch results in various downstream effects controlled by that particular gene. 

Another profound effect that inadequate vitamin D levels can have on our body and mind is through production of a key neurotransmitter called serotonin. Vitamin D can be thought of as a rate limiter for serotonin production in the body. It acts as a cofactor for the enzyme known as tryptophan hydroxylase. This enzyme is required for the production of serotonin thus, vitamin D is required for you to produce enough serotonin for normal cognitive function.

Serotonin production isn’t the only function of vitamin D that may convince you to prioritize supplementation to maintain adequate levels within your blood. Vitamin D levels have also been directly correlated with modulation of the aging process.

Vitamin D has been shown to slow shortening of your telomeres, one of our closest markers of actual biological aging. Telomeres are the little caps at the end of strands of DNA which protect it from damage and subsequent mutations. On average, the older we get, the shorter our telomeres become. In one study involving thousands of female twins, those with the lowest levels of vitamin D also had the shortest telomeres. Another important finding of this study was that more is not better with vitamin D. Those in the study that had the highest vitamin D levels (exceeding the suggested range of 40 to 60 ng/ml) also had markedly shorter telomeres. This is why it’s important to fall within the vitamin D  “sweet spot” of 40 to 60 ng/ml. There are countless more reasons why it’s crucial to try and hit this sweet spot for vitamin D – inadequate levels have been linked to

  • Reduced cognitive function
  • Increased inflammation
  • DNA damage
  • Increased risk of cancer
  • Lower levels of nerve growth factor
  • Greater risk for all cause mortality. 

Vitamin D Deficiency

You may be asking how you might be able to determine if you are deficient in vitamin D.

Currently, the gold standard of determining if you are deficient in vitamin D is a blood test – preferably done before beginning supplementation to determine your baseline levels. If you do not have access to a blood test, there are a few risk factors that may help you determine if you are susceptible to a D deficiency. Those that are especially at risk of deficiency include overweight individuals (because D is a fat soluble vitamin, it will be absorbed and essentially held hostage by fat cells), as well as the advanced age population (the older we get the less D we are able to make from the sun). Also at risk are people living in more northern latitudes (especially during the winter when sun exposure is limited), and people with a darker complexion (the skin pigment melanin acts as a natural sun block). Once you have determined whether or not you may be deficient, or if you are seeking to optimize your current levels, there are a variety of ways in which you can increase your vitamin D.

How to Get Your Vitamin D Levels Up

Current mainstream recommendations for daily vitamin D intake seem to be extremely low. Research has shown that taking 4,000 IU of vitamin D3 a day was enough to bring deficient individuals up to a level sufficient for normal physiological function. Notice that this number is far above the RDA laid out by the government, so please don’t be shy and go get your levels monitored by a medical professional. When choosing a supplement, opt for the D3 version rather than the D2 version whenever possible. This is because the D2 version is not as easily converted by most people to the active form of vitamin D within the body. Sun exposure is also a fantastic way to raise vitamin D levels within the body – provided you live in a location that receives adequate UVB radiation, and you are exposed to the sun for sufficient amount of time.

Unfortunately there aren’t many foods that have significant amounts of vitamin D other than some fish, algae, mushrooms, and fortified food products. That is why we typically recommend an oral supplement. For those individuals that have difficulty remembering to take vitamins or supplements in general, intramuscular vitamin D3 injections have been shown to significantly raise levels in deficient adults for up to 12 weeks, negating the need for daily supplementation during that time.

Vitamin D is no doubt an especially important micronutrient that has sadly not been given enough attention. At least 70% of the US population could greatly benefit from increasing their vitamin D levels via supplementation or whole food nutrition. Many micronutrient deficiencies can go years without being discovered, don’t let the 1000+ genes regulated by vitamin D be ignored!

Your Three Keys to Post-quarantine Fitness Success

As gyms begin to open and our collective agoraphobic tendencies subside, we all have an excellent opportunity to take a step back and create an intelligent plan for our fitness progress.

Most gym-goers understandably source their plans from Instagram fitness celebs, the big guy at the gym, the latest trends, or cookie-cutter trainers – if any plans are made at all.

We highly recommend you, before you start hitting the iron or a treadmill:

  1. Assess where you are at as an individual
  2. Plan progress from there
  3. Keep evolving and changing your approach as your body changes

The road to sustainable fitness progress really is as simple as that!

Jumping right back into your training plan, group class, or trying to make up for lost time may be incredibly tempting, but it is also a surefire way to experience injuries or develop a hefty plateau. Your training must take into account everything that can impact your ability to respond favorably to the stress of training or dieting – both of which really are physiologically stressful demands, and a lot goes into ensuring that your body is able to adapt in the way that you are hoping it will. There is a ton of nuance involved in developing an initial training and nutrition plan for people, but quarantine or no quarantine, it comes down to applying some variation of the three keys of fitness success, which are:

  1. Do some cardio, but not too much.
  2. Lift weights, not too much, then do more.
  3. Create structure in your nutrition plan, and let it evolve. 

We will cover each of these keys in detail, but if you stop reading here, rest assured that those three sentences alone should be enough to set your course to fitness success – whatever your final destination may be. Each unique facet of fitness is rife with myths, misunderstandings, and dogma – but none more so than the loved or hated cardio.

Key #1 Cardio (do some, but not too much)

There seems to be more than one fundamental misunderstanding about exactly what benefits cardio is able to provide. Cardio(vascular) training can do some things very well like improving blood pressure, acutely burning calories, developing endurance, and it can get you really good at doing cardio. Cardio training is not a good tool at all for creating permanent fat loss – at least not cardio in the traditional sense. 

In an attempt to shed the unwanted pounds from quarantine many, nay, most people are likely going to start lining up for an hour on their favorite piece of cardio equipment.

For the sake of saving at least some of these people time, energy, and frustration, send those you love to our article on shedding the “quarantine fifteen”. In the spirit of saving time though, that article could be partially summarized as:

Cardio can be a great tool for creating short-term energy (calorie) deficits to drive short-term fat loss, but that doesn’t play out over the long-term. Your body adapts and becomes more efficient – in the context of weight loss, efficiency with calories is a bad thing.

So why do cardio at all? 

Developing a base level of activity and cardiovascular conditioning is a great way to ease back into fitness post-quarantine. And when we say base, we mean it will set you up for a continued path to fitness success over the coming months and years. This cardio can take the form of walking, hiking, biking, hopping on an elliptical, rowing, or anything that allows you to push your aerobic capabilities a bit. For more than one reason though, we prefer to start clients with the simple task of increasing their daily steps. Although this requires using some kind of fitness tracker, your daily step count is a valuable piece of data and can be used as a relatively reliable proxy for following variations in your total daily energy expenditure. In fact, it should be no surprise to learn that the National Weight Control Registry has found that 94% of individuals who have successfully maintained significant weight loss included an increase in daily activity, most frequently by simply walking. 

You should instead use more intense tools for cardio (like pounding away on an elliptical, smashing some tabatas on a bike, or pulling your heart out on a rower) to accomplish exactly what they are good for – developing your cardiovascular capabilities.

Please don’t fall into the trap of manually burning calories planted on some cardio equipment in front of a flat screen at your local big box gym. If you do so, you will burn calories, you will likely lose weight, but now you have created a very short runway for weight loss progress. Easing back into working out should be a gradual process in every way – including some cardio will be helpful, but it can’t end there. Evolving to the point of being able to safely start an effective resistance training plan should be most people’s ultimate goal. 

Key #2: Lift Weights, Not Too Much, Then Do More

Weight training can, and should be an endeavor that builds you into a more resilient and healthy human being – until it is taken too far, too soon.

To understand the complex and ever-changing boundary that divides an appropriate and effective weight training strategy from one that is the exact opposite would likely take far more than the next few hundred words – but we will give it our best shot. 

“Lift weights, not too much, then do more” is actually more actionable advice than you would find in a whole day of searching “fitspo” accounts on Instagram. Those eight words ring universally true when you understand that the very act of lifting weights is a stress on the body. The resulting strength gain, muscle gain, or fat loss is simply a “hopeful” adaptation to the stressors you apply to it.

Apply the right stress, in the right amounts, at the right times and you should be able to expect changes to occur.

However, apply too much stress (during any single workout, week, etc.) and you will have exceeded your body’s ability to beneficially adapt. Where this threshold will be for you personally will be highly individual, but if you are trying to get back on the wagon post-quarantine you should assume that you will reach that threshold much sooner than you would think.

Because we will all be at least a little de-trained once we are able to grace the gym floor again, you can take advantage of this new-found sensitivity by doing the least amount of work possible to create change. Start with just a few sets per muscle group (or per exercise/movement pattern) each workout and increase by slowly adding sets, reps, or loads as you adapt over the span of weeks or months. This approach will help you to avoid accumulating too much “junk volume”, a term that refers to the point where fatigue being accrued supersedes the imposed stimulus for growth or progression.

If you think that starting small and slowly progressing towards more and more work is a waste of time, consider the fact that nearly every research study looking at muscle growth (almost always on untrained lifters) shows that nearly any intervention, from lifting weights to cycling (even walking) can produce muscle growth in individuals new enough to training. You simply do not need to kill yourself in the gym to see progress!

Pushing your training for too long will begin to create a separate issue that can manifest actual physiological issues that typically don’t occur by simply working too hard during a single workout. The hormonal dysfunction, joint disintegration, reduced libido, inability to gain muscle or lose fat, and more all can occur if you consistently exceed your ability to recover. Consistently creating progress through weight training can be a relatively simple process at any stage of life, but the key is to choose the right exercises for your skill level, do just a little at first, then slowly do more. For more specific guidance on developing a training plan that is directed towards you as an individual, get in touch with one of our Ikon trainers or visit the Impakt blog for more information. 

Key #3: Create Structure With Your Nutrition

No matter how well developed, researched, and promoted a diet is, it still won’t work for everyone.

In fact, it probably won’t even work for most people.

There simply are just too many variables to consider when deciding which diet to apply to which person. Human beings are exceptionally unique in too many ways to be able to make any broad statements for nutritional requirements – except for one:

There needs to be some kind of structure with your diet in order for you to be able to expect progress. 

What most fitness professionals won’t tell you is that it really doesn’t matter which diet you choose to start with. If your goal is to lose weight, any diet that allows you to create a calorie deficit will work at first. Conversely, if you are wanting to gain weight (hopefully muscle), any diet that allows you to create a calorie surplus will suffice. Creating structure of some kind will allow you to gain awareness and build a foundation for future progress. To start building this structure we encourage clients to begin tracking their food intake on an app such as MyFitnessPal. In the beginning, no emphasis is placed on correcting less than optimal habits or decisions. This initial phase is entirely focused on gaining awareness around your diet and it is usually pretty short in duration. Taking the time to track the calories, macronutrients, and even perhaps the micronutrients in your current diet will allow you to make much more informed decisions as you go forward. 

Once you have begun measuring and controlling some objective dietary factors, you should also pay attention to some of the subjective dietary feedback guiding you away from foods you should avoid – signs that you may have been ignoring. This feedback may manifest as indigestion, bloating, brain fog, skin issues, being tired, and a whole lot more. As Americans we tend to eat our way to a lot of our health issues, likely because we aren’t taught to discover how to eat for us as a unique individual. That process of discovery can take years, or even decades for some people – and that’s if you are actually trying! Understandably though, not everyone wants to put in that effort. This is the reason there are so many fad diets – most people want a black and white answer to their nutrition problems.

As we make our way back into the gym and hop back on the fitness horse, we can also advance our knowledge of our own personal nutritional needs. The rough nutritional advice for people looking to build muscle is rather simple:

  • Eat enough protein (about 1 gram per pound seems to be about right)
  • Eat in a relatively small calorie surplus (or a large-ish one if you don’t mind adding a bit body fat)
  • Eat at least a baseline level of fat and an ample amount of carbohydrates

Individual variances will necessitate a greater degree of nuance when prescribing specific diet advice to hypertrophy-seekers but generally those three points will set you on the right path. Advice for weight loss-seekers is no less varied but they can be crudely summed up as:

  • Eat enough protein (about 1 gram per pound seems to be about right)
  • Eat in a relatively small calorie deficit (more isn’t better here)
  • Take a break from being in a deficit every so often

The omnipresent principle of energy balance constantly echoes the fact that any diet that allows us to create a deficit will also allow us to lose weight. Just as any diet that allows us to create a surplus will add weight. Again, this is why there is a never-ending list of fad diets – they all kind of work, at least for a little bit, and for some people. The best diets work more often that just sometimes, but you are still playing a game of chance if you enlist yourself in a dietary ideology based on anything other than your personal experience and individuality at the forefront of the decision-making process.

Start by creating some sort of structure and build on it, but don’t be afraid to change, try new approaches, and let your nutrition strategy evolve as you do. 

Set the Right Course, Now

The advice that no fitness-seeker likes to hear is to “start easy”. Our culture as a whole, but especially those of us into fitness, want to go all-in on the pursuit of progress. This truly couldn’t be further from what the future you actually needs, though. If you take care of the major factors that influence health and fitness with as much focus as you summon when in the gym, your physical goals will manifest with much greater ease.

Make sure that you:

  • Manage your sleep
  • Manage your stress
  • Stay active outside the gym

Maintain these three pillars, progress through and work towards mastering (the work is what is important) the three keys for fitness success and you will have a solid strategy and much clearer path for success. This quarantine has set a lot of us back from our fitness goals. But it has also presented us with the opportunity to take a step back, remove what wasn’t working with our approach before, and replace it with a logically planned progression starting where you are. Right now.

A Quick Boost of Vitamins

One of the most effective ways we have found at Ikon Health to help boost your immune system with nutrients is intramuscular injections or IV therapy. Ikon health offers a couple of services that will support your immune function. Over 40% of Americans are vitamin D deficient, and is essential for a strong immune system. Most of the clients that get Vitamin D injections have a noticeably positive reaction. Ikon Health clients can buy vitamin D shots online through our telehealth system, or come in to the office to buy vitamin D injections at our local office. While at our office, clients can get an Immune Booster IV to help provide some the most important nutrients for immune health.

Resistance Training vs. Cardio

Fitness trends seem to come and go with the wind. One day the “experts” are saying cardio or aerobic training is the singular path to fitness, next it is high intensity interval training. The water becomes increasingly muddied as brands attempt to capitalize on whatever the latest fitness craze is. You are seeing this currently with the ever-expanding selection of interval-style group training classes popping up in a town near you. This is just the way that the fitness industry works. People often become tired and overwhelmed with the seemingly never ending search for the secret new workout, supplement, or piece of equipment that holds the key to all of their fitness dreams. (Un)fortunately, the surest path to sustained fitness success (be it losing weight, building muscle, or both) lies with the consistent and appropriate application of resistance training. Resistance training, also referred to as simply “lifting weights”, isn’t the only thing that will take you from point A to point B along your fitness journey, but it will absolutely move you in that direction more so than any other training modality. This is because resistance training is able to be individualized so incredibly well – everyone can begin making progress, here and now. More and more research is emerging with regards to just how beneficial lifting weights can be. There truly are profound health benefits to be gained from lifting weights that go so much further than just building muscle and getting stronger – as you will find out very soon. No single blog or article will likely convince anyone to change their training or exercise habits, but today we hope to simply introduce you to the potential benefits that can result from lifting weights appropriately, what the benefits of aerobic/cardio style exercise are, as well as what some of the shortcomings of both of those styles of training are.

Resistance Training: Well-Known Secret

If you have been paying attention to the scientific research revolving around boosting lifespan and living healthier all along the way, you have no doubt heard of the emerging evidence solidifying what many already knew – lifting weights is amazing for human health. The process of building lean body mass through weight training requires a lot more effort, resources, and focus than simply striding along on the treadmill. This increased investment into the training process that is demanded from weight training is well worth the time and energy it costs. In fact, weight training is likely to become a go-to for the treatment and prevention of conditions like depression, cardiovascular disease, neurodegenerative disease, osteoporosis, insomnia, diabetes, and so much more. The beneficial effects that appropriately applied resistance training can have on the human body cannot be overemphasized. Admittedly, there are some potential downfalls to resistance training that often revolve around the misapplication of this amazing training modality, which we will cover more in depth later on. Next, it is time to give cardio training its due. 

Cardio, the Good the Bad and the Ugly

Aerobic exercise, or what is more commonly referred to in the fitness space as “cardio”, is an incredibly popular, and reasonably effective form of exercise. In fact, this is almost always the default form of exercise that people just starting out on their fitness journey begin with. This is likely because it doesn’t take much practice or skill whatsoever to get a “killer” workout by simply going for a jog or hopping on one of the million ellipticals planted in front of a TV at your local big box gym. Another alluring aspect of cardio is that you burn significantly more calories per exercise session than you do during most other forms of training – including lifting weights. This can lead to quicker results, provided your primary goal is to burn calories and lose weight. Unfortunately, this weight loss resulting from cardio is fleeting and your progress will likely stall extremely quickly – our body’s are incredibly good at adapting to whatever training stimulus you place upon it and before long, you will be burning substantially fewer calories during each workout. Another major downfall of cardio style exercise is that it is simply far less scalable and personalizable than lifting weights can be. Unlike weight training where you have an essentially unlimited number of cards in your hand to play to achieve and sustain progress, in order to continue seeing results from cardio you only have a few: do longer cardio, do cardio more often, or do more difficult cardio. At some point, this well will likely run dry- whether it is due to time constraints, injuries, lack of energy, or all of the above. Running like a hamster on a wheel may allow you to burn a decent amount of calories and improve your cardiovascular fitness, but are those your only goals for exercise? Perhaps we must consider the long-term benefits and effects of exercise more closely when deciding upon a style of exercise to adhere to. 

Benefits of Resistance Training

As we have already mentioned, the benefits of lifting weights go so much further than just building muscle and getting stronger. More specifically, lifting weights has been shown to improve sleep, increase libido, modulate hormones, improve posture, decrease risk of developing osteoporosis and degenerative joint diseases, and increase functional capacity. Lifting weights has also been shown to help prevent or control diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, back pain, depression, and obesity. These effects are likely the result of an increased ratio of lean body mass to fat mass – creating a more resilient organism overall, as well as due to the ability that lifting weights has to increase levels of non-exercise activity throughout the day. It seems that the stronger or more capable and individual is, the more they will move throughout the day. This effect that lifting weights has on daily activity is especially important to note because non-exercise physical activity (NEPA) is such a major contributing factor to sustainable weight loss success. One final nail in the coffin of using cardio for weight loss specifically comes courtesy of an 18 month study completed by Wake Forest University and published in the journal Obesity. This study illuminated just how important resistance training is to a successful and sustainable weight loss process by comparing the effects of performing either weight training and dieting (for weight loss), just dieting, or dieting and walking (cardio). Each of the groups ate in a calorie deficit in order to lose weight and the results were extremely clear: lifting weights preserves muscle mass while dieting. Individuals assigned to the walking group sacrificed 20% of their total weight loss from lean body mass. The group that performed resistance training lost a similar amount of total weight, while only sacrificing 10% of their total from lean body mass. This effect is especially important for older individuals who are at quite a disadvantage for building and preserving muscle

Improving the ability to lose weight and keep it off is far from the only health-boosting aspect of weight training however. Way back in 2007, the journal Diabetes Care published a study showing that resistance training improved muscle strength, quality of life, and the ability to perform daily tasks in individuals that had some degree of metabolic risk factors. This report mirrors an article from Harvard Health claiming that strength training is critical for preserving the ability to perform daily tasks as you age. These are just a few examples of scientific research corroborating what many people have known for quite some time: lifting weights makes you a more resilient human being overall. 

Bottom Line

Overall, exercise of any kind is better than none at all. However, appropriately applied weight training and a consistent amount of daily activity (which may include cardio if you so choose) is going to be your best bet for sustained health and fitness success for years to come. Don’t get caught up in the latest fitness fads and flashy classes that will disappear as quickly as they came, and avoid doing too much, too quickly. If you are entirely new to lifting, start with the least amount of work possible and progress from there. Finding an experienced and knowledgeable trainer can be an invaluable tool for you to ensure you are on the right path for you as an individual. At Ikon Fitness, we take pride in being able to work with an extremely diverse array of clients to help them achieve success. This is because we fully understand just how individual your needs and limitations are, as well as how to apply weight training and physical activity appropriately. Lifting weights can be a saving-grace for those who have faced setback after setback along their fitness journey, and all the potential benefits are there waiting for you to find them.

7 Reasons You Might Not Be Losing Weight

There may just be a million possible reasons why you might not be losing weight. But, speaking as a trainer who has consistently and predictably helped clients permanently lose weight, people are usually focused on the wrong things – leading to wasted energy, time, and eventually burnout. The process of losing weight is often a long and difficult one, but it is by no means impossible or unattainable. So before deciding that lasting weight loss just isn’t in the cards for you, try to analyze your current situation and identify if there are any major factors that you have left unchecked. Boiling down all the possible reasons why someone might not be losing weight down to just seven is in some ways a daunting task, but patterns emerge once you have successfully helped many people through the process. There exists a clear hierarchy of variables to focus on, and those at the top of the list are extremely basic, usually free, and only take some lifestyle modifications and effort to implement. Just cutting calories and ramping up cardio will work in the short term, but that strategy dries up extremely quickly – leaving you temporarily lighter, but no closer to reaching a point of sustained weight loss. Ask yourself if any of the following mistakes may just be the reason you aren’t losing weight, and then begin to alter your behavior or approach and start creating progress once again.

Here’s a quick rundown of the 7 Reasons You Might Not Be Losing Weight

  1. Poor Sleeping Habits

    If there is any single factor that can completely ruin any attempt to lose weight, it is poor sleep habits.

  2. Eating Too Many Calories

    At the end of the day, weight loss or gain is a matter of energy balance. Finding ways to control calorie intake is essential.

  3. Metabolic Adaptation

    How quickly and severely experience decreased metabolic rate caused by prolonged caloric restriction is highly individual, but everyone will likely develop some degree of metabolic adaptation during the dieting process.

  4. Training too much

    As a society we tend to think that more is always better. Ironically, if you are wanting to create lasting changes with your training and nutrition approach however, this could not be further from the truth.

  5. Relying on Cardio to Burn Calories

    Relying on incessant cardio sessions to create an energy deficit and hopefully fat loss will almost certainly end in frustration, a whole lot of wasted energy, and an eventual plateau.

  6. Not Moving Enough

    On the other side of the energy balance equation from the calories you eat is energy out. As a society, we are highly sedentary. Find fun ways to start moving more.

  7. Weekend Sabotage

    One of the more prevalent examples of weight loss self-sabotage happens over just a few days out of each week.

Now, for the in-depth look at the reasons we can’t lose weight. It is only fitting that we start with what is one of the most common reasons people are unable to reach and sustain a weight loss goal – poor sleep. 

Reason #1: Poor Sleeping Habits

If there is any single factor that can completely ruin any attempt to safely, healthily, and permanently lose weight it is routinely getting poor sleep. If you aren’t already doing so, prioritizing getting enough quality sleep should be your primary focus when you are starting out on any fitness journey – especially weight loss. Paying close attention to and protecting your sleep like your life depends on it will help prevent you from having to experience a whole host of unwanted effects caused by acute and chronic sleep deprivation which seem perfectly designed to hinder the weight loss process. If you skip on sleep you can expect to experience: 

  • An increased drive to demolish hyperpalatable, calorically dense foods. (Research has found that even partial sleep deprivation leads to around 400 or more extra calories eaten the next day when compared to well-slept subjects). 
  • Decreased hormonal function (thyroid, sex, and adrenal output will all be impacted). 
  • Decreased executive function (objective decision making is reduced). 
  • Depressed immune function (not necessarily related to weight loss but developing disease certainly puts a hold on healthy weight loss). 

Few variables can have such a profound impact on your health and fitness in the way that sleep can, but the next mistake absolutely can and fundamentally does limit weight loss entirely. 

Reason #2: Eating Too Many Calories

At the end of the day, weight loss or gain is a matter of energy balance (an excellent and meticulous explanation of all things energy balance can be found here: Energy Balance. Having a positive energy balance means you will be adding weight – whether that weight is muscle or fat, calories are needed to create it. Although you may not think or feel that you are eating too much food, it is the calories in the food that matter. Inconveniently, most food products nowadays are processed and designed to be chock full of calories and include ingredients that fuel the drive to eat more. This effect is compounded by the fact most food products are missing any semblance of actual nutrition, and our body’s know it. Our innate drive to eat food includes a variety of factors, but two that are fundamental to this urge include the need for calories (energy) and the drive for nutrition (nutrients including vitamins, minerals, amino acids, etc.). Fulfilling our need for energy, without also satisfying our body’s need for nutrition will usually result in a perpetual drive to eat more in search of the nutrients it needs. 

Eating too many calories is absolutely going to prevent weight loss, and create weight gain if done consistently. Energy balance is a law of nature that is inescapable, despite what some diet gurus and zealots may say. Prioritizing whole, natural foods that are full of actual nutrients is a great way to set yourself up for energy balance success but it is far from a panacea – at the end of the day, calories in vs. calories out is the rule of weight loss or gain. The next common roadblock to weight loss however, is much less understood – not just by the average person but most fitness professionals as well.  

Reason #3: Metabolic Adaptation

You will have very likely heard of the dreaded “starvation mode” – a feared (and largely imagined) state where you are unable to lose weight no matter how few calories you eat. Luckily this mode does not exist, but you can expect and plan for a decline in hormonal output, decrease in libido, reductions in lean body mass, and a few more undesirable effects if you cut calories too low for too long. How quickly and severely you specifically will experience these potential effects caused by prolonged caloric restriction is highly individual, but everyone will likely develop some degree of metabolic adaptation during the dieting process. Pushing yourself to the point of becoming metabolically adapted to an unsustainably low calorie intake can absolutely pump the brakes on your weight loss progress – so the trick is to avoid reaching this point at all by planning appropriately and strategically. The best strategy to avoid this common pitfall is pretty simple: 

  1. Consistently bring your calories up to maintenance or slightly above for at least 48 hours. How often you need to do this will depend on many factors, but around every 2-3 weeks is probably often enough for most people. 
  2. Eat enough protein. Getting enough protein helps to spare lean body mass and thus aids in mitigating part of how the body becomes more efficient with the calories you give it (remember, in this context efficient is bad!). 
  3. Lift weights. Similar to eating enough protein, lifting weights can prevent much of the lean body mass loss that is expected to occur when dieting for weight loss by convincing your body that keeping muscle is in it’s best interest. 

These three strategies should each be part of any weight loss diet even if you haven’t experienced any significant degree of metabolic adaptation just yet – for a far more comprehensive illustration, check out The Metabolic Adaptation Manual built by Dr. Eric Trexler, one of the leading researchers in the physique modification realm. Extremes on the training spectrum can be just as detrimental to weight loss progress as extreme dietary restriction, and both are usually reached by working without an intelligent strategy. 

Reason #4: Training too much

As a society we tend to think that more is always better. Ironically, if you are wanting to create lasting changes with your training and nutrition approach however, this could not be further from the truth. All forms of training can be pushed to the point of diminishing returns, but some are able to hit that point rather easily like most HIIT style training, crossfit, unreasonably high volume workouts, and quite a few others. Training for weight loss progress is a physiologically and psychologically difficult form of training, and it should be treated as such. Thinking that you can simply hold your training volume extremely high, burn a ton of calories, and endlessly shed excess pounds is an antiquated approach that is more reflective of the rise in the popularity of high intensity group training than what is actually effective for the average person. 

Again, weight loss is a difficult process for your body, don’t make it more difficult by stomping down your body with long, arduous, and inappropriate workouts everyday. You absolutely should lift weights and stay active, but don’t ask too much of your body too soon! Staying active and doing cardio aren’t the same thing, as you will see with our next common mistake – relying on cardio to burn calories. 

Reason #5: Relying on Cardio to Burn Calories 

Relying on incessant cardio sessions to create an energy deficit and hopefully fat loss will almost certainly end in frustration, a whole lot of wasted energy, and an eventual plateau. This mistake is so commonly made because cardio will absolutely result in quicker weight loss progress than any other form of exercise – but this advantage doesn’t play out over the long-term. Manually burning calories through frequent cardio sessions is an extremely strong signal to become more efficient with the calories that you feed it (efficient isn’t helpful with weight loss). This adaptation would have been beneficial in the not-so distant past, but if we are seeking permanent fat loss, it is actually the exact opposite of what we want. Check out our article that covers exactly why resistance training is better than cardio for fat loss here: Restance Training

If you keep pushing for weight loss success from cardio without first taking care to manage your daily activity levels, you are missing out on some almost free progress. Most of the people you see killing themselves on a treadmill or living on an elliptical seem to not realize they could have simply walked around the block instead. 

Reason #6: Not Moving Enough

On the other side of the energy balance equation from the calories you eat is energy out. This can be more technically referred to as total daily energy expenditure or TDEE, and the number is the sum total of all the calories your body used in a day – a number that can be highly variable and difficult to fully determine. Some of the factors that contribute to your TDEE you can actively manipulate in various ways, some you can’t. Staying active and moving a reasonable amount everyday is likely going to be your easiest and most sustainable method of increasing your energy use over the course of the day – not adding frivolous cardio. 

Cardio can be a great tool for weight loss if used sparingly and in a manner that adds to your current level of activity. When it is used as a means to haphazardly establish a baseline level of activity however, the benefits begin to quickly dissipate. Moving enough throughout the day is also essential to the function of your lymphatic system and overall health – the less you move, the less healthy you are overall. Increasing your daily activity through steps is an easy way to start managing the energy balance equation, but the next common mistake has more to do with managing behavior.

Reason #7: Weekend Sabotage

One of the more prevalent examples of weight loss self-sabotage happens over just a few days out of each week. Awareness surrounding the daily habits and practices that are required for producing weight loss often fades during the weekend and choices are made that can reduce or eliminate any progress that was developed during the week. Our body’s respond and adapt to the demands you place on it, but those demands must be as consistent as possible. This means that if the energy balance equation is catapulted in the wrong direction thanks to a few meals out or some drinks over the weekend , you have effectively reduced your weight loss progress. This effect is further compounded if you are more inactive during the weekend than during work week – dragging down the energy-out side of the equation and boosting your likelihood of gaining body fat as a result. 

Remain as consistent as you can during the weekend. Try to sleep at the same time, eat on the same general plan, keep training, and stay active and you will be dramatically reducing the likelihood of any diet self-sabotage over the weekend! 

How to Avoid All Seven Reasons You Aren’t Losing Weight

Hopefully this list helped you identify some key areas where you weren’t exactly cutting it before. If you recognize more than one of these mistakes in yourself, start working on one major variable at a time. Weight loss is a difficult process, and so is changing the habits that cause weight gain in the first place – but neither task is anywhere close to impossible. Stick to the basics and be consistent.

Services to Boost your Weight Loss Efforts

It is essential to understand and implement the foundational principles of weight loss that were touched on in this article. At the core of health is our sleep, exercise habits, calorie consumption and nutrient intake, and most of all, consistency. Once you have a decent grasp on each of these, there are a number of services that can help you in your efforts. At Ikon Health we offer a number of services that can improve your weight loss efforts, and some of these services are listed below.

  • IV for Weight Loss: Nutrients that boost energy, support liver function, and boost metabolic rate
  • B12 Injections: Boosts energy, supports digestion and absorption nutrients, and aids in maintaining healthy nerve cells.
  • Lipo Injections: Great at improving energy, supports liver function and fat metabolism, and much more
  • Wellness Coaching: Our coaching program is the best way to help you to choose goals that will provide the most results with the least initial effort, and keep you accountable.
  • Anti-Aging Peptides: Peptides are likely the most powerful service that we offer at Ikon Health. Boost fat loss, muscle building, strength, energy, sleep, vitality, appearance, and much more.

Exercise After the Age of 50

After the age of 50, we reach one of the many crossroads we must face in life. Do you stay active, strong, vital, and healthy? Or do you go the other direction and fall into ill-health and disrepair? An estimated 29.4% of women and 25.5% of men over 50 years old are classified as inactive, defined as only moving around enough for daily tasks¹. Staying in shape as you age has profound impacts on your healthspan. Healthspan boosting has become the new focus of those looking to slow down the aging process. We now know it isn’t just about adding years to your life – medications can do that relatively well. What the anti-aging community is prioritizing now are practices that will help us live just live longer, but better. This should be centered around remaining active. Whether that is primarily lifting weights or doing cardio is less important, although resistance training is far more beneficial than the traditionally prescribed aerobic style exercise. That doesn’t mean you have to be glued to the floor at your local gym or hire an expensive personal trainer to start getting into shape or maintain the progress you have made in the first 50 years of life, though. There are also some nutritional and hormonal considerations to keep in mind when training for fitness in your 5th decade and beyond as well as some training and recovery principles that need to be given special attention if you are wanting to positively adapt to the stress of exercise. 

We should start by going over what you shouldn’t do when exercising after 50. If nothing else, keep these things in mind and you will avoid potentially cataclysmic obstacles, allowing you to stay active and have a leg up on most people. The worst case scenario is meaning well and putting in the effort, but having the wrong information, causing you to hurt yourself resulting in a major setback. First and foremost, whether you are running, lifting weights, boxing, taking spin class, or any other route to your fitness, avoid doing too much too soon. Despite what some social media stars may say, overtraining is real, and your ability to recover from overly difficult exercise declines with age. Overtraining leads to injury and injury often leads to inactivity. Do the least amount of work possible at first and progress slowly from there. It is also wise to avoid exercises that are unnecessarily dangerous. Movements like behind the neck shoulder press, chest flyes, and ridiculously heavy leg presses are some of the most common sources of injury for young and old alike in the gym. Even exercises like deadlifts, squats, and bench presses should likely be modified to improve their risk to benefit ratio. There are no exercises or training modalities that absolutely must be done to stay strong and healthy after the age of 50, or any age for that matter.

Cardio/aerobic training is the kind of exercise that most doctors still recommend to their patients. The World Health Organization, looked at as the guiding light to health by the uninformed recommends: “Adults aged 18–64 should do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity throughout the week².” Although the actual act of doing cardio is less risky than lifting weights, you can absolutely overdo aerobic training as easy, if not easier than you can with resistance training. Jumping on an elliptical and hammering away for hours will burn a considerable amount of calories, however it will also drain recovery capital dramatically, pulling from resources required to bounce back and adapt to stress from every aspect of life. This is something that you must keep in mind as you get older because your ability to rest and recover diminishes over time. If you’re going to do cardio, do as little as possible and as infrequently as possible. In fact, we typically recommend that you stick to just walking for your aerobic training and that you incorporate it into your daily life. For instance, the benefits of going for a short walk after every meal are twofold. First, you increase your activity via more steps throughout the day therefore helping manage your weight. The second major benefit is that walking after a meal helps to mechanically digest your food and mitigates the postprandial blood glucose excursion (how high and for how long your blood sugar is elevated after eating). In reality, training after the age of 50 is much like it should be when you are younger. Unfortunately, in our youthful ignorance we tend to do far more than is necessary and ask far more of our body than it is able or willing to give. This can result in overtraining, injuries, or just burning out and not enjoying exercise anymore. This is a recipe for disaster because if you are not enjoying working out, it isn’t likely you will continue to do it for the rest of your life. What sane person would?

So how do you enjoy it? How do you continue to push yourself in the gym, on the running trails or wherever you chase health and fitness without choosing a life of inactivity and Netflix? Well the trick is finding what works for you, but allowing that to shift as your interest and goals do. 

We all instinctively know that we should be having fun while we’re at the gym. I mean, the guy that lifts more weight than the whole rest of the gym combined or has bigger biceps than Arnold must enjoy himself right? Having a good time while exercising seemingly contradicts a major misconception that has a grip on the health and fitness industry – the thought that you must work as hard as you possibly can, every single day, with no end in sight. This is untrue no matter what age you are but never more so than when you workout after the age of 50. It’s not that something terrible happens once the clock strikes midnight on your 50th birthday. However, by their 50’s, most Americans are in a considerable amount of disrepair and training the wrong way is only going to make it worse. For the sake of simplicity, there really is one form of exercise that is superior to all others. Resistance training is far and above all other forms of exercise for people of all ages but confers special benefits to those 50 and older. Incorporating weight training and low level daily activity into your daily life can facilitate a long, healthy life. Just do a quick google search for a list of all the health benefits of doing resistance training has on the human body. You likely don’t even need to get on your computer, just think about the average 60, 70, or 80 that has never exercised. Now compare that to someone like Arnold Schwarzeneggar. They are completely different organisms! Although his is an extreme case far on the muscle end of the spectrum, Arnold is now 72 years young and still hits the weights everyday. Outcomes from illness, infection, surgery, and other maladies improve nearly linearly with increases in muscle mass (lean body mass). With the rare exception of some athletes, your training focus past your 50’s should be sustaining and lengthening your health span. This is exactly why you don’t need to be lifting like a bodybuilder or joining a crossfit gym to be tested on how hard you can push yourself. Unless you want to; but know that route will likely lead to less progress in the long run.

By now you should be able to see the benefits of resistance training. Many people get stuck on the very first step – where to start. Start your weightlifting journey by mastering the big compound movements. These traditionally include the overhead press, deadlift, back squat, and bench press, as well as a whole host of others. You should almost certainly modify these exercises into much safer variations because they are inherently risky. Now that doesn’t mean you should rule them out forever, but certainly wait until your skill level has progressed and you feel comfortable with complex movements like the barbell back squat or deadlift. Until then, do variations of those lifts such as goblet squats, kettlebell deadlift, dumbbell bench press, and essentially unlimited other variations that train the same functional movement patterns as those big lifts mentioned before. The trick is finding which ones work well for you. That may take hiring a personal trainer or another kind of coach that can walk you through the process of weeding out what does not work. Just be sure to very clearly express your goals and intentions when meeting with a potential trainer. You don’t want to end up in the trap of doing the same workouts and exercises that particular trainer runs all of his or her clients through.

Your daily activity and habits make up a vast majority of your experience on earth. At most you should be in the gym for 60 or 90 minutes every day, which means the other 15 or so waking hours is spent elsewhere. This is why it’s so important to establish healthy habits and lifestyle practices that will contribute to your overall fitness as you age. Incorporating daily walks like we mentioned before, hikes, and generally staying active is crucial to your success in and out of the gym. No matter how hard you work in the gym, it won’t make up for a lifestyle that isn’t conducive to health.

Fitness trackers, while not entirely accurate, can be incredibly useful at allowing you to become aware of habits that may be detrimental to your health. Sitting for extended periods of time is quickly being identified as one of the next major health crises we are facing in america. Although it is human nature to look for reasons why we are inactive and unhealthy, sitting doesn’t appear to be just another scapegoat. Sitting for extended periods of time like most office workers do leads to incredibly low levels of calorie expenditure and therefore incredibly high calorie surpluses. Thus begins the spiral of becoming more and more unhealthy as the years go on.

Overall, exercise after you turn 50 does not need to change much if you are already being thoughtful about your training regimen before then. Finding ways to become more active throughout the day and lifting weights will take you most of, if not all the way to your goals. Remember, as we age our ability to bounce back from stress in every aspect of life declines, just ask anyone who has drank alcohol after the age of 30 for example. Do just enough to stimulate an adaptation or change in your body, and progress from there. Turning 50 isn’t the end of the world and you absolutely can get stronger, fitter, healthier, and happier with the right exercise and nutrition.

¹ ”CDC: Not Enough Adults Over 50 Exercise Regularly.” Oncology Nurse Advisor. Sep. 20, 2016. https://www.oncologynurseadvisor.com/home/cancer-types/general-oncology/cdc-not-enough-adults-over-50-exercise-regularly/
2 “Global Strategy on Diet, Physical Activity and Health.” World Health Organization. https://www.who.int/dietphysicalactivity/factsheet_adults/en/

What is Sermorelin?

Peptide research and utilization has become one of the most promising fields for advancements in anti-aging and individualized medicine. One of the most commonly applied peptides (signalling molecule) for the purpose of anti-aging is sermorelin acetate. Usually called just sermorelin for short, this peptide is known as a growth hormone secretagogue or more specifically, a growth hormone-releasing hormone – it’s functional alias. What it does in the human body is right there in its formal name – it stimulates the release of growth hormone from the anterior pituitary gland. That’s not where it’s effects end, however. Sermorelin has the ability to impact systems and functions throughout the body that tend to experience a natural decline as a result of the aging process, and it has clear benefits over conventional growth hormone therapies that have traditionally been used. If you are think you are ready to start sermorelin treatment, keep reading to get a better idea of how this amazing peptide works in the body, why it is safer and more effective than simply using growth hormone, any potential side effects, and where to source your sermorelin from in order to ensure you are getting an effective product.

What is Sermorelin?

Let’s start out by explaining just what sermorelin is exactly. You might be wondering how does it have the ability to have a positive impact on the aging process. Well as we already mentioned, sermorelin is a growth hormone-releasing hormone (GHRH). This means that it stimulates the natural production and release of growth hormone (GH) from a bundle of cells in your brain called the pituitary gland. This gland releases many different hormones that have many different jobs all over the body. Unfortunately, as we age its ability to produce and distribute these chemical messengers known as hormones begins to decline. Combine this decline with a decreased capacity to produce the GHRH needed to stimulate the release of growth hormone, and you have a recipe for a GH deficiency. Although some degree of deficiency is a common and expected byproduct of the aging process, it doesn’t have to negatively impact your quality of life. We now have the ability to supply your pituitary gland with all the GHRH it needs in the form of sermorelin as well as other forms of GHRHs. By supplying the key that allows for your own growth hormone to be produced and released, we are able to manage the negative effects of growth hormone deficiency. Such issues as difficulty or inability to decrease body fat/increase lean mass, lack of appetite, sleep dysfunction, and more can be effectively reversed by the skillful application of sermorelin . Even better, because sermorelin simply releases our own supply of growth hormone, we can avoid the negative effects of conventional growth hormone therapy which we will discuss later. Sermorelin and all forms of GHRH are classified as pleiotropic, meaning they have more than one effect throughout the body. Separate from the benefits conferred by stimulating the release of growth hormone itself, sermorelin has the ability to bind to peripheral GHRH receptors around the entire body and it has higher activity and stability than naturally produced GHRH. This means it can work better and for longer than the GHRH your brain produces.

So now that you know the mechanism of action of sermorelin (how it works on a physiological level), let’s dig into some of the benefits of utilizing this amazing peptide. Keep in mind the list is long and likely to continue evolving in the future as more and more research and clinical application occurs. For now we will stick to the most common reason people utilize sermorelin, while just touching on some of the systemic effects that although interesting, aren’t typically the focus of treatment.

Sermorelin for Anti-aging

As if you needed a reminder…but the process of aging degrades nearly every function in the body – slowly but surely taking with it our health and vitality. One particularly important function that is negatively impacted by aging is our ability to produce and release growth hormone naturally. Research has shown that natural growth hormone release drops dramatically after around the age of 30. On average, 150 µg/kg of growth hormone is released per day during puberty – it then decreases to approximately 25 µg/kg/day by about the age of 55 (µg means nanograms, a very small amount but growth hormone is incredibly powerful)¹. This massive reduction in growth hormone results in a decreased capacity to build muscle mass, reduced ability to oxidize (burn) stored body fat for fuel, a major decrease in bone mineral density and wound-healing, a reduced appetite and sleep quality, and a generally lowered feeling of vitality. These are just some of the reasons why sermorelin and other peptides like it can be an impactful treatment – aging just takes a lot out of you (no pun intended). Sermorelin is typically administered night to closely mirror the rhythm in which natural growth hormone release would occur and its use has been shown to reduce visceral (abdominal) fat, increase muscle mass, improve fluid memory, aid in sleep and improve appetite, boost elastin and collagen production resulting in younger looking skin, and more. All of these effects are why sermorelin and other similar peptides can truly be considered anti-aging therapies. Independent of these direct effects, sermorelin has the potential to incur additional benefits due to the ubiquity of GHRH receptors within us. Binding sites for GHRH are present in the hypothalamus, heart, lymphocytes (immune cells), testes, ovaries, pancreas, skin, and more locations throughout the entire body. Long story short, a reduction in natural growth hormone release is an expected result of the aging process, and may contribute to the process as well. By increasing growth hormone release via sermorelin, we have an amazing weapon that allows us to fight the hands of time on a more even field. 

So Why Not Just Use HGH?

Well the first red flag should likely be that human growth hormone (HGH) is illegal for use as an anti-aging therapy. Even if this restriction was suddenly removed there would still be a substantial argument for utilizing sermorelin or another GHRH in lieu of HGH. First and foremost is how exogenous (from outside the body) HGH will circulate the body all throughout the day. Growth hormone is normally released by the pituitary gland in a pulsatile fashion – with the highest amount being released about an hour before you typically go to bed. This is why sermorelin is injected or ingested at this time. When you cut out the middleman (pituitary) entirely and use exogenous HGH, the levels circulating throughout your body are relatively consistent throughout the day. Over time this results in growth hormone receptors becoming resistant or burned out, much like the insulin receptors in those with Type II diabetes. Introducing external HGH puts the user at increased risk of immune dysfunction, acromegaly (enlargement of the face, hands, and feet), cardiomegaly (enlargement of the heart), as well as other internal organ growth, malignant transformation, insulin resistance, and increased oxidative damage at the cellular level. How might you avoid all of these unwanted effects? Simply stimulate the body’s release of it’s own growth hormone instead of injecting unnatural levels of exogenous HGH.

Where Should You Go to Get Sermorelin?

Like all peptide therapies, it is highly recommended that you visit a certified and reputable anti-aging or wellness clinic to receive sermorelin prescription and treatments. Although it is possible to do so, purchasing peptides off of the internet without a prescription is inadvisable at best (not requiring a prescription is a major red flag). At Ikon Wellness we offer an easy process for you to fill out forms, obtain a prescription, and order products all from the convenience of your phone. We are also able to provide you with lifestyle, nutrition, and training guidance that will enhance the potential benefits of peptide therapies, especially with regards to improvements in body composition. Gaining muscle and losing body fat will be much easier with the aid of sermorelin and other GHRHs, but following a solid training and nutrition protocol will allow for an increased favorable response to the treatment. Overall, sermorelin can and should be considered as part of your protocol to reduce the unwanted effects of aging. You may not be able to keep from getting older, but you can live better while it happens!

¹ Garcia JM, Merriam GR, Kargi AY. Growth Hormone in Aging. 2019 Oct 7. In: Feingold KR, Anawalt B, Boyce A, et al., editors. Endotext [Internet]. South Dartmouth (MA): MDText.com, Inc.; 2000-. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279163/

Reverse Engineering Health and Fitness

The first thing you need to know, and what needs to be at the forefront of your mind when making any decision regarding health and fitness is that our bodies are adaptation machines. Admittedly, in the context of the modern lifestyle most of us enjoy, this adaptive ability can be a hindrance. If we apply a stimulus consistently to our body or mind, it will adapt. Good or bad, for better or worse, it will adapt.

Lifestyle Causes Adaptations

I would argue that due to the average American’s diet and lifestyle, most people only see the negative side of our body’s beautiful ability to adapt. Weight gain as a result of metabolic adaptation, insomnia due to disrupted diurnal rhythms, terrifyingly degrading postures coming to be ubiquitous among the youth. All adaptations we see on a daily basis, and yet we don’t see them for what they are: proof positive that our bodies can change. In fact, it is likely that very few people are even aware of, let alone appreciate the capacity for change we have within us all.

You Can Take Control of your Body

While I hope that none of those adaptations are at the top of anyone’s Christmas list this year, something is very clear to some. If we know what stimulus causes these negative adaptations, then we have the power and perhaps the responsibility to reverse it.

Guidance for Positive Changes in Health and Fitness

I don’t claim to know what your direction will be right now. The vast differences between each of us make it impossible to know what your first step will be until we know exactly where you are at. What I, and the rest of the Impakt Health coaches do know, is that we can guide you towards your goal because we have walked down many paths before. Drawing from every client we’ve trained, book we’ve read, lecture we have studied, and most importantly every failure; we know that the only thing standing between you and your goals is YOU!

What’s to Come?

Get ready to to work because this is only the first of a series of posts regarding the topic of adaptation and how you can harness the power of adaptation and bring it back under your control. It will be a process; but one that will allow you to understand your physiology, and psychology deeper than ever before. In this series we will cover how to use a desired adaptation to achieve lasting results in:

Reverse Engineering Series

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