How might behaviors affect hormones? The birdsong example demonstrates how hormones can affect behavior, but as noted, the reciprocal relation also occurs; that is, behavior can affect hormone concentrations. For example, the sight of a territorial intruder may elevate blood testosterone concentrations in resident male birds and thereby stimulate singing or fighting behavior. Similarly, male mice or rhesus monkeys that lose a fight decrease circulating testosterone concentrations for several days or even weeks afterward. Comparable results have also been reported in humans. Testosterone concentrations are affected not only in humans involved in physical combat, but also in those involved in simulated battles. For example, testosterone concentrations were elevated in winners and reduced in losers of regional chess tournaments.
He came up with it after years of studying steroid users in Boston-area gyms and comparing them not just to non-steroid users in the same gyms, but also to bodybuilders from different eras. For a 1995 study, Pope and his coauthors estimated the FFMIs of Mr. America winners from 1939 to 1959, before steroids were readily available. The group includes future B-movie star Steve Reeves, whose physique was so iconic that he was name-checked in The Rocky Horror Picture Show . The average FFMI was . (One of the highest was George Eiferman, Mr. America 1948, with a FFMI. His upper body was later the model for George of the Jungle, a 1960s cartoon character.) Even today, with all we’ve learned about training and nutrition, an FFMI in the mid 20s is still considered the ceiling for natural bodybuilders. Anything above 26 or 27 is suspect.
What it does: Produced by the adrenal glands, cortisol is the hormone responsible for helping you stay healthy and energetic. Its main purpose is to control physical and psychological stress.
Why an imbalance occurs: In stressful times, the body's natural reaction is to boost cortisol levels to help cope with the situation. Generally these decrease to normal levels afterwards, though in some people cortisol levels remain high.
Signs it's out of balance: Consistently high levels of cortisol can cause stomach ulcers, high blood pressure, fatigue, anxiety and high levels of cholesterol. Conversely low levels of cortisol can be responsible for conditions such as chronic fatigue syndrome and alcoholism.
What you can do: Developing ways to deal with stress is essential for those with high levels of cortisol. Relaxation techniques and meditation can help. If all else fails, try to remove yourself from any situation that is leading to your heightened stress levels.