Hormones are chemical messengers that travel throughout the body coordinating complex processes like growth, metabolism, and fertility. There are many hormones in your body and each of them have a unique job or role in the body. While some hormones like ghrelin and leptin will control your cravings and hunger, other hormones like growth hormone and testosterone will control your growth and vitality.
Many people are super concerned with how they look in the mirror and how much they weigh in on the scale but very few people are truly concerned with how healthy they are. The interplay and constant fluctuation of our body’s hormonal balance may work to our muscle building advantage, or create a litany of problems, including a sluggish metabolic rate, failure to properly recover between workouts, low energy levels, and hampered protein synthesis. While pounding down the protein and training with back breaking weights may help you to craft the physique you want, to truly maximize your in gym progress you must also ensure your hormone levels are up to the challenge, or suppressed accordingly.
6 Hormones to Control in Bodybuilding for Advanced Muscle Growth
The king of all bodybuilding hormones, testosterone promotes the growth of many bodily tissues and is essential for health and well-being. Testosterone is a steroid hormone that stimulates the development of male secondary sexual characteristics, produced mainly in the testes, but also in the ovaries and adrenal cortex.
Effects of Testosterone
Muscle growth; Increased strength; Increased endurance
Sperm production; Erectile function; Prostate growth
Hair growth; Collagen growth
Sex drive; Improved mood; Confidence; Aids cognition and memory
Red blood cell production
Bone density maintenance
2: Growth Hormone (GH)
Growth hormone, which stimulates growth, cell reproduction and the release of insulin-like growth factor (to boost protein synthesis), is an integral component in supporting fat burning and safeguarding against muscle losses.
Boost your supply of GH by:
· Getting at least 8 hours of quality sleep each night
· Periodically training with heavy weights for low reps (6-8, or fewer)
· Incorporating HIIT as a cardio modality or, better yet, combining your regular cardio with sprinting 2-3 times per week (6 40-meter dashes with 2 minute breaks in between)
· Supplement with niacin (1-3 grams per day)
· Stay lean and suppress excessive insulin production (curtail sugary carbs and keep overall carb levels moderate when dieting)
Unlike GH and testosterone, insulin is one hormone that has the potential for doing either great good, or much harm. It must therefore be manipulated accordingly. Released in excessive amounts at the wrong times, insulin, produced by the beta cells of the pancreas and central to regulating carbohydrate and fat metabolism, may promote fat storage. Used strategically, however, it may create an anabolic environment to elevate muscle gains and promote fat loss.
To increase insulin output, a high carbohydrate intake is necessary. The perfect time to consume more than your normal carb intake is just before, and directly after, training. Around 50 grams before and 60-70 grams after your workout of rapidly absorbed carbs such as waxy maize (place relevant ALLMAX product here) (a period when your muscles will, respectively, use them to fuel tough training and where they will more rapidly be transported, along with proteins, to hungry muscles) may work for a 200lb person (scale up or down accordingly). By contrast, keep your carbs comparatively moderate for the remainder of the day to maintain low insulin levels, to minimize fat storage.
Estrogen is a sex hormone that is produced in the body. Traditionally, it was believed that estrogen was only important for females, but we now know that even men have a certain amount of healthy estrogen-grouped hormones in the body.
To lower your estrogen levels, the following steps can be taken:
· Decrease body fat: fat tissue increases levels of the enzyme aromatase, which turns testosterone into estrogen; the fatter we are, the more aromatase we produce.
· Consider supplementing with an all Natural Aromatase Inhibitor
· Consume a diet high in cruciferous vegetable such as broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage (indole compounds found in these foods may interfere with estrogen absorption and uptake into our bodily tissues)
· Limit alcohol consumption
Cortisol is famously known as a stress hormone – meaning it helps you deal with stress in the body, but it is so much more than that. Cortisol can help control blood sugar levels, regulate metabolism, help reduce inflammation and assist with memory formulation. It has a controlling effect on salt and water balance and helps control blood pressure.
To negate the accumulation of Cortisol, do the following:
· Minimize stress, relax often, and avoid pointless, unnecessary arguments
· When dieting, ensure that 2-3 post workout feedings per week are very high in simple sugars (fat free cookies, sugar coated rice cakes, sweets)
· Reduce caffeine intake: 200mg of caffeine from a strong cup of coffee may increase blood Cortisol levels by 30% in one hour!
· Sleep deeper, and for longer
· Keep blood sugar stable
· Take stress-busting supplements such as the antioxidants, magnesium, calcium, chromium and zinc
6: Thyroid Hormone
Primarily responsible for the regulation of our metabolism, the thyroid hormones triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4) also support protein synthesis and fat loss. A major problem with all calorie restricted diets is the concomitant diminishing of thyroid hormone levels. When thyroid levels drop, we experience a corresponding reduction in protein synthesis, calorie burning and metabolism, and our gains may begin to stagnate.
To improve thyroid function, do the following:
· Eat foods rich in iodine (a substance which is necessary for the production of thyroid hormone): such as, eggs, cow’s milk, saltwater fish, seaweed and shellfish
· Incorporate periodic cheat days: to prevent your body from adjusting to constant low calorie eating, and to trick the thyroid into up-regulating so as to boost your metabolic rate, up the calories once every 8-10 days (on this day, three carbohydrate grams per pound of bodyweight may be eaten) and an additional 15-20 grams of fat may be consumed.