Maximizing Hormones for Maximum Growth

The human body contains numerous amounts of intricate hormones that allow our muscles to grow, or do the opposite. Maximizing hormones such as testosterone, IGF-1, insulin, and HGH can result in a substantial increase in strength and lean muscle growth, as well as a decrease in adipose tissue.

Testosterone is the king of hormones in the world of natural bodybuilding as it is directly interacts with skeletal muscle. When taken advantage of, testosterone can greatly increase your strength and muscular development. It increases nitrogen retention in cells resulting in an increase in amino acid uptake and a highly anabolic environment.

There are a number of different methods that can increase your body’s natural testosterone levels such as incorporating compound exercises like squats, deadlifts, bench presses, and pull-ups at high intensity and high resistance.

Nutrition also plays a part in natural testosterone levels. Chicken or other red meats can increase testosterone because of the zinc in them. Eating fruits such as blueberries, apples, citrus fruits and other fruits containing vitamin A can also increase testosterone. Salmon can also indirectly result in an increase in testosterone as the fish oil helps lower levels of SHBG (sex hormone binding globulin) which binds to testosterone in the blood stream. Testosterone can also be increased by using dietary supplements such as tribulus terrestris or ZMA.

HGH (human growth hormone) and IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor) are powerful hormones that can help muscle growth and breakdown adipose tissue for energy. HGH decreases the use of glucose for energy thus breaking down fats, increases protein synthesis and enhances the immune system. IGF-1 directly increases protein synthesis by triggering satellite cells to create new muscle tissue as well as inducing muscle hyperplasia (splitting of muscle cells). IGF-1 is secreted by the liver as a result of HGH in the bloodstream, therefore HGH and IGF-1 levels go hand in hand. HGH levels can be increased naturally by consuming carbohydrates and protein pre and post workout, doing high intensity interval training, resting one minute between sets and doing 3 sets of 10 reps for each exercise.

Insulin is another powerful anabolic hormone when taken advantage of correctly. Insulin acts almost like a key to get into cells. Insulin increases cell permeability, allowing more glucose and amino acids to enter your muscles and also decreases muscle degradation. There is a dark side to insulin though – it also decreases lypolysis. Therefore, there is really only one time of the day where insulin should be maximized. Eating mono/disaccharides post workout such as dextrose, or maltose will result in an insulin spike creating an anabolic environment for your muscles as they are replenished with glucose and amino acids.

By eating right and making a few adjustments to your training, nutrition and supplement protocol to maximize levels of HGH, IGF-1, insulin and testosterone, you can create a highly anabolic environment for maximum muscle growth.

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