- Exercise & Fitness
Manipulating Hormones to Build Muscle Naturally
Safe and Natural Methods To Gain Muscle
We're all familiar with the concept of steroid use to elicit huge gains in muscle growth. However, it seems to me that there's not nearly as much verbal exchange focused on how natural hormone levels affect hypertrophy (fancy word for muscle growth). And by natural hormones I mean the hormones that are endogenous to your body, naturally occurring in certain, normal levels. As it turns out, there are several things you can do to boost important muscle-building hormones and improve growth tremendously without ever taking steroids and risking your health. Now don't get me wrong, these techniques are nothing like taking steroids. These are perfectly safe measures designed to elevate the level of several hormones which already exist in your body.
Train Big Muscle Groups- No beating around the bush today, let's cut right to business. The more you train, the more testosterone your body produces. The more testosterone your body produces,the better equipped your muscles become at recovering and growing bigger and stronger. So it only stands to reason that the more muscle you recruit when you lift, the greater the hormonal response (in this case, testosterone production) will be. So how do we recruit more muscle in our workouts? Simple. Train the biggest muscle groups. This is why seasoned experts who disagree on the little stuff always coincide on exercises like squats. Squats, when performed correctly, cause a tremendous increase in metabolic rate and muscle-building hormone production simply because they enlist the action of the bodies largest muscle groups: hamstrings, quads, and glutes. Lunges are a close second in my book, however cleans and the deadlift are arguably among the top contenders for big muscle group recruitment. Lunges burn my quads and hamstrings not to mention what I consider to be the best glute workout ever. And when I say "glutes", I am referring to the muscles in your hind quarters. If you don't cheat and come down far enough at the bottom of the lunge movement, you can feel the gluteus maximus stretch and then tighten as you rise up to the top. Remember to take a long stride, long enough so that your knee never protrudes past your toes, as this causes undue stress on the knee joint. But I'm not going to dissect these four or five essential movements, at least not today. The main point here is that you should be consistently training the big muscle groups in your lower body through the squat, lunge, deadlift, and clean exercises in order to boost testosterone levels. However, before we move on, let's think about the effect of elevated hormone levels on the body. Get ready, we're gonna go into physiology mode for a minute. A hormone will enter a cell if it recognizes the receptor molecule in the cellular membrane. The presence of a compatible receptor molecule indicates a target cell for that particular hormone. Still with me? Alright, think about muscle tissue. Skeletal muscle tissue (the kind we're talking about: abs, biceps, hamstrings, etc.), no matter where in the body you find it has the same kind of receptor molecules and therefore target cells. This is due to several things, but simply put, it's the same kind of tissue whether you find it in the neck, legs, back, arms or wherever. This means that if you increase testosterone production by doing squats, not only will your leg muscles receive more testosterone, but every other skeletal muscle in your body will, too. The word here is systemic. Hormones affect your body systemically, meaning as a whole. So true or false... "You can increase hormone secretion to your pecs, by working your hamstrings"... True! Training those big muscle groups can help you build muscle throughout your entire body, in fact, incorporating lower body exercises into your routine is vital if you want to reach your muscle-building potential.
Avoid Simple Carbohydrates- We could get really technical and delve into some deep physiological interactions here or, you could just take my word for it. I'm going to assume that the latter is better suiting for you. I know it is for me. Eating sugars harms your muscle building efforts. It just does. Increased blood sugar, insulin, and free-floating ATP (unused energy) levels are not conducive to building muscle. Insulin functions primarily to transport sugar from the bloodstream into the cells where metabolism can take place. However, insulin is also a storage hormone. 1: yes insulin is classified as a hormone and 2: it stores things. Insulin has the propensity to store energy if there's more energy hanging around than the body can use. By the way, stored energy is fat. Remember though, that your body requires excess energy to build muscle. You will recall this excess energy is referred to as being in an anabolic state. The important distinction one must make is that excess energy resulting from eating sugar results in higher blood sugar and insulin levels than what is required to achieve an anabolic, muscle building state. Eating complex carbohydrates is the solution to the dilemma. Complex carbs, like whole wheat foods, sweet potatoes, brown rice, etc, regulate blood sugar, insulin, and energy levels and while maintaining more energy than the organs need to function, does not illicit enough of a response to shoot insulin levels out the roof. And here's the best part: increased insulin levels also inhibit the secretion of human growth hormone. The more primed your body is for storing, the less capable it will be of building.
I hope this information will help you in your attempts to build muscle.
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