Muscle Building And Hormones
Muscle building and hormones! These four important hormones influence your muscle-building + and practical tips for you.
What do hormones have to do with muscle building? How can you better build muscle with this information?
Here you can find out!
Hormones – an overview
Hormones are messengers. They regulate many processes in the human body and are responsible for transmitting information.
They regulate, among other things, metabolism, water balance, and muscle building!
They are formed in cells specially designed for this purpose in different organs.
These include the pineal gland, pancreas, adrenal gland, and pituitary gland.
Together they make up the endocrine system.
This network or its organs can slow down or promote each other. For example, the hormones cortisol and testosterone influence each other. With the necessary background knowledge, this can positively affect muscle building.
Hormones trigger reactions, such as making certain enzymes. These enzymes then, in turn, set off a reaction. The latter is then the actual effect of the hormone. The hormones themselves are not used up.
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However, there is one problem: The formation and function of the hormones can be disturbed!
This has far-reaching effects on the organism. For example, as a result of diabetes, the blood sugar level increases.
The culprit in diabetes is that the hormone insulin is either no longer produced at all or that the cells lose insulin sensitivity.
If left untreated, this can severely damage nerves, blood vessels, and organs.
Hormones and Muscle Building
There are several hormones that have a decisive influence on muscle building!
It is also known as the “manhood hormone.” Among other things, it is responsible for muscle building, the development of sexual characteristics, and the training of spatial thinking!
With too little testosterone, men, in particular, run on the back burner. It is important to understand that testosterone is also important for women.
Testosterone acts on many different cells.
Two different modes of action are often spoken of:
- The “anabolic” effect: Testosterone controls the protein metabolism and thus also muscle building in the body.
- The “androgenic” effect: This provides the characteristics of masculinity (libido, body hair, beard growth, voice breakage, etc.)
Testosterone has significantly more functions. For example, it still influences fat metabolism or bone formation.
What Causes Testosterone Levels to Drop?
Age: As we age, testosterone levels automatically decrease. However, as you will soon see, one is not at its mercy.
Obesity: The aromatase enzyme is increasingly produced. This converts testosterone into estrogen. The result is a “feminization.” This is how “man boobs” develop in overweight men.
Medication: A possible influence can be found on the list of side effects.
Stress: A significant factor! It increases the hormone cortisol! This is the testosterone antagonist and causes a reduction and leads to muscle breakdown.
Excessive endurance training: Long-distance runners often have too little testosterone. But don’t worry: normal-length sessions do not affect testosterone levels. HIIT units are even beneficial!
Alcohol: Alcohol also increases cortisol levels and hinders testosterone production in general.
How do you raise your testosterone levels?
Vegetable fat: instead of animal fat, it is better to use vegetable fat, preferably polyunsaturated fat.
The HDL cholesterol level (the “good” cholesterol), which is important for testosterone, increases. Good sources of polyunsaturated fatty acids include olive oil and nuts.
Proteins: Eating enough protein increases testosterone levels.
Minerals and vitamins: Zinc, magnesium, and vitamins A and D in particular play a role.
Sleep: A very important point. Getting enough and quality sleep has a major impact on testosterone levels.
Stress: The less stress, the better!
HIIT sessions: They are better than long endurance sessions in terms of testosterone levels.
Strength training: Above all, training in the maximum strength range is beneficial.
Therefore, the training plan should (continuously or occasionally) include exercises trained with at least 85% (corresponds to approximately five repetitions) of Fmax.
The idea behind cortisol is this: When under stress, the body quickly needs energy.
Those who used to be in fight-or-flight mode needed all the reserves.
Cortisol puts us on alert and provides a very rapid supply of energy, in addition to fat and carbohydrate stores if necessary.
It certainly made sense to a prehistoric person struggling to survive. But today, such extreme situations no longer exist. Despite this, many people feel stressed.
Another difference from before is the duration of the stress.
When a prehistoric person escaped from danger, the stress level dropped again.
Nowadays, many people struggle with constant stress. This leads to elevated cortisol levels and low testosterone and growth hormone levels.
So cortisol is extremely harmful when it comes to building muscle!
It interrupts the build-up of proteins or, with a high cortisol level, the muscle-building process is interrupted. In stressful situations, muscle building is no longer important for the body.
Other effects of elevated cortisol levels include:
- High blood pressure (acute and long-term)
- Increased risk of osteoporosis
- Promotes high cholesterol (the “bad” LDL cholesterol is increased)
It would be best to keep the cortisol level as low as possible to build muscle. Stress, bad or insufficient sleep, and alcohol increase cortisol levels.
Insulin also plays an essential role in muscle building. Insulin serves as the key for blood sugar to enter the cells.
When we have eaten large amounts of carbohydrates, our blood sugar levels will inevitably be elevated. Insulin is then released into the pancreas in response to food intake.
With the help of insulin, glucose can get inside the cell and be used to produce energy.
If glucose is not currently needed to such a high degree for energy production, the muscles, like the liver, can convert glucose into glycogen and store it.
Training, especially strength training, is more accessible if the glycogen stores are sufficiently filled at the beginning of the training session since the body has stored enough energy in the muscles to use up during training.
For example, if you train in the evening, you’ll probably benefit from a high-carb meal (e.g., oatmeal) in the morning.
It’s difficult to predict exactly because it depends on many factors: How full is the glycogen store already? How fast is digestion? How much glycogen does the trainee need during training?
In fact, insulin is not only secreted after eating carbohydrates. It can also be secreted after a protein-rich meal.
An increased insulin level also ensures that the muscles absorb amino acids better. Furthermore, insulin inhibits the stress-related protein breakdown of the muscles.
This means that a protein shake (whichever one contains some carbohydrates) or a high-protein meal with carbohydrates after training is beneficial.
Growth hormone HGH and the insulin-like growth factor IGF 1
HGH stands for Human Growth Hormone. It is an endogenous protein and is formed in the pituitary gland. It reaches individual cells through the blood.
As a result, the hormone IGF 1 is produced in the liver.
This is insulin-like growth factor 1.
IGF1 then acts on protein and sugar metabolism and bone and cartilage metabolism.
So it has an anabolic, muscle-building effect.
IGF-1 regulates the growth of muscles and nerves. It is also interesting that IGF-1 activates the satellite cells of the muscles. This ensures that the regeneration of the muscles is initiated.
As we age, HGH in the body (like testosterone) decreases. This is why it becomes harder to maintain or build muscle as you get older. In addition, lower levels of HGH can lead to increased body fat.
So if you want to build muscle or keep your body fat percentage low, you should pay attention to a high HGH or IGF-1 level.
The situation here is similar to testosterone: stress, alcohol, age, obesity, and little sleep reduce the HGH level.
The good news is that lifting heavy weights, having a variety of workouts, high-intensity interval training, and quality sleep raises HGH levels.
In addition, HGH is mainly released during the first hour of sleep.
That’s why this lesson should be of good quality. This means, for example, that it is best not to eat anything two hours beforehand and not to play on the cell phone before going to sleep.
Muscle Building And Hormones – Summary
Summary of tips for optimal hormone balance for you and your customers:
These are similar tips that we trainers usually give.
However, many people are not even aware that they also have an enormously positive effect on our hormone balance.
- Doing sports: Weight training and HIIT workouts are particularly good
- Stay relaxed
- Sleep well and enough
- Healthy and high-protein diet
Even if these tips are not revolutionary, it is important to internalize them repeatedly and motivate customers.
Because it often fails more because of the implementation than because of the theoretical knowledge!
Have fun implementing the tips!
Read about testosterone in this article: What Is Testosterone: An Overrated Muscle Building Factor?