Most people think that dieting is all about lowering the carbs intake. Although it’s true that by lowering your carbs you also reduce the amount of calories you digest, there is much more to getting ripped than simply eliminating sugars from your diet. In order to achieve muscle growth and reduce body fat percentage, you need to learn how to control your hormones.
In this article we’ll try to explain the basic functions of your hormones, and provide you with several advices on how you can keep them in balance better in order to achieve quicker and more efficient muscle growth. We’re going to focus on six hormones that have the profoundest effect in this respect: insulin, testosterone, estrogen, cortisol, human growth hormone and the thyroid hormones.
Although the increased presence of insulin stimulates body fat build up, this hormone also participates in muscle growth, by providing an anabolic effect.
The trick is in maintaining your insulin levels low during the rest period when your metabolism isn’t pumping as hard. On the other hand, you’d want to keep them up during training so you’ll rip the full benefits.
Provided that you have not consumed too much calories, the low insulin levels help you burn fats during the rest period. Keeping the levels up during the training supports the anabolic process and helps muscle growth.
To achieve this, you need to limit your carbs intake during the day. Stick to vegetables and protein sources. Consume carbs along with protein just before training and immediately after training. Aim for 0.2 grams of carbs per each pound of body weight before workout, with 0.3 grams per pound after workout. In this way you exploit the one hour post-training anabolic window.
Testosterone is arguably the No.1 hormone when it comes to bodybuilding. It increases both the size and strength of your muscles. Try keeping your testosterone levels up to achieve better growth.
When your testosterone levels are low, your metabolic rate slows down. One possible explanation for this effect is the reduced production of growth hormone, which can be triggered by the low testosterone. The fat burning properties of growth hormone have been confirmed by numerous studies.
One way of stimulating your testosterone levels with diet is to increase the intake of fats. Dedicate two days of the week to consuming foods packed with fats. Beef, egg yolk and nuts provide good sources of healthy testosterone boosting fats. You should also limit your carbs intake. Although consuming fat will increase your calorie intake, they are absolutely crucial if you want to maintain healthy testosterone production.
The other trick is to drastically increase your carbs consumption one day in the week, taking it to 3 consumed grams of carbs per each pound of bodyweight. This will trigger insulin spikes, which are known to hinder the activity of sex hormone-binding globulin. This glycoprotein binds with testosterone in our bloodstream, and and determines how much testosterone will reach our muscle tissue. Insulin inhibits this property of SHBG, freeing the testosterone in our blood. This allows it to enter the muscle tissue and stimulate the muscle growth.
The two main functions of the growth hormone are: fat burning, and hindering muscle loss. It’s essential that you keep your growth hormone production up. This will preserve muscle mass during your diet, and keep your metabolism running. The increased levels of growth hormone boost up the fat burning process.
The best recourse for stimulating growth hormone production is taking supplements. Of course, you can also increase its production naturally with training and sleep. Taking arganine before training will not only raise your growth hormone levels, but it’ll also bring more blood in your muscles.
Continues on page 2…