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 pieces of advice 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.
You would especially want to keep an eye on your cortisol levels. Although this hormone participates in the fat burning process, high levels of cortisol lead to muscle waste, and negatively reflect on the metabolism.
You’d definitively need to avoid having high cortisol levels for a prolonged period of time, as it will result in reduction of your muscle mass. Just remember, it’s your muscle mass supports the fat burning metabolism. The bigger the muscles, the better the metabolism.
One approach in hindering the cortisol production is with post training insulin spikes. Pick two days of the week when you’re not consuming too much carbs, and consume fast burning sugars after your training. Opt for russet potatoes, white rice, Gatorade, cookies, and other foods packed with carbs. Creating the insulin spike two days in a week will protect your muscle mass, and rev up your metabolism.
Although it’s generally known as the female hormone, estrogen is also present in men. When it builds up in your body, it inhibits the fat burning process. You should always at keeping your estrogen production down, and increase your testosterone level.
The amount of testosterone and estrogen in your body determine you physique. With lower estrogen levels, and high testosterone presence, you can make your muscle stronger, decrease the body fat percentage and prevent water retention. The best way to keep your estrogen levels at bay is consuming crunchy vegetables that contain indoles. According to the research these compounds are especially efficient in reducing the effect of estrogen in our body, both by lowering its production, and by hindering the estrogen absorption in our cells. Include more vegetables in your diet, and go easy with the carbs.
The thyroid hormones (thyroxine and triiodothyronine) help the metabolic process, and help protein synthesis.
A drop in the levels of these hormones produced by the thyroid gland, reduces the ability of your body to burn the fats. It also leads to reduction in protein synthesis, i.e. it slows down the amino acid absorption from protein based foods. Preserving the healthy function of your thyroid gland and the production of these hormones is crucial in your shredding efforts.
The drop of thyroid hormones can be triggered by extreme dieting. To prevent this, you should take a one day brake from your diet every 10 to 12 days. Provide your body with sufficient amount of carbs (3 grams per each pound of body weight). This tricks the body into thinking that the dieting period is over, and prevents sudden drops of thyroid hormone levels.
Learning the functions of your hormones and how you can manipulate them can make your diet more effective. The first thing that you should have in mind that continuous deprivation of calories, carbs and fat cna have adverse effect in your diet. Every once in a while you should brake the diet, using the aforementioned methods. This will help you preserve muscle mass, and help you in lowering the body fat percentage.