With a few subtle changes to your weight training and diet, you can naturally affect the levels of one of your strongest anabolic hormones.
Regardless of your age, gender or strength level, increasing the natural secretion of your growth hormone (GH) levels can be a key to building bigger and stronger muscles. In addition HGH has also many the anti-aging benefits.
Researchers have known for many years about the enormous influence of growth hormone on the human metabolism. Of particular interest to bodybuilders and other athletes, GH can increase protein synthesis, the use of fat and the formation of bone and connective tissue.
Lose weight and build muscles
Although GH usually takes all the credit, it is actually the secretion of a second group of hormones that is responsible for most of the benefits.
When GH is released into the bloodstream, it stimulates the release of so-called insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1) which is mainly produced by the liver (although it can also come from fat and muscle cells), bind to muscle cell receptors to implement the many anabolic effects of GH.
The benefit of this hormonal response is determined not so much by the amount of GH and IGF in the blood, but rather by the type of exercise performed. How the GH secreted during exercise is used depends primarily on the quality of physical stimulation.
In the case of aerobic exercise, increased GH secretion acts to stimulate fat metabolism, whereas in strength training, an increase in protein synthesis is more urgent due to the need to repair damaged tissue. While the potential benefits associated with higher GH levels are favorable, you may be hesitant to play with your body’s delicate hormone balance.
There is no need to worry: the amount of GH you will secrete as a result of training will never be dangerous. Currently, researchers have identified several factors that can increase GH secretion.
Some of them are uncontrollable (i.e. age and sex), but others can be manipulated, especially training, diet and supplementation.
Much research has shown the effects of strength training on GH levels. It appears that sessions of higher volume and lower intensity (bodybuilding type), with series of 8 to 10 repetitions, tend to produce higher GH secretion than higher intensity strength training programs (short series).
In one study, subjects who did 10 sets of 10 squats on 70% of their 1RM had a 20-fold increase in GH levels. In comparison, subjects in a second group who did 21 sets of 1 representative at 100% of their 1RM had only a slight increase.
This is consistent with a study carried out in the 1990s by an American scientist (Prof. Kraemer) who found that a resistance equal to 70% of the maximum of the subjects, performed in series of 10 repetitions with a one minute break between series, allowed GH values to be almost 10 times higher than those of subjects using loads of 5 RM.
However, the latter advised against training in this way all the time: “A planned approach with different repetitions, series and strains is the best way to achieve continuous progress by exposing the body to different types of hormonal reactions”.
In Kraemer’s studies, high GH levels were well maintained during the recovery period, with measurements indicating that these levels were still above their original values 90 minutes after training. The hormonal response achieved in the first two hours after training is therefore fundamental to the anabolic process.
Therefore, anything you can do to naturally stimulate your GH levels during and especially after strength training will contribute to the type of anabolic environment required to promote muscle development.
Although the exact mechanism behind the increase in GH levels is uncertain, an explanation could come from the fatigue caused by these sessions. Both types of exercise have caused a significant increase in lactic acid, the metabolic end product of anaerobic exercise, and strong stimulation of GH secretion.
Cardio training can also have a significant impact on GH levels. The degree of effect seems to depend mainly on the intensity of the effort. Just 10 minutes of high-intensity aerobic exercise (about 70% of the V02 maximum) can increase GH levels by almost five times the resting phase.
Even intermittent exercise of sufficient intensity can induce a significant peak GH level. Subjects who performed a 1-minute series of very high intensity exercises (over 75% of the V02 maximum) achieved higher GH responses than those who performed 20 minutes of continuous exercise, where the total work duration and the duration of the two protocols were the same.
Remember that since GH is used according to the training stimulus, increasing its level may well serve to accelerate fat metabolism.
Nutrition and dietary supplementation
Some dietary strategies may help to accelerate the secretion of GH. In this case, the key is insulin, which is itself a powerful anabolic hormone, although it has a bad reputation for its ability to store fat.
It is important to know that insulin destroys GH production. When blood sugar levels are high, GH levels are low and vice versa. One of the best ways to increase GH levels is to avoid sugars that quickly raise blood sugar levels, especially before exercise.
A really effective strategy for producing the maximum natural growth hormone is intermittent fasting.
When a recovery drink with a 2:1 carbohydrate-protein ratio was consumed by experienced male weightlifters, the maximum insulin level caused an increase in GH, which remained high for over 6 hours during the recovery phase.
This effect was not observed in people who consumed only protein or water. The best approach to increasing GH hormone secretion is therefore to exercise on an empty stomach during the second half of the day and eat after training.
Supplementation with certain amino acids can also affect GH secretion. Glutamine and arginine have been shown to be powerful stimulants of GH secretion. Although these two amino acids work very well independently of each other, their effects can be even more effective when they are combined. Yu may consider using HGH supplements such as Genf20 Plus, Genfx, Sytropin and Growth Factor Plus.
While L-glutamine is one of the strongest GH stimulators, L-arginine enhances its action through its ability to inhibit somatostatin secretion, a pituitary braking mechanism that prevents GH secretion. For best results, take 2 to 5 grams of L-Glutamine with 6 to 12 grams of L-Arginine approximately 30 to 60 minutes before exercise.
Have more growth hormone
If you want to produce the maximum amount of growth hormone, you now know that you can produce more growth hormone if you fast intermittently.
You also know that intensive training also stimulates GH production.
But what stimulates the growth hormone most: intermittent fasting or HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training)?
To answer this question, two studies have analyzed exactly how much GH is produced in these two situations, and here is the answer
Intermittent fasting can increase GH by up to 2000%, while HIIT training can increase GH by 450 to 700%.
Most GH production takes place during sleep. Studies show that production occurs in “pulses”, with the strongest peak occurring about one hour after falling asleep and then every three hours.
Even if the strongest peak occurs early in the night, it is still important to sleep at least eight hours, especially if you have been training hard. Since you know that growth hormone is released during deep sleep, you cannot compensate for this with a short sleep and one or two naps in the afternoon (at least not with GH).
To sleep as deeply as possible, minimize exposure to light and monitors (TV, PC, phone, tablets) in the hour before bedtime: They interfere with melatonin levels. Avoid caffeine after 4 p.m. of course.