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Understanding Growth Hormone


This blog is long overdue and should have been written well before the boys from Entourage were gracing our television screens on HBO.

It’s rather important, especially for the dudes looking to add some size…

…or not lose any size for that matter.

You’ve heard of Growth Hormone before and most likely it’s been in the “steroid” category of knowledge. Simply put, you know enough about it because Alex Rodriguez or a handful of Olympic Athletes have been injecting it like it’s chewing gum.

They get caught, they are labeled cheaters, people dislike them for a few weeks, then everyone forgets. For whatever reason…

Anyways, that’s injectable synthetic growth hormone, not really the growth hormone that I’ll be writing about below.

Got that? Shall me move on? Yes we shall.

 

What is Growth Hormone

Growth Hormone (aka somatotropin) is released into the blood stream from the anterior pituitary gland. The pituitary gland sits at the base of the skull, underneath the brain and behind the bridge of the nose. The gland is attached to the hypothalamus, which controls the pulsating release of growth hormone throughout the day. Levels usually rise following intense exercise, trauma (stress), and sleep.

Under normal conditions, more GH is produced at night than during the day so YOU MUST understand that sleep is important. Extended periods of stress or long, low-level activity (long distance running), can lower your growth hormone output.

 

Benefits of Growth Hormone

Knowing that growth hormone fluctuates throughout the day, blood tests can be somewhat meaningless when trying to get an accurate reading. The one real thing that super smart scientists have discovered is that your levels raise during childhood, peak during puberty, and drop from middle age onward.

When we get those beneficial surges of GH throughout the day, they can provide some pretty rad benefits. Such as..

  • boosts protein production (growth and repair)
  • promotes the utilization of fat
  • regulates insulin
  • raises blood sugar levels
  • improves your sleeping pattern
  • builds stronger bones
  • raises the levels of Insulin-Like Growth Factor-1 (IGF-1)

What your take away should be from this is you can build muscle, cut body fat, and function optimally.

Quick Low down: Without complicating it too much, you’re body produces growth hormone. As you age, you begin to produce less and less. There are certain things that you can do to help raise your natural levels however, doing these things won’t necessarily turn you into The Hulk. Adding addition growth hormone through injections allow you to pack on some serious muscle. It can also create a bunch of other problems (high cholesterol, increase risk of diabetes, edema, and tumors). It’s not ideal but people do it.

 

How To Boost Your Natural Levels of GH

 

Training

Short, Intense bursts of energy is your ticket to the promise land. Intensity is more important than duration. Sprint instead of long distance runs.

I’ll tell you right now, my group classes are 40 minutes, my sprint sessions are 20-30 minutes, my workouts are about 50 minutes. Based on your goals, you certainly don’t need marathon gym sessions to get results.

Nutrition

There are many different “diets” that can help in the production of growth hormone but with all of them there can be a few things that similar.

A diet HIGH in refined carbohydrates and simple sugars will mess with your hormonal system preventing GH release (this is due to high levels of both cortisol and insulin).

So manage your intake of refined grains and simple sugars.

Sleep

If you suck at sleeping you will suck at growth hormoning. Disrupted sleep patters and sleep deprivation will dramatically effect your health and reduce your growth hormone levels.

You’ve read a million times “get a good nights sleep”, “sleep 8 hours a night”, etc. It’s like a broken record and you’ve probably become immune to it without actually changing your behavior.

So here are some ways to change that behavior.

  • Take Melatonin before bed.
  • Dark Room with NO artificial light.
  • Do NOT take naps during the day
  • Do NOT watch TV before bed

Supplementation

Too many times beginners jump right into purchasing fat burners, powders or gainers in hopes of getting results. They do all of this but miss the two most important factors in weight loss, eating well and working out. When you start eating well and you begin working out, your body will start to change. The purpose of supplements is to help supplement that process. So if you are new or getting back into working out, get that going first before you start spending money.

When it comes to supplements focus more on general health supplements rather than “muscle building” or “fat loss supplements.” Those can be utilized in a supplement stack but you should start by taking the basics. Here’s what I recommend:

  • Fish Oil
  • Multivitamin
  • BCAA’s
  • Protein Powder
  • Probiotic

These are the basics. Eat well, start working out THEN sprinkle these into your daily routine.

 

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