Human Growth Hormone (HGH)
As it relates to body composition and lean muscle mass, we are most fascinated by one hormone in particular that is regulated by the Pituitary Gland: Human Growth Hormone (HGH).
You've likely heard of HGH, which we produced in abundance during youth and which many adults are now seeking for its anti-aging properties.
HGH stimulates growth, cell reproduction, and cell regeneration. That means it will help with muscle growth, performance, fat loss, and recovery when combined with a strength training protocol and balanced nutrition.
Sounds amazing, right? But you don't need to cross the Australian border like Sylvester Stallone with an arsenal of synthetic HGH just because we stopped producing it en masse as adults. Studies have shown that the following promote healthy levels of HGH naturally:
1. Lose belly fat: the more belly fat we have, the less HGH we will produce
2. Fasting intermittently: fasting even 8-10 hours per day significantly improves HGH levels; sleeping counts and is enough!
3. Reduce sugar intake: regular spikes of insulin will disrupt the secretion of HGH, so limiting the sugar spikes may support the pituitary gland to secrete HGH more regularly
4. Consume protein drinks immediately following strength training: consuming protein after workouts can boost HGH levels whereas consuming protein beforehand can have the opposite effect
5. Stop eating within 2-3 hours before bed time: although we will release a large amount of daily HGH during sleep, insulin release disrupts the secretion of HGH so skipping the midnight snacks may support higher levels of HGH during sleep as well as support a better nights rest overall
6. Get adequate, consistent, and uninterrupted sleep: the majority of HGH is released in pulses when we sleep, a large portion before midnight, and another smaller portion early in the morning
7. Lift weights and/or exercise at high intensity: strength training and HIIT training are two of the most effective ways to raise HGH levels in the body. Not to mention these types of training will reduce overall body fat thus supporting further increase of HGH outside of the training time itself. It's no coincidence that the modalities are the foundation of our live and on demand workouts! Notice that steady state cardio is NOT on this list. There is a time and place for cardio, but it is not the standalone answer to a lean, healthy body.