When it comes to building quality muscle and getting strong as an ox, hormones are the most important ingredient.
Read time: 4 minutes
Now I know most of you already know Testosterone is king when it comes to getting jacked, but coming in close behind are Insulin (more specifically IGF-1, or Insulin-like Growth Factor-1), and Growth Hormone.
You need to pay attention to these hormones if you are serious about your training and getting insane results.
Note: This list isn’t exact science and isn’t meant to be. My writing is based on experience first and science second. If you want to nerd out, go check out articles based strictly on scientific studies.
Rule #1: Sleep 7-9 hours a night.
There is no arguing that sleep is important for growth. It’s why babies sleep 14+ hours a day, and sleep should be a priority to anyone looking to get big. Why? because when you sleep your body releases testosterone and growth hormone, and also cortisol is minimized. This in turn creates an anabolic environment helping muscle tissue grow and allowing recovery to happen. Don’t skimp on sleep.
Action step: Get on a sleep schedule, falling asleep and waking up at the same time every day. This will get your body in a natural circadian rhythm and maximize hormone release.
Rule #2: Just lift and run, baby.
Lifting weights has been shown to increase anabolic hormone levels. It’s also a great stress reliever.
Sprinting, running hills, and other HIIT style training is also intense enough to spike anabolic hormones. I regularly include sprints and hills in my workout programs.
Action step: Get in the weight room and push some weights around. Keep the reps under 12 and the rest periods short to maximize the hormone rush. Also make sure to get to the gym consistently and get on a program. Study up and learn your body. If you have no idea where to start, get a mentor or a trainer.
Rule #3: Minimize sugar intake.
Sugar spikes insulin, causing fat storage and blunting GH release. Excess fat also leads to increased insulin resistance, which leads to Diabetes, which kills Test levels even more.
Action step: Put the Donuts down. Avoid foods high in refined sugar, and reach for complex carb sources such as oatmeal, sweet potatoes, and other vegetables.
Rule #4: Stay lean.
Being lean leads to increased Test release, and also less estrogen. You also look better. Stay under 15% bodyfat at all costs.
I really like this article on getting and staying lean: Getting Lean and Staying Lean Is the Holy Grail – Anabolic Apex
Action step: If you’re over 15% bf, diet down. Priority #1 should be weight loss until you get lean enough, then look to add muscle by lifting heavy and eating right.
Rule #5: Spike Insulin post-workout.
This is the only time to spike your blood sugar, which in turn spikes insulin, which will drive nutrients into the muscle cell. If you do this any other time, you get fat storage. The only time to eat something sugary is after workouts.
Action step: Down some fast digesting carbs with your post-workout shake.
Rule #6: Eat a Test friendly diet.
This includes meat, vegetables, and fruit. Limit most grains and sugar as they are estrogenic. Also limit minty leaves, saw palmetto, tea, and soy. All of these foods can lower test, plus they suck. Don’t skip fat, diets with adequate fat are optimal for testosterone release. Get good carbs from oatmeal and sweet potatoes. Drink coffee.
Action step: Eat a balanced diet, cut out crap, and learn to be disciplined with your diet. If you need help, contact a nutritionist that specializes in sports nutrition.
Rule # 7: Lower stress levels.
Cortisol, which is secreted in times of high stress, lowers Testosterone and eats away at muscle.
Action step: Find tactics to de-stress. Meditation, deep breathing, aroma-therapy, sensory deprivation tanks, and nature walks or hikes are all good for stress relief. Read Gorilla Mindset to get in the right frame of mind and ease anxiety. I also take Red Monkey, and it absolutely kills stress, worry, and makes you feel all happy and stuff, just don’t abuse it.
Rule #8: Get laid.
Sex raises Test levels. Get some on the regular.
Action step: ↓ Read every “game” article on these sites ↓ and put some of the lessons into action.
Rule #9: Ditch plastic.
Plastic leaches Estrogen-like compounds into your beverages. Never heat a food in plastic! This causes the Estrogenic compounds to leach out faster.
Action step: Get glass or metal containers, choose cans with BPA-free liners.
Rule #10: No porn.
The jury is still out on this one, but no man should watch porn anyways. It’s a soul sapping, morally ambiguous form of entertainment. Watching other people have sex? weird. For more on this see:
10 Reasons to Stop Using Internet Porn – Bold & Determined
Action step: See rule #8.
Bonus: Supplement smartly.
Certain supplements can give you an edge when it comes to maximizing hormones. I’ve used Ashwagandha and Maca Root with good results, and I also drink Goji juice daily. Refined Mindset Regan swears by Shilajit. Amino acids such as Creatine, beta-Alanine, Citrulline, and Carnitine can help, as can Pine Pollen and Royal Jelly.
Will these magically raise Test levels like steroids? Of course not (nothing will, besides…. well steroids), but they can help with some deficiencies that could lead to your hormone levels not being as optimized as they could be.
Also, stay away from pro-hormones, unless you want breasts.
Note: consult your doctor or dietitian before taking a new supplement. If you are still having symptoms of low testosterone but you are doing everything on this list, talk to your doctor. You may need some form of hormone replacement therapy.
More good articles on the subject:
Ways to Naturally Increase Testosterone – Fix My Broken Mind
52 Ways to Increase Testosterone Levels Naturally – Anabolic Men