Most regulars at the gym heard of growth hormone and testosterone at least 100 times as something that can promote muscle development and recovery.
However, how do these hormones affect our bodies and do they really lead to increase in muscle growth?
Growth hormone is released from the anterior pituitary gland and is responsible for the growth in almost all tissues in the body, including muscle fibers, bones as well as cartilage cells. This hormone stimulates cell growth and replication by accelerating the cell growth rate, which tend to further enhance growth by reducing the breakdown of protein.
Growth Hormone promotes cell growth by increasing the mobilization of fat free acids from the fat tissue, which in turn are used as one major bodily energy fuels. This is achieved by increasing the deposition of glycogen (carbohydrate form of energy reserves) in the cells and decreases the utilization of glucose throughout the body. This allows for a larger use of fat as a major source of energy, while at the same time reduces the need for the protein and carbohydrates to be used as one of major fuels, allowing muscle to use this energy. For the muscle to grow there must be an increase in the number of amino acids that are transported into the cells. Growth hormone promotes the transport of these essential amino acids, which in turn increase the number of amino acids in the cell and the protein production, leading to an increase in the stimulation of muscle development.
Sleep is one of the most effective natural ways of increasing levels of growth hormone. Studies have shown that growth hormone peaks approximately two hours into the deep sleep and this tend to be the highest level in the body during the day. It is believed that during the sleep our body undergoes tissue repair that is been sustained during the day, and a s a result requires higher levels of the growth hormone.
Furthermore, a great number of studies have shown that levels of growth hormone tend to increase during intense physical activity, such as resistance training, swimming and short to middle distance running. In order to get the best growth hormone response, try to have a workout that is high in intensity, short duration and with short rest intervals.
Females appear to demonstrate similar levels of growth hormones but there are times within the menstrual cycle where the growth hormone levels are increased above normal. However, the great hormonal difference between males and females is in testosterone levels.
Testosterone is a steroid hormone that is release from the testes and is essential in the development of the male secondary sex characteristics and the maturation as well as growth of the male skeletal system. This hormone stimulates protein synthesis (creation of protein), muscle growth, hair growth and can lead to an increase in the aggressive behavior. Even though testosterone is produced throughout the male’s life, the production significantly decreases after the age of 40.
The presence of testosterone in the body can be influenced by the type of resistance training , where by exercises that stimulate large muscle groups like squats and dead lifts with heavy weights for low repletion’s, seem to be the most effective in increasing levels of testosterone.