Muscle growth, testosterone, HGH, and increased metabolism all rely on your ability to force yourself into working at levels that you have never worked at and force your body into creating the adaptations to promote that growth.
Why do muscles grow?
3 Different types of muscle
a. skeletal – Voluntary muscles – Support the movement of our frame, make up our general aesthetic
b. smooth – involuntary muscles located in the walls of visceral organs (internal organs)
c. cardiac – involuntary muscles located in the wall of the heart
In the majority of workouts, we are concerned with skeletal muscles as these are the ones that we have control of. Smooth and cardiac muscles do benefit from exercise, however, there is no metric we can really use to monitor the growth of these. The performance increases as a result of smooth and cardiac muscles are indirectly related to our conscious control over life choices, diet and exercise.
After you workout, your body repairs or replaces damaged muscle fibers through a cellular process where it fuses muscle fibers together to form new muscle protein strands or myofibrils. These repaired myofibrils increase in thickness and number to create muscle hypertrophy (growth).1 Muscle growth occurs whenever the rate of muscle protein synthesis is greater than the rate of muscle protein breakdown. This adaption, however, does not happen while you actually lift the weights. Instead, it occurs while you rest.
Muscle size does not necessarily represent muscle performance. For example, a athlete with large muscle bellies in his / her legs, may not necessarily lead to improved speed or performance on the bike versus someone with smaller / skinnier legs. This is because trained muscles have an improved ability to respond to neural commands and we have the ability to consciously command them in a more efficient manner through repetitive motion (Motor unit recruitment).
Muscle growth may not be within our conscious control. While we might train often, muscle growth is our bodies ability to activate the satellite cells. Satellite cells are unprogrammed cells that, when activated, add nuclei to muscle cells helping to grow the muscle.
Muscles grow utilizing 3 mechanisms
1. Muscle tension
2. Muscle damage
3. Metabolic stress – Metabolic stress causes cell swelling around the muscle, which helps to contribute to muscle growth without necessarily increasing the size of the muscle cells.
We’ll go into more detail later
Why do we want bigger muscles?
Larger muscularity leads to many different health benefits including:
• Nicer aesthetics
• Better performance
• Improved sexual performance
• Higher metabolism
• Better hormonal balance
• Stronger skeletal system
• Stronger heart
• Improved vascularity
• Lower risk of diabetes
• More daily energy
• Combating sarcopenia – age related muscle degeneration.
What is testosterone?
Testosterone produced in the ovaries – women
Testosterone produced in the testicles and adrenal glands – men
1. Free Testosterone
2. SHGB Bound Testosterone
3. Albumin Bound Testosterone
1. Free testosterone (free T index)
o not bound by protein
o 2-3% of total testosterone in the body
o free to enter cells and perform the functions that we striving for when exercising:
o improved muscle performance
o improved sex drive
o improved mental focus
o weight loss
2. SHGB Testosterone – 40-50% – sex hormone binding globulin
o produced in the liver
o inert – performs no benefit to muscle growth or mood
3 Albumin Bound Testosterone
o Similar to SHGB. Albium is a protein that binds to free testosterone making it inert
What is HGH?
o HGH a natural hormone produced in the brain (anterior pituitary gland)
o Encourages cell growth
o Encourages muscle growth
o Increases calcium retention – bone growth
o Stimulates internal organ growth (heart and lung capacity)
o Improves the immune system
What benefits does testosterone have?
• increases bone density
• improve vitality / energy
• weight loss
• improves mental focus
What benefits does HGH have?
HGH – increases metabolism, increases muscularity and bone growth.
What is metabolism (resting vs active)?
Our bodies metabolism is defined by its efficiency to breakdown and utilize the food in our system .
• Catabolism – the breakdown of molecules to obtain energy
• Anabolism – the synthesis of all compounds needed by the cells
Our metabolism is regulated through hormonal processes and our physical activities as well as diet and nutrition.
Resting Metabolic Rate – RMR – During rest, how many calories from sugar do you burn? Since we sleep 8 hours a day and might be sedentary during a good portion of the day, this is a critical measurement that defines our ability to burn sugars during our rest so we don’t store the surplus as fat.
The most common cause of a slower metabolism in America today is lack of exercise.
Active metabolic rate – AMR – During activity, how many calories do you burn? Where do those calories come from? When active, we want to know if your body is burning blood glucose and / or fat. For weight loss, we are concerned with fat. Conditioned athletes will burn a higher percentage of fats when exercising at higher intensities. People who are more sedentary will burn a higher percentage of blood glucose (sugar) during exercise. Our goal, to lose weight, is to improve efficiency, allow our body to adapt to more difficult workouts, and improve our AMR.
Since our AMR is highly dependent upon hormonal balances, we need to exercise at intensities that encourage adaptations to regulate free testosterone and GH .
What do we need to do to promote muscle growth, increased testosterone levels and higher metabolism?
How do we?
• Muscle tension
• Muscle damage
• Metabolic stress – Metabolic stress causes cell swelling around the muscle, which helps to contribute to muscle growth without necessarily increasing the size of the muscle cells.
Increase Free Testosterone
• Increase muscle growth
• Improve your diet: Eat more protein / fats / drink less
• Diet supplements : ginsing, Zn, Mg, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C
• Have more sex
Increase HGH naturally
• Increase muscle growth: High intensity exercise / intervals
• lose weight / decrease fat
• Reduce sugars
• No midnight snacks
• Sleep more
• Dietary supplements – creatine, glutamine, melatonin, recovery foods