I'm sure you know that two of the MOST important hormones for both burning body fat and also building lean muscle are growth hormone (GH) and testosterone (T)... and there are certain "tricks" that you can use during exercise to maximize production in your body.
And keep in mind that GH is also called the "youth hormone", so there are benefits besides just fat loss and lean muscle development.
Now let me clarify, this topic might seem to be more relevant to men (especially when it comes to Testosterone), but it's also important to the ladies for getting maximum results from training...
For the ladies reading this...don't worry about exercise-induced small increases in these hormones...the amount of T in the female body is so small compared to men that minor increases won't lead to any "masculinization" (I might have just made that word up)... instead it just helps get a leaner and more shapely body.
Ok, this topic could be long-winded, but I'm going to give just a couple really quick tips today for maximizing Growth Hormone and Testosterone response from exercise...
From a lot of the research I've done, there seems to be a couple distinct types of training that can either help increase Testosterone or help increase Growth Hormone, and they are totally different training methods.
In order to reduce your body fat as much as possible, as well as build lean muscle the easiest, you need to try to maximize BOTH!
First, for exercise-induced Testosterone increases...
From a lot of the various research I've read, one of the best methods to increase T is to do at least some portion of your training in very low rep ranges and very heavy weight.
This means training in the 2-5 rep range, with such heavy weights that you can't physically do more reps than that range. Also, this only works with the biggest multi-joint exercises such as barbell squats, deadlifts, bench press and weighted pullups. No silly side lateral raises or tricep extensions when you're trying to get a Testosterone response!
An example of this type of structure would be 5 sets of 3 reps on the barbell deadlift, squat, or bench. Alternating sets of deadlifts and bench press (or squats alternated with weighted pullups) separated by at least 2 minutes of rest between sets works well to accomplish this super heavy lifting style and subsequent T increase.
It's basically the aspect of challenging your body with super heavy weights and low rep ranges, with 2-3 minutes rest between sets that helps to maximize T production.
From what I've observed at most gyms, almost NOBODY trains in this rep range (most people seem to always train in the 8-12 or higher rep ranges), so there are a TON of people that could see Testosterone improvements by incorporating this into their training at least once or twice a week.
Keep in mind that this super heavy style of training is ONLY for advanced trainees that have years of training experience with weights.
Now, let's talk about exercise induced Growth Hormone increases...
From the research I've read on this hormone, it appears that more explosive styles of training, and also higher rep training with shorter rest periods helps to increase GH response.
Wind sprints are one of the top exercises for inducing a GH increase. I like to do these as 60 to 100 yard all-out sprints across a local soccer field or football field. Generally, I'll do about 8-12 total sprints with about 60 seconds rest time in between each one for a good 20 minute workout. If you haven't done sprints in a long time or are out of shape, it's a good idea to not go to "all-out" intensity for the first couple weeks or you'll risk injury. Also, just doing 3-4 sprints for the first couple of sprint workouts is a good idea to reduce injury risk.
Also, hill sprints are an exceptional exercise for GH response. I like to sprint as fast and as hard as possible up a 30 yard hill and then walk down... and then keep repeating until I've done at least 10-20 hill sprints. Sometimes I'll mix in pushups in between hill sprints to maximize the full body effect.
As for weight training, from the research I've read, GH increase comes best from higher rep ranges with short rest periods between sets. This means that supersets in the 8-15 rep range per exercise with no rest between might work well. The weight still needs to be heavy enough to challenge your muscles close to failure at those rep ranges.
Another type of training that seems to increase GH is more "explosive" types of exercises such as squat jumps, lunge jumps, or something like barbell power cleans or barbell clean and press. Any exercise that works large muscle groups explosively or almost the entire body at once in an explosive fashion seems to stimulate GH (hence why I chose barbell clean and press as one of the best).
I also think double kettlebell snatches are one of the most intense exercises ever invented and probably have a huge effect on growth hormone due to their explosive and intense nature.
So with all of this said, it's important to keep in mind that for the best results with maximizing both T and GH, you want to incorporate BOTH of these styles of training.
One way to do this is to have 1 or 2 workouts per week that are designated low-rep "strength" days where you work those big multi joint lifts in low rep ranges. And then on another 1-2 days per week you work on the explosive exercises, higher rep ranges and short rest periods, and/or the wind sprints or hill sprints.
And lastly, always remember to consciously think in your mind about how the exercises that you're doing are actually increasing your fat burning and muscle building hormones, making you feel younger, etc, etc... I've talked in several other articles about actual PROOF of how using the power of conscious thought in your mind can help bring about those changes in your body (aka placebo effect).
I hope you enjoyed this article... I really think if you incorporate these tips into your workout schedule, you can drastically improve your hormonal response to exercise and therefore see faster fat burning and muscle building effects! If you're interested in an herbal method that's been shown to increase your T levels, check out these 6 natural ingredients that can boost your Testosterone levels.
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