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Hormones and how they relate to bodybuilding

Surprised that Hormones is at the top of the articles list? Yes it is THAT important, bodybuilding is all about changing your hormones so you build muscles and lose fat more efficiently. This chapter is important to learn, cause changing the body is all about hormones. Gaining muscle and losing fat is all done by hormones, bodybuilders should have a basic understanding of the endocrine system (hormonal system) of the human body.

There are two categories of hormones, catabolic and anabolic. Anabolic means building up the body, Catabolic means breaking down the body. In bodybuilding language, anabolic means building up muscle, catabolic means losing muscle.

Pituitary gland - Releases Growth hormone, ACTH, TSH, FSH, LH, prolactin, ADH, oxytocin.

Growth hormone is so important I made an entire article dedicated to it, check it out for more information on it.

Thyroid glands - Thyroxines, and calcitonin. The thyroid gland is responsible for producing hormones that control your metabolic rate and how fast you metabolize food.  Knowing how to control these hormones can work to your advantage to lose fat.

The thyroid hormones:

TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) This is technically a Pituitary gland hormone.
T4 (2 x diiodotyrosine)
T3 (triiodothyronine)
T2 (diiodothyronine)

It all starts with TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) that is secreted from the Pituitary gland, this hormone then travels through the blood stream and when it hits the thyroid gland, it tells the thyroid gland to produce T4. T4 on its own can't do much, its kind of like the hormone that stays in the freezer until your thyroid needs some of it, when it does, it takes some T4 "heats it up" and turns it into T3. T3 is the most powerful thyroid hormone that the body uses for metabolic purposes. It generally has a 5:3 fat to muscle loss ratio when losing weight. So not only will it eat away at your fat, it will cannibalize your muscle too. Also, from T3 your thyroid can take that and turn it into T2 which is less powerful but still important to understand cause it has a 5:1 fat to muscle loss ratio. This means T2 is better for fat loss since it preserves muscle better than T3. And again from T2, it can take some of that and make T1 which is less powerful of all of them and is used for some biological processes.

It's also very important to understand that when you take in exogenesis thyroid hormones (hormone drugs) you will suppress your natural production of TSH (this is very bad), when you stop taking outside thyroid drugs, it will take a while for your TSH to rise naturally again. Different exogenesis outside thyroid hormones suppress TSH more or less depending how high up on the thyroid hormone list of the thyroid hormone your taking. So if your literally taking exogenesis TSH, say goodbye to your natural production of TSH severely. But if your taking T2 it will not suppress TSH hardly little at all, but it still will though, just not as much. Taking T3 will suppress it more than T2 etc.. taking in T4 will suppress it more than T3. Sometimes doctors will prescribe T4 hormones to obese people, which will shut down their natural production of TSH, the best method to choose is go natural but diet and exercise!!! It's important to realize that hormones are the most powerful natural forces in your body, intense exercise (especially cardio), will GREATLY enhance the fat burning effects of an obese person by increasing the production of TSH, which will make T4, T3 etc...

This is the secret hormone that will shred all the fat off of your body, and it's VERY important to know how to increase the amount of hormones that this gland produces, this website will teach you all of this. But to quickly tell you how to produce tons of thyroid hormones, eat a lot of food frequently all through out the day, and do proper exercise, I'll go into more detail later.

Although thyroid hormones are necessary for promoting normal developmental growth, don't confuse this with the muscle growth that occurs with resistance exercise. In addition, thyroid hormones are involved in dozens of biological processes including:

  • Increased oxygen consumption (metabolic rate)
  • Increased thermogenesis (heat production)
  • Increased number of beta adrenergic receptors in the heart, skeletal muscle, adipose tissues, and lymphocytes (these receptors bind fat mobilizing hormones)
  • Increased sensitivity to catecholamines (fat mobilizing, fight or flight hormones)
  • Increased number of red blood cells and increased oxygen delivery
  • Increased lypolysis (fat burning)
  • Increased liver glycogen breakdown
  • Increased liver glucose production
  • Increased intestinal glucose absorption
  • Increased protein turnover
  • Decreased cholesterol levels

From looking over this list, it appears that thyroid hormones do some pretty exciting things in the body, all of which can be extremely beneficial to bodybuilders. But before I move on, I want to talk about some of the other effects of thyroid hormones that may not be so ideal for bodybuilders. You won't have to worry about any of these if you do the right things discussed in the various articles on this website.

  • Increased heart rate and heart contractility
  • Increased free radical production (due to decreased Superoxide Dismutase concentrations)
  • Increased GI motility
  • Increased bone turnover (and potentially bone loss or high levels of calcium in the blood)
  • Increased cortisol levels
  • Increased sex hormone binding globulin

Other hormones

Parathyroid glands - Parathroid hormone.  The gland behind the thyroid gland. It is responsible for calcium regulation as well as secreting a hormone that regulates calcium and phosphorus metabolism.

Pancreas - insulin and glucagon. A glandular organ located in the abdomen. It makes pancreatic juices, which contain enzymes that aid in digestion.  The pancreas is surrounded by the stomach, intestines, and other organs. This is the gland responsible for insulin production. Insulin is a hormone secreted by the pancreas that helps regulate carbohydrate metabolism, It promotes the use of glucose and regulates the amount of sugar in the blood. Insulin drives incoming nutrients into cells for storage. Excess insulin is the primary pillar of aging, so make sure you don't over eat carbs on a daily basis. Glucagon is a hormone secreted by the pancreas; stimulates increases in blood sugar levels in the blood (thus opposing the action of insulin). It breaks down stored glycogen into glucose, raising blood sugar levels.

Testes - produces testosterone. Testosterone (released a LOT more in men) builds massive muscles, and it's important to maximize this hormone when it comes to building muscle mass. This website well teach you how to do this naturally without external hormonal means.

Testosterone tends to raise and lower as days, weeks, and months go by. It may be low one day but very high another day. As far as how to raise it naturally, you need to train very intensely.

And how to raise test levels through diet, monounsaturated fat raises testoseterone levels, and saturated fat also kind of does too, but monounsaturated fat is the best way to raise it through diet, a good rich source of this is extra virgin olive oil.

I've also read lately that partially hydrogenated oils (trans fatty acids) can lower test levels. Also a very low fat diet (under like 25 grams a day), can really lower test levels, so make sure your eating enough fat in your diet, and that most of it is from monounsaturated fat.

Too many carbs can lower it. Make sure when you go to sleep for the day, that you are on a carb depleted stomach, this raises testosterone when your sleeping. Then when you wake up, eat plenty of carbs, this stops catabolism from an over night fast and raises test.

Ovaries (female only) - produces estrogen, progesterone (and testosterone). Female sex hormones estrogen and progesterone is what gives females their sexy shape, it develops bigger breasts, wider hips, narrower waists, keeps them from getting too fat. Some people think males have an easier time losing fat and staying in shape than females, well this isn't true, estrogen and progesterone is a powerful force that keeps females in shape, they won't be able to gain as much muscle as men cause they produce less testosterone, but as far as bodyfat is concerned they can have low body fat levels but not extremely low (like men). The reason why older women tend start blimping out once they get in the upper 40s, lower 50s is because they start losing these two hormones (estrogen and progesterone).

More information on hormones

During exercise, depending on how much effort intensity you put into it, you will release GH during it, also keep in mind, in men especially testosterone rises as GH rises, so, generally releasing GH releases other anabolic hormones as well at the same time, also, when you get done working out, your in a catabolic state, after about 5 - 15 hours after the workout, considering that your resting and eating then, your body goes into a restorative period, which means anabolic hormones rise substantially and catabolic hormones such as cortisol are put to rest. This rise overbalances the catabolic period you had. Females rely more on GH, and will release more of it than men during and after exercising. Men rely on testosterone to build muscle and lose fat, while females rely on estrogen and progesterone to keep their body's in shape, it keeps them from getting too fat, and it keeps them looking sexy for the opposite sex. When females go through menopause they lose their sex hormones (estrogen and progesterone), and it is then harder to stay or get in shape, this usually occurs around age 45 - 50. Females then rely mainly on GH to keep them in shape for the rest of their lives.

When your growing up, you need plenty of GH to go through puberty and for overall growth, as you get older, you don't need as much of it any more, only when your body needs it, such as intense physical activates and when your sleeping. What's interesting is your glands are physically capable of releasing the same amount of hormones at age 130 than at age 16. Your body simply wont do it cause it does not have a good enough reason to.

Just thinking about things changes hormone levels, depending on what your thinking about.

The phrase: "use it or lose it" applies to all parts of your endocrine system, for example, you broke your arm, and its in a cast, when you take it off 3 months later, your bicep muscles are really small, simply cause you haven't used them. now here's the scary part, you don't use yourself, you'll lose it! People who are depressed and/or feel they have no purpose in life, will release catabolic hormones which speeds the aging process up, so you die quicker, your body is doing you a favor. But when you do use yourself, no matter what age you are, your body will produce anabolic hormones and put catabolic hormones to rest which keeps you alive as best as possible, and to help you live your life easier. All muscle growth (no matter what age you are) depends on growth hormone. All your bones (even each individual teeth (except for baby teeth), skin, muscles, and organs (including your adipose tissue, which is all your fat on your body) are hooked up to your endocrine system, any change in any of them depends on your endocrine system (hormonal system) to make the change.

Another point I'm trying to make is that your body is always trying to break down everything (bones, muscles, organs, everything), the only way to build them up is to use them. Some people who lose bones later in life, or that have Osteoporosis, they all think calcium is the answer, WRONG, is that you just have to use them, and put stress on them and they will build right up (considering that you get at least some drops calcium in you). The more you show yourself that your using certain areas of your body to perform specific activities (also known as intensity in bodybuilding terms), then the more your body will react to this stress by drastically changing the shape of your body, and this is all done by hormones.






General Info Articles
How to Get In Shape & Gain Weight as a Bikini Competitor
Common Bodybuilding Myths
Motivational tips
How to get 6 Pack Abs
Beginner Body building Guide
How to do Natural Cutting and Bulking Phases
Common Misconceptions In Bodybuilding

Diet Advice
General Bodybuilding Diet Info
Zig-Zag Calorie Diet
Ketogenic Diet for Rapid Fat Loss
Great Tasting Bodybuilding Recipes

Workout Info and Routines
Weight Workout Routines and Info
The Importance of Deadlifts
Dumbbells vs. Barbells - Which is Better?
How to Increase Your Bench Press
Is a Military Press the same as a "behind the neck shoulder press"?
How to Build Lower Abs
Keys to Lower Abdominal Definition

Cardiovascular Info
Understanding What Cardio Does for Bodybuilders
Track workouts
Phases of Sprinting
Track Competition Race Preparation

What Supplements are Important for Bodybuilders

Improve Bodybuilding With Health And Lifestyle
Is this site for Women?
Hormones And Bodybuilding
The Importance of Growth Hormone
Lifestyle Factors that Effect Bodybuilding



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