|somatotropin (Growth Hormone) 3D structure|
You’re staring in the mirror after weeks of going to the gym and shaking your head. After hours of working out, jogging on the treadmill, showing up to spin class, and sticking to a low-calorie diet, you’re disappointed with the results. You wonder if you should blame your lackluster results on genetics and throw in the towel.
But before giving up entirely, you begin to wonder if making strategic changes to your diet and giving your workout regimen a makeover can help your body produce more somatotropin, the muscle growth hormone you need to help you build a better body. That’s a smart move.
If you’re trying to build more lean muscle tissue, the American Council on Exercise recommends a holistic approach to diet, physical activity and lifestyle habits. Combine the right exercises and foods, and you’ll naturally boost somatotropic hormone (STH) levels to help you get the gains you’ve been looking for.
STH Begins in the Brain
The pituitary gland at the base of your brain helps regulate nearly every system in your body. It controls your nervous system and body temperature. It controls your heart beat, sleep cycle, appetite, and thirst. And it’s the STH that aids in growth and development in children and teens. But it’s also the active agent than can turn your hard work in the gym and a smart eating plan into a powerful muscle building ally.
For most people, the pituitary gland releases less STH as you age. It’s part of the reason that after age 40, the average adult begins losing about 1 percent of lean muscle mass per year. But you don’t have to settle for that. In a study published in the journal Sports Medicine, researchers found that resistance training can initiate an exercise-induced growth hormone response that causes the pituitary gland to release higher levels of STH than it normally would. As part of the muscle hypertrophy process, your body will use the elevated levels of STH to increase muscle growth, strength, and size, repair microtears in muscle fibers, and raise your metabolism.
But exercise isn’t the only way to stimulate your pituitary gland to release more STH to help you build muscle. In a study on protein intake a muscle growth in the Journal of Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics researchers discovered that muscle growth increased when participants ate higher amounts of animal protein. Pairing additional protein and amino acids necessary for muscle growth and repair from dietary sources with STH can also help you build more lean body tissue. It’s why bodybuilders and professional athletes follow a high-protein diet and consume on average 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight daily.
Now that you have a basic understanding of how to elevate STH levels for muscle growth, let’s take a closer look at the Top 5 Exercises and Top 5 Foods that can help you transform your body.
Top 5 Exercises to Boost STH
The lifts that will best boost STH levels and increase gains in muscle and strength are compound exercises that engage the largest muscle groups in the body. Lifting heavier weights helps too. When you workout like this, you cause more muscle damage during each workout, and it forces your body to release more STH to repair muscle fibers and tissue to help you get bigger and stronger. Based on a study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, initiating muscle hypertrophy from resistance training will help you increase muscle mass and size. Add these five exercises to your workout plan.
1. Squats. After a proper warm-up, load a barbell on a squat rack with enough weight that you can lift for 4 to 5 reps. Position the bar behind your neck, take a wide grip with your hands, and lift the bar off the rack. Standing upright, take a deep breath. Then keeping your back straight, slowly lower your body to a squatting position until your knees are bent at a 90-degree angle. Exhale as you return to the starting position. This classic move works your quads, glutes, and hamstrings. But it’s effectively a compound exercise that also engages your back and core. Set a goal to complete 3 to 5 sets of 5 repetitions to boost STH and stimulate muscle growth.
2. Deadlift. Pick an activity you enjoy to do a proper warm-up. Then load a barbell with enough weight to max out at about 4 to 5 reps. Squat down and grab the barbell with an overhand-underhand grip. Take a deep breath. Keeping your back straight, slowly rise up to standing position, holding the barbell close to your body. When you’re fully upright, exhale and slowly lower the weight back to the ground. Your legs and back will do the heavy lifting on this exercise, but it’s another compound exercise that will send a message to your brain to release more STH for muscle repair and growth. Fit in 3 to 5 sets as part of your workout.
3. Lunge. Body weight lunges and lunges using a light weight are a good way to warm up for this exercise. Choose a pair of dumbbells you can complete a maximum of 5 lunges with. Pick up the dumbbells and hold them at your sides. Breathe in. Step forward with one leg. Squat down until the forward-leg is bent at a 90-degree angle, and lower knee of the back leg to the ground bent at 90 degrees. Exhale, return to standing and repeat the exercise with the other leg. This compound exercise works your leg muscles, the largest muscle group in the body, in addition to secondary muscles that provide support and stability. Do 3 to 5 sets of 5 repetitions to boost STH and build more lean muscle mass.
4. Shoulder Press. Warm up with lightweight repetitions of the shoulder press, or use an elastic resistance band. You can use a barbell or dumbbell for this exercise. Pick a weight that you can only lift 4 to 5 times before failure. Take deep breath and lift the weight above your head until your arms are fully extended. Exhale and slowly lower the weight to your shoulders and repeat. Performing this exercise while standing requires more muscle fibers to complete the exercise. This is another highly effective compound exercise to build muscle that involves the shoulders and back. Work your way through 3 to 5 sets with 1 to 2 minutes or rest between sets.
5. Bench Press. Warm up with push-ups or lightweight repetitions of the bench press. You can use a barbell or dumbbells for this exercise, but going with dumbbells is the better option. Based on your one-rep-max load the bar or choose a set of dumbbells you can lift 4 to 5 times. Lie flat on a bench and begin with the weight above your head with arms fully extended. Breathe in and slowly lower the weight to your chest. Exhale and muscle the weights back to the starting position. This exercise targets your chest, but by using dumbbells, you’re engaging more muscles to help you execute the lift. And that’s exactly what you want when you’re trying to boost STH and improve muscle gains. You’ll get a serious muscle pump with 3 to 5 sets using heavy weights.
Top 5 Foods to Boost STH
Heavy lifting using compound exercises is a primary way to boost STH levels and increase gains in muscle strength, size and endurance. But your diet is just as important. Adding these give foods to your diet will help you boost STH levels and help you get the results you deserve for all your hard work in the gym, and in the kitchen. Eating high-quality protein is the best dietary way to boost STH levels. Aim to eat 1 gram of protein per day pound of body weight for best results. Make these 5 foods a regular part of your diet.
1. Eggs. Scrambled, poached, or sunny-side-up. In a Nutrition Today study, people who ate a couple of eggs per day, yolks included, burned more fat and gained more muscle. A single egg contains 6 grams of protein. Whip up two for breakfast and you’re already on your way to reaching your daily goal of 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight.
2. Almonds. Go for a couple handfuls a day, or about a total of 2 ounces. You can eat almonds raw, or add them to salads, yogurt, or cereal. Antioxidants in almonds help improve recovery time after a hard workout for people in a Journal of Nutrition study. You’ll get about 12 grams of protein in two handfuls of these healthy nuts.
3. Salmon. Grilled, steamed or baked. Salmon is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, and you’ll get a whopping 40 grams of protein in a half-fillet of salmon. In one study, Omega-3s and protein in salmon help preserve lean muscle tissue so you can keep on gaining, instead of getting stuck at a plateau, according to a study published by The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
4. Yogurt. You’ll get 6 to 8 grams of protein in a single serving of low-fat yogurt. And you can boost that by adding your favorite nuts. In a study in the International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, people who ate yogurt combined with resistance exercise showed improvements in body composition after eight weeks. You also get a brief insulin rush after digesting the added fruit in yogurt that will help protect your protein stores after a tough workout.
5. Beef. While the Harvard School of Public Health recommends that everyone shun red meat, if you’re serious about boosting STH and building muscle, it’s a must-have in your diet. Beef is the best source of creatine that your body needs to hammer out a tough workout. But it’s still smart to go with leaner cuts of meat lower in saturated fat like beef rounds or loins. You’ll get an estimated 20 grams of protein in a 3-ounce serving.
You can also increase STH levels to help you build muscle strength and endurance by getting at least 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night, and reducing stress to promote hormone production. Make these 10 tips part of your workout plan and diet, and you’ll be on your way to reaching your fitness goals.
Author: Jessy DonstonTags: exercise, fitness, food, Growth Hormone, health, hormone