There ARE natural things you can do to boost your Growth Hormone levels.
They say once you pass 30, it's all downhill from there, right?
In guys, Testosterone levels decrease, digestive enzyme levels fade, Growth Hormone levels drop...extra fat gets harder and harder to lose while building muscle gets tougher and tougher to accomplish.
This is known as somatopause, and it's an age-related decrease in hormones in men, similar to menopause in women.
You don't notice it so much at 30 but it creeps up on you, especially if you don't do anything to address it.
At 40 is when I noticed it.
It took me longer to recover from brutal workouts...my digestion was slower...I had to adjust my training to maintain and build muscle and strength.
I still train insanely heavy at times, but I'm smarter about it. I only train super heavy once or twice a week, while my other workouts are targeted to achieve a stronger Growth Hormone response.
Here are my top 6 tricks for boosting GH levels...
1. Train fasted
Lose the pre-workout meal, especially if that pre-workout meal contains carbs or simple sugars. GH and insulin don't get along and the insulin secretion you get from eating carbs is tanking your GH response from training. This makes it harder for your body to burn fat.
It doesn't have to be a super-long fast...about 2 to 3 hours after eating is enough, as long as you're not eating a ton of food that takes a long time to digest. The key is that it needs to be enough time for your blood sugar and insulin levels to stabilize.
2. Don't take in post-workout simple carbs
I did take in post-workout sugars for a LONG time...up until just a few years ago. In fact, I used to keep a big container of Tang drink mix around for just that purpose. I'd mix it in with some vanilla whey protein and that would be my post-workout drink.
The theory with this is that it helps replenish your glycogen faster. Yes, but if you're not an endurance athlete, the training you're doing in the gym isn't depleting your glycogen levels enough to need to worry about that anyway.
What the post-workout carbs do is immediately shut down the GH surge you get from training...and tank your testosterone levels (which are also be elevated from training).
And an inrease in those what are what you actually WANT from your training...who cares about glycogen if your testosterone is in the toilet.
These days, for me it's just straight protein...about 20 grams fairly soon after a workout. Nothing else. It made a big difference for me in terms of staying lean while building muscle mass.
I stopped with the post-workout carbs and never noticed any detriment to my training performance or recovery.
3. Train heavy sometimes but train light and very high rep other times
As I mentioned above, I still train insanely heavy (just yesterday, I did a sled pull with 700 lbs while simultaneously dumbbell crawling with a pair of 100 lb dumbbells)
I do something heavy like this once or maybe twice a week, max.
Then my next session is something with lighter weight, higher reps, and shorter rest periods. This promotes lactate (i.e. lactic acid) accumulation, which is a strong stimulator of Growth Hormone in the body.
GH helps with recovery from that insanity, in addition to fat loss. It's the perfect follow-up for keeping the nervous system from getting overloaded, too.
I've developed several Lactic Acid Training protocols over the years to take full advantage of this.
One example of this is my "Power Start Lactic Acid" protocol...
- take a weight you can bench press for 20 reps,
- hammer out the 20 reps (or more) fast to build up as much lactic acid as possible,
- rest 20 seconds (during which time you reduce the weight in half),
- then do another set of as many reps as you can do before lactic acid shuts you down.
- rest 20 seconds
- then do another set
- repeat for 8 total sets
This builds up incredible amounts of lactic acid and will give you a great GH boost. This can be done with just about any muscle group or exercise (though the "bigger" the exercise, the more GH you'll kick out).
4. Stay off your phone before bed
The blue light wavelenghths your phone screen emits will dampen melatonin release (it essentially tricks your brain into thinking it's still sunny out). Melatonin is critical for deep sleep and deep sleep is where your body REALLY gives you a dose of Growth Hormone).
5. Don't eat carbs right before bed
Remember how eating carbs before or after training stunts GH release? The same thing can happen if you eat carbs before bed. A bump in insulin will dampen the natural, powerful GH release that happens during sleep.
6. Don't do excessive cardio
Some is absolutely fine, but if you do too much it will cause your body to secrete cortisol, which also works against GH in your body. I would say doing cardio 3 times a week is about the most I would recommend.
I like to get my cardio under load...like with the heavy pull exercise I showed you above, or long-distance loaded carries. Even then, I only do that once or twice a week, at most. If I ever do "normal" cardio, like running, that will be just once a week.
There's MORE you can do for optimal GH release...
There are nutrients (herbs and amino acids) that can help directly improve your GH release during sleep as well as help you get deeper and better quality sleep.
I've taken a few single-ingredient supplements with these nutrients, but never really noticed that much of a difference.
As I was using it, I noticed that I was sleeping better and waking up feeling more rested. My recovery was improved and I was able to work in more heavy stuff than I was before. Definitely a very positive experience for me.
I'm not taking it right now as I wanted to "return to baseline" to see if I noticed a difference going back without it. And yep, I definitely do. I'll be getting back on it very soon here.
This is good stuff.
Side Note on Science:
One thing I really like about the company that makes this product (Blue Star Nutraceuticals) is their committment to the research.
In training, there is a certain amount of "art" to building the body. I don't always base what I do on verificable science (shocker, I know ;).
Not so with supplements. You NEED to have the science to back it up.
Blue Star has done a tremendous job of backing up their ingredients (and amounts of ingredients) with verifiable research. In fact, if you're interested, you can read the full scientific rationale in this whitepaper on GH peak here.
And on a side note to the side note, I actually know the owner of the company personally. He's a good guy who takes pride in putting out quality products that actually WORK. That's not always the case with supplement companies.
The Bottom Line
GH Peak can literally help you build muscle overnight...which sounds like hype until you remember that during sleep is when muscle growth really happens...crap sleep = crap gains.
And, honestly, if you're between 30 and 40, you CAN take this product, but you probably don't need it yet. There's a lot you can do to maximize your GH naturally (especially using those 6 tricks that I talked about above).
However, if you're 40, 50, or 60+, you're getting into the "need it" category.
You can still improve a LOT with the stuff I talked about, but if you really want that extra kick of GH (a.k.a. the "Fountain of Youth" hormone), I would seriously consider giving GH Peak a try.
It could make a big difference in your life, both in your overall health and in how much fat you can lose and how much muscle and strength you can build.
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