Have you ever noticed how some people seem to do all the right things, but don’t get the gains they want? They eat the right diet, they put in the time at the gym and they use the right amount of rest. Yet for some reason, they don’t make any progress and don’t lose the weight they want or build the muscle they’re after. Meanwhile, other people manage to live a completely indulgent lifestyle and follow none of the guidelines or recommendations and still get to enjoy huge gains in strength. For some people a couple of half-hearted sessions down the gym are enough, for others getting into decent shape (let alone bodybuilding shape) is a full-time job.
So what’s going on? Why do some people find it so much easier than others? The answer is of course hormones. It’s not so much about what you eat, or even how hard you train – rather it’s about the way your body responds to those things. Does it go into an anabolic state and start packing on muscle? Or does your metabolism increase and help you to shed every last ounce of fat?
The secret to effectively triggering the right body composition then is to think not just about the number of calories in and the number of muscle tears created: rather it’s to think about putting your body into a muscle-building zone. And the way you do that is by encouraging it to produce growth hormone.
Here are 20 things you can do to increase your growth hormone production naturally so that your body spends more time burning fats and creating muscle tissue. These 20 changes to your routine and diet will have far more profound effects than any manner of intensive training programs or calorie restriction…
The first and single most important way to boost growth hormone production and to see yourself build more muscle and recover better from workouts is to get a better quality and quantity of sleep. It’s when we sleep that our pituitary gland gets to work creating growth hormone, so without adequate sleep you can’t achieve decent levels of the hormone.
It’s no exaggeration to say that most people are probably sleep deprived for the majority of their lives – and this has hugely detrimental effects for their performance, their progress, and their overall health.
2 Taking Power Naps (Above 40 Minutes)
What if you have a bad night’s sleep though and can’t doze off? What can you do the next day to make up for it? One answer is to take a power nap which will refresh your brain and give you a second dosage of HGH.
Bear in mind that it’s during the REM stage of sleep that we produce growth hormone, so to benefit from these effects your sleep needs to be over 40 minutes. And seeing as waking up from deep sleep can leave you groggy, it’s recommended that you set the timer for 90 minutes when you should be ending a sleep cycle.
3 Increase Melatonin
An alternative method to increase HGH through sleep is to just try and improve the anabolic properties of your sleep and the overall quantity you’re getting. To do this you can take measures to increase your melatonin levels before you hit the hay.
The best way to do that? Make sure your room is completely dark – your brain takes this as a signal to produce the sleep hormone and start prepping you for bed. Avoid bright computer screens as they can confuse your internal bodyclock.
Consider using melatonin supplements if you struggle to slip off on your own and try taking a teaspoon of honey straight before bed to provide your brain with the glucose it needs through the night to sleep optimally.
4 Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting is used by many as a means of losing weight, but as it happens it might be useful for bodybuilders for other reasons too. That’s because intermittent fasting can deplete blood-sugar levels to the point where it needs to start looking at the fat stores to find it. And what does the body use for burning fat? Growth hormone among other things!
5 HIIT Running
HIIT is ‘High-Intensity Interval Training’ and is a form of exercise that involves exerting yourself as much as possible for a minute or two, before then going at it a little slower for a brief period while you recover.
HIIT running is a very effective way to burn fat, but it’s also a great way to stimulate the production of growth hormone. Why’s that? Because when you run fast enough you put the body into an ‘anaerobic state’ where you need energy faster than you can get it from your fat stores. This then forces you to deplete your blood sugar levels, and we’ve already seen how this then leads to the production of growth hormone!
6 Taking Hot Showers
A hot shower is another surprising way to stimulate your body to produce growth hormone and is ideal for using just before bed. If you take a hot shower this will also help with the production of melatonin while relaxing your muscles which will also improve the quality of your rest during the night.
On the other hand taking a very cold shower can stimulate the production of testosterone. The ideal scenario? Cold showers in the morning (if you can face it), hot last thing at night.
7 Losing Weight
As you pack on the pounds your body will start to produce less growth hormone as well as less testosterone – while meanwhile producing more cortisol which is the stress hormone that also leads to extra weight gain.
This puts you in something of a catch 22 as it essentially means that when you’re overweight, your body will stop producing the chemicals you need to lose that weight. This means that the slimmer and stronger you get, the more easy you will find it to continue getting slimmer and stronger. Likewise the bigger you get, the slower your progress will be in changing your shape. Sometimes life isn’t fair…
The answer to this problem is to focus on Cardio and weight loss and then simply to keep at it even if you don’t see differences right away. Eventually, your body chemistry will change and you’ll start seeing much more rapid change. That, and use the rest of these tips to give yourself the edge!
8 Laughter (According to some studies!)
According to some studies, laughing heartily can actually increase your production of growth hormone! Now most people aren’t going to schedule themselves in 20 minutes of heavy laughing after their next workout, but it does demonstrate the important psychological component of boosting the right hormones.
Being happy, carefree and mentally disciplined can all indirectly lead to higher production of HGH in your body.
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9 Strength Training…
CV will boost growth hormone production but nothing creates chemical changes in the body quite the way that weightlifting and resistance training does. If you’re a bodybuilder then you are already doing one of the very best things you can do in order to boost your growth hormone.
10 …Especially Using Compound Movements
As with increasing testosterone production, you will see greater increases in growth hormone if you create more microtears in your muscle by working the most muscle groups at once.
That means using compound movements like the bench press and squats – and exercises that target the legs are even more effective.
11 Occlusion Training (Maybe!)
Some bodybuilders use a technique called ‘occlusion training’, also known as ‘tourniquet training’ in order to try and stimulate more localized GH production. This works by tying some type of material around the muscle group being trained in order to focus on it more while trapping the blood in that part of the body.
The hope is that this will trigger more growth hormone production in that area while also getting a better ‘pump’ on the muscle. Other athletes, however, recommend against this strategy and suggest that it could cause injury. Best to make your own mind up on this one then!
12 Avoiding ‘Fast’ Carbs
Fast carbs are carbs that taste sugary such as chocolates and cake. These are bad news because they cause a spike in blood sugar and trigger an insulin response – which can limit your growth hormone production. Insulin not only inhibits HGH and testosterone production but it also the hormone that is responsible for storing fat in your body.
13 Eating More Protein…
On the other hand, you should try to get more protein in your diet which will also once again boost your testosterone levels.
When our body receives protein (amino acids) it can use these to build muscle. In order to do that though it needs growth hormone and testosterone. This also increases the production of IGF1 – insulin-like growth factor which also has anabolic effects.
14 …Especially if it’s High in Glutamine, L-Leucine, and L-Arginine
Protein is made of amino acids which are the building blocks of carbon-based life forms.
In order for our body’s to repair and rebuild our tissue – muscle mass included – they need amino acids. But on top of this, various amino acids also serve specific functions within the body.
Glutamine, L-leucine, and L-arginine have all been implicated in growth hormone production, so getting more of these amino acids in your diet through protein or supplementation is highly advisable.
15 Getting Your Vitamin D
Ever noticed that you sleep better after spending a day outdoors? One of the reasons for this is that being outside will increase your production of vitamin D, which in turn improves your sleep, your bone strength and you guessed it: your growth hormone production.
Either get outdoors or start supplementing with this vitamin.
16 Using Creatine
Creatine is a substance produced in the body and that many bodybuilders and athletes take as a supplement.
This is mainly down to creatine’s capacity for improving energy usage when we train, but it also has a number of other benefits – including increased growth hormone production.
17 Carb Back Loading (Maybe!)
Carb backloading is a diet strategy that involves eating carbs only after workouts and before going to sleep. The idea is to this way optimize your usage of insulin and carbs in order to trigger anabolic benefits such as increased growth hormone production.
Insulin lowers both testosterone and HGH production but this slowdown is quite temporary. Moreover, Insulin is a hormone that is highly anabolic. Thus, after some time when your testosterone and HGH production gets back to normal, your body gets into a highly anabolic state which is great for building muscle.
Some fitness experts swear by this strategy, whereas others are less enamored with it. Again, the best strategy for you is simply to try it yourself and measure your results.
18 Hitting the Sauna
Hot showers trigger growth hormone production, but so too do hot saunas, hot steam rooms, and hot spa tubs – your body doesn’t care what makes it warmer as long as it happens one way or another!
Saunas have a number of impressive health benefits, and they’re pretty relaxing too.
As you may have noticed, many things that relax you also stimulate the production of growth hormone putting your body into ‘repair and rebuild’ mode.
Another way to put yourself in this state then is to try meditating which also has a number of other benefits. When combined with power napping, it may even help you to reach REM sleep faster in order to see enhanced hormone production while you snooze.
As a way of combating stress, meditation can also help to reduce cortisol and thus elevate testosterone. It might not seem like the obvious accompaniment to lifting heavy weights, but in fact, it might be precisely that.
One of the very best ways to boost growth hormone of all is to invest in some kind of growth hormone supplement. These contain many of the amino acids, minerals, and vitamins that stimulate extra growth hormone production along with other substances to aid anabolism and improve sleep.
This way you can get many of the benefits from these lifestyle and diet changes by simply adding one pill to your routine for maximum results. Make sure you choose your supplement brand carefully though – they are not all made equal.
So there you have it: twenty changes you can make today that will start boosting your growth hormone production immediately and helping you to see increased muscle growth and fat burning. Forget calorie counting and start making changes to your body that will make a real difference!