Everyone wants to know if their pre-contest diet is good, so you’ve probably heard all the questions and the uniform answer that all bodybuilders provide to each other – no carbohydrates. Of course, this can work – eating low carbs or throwing them out of your diet completely will provide your body with fewer calories, which is good, but it also has other positive effects.
One of these is the control of insulin, which has the potential to store fat in your body. Even though it regulates your calories and your hormones, that doesn’t mean that this approach is correct! If you want to get ripped, you need those two things, but you need to tune your entire metabolism to burn as much body fat as possible in order to get to your goals before that contest. Here are the six main hormones you should learn how to manipulate.
Insulin helps your body store fat, but it also helps it make an anabolic environment inside it, that then provides muscle growth. With insulin, you want to keep it as low as possible when resting and high after working out. This is because low insulin assists your body in burning fat as long as the calories are controlled, but raised levels of insulin when you work out, create anabolism and prevent muscle loss by growing more muscle. To achieve this, make sure your carbohydrate intake is low most of the time – eat more low-carb veggies and lean protein such as fowl, fish, lean beef, egg whites and protein powder. You need carbohydrates to enter your body at the same time as protein, but there is a rule to consuming them – 0.2 grams of carbs per pound of bodyweight and right before working out.
Also, consume 0.3 grams of carbs per pound of bodyweight right afterwards. If you weigh in at 250 pounds, that would be 50 grams of carbs before and 75 grams after working out. This will create an anabolic process in your body at the most crucial and most effective times – while working out and while resting.
This hormone helps you be bigger and stronger, so you want your testosterone levels high at all times. When you diet, your testosterone levels drop and you want to avoid that due to the downgrade of your metabolic rate brought by lower testosterone. This is because of the human growth hormone which also declines whenever testosterone does, and the human growth hormone is what burns fat in your body.
I recommend one of the following ways to boost your testosterone while on a diet – boost your dietary fat intake two days of the week and make beef your primary protein source, together with egg yolks and some nuts. Your carbs need to be kept on a tight leash, but also your fats need to be controlled. Don’t overdo it though – if you don’t eat fat for a long period of time, your testosterone levels drop. Eat some more fat every few days to keep your body guessing and your testosterone high.
Also, you can boost your carbohydrates consumption once a week to 3 grams for every pound of bodyweight and you will see changes to your testosterone levels. Carbohydrates boost insulin and the more insulin you have, the less globulin there is. Globulin is a sex hormone-binding hormone which clings to your testosterone and makes it difficult for it to transport due to the globulin’s interference. When you boost your insulin levels, the globulin is removed from testosterone, which enables the latter to get to where it needs to go, including your muscles. When you stimulate growth, your metabolism becomes faster and your physique leaner.
3. Growth Hormone
The growth hormone helps you burn fat and keep your muscles – and you want a lot of it because you need to save your muscles while on a diet because it’s the most important part of maintaining your metabolic rate. Also, more growth hormone will quicken your fat loss.
Increase growth hormone quantities in your body with supplements, sleep and training, all of which have special effects. You may try 5-6 grams of arginine pre-training to raise your growth hormone levels as well as boost the blood flow to your muscles. If you take 200-400 milligrams of mucuna pruriens before working out, that will also help. Mucuna pruriens comes from velvet beans and it has a lot of L-dopa, which is an amino acid derivative with a high growth hormone production potential. This is a process, so the 5-6 grams of arginine and 200-400 milligrams of mucuna pruriens will also come in handy about an hour before going to bed.
Cortisol helps you knock loose and eviscerate fat, but you need to control its quantity because of its muscle burning qualities which can result in a slowed metabolism. Your cortisol levels need to be controlled most of the time, without getting out of hand. This is because cortisol which stays in one place for a longer period of time (excess cortisol) will burn your muscles instead of your fat. Make sure it’s never high for a longer period of time to save muscle.
The insulin you get from after a workout will usually control your cortisol levels, but in order for it to be controlled, pick two dieting days every week whenever you have a low amount of carbs and eat a load of fast-digesting carbs instead. These are your typical russet potatoes and white rice, but also it should be noted that Gatorade, cookies, sugarcoated rice cakes, cold cereal and fat-free Pop Tarts give insulin a bigger spike than it gets from other carbohydrates. This will make your insulin higher than with a lot of other carbohydrates, but it will also keep your cortisol down which will keep your muscle safe and your metabolism rising. If supplements are your thing, add 800 milligrams of phosphatidylserine which will keep cortisol down.
Estrogen may be the female hormone, but it’s in men too and it makes fat loss a nightmare. Your estrogen needs to be as low as possible, in contrast to your testosterone which should be as high as possible. The way you look is defined by the relationship between these two hormones. If you reduce the levels of estrogen or increase the level of testosterone in your body, or even better, if you do both of these things, you’ll be striding quickly towards a leaner, more muscular body with low water retention.
Crunchy veggies, especially the cruciferous once such as cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli, have indoles, which are compounds that lower your estrogen levels through lowering production or interfering with the absorption of estrogen as well as tissue uptake. Keep your diet low on carbs, but throw in some cruciferous veggies in there. If you’re a supplement person, use some 6-OXO to make sure your testosterone will stay high and your estrogen will stay low.
6. Thyroid Hormone
This hormone helps you burn calories and create protein in your body, so you don’t want it to crash even though most diets will make it go down. Thyroid levels should always be high because when they’re low, the creation of protein is more difficult and calorie burning is reduced. The speed at which your body takes amino acids from protein and puts them in your body is absolutely crucial and it’s called protein synthesis. To make sure this works, drop your diet for 10-12 days. When you diet longer, your thyroid hormone levels drop, so eat 3 grams of carbohydrates per pound per day every 10 days, and you can make your body believe you are no longer restricting calories which will make it work again and prevent all the drops necessary.
Knowing how to work with your hormones is incredibly effective if you want to diet. You will need to know the good or bad possibilities and what to do when confronted by any of them, and you’ll see better results than without it. Long term continuous dieting will drop your calorie, carbohydrates and fat levels, which will make your body think it’s in starvation mode which will make it conserve everything instead of burning through it. Make sure to switch it up and to take breaks from this, but either way, knowledge of hormones can help you so much, especially if you’re a bodybuilder going pro.