Last week, we discussed three hormones that are responsible for the storage and utilization of our body’s fuel in exercise. Insulin helps promote the storage and absorption of energy, glucagon is responsible for the release of energy primarily glycogen stores and cortisol helps in the release of fat and breakdown of protein to support longer durations of exercise.
This week, we’ll talk about hormones that help in the synthesis of protein as in muscle building:
Testosterone is available in both men and women; however, men have higher concentrations of this hormone. It is responsible for muscle protein synthesis and re-synthesis and the repair of muscle damaged by exercise. It also plays a significant role in helping one grow muscle. Because men have higher concentrations of testosterone than women, men have a greater ability to build muscle than women. Testosterone is both anabolic, helps in building up, and androgenic, helps in building male characteristics.
Human growth hormone (HGH)
HGH produces a number of responses. It increases muscle protein synthesis, bone mineralization, supports the immune system and promotes lipolysis or fat metabolism. It is produced during the REM stages of sleep and stimulated by heavy strength training, exercises at high load and velocities, and training at the lactate threshold targeting the glycolytic systems.
Brain-derived Neurotro-phic Factor (BDNF)
BDNF is stimulated through the same mechanisms as HGH. It is a hormone that is responsible for the creation of new brain cells as well as helps in the connectivity of brain cells, which aids in learning, memory and various cognitive processes.
Understanding the hormones’ effects and how they are stimulated by exercise helps us fine-tune our training to elicit a desired physiological adaptation. The human body is a brilliant organism! Understanding how it works is key in order to properly care for and develop it. Happy training!