Hormones and bodybuilding

Our body composition: two big mistakes

Mistake # 1 : our weight / body fat rate is regulated according to the calories that we eat

Mistake # 2 : Our results are limited by our genetics. We can classify the different types of genetics by morphotypes: ectomorph, endomorph or mesomorph.

Both of these claims are false; first, calories aren’t everything . It is necessary to take into account the nutrients ingested, the general state of health, the lifestyle, the sleep, etc … but especially the type of nutrients taken according to the time of day and the context (training or not, physical activity or sedentarism…). Indeed, this will activate in a different way the hormones , which will be responsible for the transport of nutrients to the muscles or the fat reserves, or for the release (or not ) adipocytes from fat cells.

Then, the morphotype is a concept that would determine our results according to our faculties to gain or not muscle or fat. There is no scientific explanation for this claim, and there are many counter-examples of people who have had great difficulty gaining fat and muscle at some point in their life and who find themselves obese within months without changing their diet. , or people who were once overweight who now manage to keep a lean physique without too much effort. What could have changed between two such extreme phases? A modified action of hormones , modulated by different factors: age, sex, activity and diet .

Hormones are messenger proteins. They are the ones sending the signals needed to know what decisions to make. They are in fact the managers of our organization! ?

In bodybuilding, it is important to know the hormones that will play a role in muscle building and fat loss, in order to be able to modulate them according to our goals.

So I will simply explain to you the main role of the hormones that interest us, and how to use them with us to lead us to the physique we want!

Leptin VS Cortisol

Leptin is a hormone secreted by fat cells, responsible for the feeling of hunger.

It also promotes thermogenesis (increase in body temperature) through increased metabolism, which leads to greater energy expenditure, including at rest.

Finally, leptin increases lipolysis (oxidation of fats).

Cortisol on the contrary increases hunger, slows down the metabolism and prevents fat loss.

It is therefore beneficial to increase your leptin level. Increasing this hormone will have a positive effect of lowering cortisol at the same time.

What blocks the production of leptin:

  • cardio training
  • restrictive diets
  • lack of sleep

How to promote leptin production:

  • reduce carbohydrate consumption if too much consumption
  • eat more protein and healthy fat
  • increase your consumption of vegetables, fruits and legumes
  • supplement with zinc

When it comes to bad sleep, you can supplement yourself with tryptophan, which is an amino acid precursor to serotonin, the hormone of relaxation and sleep. Remember to consume it at the same time as carbohydrates.

Testosterone VS Cortisol

Testosterone is an anabolic hormone that boosts muscle energy storage. It allows you to gain muscle while having a healthy fat mass rate.

Cortisol lowers testosterone levels. It destroys muscle, prevents the storage of carbohydrates in the form of glycogen and promotes the storage of fat in the abdominal belt.

Nutritional advice for increasing testosterone levels while lowering cortisol levels are much the same as for leptin:

  • have a high protein intake
  • increase your zinc intake
  • remember to have a regular intake of vitamin D
  • sleep well
  • Forskolin supplementation may be recommended

In terms of training, it is wise to choose only intensive cardio activities (Recommended for athletes anapolon kaufen) and strength exercises (favor polyarticular exercises such as the squat, deadlift, rowing, etc.), instead of low / moderate intensity cardio activities. This goes for both men and women.

Testosterone VS Estrogen

Although women produce the most estrogen, so do men. Too high a level of this hormone will counter the effects of testosterone and promote the storage of fat in the hips and abdominal belt. In men, excess estrogen can result in “man boobs” (excess fat in the breasts). But beware, in women, estrogens are beneficial! I’ll write a more specific article on this.

How to lower your estrogen levels:

  • limit the consumption of soy and derivatives (tofu)
  • have a good protein intake
  • consume foods rich in resveratrol (berries of purple / blue colors such as grapes or blueberries)
  • increase your consumption of crucifers (cabbage, broccoli)


When we eat carbohydrates, insulin is released to lower blood sugar levels. These carbohydrates are then transported to the muscles (glycogen stores) and the liver but also to the fat reserves in case of excess calories (like any nutrient).

IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor) is a hormone that acts like insulin and is involved in muscle growth.

To increase insulin and IGF-1 levels quickly, all you need to do is eat high glycemic index carbohydrates.

But beware! The excess of insulin secretion:

  • decreases insulin sensitivity, and therefore can lead to type II diabetes (rare in athletes who lead a healthy lifestyle through diet and physical activity)
  • could promote fat storage in the abdominal belt.

To promote the storage of carbohydrates towards muscle glycogen reserves:

  • increase your sensitivity to insulin. So the body will need less insulin production to lower blood sugar. To do this, you can consume:
    • chrome
    • vinegar
    • green tea
    • minerals (zinc and magnesium)
    • less sugar
  • do not consume high GI carbohydrates outside training or at least without other nutrients – it must be said that It is rare to consume spoons of pure sugar without anything else, so little risk.
  • increase your protein intake


Basically, we find the same advice to achieve building muscle mass while losing fat. Good to know:

  • Have a significant contribution by:
    • protein
    • zinc
    • vitamin D
    • magnesium
  • Reduce your consumption of:
    • high GI carbohydrates
    • estrogen-like foods (soy)
  • Adapt your consumption of different nutrients depending on the context and the time of day (more details here: carbohydrates in the evening or not?)
  • Prefer a high intensity activity than cardio training at a moderate pace

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