Your body is a machine with many working parts — an understatement if there ever was one. To say that your various systems, cells, genetics, and chemical makeup are merely “working parts” is like saying the sun is a little warm. Still, it’s incredible what your body is capable of with only the most minimal of hormone management.
They tell your body what to do and how your hormones perform dictates how well your body behaves its damn self.
So whip that puppy into shape! While diet and exercise are obviously important, these are the hormones you need to pay attention to the most, what they do for you, and how you can Darth Vader force grip your body into submission.
1. Ghrelin and Leptin
Ever wonder what makes you feel hungry or full? No, it’s not just your stomach being empty or stuffed to the gills, it’s hormones released by your stomach walls and fat cells called ghrelin and leptin. If you’re trying to keep your hunger in check, you need to make sure these guys are under control. How do we do that? Sleep! Less than six hours a night and the hunger gremlin, Ghrelin, starts winning the fights unfairly.
Who’s feeling frisky? You are if you’ve got enough testosterone in your blood! This bad boy tells you when you’re ready to get busy and also makes sure you have enough little swimmers to continue the family line (assuming you’re ‘worthy’). There are a lot of ways to increase your testosterone. Here are four of them.
3. IGF-1 and HGH
Any self-respecting bodybuilder knows what these two do. HGH tells the body to create more IGF-1, which acts as a growth factor. Together they tag-team your muscles, ligaments, and tendons, beating them into fierce weapons of mass attraction (hello, ladies). And how do we increase the levels of these two grunts naturally? By working out, of course! When you feel the burn, you’re doing it right.
To get your ghrelin under control, you need to sleep. But what if you have trouble sleeping? This is text, so you’ll just have to imagine fanfare in your mind. Enter melatonin! Think of melatonin like that uncle that comes over for Thanksgiving, eats your food and falls asleep on your couch. All he wants is to sleep. Same with melatonin. The thing is, blue light stimulates your brain and can delay your sleepy time hormone from kicking in. Want to get your cycle going normal? Cut off all electronics two hours before you’re ready to go down.
We’ve talked sleep. Now let’s talk energy. Hello Mr. Insulin Man! He’s in charge of getting the fat and sugar out of your blood and into your muscle and fat stores. How do you manage insulin? Carb out after your workout! Make sure to take in some protein along with it for a balanced post-workout meal.