What if I told you that the fountain of youth is ready and waiting for you?
In our promotional video for the New You Challenge, I finish by stating “High intensity exercise truly is the fountain of youth. Come experience it for yourself!”. While strong statements can come off as gimmicky at times, in this case, it’s the real deal. My statement is based on both scientific research and on actual feedback we’ve gotten from participants who have seen founds ways to boost HGH and Testosterone naturally .
High intense exercise is just one natural way to boost human growth hormone (HGH) and testosterone levels in the body. But before we delve into how to boost these hormone levels, let’s quickly discuss some basics.
How HGH Works
Human Growth Hormone (HGH) is released in response to physiological stimuli such as exercise, sleep, and food intake. Like other hormones, HGH works by interacting with specific receptor sites on the surface of cells.
From there, HGH activates anabolic processes within the target cell. Depending on the type of cell, different actions may occur. For example, in a muscle cell, HGH stimulates cell repair, cell division and cell proliferation. In liver cells, HGH stimulates the production of Insulin Like Growth Factor 1 (IGF-1), which helps the body’s tissues initiate repair and protein synthesis. It is important to discern that while HGH is not specifically linked to muscle growth, it is proven to help you recover quicker so that you can train more frequently and experience greater gains.
Unfortunately, the natural production of HGH declines as you get older. This progressive deficiency, beginning for most individuals in their 20s, leads to a reduction in lean body mass and bone mineral density. It also leads to an increase in body fat, particularly in the abdominal area, and a worsened cardiovascular risk profile. Basically, as HGH declines, you begin to look and feel older.
How Testosterone Works
While testosterone is most frequently thought of as a “male” hormone, this sex-related hormone is actually present in both men and women. It has many functions, but for the purposes of this article, suffice it to say that healthy levels of testosterone in both sexes is important for an overall sense of well-being, energy level, healthy bone density, muscle mass, lower body fat, and increased libido or sex drive.
Particularly for men, testosterone levels begin to decline around the age of 30. A wide range of chemical exposures, including prescribed drugs (such as statins), adversely impact testosterone production in men. Low testosterone is also 2.5 times more common in people who are considered obese. However, it’s important to discern that it’s more likely that being overweight causes low testosterone, rather than low testosterone being to blame for belly fat. Many will find that as you get rid of excess fat, the hormone levels will increase in a positive way.
Vicious Cycle vs. Compounding Positive Effect
File under “life is unfair”: there is a vicious cycle associated with being overweight and unhealthy hormone levels.
The more overweight you are, the more likely you are to continue to gain weight. Additionally, being overweight equates to lower testosterone, fatigue, lack of motivation, low sex drive, and depression…all of which lead to even more weight gain, and make it extremely hard to break out of the rut.
On the flip side, people who are at a healthy weight typically have higher levels of testosterone, which means they have higher energy, higher sex drive, a greater sense of well-being, and more motivation to work out. This means that they’re more likely to continue living a healthy lifestyle and sustaining healthy hormone levels.
Honestly, this phenomenon reminds me of the phrase “the rich get richer”. Basically, if you’re overweight or out of shape, you’ll have an even harder time turning it around than the people who are in good shape. It’s not fair, but hey, reality can be a bitch. However, it is possible to do something about this situation! Here’s what I suggest to naturally raise HGH and testosterone levels:
1. Reduce body fat.
Your natural HGH and testosterone production are directly related to the amount of body fat you carry. Therefore, if you reduce your body fat, you’ll help regulate hormone production. So…how to go about it? Here are some reliable ways:
Reduce sugars and high glycemic carbohydrates in your diet and replace with protein and healthy fats.
Exercise regularly, and make sure you are getting some resistance weight training as well as some higher intensity training. If you’re just jumping into training try to find a group atmosphere that makes you feel welcome and provides guidance and instruction.
Eat healthier. If you really struggle with healthy eating, consider a good food delivery service that will prep every meal for you.
The key here is to create new habits, so make some changes and commit for at least a few weeks. Science says it takes 21 days to create a habit, but if you want lasting change then diet and exercise have to be lifelong commitments. My advice is to commit to healthier diet and exercise routine for 21 days before you make any adjustments. Keep experimenting until you find a diet and exercise regimen that work best for you, because if you want to live a healthy life you’re in it for the long haul.
2. Intense exercise.
Research has shown that High Intensity Interval Training (where your heart rate bursts above your anaerobic threshold) is a strong stimulator of HGH and testosterone.
There are a number of proven interval-based training methods for this, such as CrossFit or HIIT classes. A good example is performing rounds of 30 second running, cycling, rowing, or swimming sprint intervals with a one minute rest between sprints, five or more times in a workout.
Weight training at high intensity is also important. This can involve any combination of lifts where you are stressing your body close to the point of failure. Lifts that require the whole body to work, such as squats, deadlifts, and most free weight exercises are excellent ways to do this. The intensity should be at a level where you reach a level of discomfort–for instance, you wouldn’t be holding a conversation while performing the exercise–yet not so much that you’re harming yourself. This type of high intensity training can increase HGH to to 450% of base line levels. When performed once or twice per week in addition to your weight training, it can have a very beneficial effect on body composition.
3. Sleep more, sleep better.
The average adult gets 6-7 hours of sleep per night, but we should be getting 7-9 hours. If you’re training hard, adequate sleep is even more important, because this is when your body recovers.
The most important hours of night for natural HGH secretion by our pituitary gland are from roughly 10pm-2am. The biggest HGH dump you’ll get is in the first period of stage 3 sleep, roughly an hour after you fall asleep.
Regardless of how many hours of sleep you’re getting, here are a few ways to get better quality sleep:
Completely black out your room. Make it as dark as possible and cover any small led lights (such as TV power light) with black electrical tape.
Eliminate any screen time 60 minutes before falling asleep. Try to wind down with a good book, meditation or conversation with your partner. If you insist on TV or looking at your phone consider getting some non-prescription glasses that block blue light (aka blue blockers).
Try a melatonin or magnesium supplement. There is some pretty strong research supporting both types of supplements. However, I suggest trying the previous two tips before adding a supplement.
4. De-stress your life.
When you’re under a lot of stress, your body releases high levels of the stress hormone cortisol. This hormone actually blocks the effects of testosterone, presumably because, from a biological standpoint, testosterone-associated behaviors (mating, competing, aggression) may have lowered your chances of survival in an emergency (hence, the “fight or flight” response is dominant, courtesy of cortisol).
There are 2 types of stress: eustress (good stress) and distress (bad stress). Both types of stress will elevate cortisol; as such, the key is not to avoid stress but to manage it. If you’re burning the candle at both ends it is likely that chronic stress, and subsequently, elevated levels of cortisol, could be blocking the positive effects of testosterone. Try to manage stress by being aware of how hard you are pushing your body and scheduling things like hikes, getaways, and days off to reset your body once a week. Other common stress-reduction tools with a high success rate include prayer, meditation, laughter, and yoga. Of course, if you’re at all like me, don’t take up golfing, because 9 holes shot my stress level through the roof!
5. Consume protein and healthy fats.
Simply put, cutting out sugar is probably the best thing you can do for your hormone levels. Instead of sugary carbohydrates, focus on nourishing your body with fats and proteins. There are entire books written on this subject, so I’ll just paraphrase here. Basically, fats include cholesterol–a necessary building block for testosterone. Protein consumption will increase production of HGH, and should be consumed with every meal, but particularly after a hard workout.
Want more information? Two of my favorite books on diet are Grain Brain by David Perlmutter and The Big Fat Surprise by Nina Teicholz.
6. Intermittent Fasting.
One simple way to lose body fat, increase HGH and testosterone is by intermittent fasting (IF). This is a modern day of mimicking what we humans used to go through on a regular basis during hunt-and-gather times, consuming calories in finite periods and then fasting for hours.
Test this out maybe once a week, then increase to a few times a week if you’re feeling good. Have your last meal around 8pm, then don’t eat anything until noon the following day. This provides you a 16 hour fasting window, of which you’ll be a fat burning machine for 4-6 of those hours. Keep your meals high fat and high protein, and don’t go crazy for carbs. If you’re eating a healthy diet, you shouldn’t have any issues with hunger or cravings. If you’re a sugar or carb addict, then this will be very tough and you may want to start with a 12 hour fasting window.
Note: if your diet is mostly sugar and refined carbs, it can take up to a few weeks for your body to adjust to metabolizing fat as a primary fuel source. If you are switching to a higher fat, lower carb diet, you should expect some hunger pangs and cravings in the beginning. The key is to consume the same amount of calories and hang in there. One of the most common errors people make is that they cut back on sugar and refined carbs, but they don’t increase fat and protein. They end up eating too little, causing their metabolism to slow way down and their energy levels to plummet. When changing to a new diet make sure you pay attention to your total calorie consumption and get enough to eat. Starvation diets never end well!
Before I conclude, I think it’s important to remind you that it’s important to put energy into all of these tips rather than focusing on just one or two. The human body is extremely complex and the factors above can all affect each other positively or negatively. Be sure to maintain balance. For example, I’ve worked with a client who was eating a perfect diet and exercising really hard but not sleeping enough and lived a very high stress lifestyle. The intense exercise was probably doing more harm than good because the client wasn’t sleeping enough and was too stressed to recover, causing chronic high cortisol levels. A little more sleep and yoga would have done more my hard charging client than getting up at 4:30am and crushing it in the gym.
The fine print:
While I am offering my own experience-based reflections in this article, I am not a doctor and this is not medical advice. When I refer to the “fountain of youth” at the beginning of this article, I am referencing living a better quality of life rather than living longer. I still haven’t found any natural, proven ways to extend our days on this planet, but if I do find the answer I promise I will share it!
For many people, the notion of feeling 10 years younger is so appealing that they will spend thousands of dollars at so called anti-aging clinics or even illegally purchase anabolic steroids or synthetic growth hormone to get the results. I have huge issues with this because 99.9% of the population can accomplish the same results safely and naturally without any risk of side effects. You must earn the results; there’s no free lunch.
There is a very small percentage of the population, about 1 case per 100,000, that suffer from GHD (growth hormone deficiency) caused by issues with the pituitary gland. There are also people with low levels of testosterone that can benefit from hormone replacement therapy. As I stated above, it’s an incredibly small percentage of people. Don’t let someone convince you that expensive hormone replacement therapy is the only solution. I am a strong advocate of trying natural remedies first!
Have you ever tried any of these natural remedies to regulate HGH and testosterone?