Insulin Hormone in Bodybuilding
Simple tips to ensure that the hormone promotes lean muscle mass, not fat!
If you thought that bodybuilding was simply about lifting weights a few times per week, eating chicken and egg whites, and chugging down a protein shake now and again, then you’re very, very much mistaken as bodybuilding isn’t so much a sport as it is a science, and an extremely complex science at that.
In order to make noticeable and impress gains in bodybuilding, we need to understand not only what we’re doing in the gym, but also what we’re eating and drinking, and why.
As if that wasn’t enough, we also need to understand how our anatomies work, how they respond to certain stressors and foods, and how our very own hormones can make or break our physiques.
The insulin hormone for example, plays an extremely vital role when it comes to bodybuilding, and it is certainly not just something that has to be monitored for when it comes to blood sugar regulation.
In reality, any program in which you’re looking to stay lean and muscular must ensure that your body responds favourably to the insulin hormone.
As far as building muscle and burning fat goes, insulin is your body’s secret weapon as it is so incredibly powerful and potent to get a super stat body like the rock, and it all comes down to insulin sensitivity.
Basically, insulin sensitivity is just making reference to how well your body is able to respond to this complex little hormone, particularly when it comes down to the consumption of carbohydrates.
Insulin is basically secreted by the pancreas to help regulate and contain blood glucose (sugar) levels after we consume foods rich in sugar, or foods that are quickly able to be broken down and converted into sugar, I.E carbohydrates.
People who have a high insulin sensitivity are able to regulate their blood sugar levels more efficiently, which basically means that glucose energy is stored in the muscles for energy, rather than in other areas of the body, in the form of body fat instead.
People with a poor insulin sensitivity, however, often find their bodies producing more of the insulin hormone in an attempt to overcompensate, which in turn can lead to an increase in fat storage, not to mention conditions such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease, which is another reason why ensuring that your body has a high insulin sensitivity is such an important thing to do.
The good news is that you can actually improve your body’s own insulin sensitivity and as a result enjoy less body fat, more energy, and more lean muscle growth as a result.
Here are a few handy tips to help you do just that.
Cut back on refined carbohydrates
One of the biggest causes of type 2 diabetes is down to an overconsumption of too many refined carbohydrates, leading to excessive amounts of insulin and extra pressure being placed on the pancreas.
Refined carbohydrates are rich in simple sugars, and include foods such as: white bread, white flour, sugar, candy, sugary drinks, processed baked goods and snacks, and even too much real fruit juice, which still contains natural sugars.
Don’t fear healthy fats
Not all fats are to be feared, in fact, healthy fats are your friend as they play a key role in so many of the body’s healthy functions and processes.
As far as insulin sensitivity goes, a great way of improving the rate in which your body is able to naturally process and metabolize carbohydrates to be used as fuel for the muscles, rather than being stored as body fat, is to consume enough healthy fats on a daily basis.
Stay away from trans fats found in junk foods, and instead look for healthy fat sources such as: olive oil, coconut oil, oily fish, organic whole eggs, avocados, organic nuts and seeds etc.
Fiber is another nutrient that is extremely healthy and beneficial for the body in so many different ways, especially when it comes to insulin sensitivity.
Fiber not only improves digestion, bowel health and regularity, and healthy cholesterol levels, it also naturally reduces the rate in which carbohydrates make their way into your bloodstream, which again improves your overall insulin response rate.
Fiber can also promote weight loss as it acts as an appetite suppressant, meaning we stay full for longer and crave less unhealthy foods, which means we consume less calories and store less body fat.
Try to stay active throughout most of the day
Of course, this can be tough if you have a sedentary job which requires you to spend most of your time sat down, but whenever possible, try to get active during the day, rather than just when you go to the gym.
Of course, when it comes to bodybuilding, your workouts are going to be physically demanding in themselves, but studies have shown that if you match your exercise to the amounts of carbs that you consume, you will again enjoy much better insulin sensitivity rates.
So, if you do consume carbs, soon afterwards try to get a little exercise to balance your insulin hormone levels out so that they don’t fluctuate.
A quick walk to the local coffee bar or even up and down a few flights of stairs will help, meaning you get to stay leaner, look better, and feel better as a result.
Put simply, if/when you consume carbs, soon afterwards try to get active in some way so as to help balance things out internally.