Hormone levels are an often forgotten element when it comes to building muscle. Two people can follow the exact same diet and training program yet get different results. Likewise, there are some people who can eat horribly and never exercise, yet still have low body fat and good muscle tone. There are many factors at play here, but one of the main factors is hormone levels.

There are 4 major hormones that impact your muscle gaining efforts:

1. Cortisol
Cortisol is a hormone that is released during periods of stress such as high-intensity exercise. Cortisol leads to muscle breakdown, which is obviously bad for those looking to build muscle, especially if cortisol levels get too high.

2. Estrogen
Estrogen is the female sex hormone. While small amounts of this hormone are beneficial for men, it s a good idea to keep levels of estrogen fairly low for muscle building and health reasons. Unfortunately, many of the chemicals present in modern society lead to higher levels of estrogen, which is harmful for both men and women.

3. Testosterone
This is the big daddy of them all. Testosterone is the male sex hormone and one of its most notable effects is the building of muscle mass. This is the reason men can gain more muscle than women, and it’s also why steroids are so popular. Flat out, more testosterone means more muscle!

4. Insulin
Insulin is one of the hormones we have the most control over. It is released in response to eating, especially when eating foods high in carbohydrates. Insulin has beneficial effects on muscle building such as lowering cortisol and shuttling vital nutrients to your muscles. However, chronically high insulin levels lead to excess body fat and health problems.

As you can see hormone levels are a balancing act. You don’t want to completely eliminate any hormone. Likewise, excessively high levels of one hormone can be very detrimental to health and muscle building. For this reason it is important to have a good understanding of hormones before attempting any intervention which artificially changes your hormone levels. Even endocrinologists (doctors who specialize in the hormonal system) don’t have a complete understanding of how hormones work. This is why I never recommend taking steroids or pro-hormones simply to gain muscle. For safe ways to optimize your hormones click on the link below.

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Learn how to gain muscle by optimizing your hormones for muscle building.