The 6 Most Important Hormones to Your Physique


Hormones dictate pretty much everything that happens in your body. In particular, anabolic hormones are what helps you gain muscle, lose weight and get into incredible shape.

Hormones are chemical messengers created by your body’s endocrine system. In order to gain muscle fast or lose fat, it’s vital to understand how much of an important role these hormones play in doing so. Not to mention, hormones can play a significant role in dictating your health as well.

There are good hormones and bad hormones when it comes to achieving a killer physique. What I mean by this is that some hormones build muscle and burn fat, while others break down muscle and store fat. It’s important that we maximize our production of these fat loss and muscle building hormones while keeping the muscle burning and fat storing hormones at a minimal level.

Let’s go ahead and take a look at the 6 hormones that can positively or negatively impact your results in the gym:

Six Most Important Hormones

Hormone#1: Insulin

Insulin is a double edged sword when it comes to achieving the body of your dreams. Released by the pancreas, it can either be your best friend or your worst enemy. Insulin is great when it comes to packing on lean mass, but if you’re trying to lose weight fast then insulin can definitely have a negative effect on your fat loss efforts.

Whenever your blood sugar levels get too high, insulin is released to bring your blood sugar under control. Whenever you eat food (particularly high-glycemic carbohydrates), your body will break down that food into the form of glucose and release it into your blood stream. Then insulin does its job of getting that glucose out of the blood by either storing it as fat or burning it off.

Insulin is a powerful anabolic hormone that transports amino acids to your muscle cells, which is why many bodybuilders supplement with it to give them an edge.

The downside to insulin is that your body has a limited capacity for how much glucose it can burn off in a given time period, so the remainder of it often gets stored as body fat.

The good news is that you can manipulate your insulin levels positively by the foods you eat. Different foods tend to cause a greater insulin release than others, so for the most part you want to focus on foods that release as little insulin as possible.

In order to keep your insulin levels low, focus on eating plenty of dietary fat, protein and complex carbohydrates. The complex carbohydrates par is very important because if you start stuffing your face with cupcakes, candy, soda and ice cream, your blood sugar is going to continually be unstable and you will constantly be storing that excess glucose as body fat. To avoid this, eat things like brown rice, oatmeal and 100% whole grain bread. These foods digest slowly, so they will cause less of a rise of insulin when they are released into the blood stream and absorbed by your body.

The only time you should really be spiking your insulin levels is after your workouts, when some fast-digesting simple carbohydrates could benefit you by transporting much needed nutrients to your muscles, helping them recover. At all other times of the day, however, you should focus on eating clean, low-glycemic foods which will keep your insulin levels low.

Hormone #2: Glucagon

Glucagon plays the exact opposite role of insulin. While insulin is designed to lower blood sugar levels, glucagon’s role is to raise low blood sugar levels.

Just like insulin, glucagon can either be your best friend or your worst enemy. While insulin can promote nutrient uptake by your muscles and fat storage, glucagon can mobilize fat and burn muscle. If your blood sugar dips too low, glucagon is released to raise these low blood sugar levels. Then, glucagon heads to the liver to break down fatty acids as energy. This might sound good if you’re trying to lose weight, but unfortunately this is not glucagon’s only responsibility.

Glucagon also breaks down muscle tissue for energy if there is no fat available, which means that all of your hard earned gains in the gym will go down the tube if you don’t keep your blood sugar stable throughout the day.

To prevent this from happening, always eat something every 3-5 hours to keep your blood sugar from dipping too low.

Hormone #3: IGF-1

Despite the name, IGF-1 isn’t a top secret chemical or a steroid for that matter. IGF-1 is actually fairly similar to insulin, at least when you consider it at the molecular level. Also known as Insulin-Like Growth Factor, IGF-1 can help broken down muscles recover and grow back bigger and stronger.

perfect physiqueA single chain of IGF-1 is comprised of over 70 different amino acids. Whenever your liver stimulates the production of human growth hormone, IGF-1 is released as well. The more HGH present, the more IGF-1 that will be present as well – they work hand in hand together. These two hormones together create a very anabolic environment, allowing for muscle growth to occur. Increased IGF-1 has been associated with increased muscle size, strength and endurance as well. If you suffer from a lack of IGF-1 in your body, your muscle growth will definitely slow down.

Although the primary purpose of IGF-1 is to stimulate your cells to grow, some of the primary cells affected by this hormone include your muscle cells. Nearly every single cell in your entire body is affected by IGF-1 in some fashion, but your muscle cells, cartilage, bone, liver, kidney, skin tissue and lungs seem to be the most affected by the hormone.

There have been several studies done on the effects of IGF-1 and the effects that it has on muscle growth. IGF-1 may not only improve your body’s ability to gain muscle, some research also suggests that IGF-1 can play a positive role on your body’s ability to lose fat as well.

Many people believe that IGF-1 is the key to muscle growth, even more important than testosterone or growth hormone.

Like I said, IGF-1, and growth hormone work hand in hand together, but they can’t work without each other’s company.

In addition to this, insulin must be kept low for these two hormones to be released, since human growth hormone and insulin cannot coexist together. And if human growth hormone can’t be released, then neither can IGF-1.

This is another reason why you should be keeping your insulin levels low throughout the entire day, except during the post-workout period when your body is craving nutrients. Your diet is the most important factor in doing so.

Hormone #4: Cortisol

Cortisol is a catabolic hormone that breaks down muscle and stores fat. If you ever want to get a ripped set of six pack abs or build muscle onto that frame of yours, then you need to keep cortisol very low.

In order to do this, the first step is definitely sleep. Make sure you’re getting at least 8 hours of high quality, uninterrupted sleep each night.

Another thing you need to keep in mind is your stress levels. Too much stress is not a good thing and will increase your catabolic hormone production, while lowering your anabolic hormone production. So before you blow up next time about something small, just take a deep breath and think about how it might negatively affect your gains if you do.

In addition to this, keep your workout frequency under 5 times per week and don’t workout for more than 45 minutes at a time. Many people think that more is better and with most things in life there is much truth to this, but when it comes to the sport of bodybuilding nothing could be further from the truth. The longer you’re in the gym, the more your anabolic hormones take a drop and the more your catabolic hormones increase. Working out too much will simply make you over train.

Hormone #5: Testosterone

This is probably the most important muscle building hormone in your entire body. Why do you think men can get so big while women remain puny and small? This single hormone can mean the difference between gaining incredible muscle size and strength or not gaining any size or strength at all.

To optimize your testosterone levels, make sure you’re eating a high fat diet and eat plenty of monounsaturated and saturated fat especially. Without enough fat in your diet, your testosterone levels can take a huge blow. Make sure at least 30% of your calories come from fat.

Another thing you should always make sure of is that you’re lifting heavy in the gym. Tossing around 5 pound dumbbells is not a good way to gain muscle, since there will be no testosterone increase whatsoever. Always make sure you’re lifting heavy and doing compound movements like the squat, deadlift and bench press. These bread and butter lifts build more muscle all around your entire body and increase your testosterone and growth hormone levels the most significantly, resulting in the most muscle growth.

In addition to this, sleep is just as important as diet and your weightlifting routine. Like I said, not sleeping enough can decrease your anabolic hormone production and increase cortisol in your body, so always make sure you’re getting 8 hours of sleep per night.

Hormone #6: Growth Hormone (GH) 

Growth hormone is another important hormone when it comes to muscle building and losing fat. Growth hormones primary role is to work with IGF-1 to ensure that your muscles are recovering properly. GH also has a positive effect on protein synthesis, increasing the amount of protein that your body can absorb for muscle growth.

To increase your levels of this crucial muscle building hormone, the first step is to stop eating a diet high in simple carbohydrates. Remember, insulin and human growth hormone cannot coexist together, so you need to make it your best effort to keep your insulin levels low if you want your GH to be high.

Sleep is also when your body releases the most human growth hormone, so always make sure you’re getting enough sleep at night. Keep in mind what I said about GH and diet though. Even if you’re consuming complex carbohydrates, insulin will still most likely be released and your human growth hormone will be affected as well, which is why it’s not a good idea to eat any carbs before going to bed. If you want to eat something before hitting the sack at night, eat a meal that is high in fat and lean protein, but stay away from carbohydrates at all times.


Hopefully this gives you a better understanding on the 6 most important muscle building hormones in your entire body. You need to make sure that you’re maximizing your body’s ability to produce these hormones, so using the tips above would be to your benefit. Building muscle is hard as it is and hormones are one very important piece of that equation. So by maximizing your muscle building hormones and minimizing your fat storing and muscle burning hormones, you will see the best results you’ve ever seen in your life.

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About the author

My name is Drew and I have been lifting weights for an incredibly long time, so I consider myself very knowledgeable on subjects such as how to increase metabolism, lose weight and build muscle. If you need more fitness information be sure to check out my site:

Noah Mark

Hi, this is Noah and thank you for reading this post. I hope you learned something here. Rest assured that I will continue to bring you the best weight loss information in this site to help you overcome all your weight gain endeavors. Please follow me on Google+ and Twitter to learn more.

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