When was the last time you looked at one of those celebrities or Instagram accounts and thought, damn they look good?!
It’s a lot of work to put in to get to that, right?
With our lifestyles of work and stress and eating out all the time because of job and social demands, its really not something easily achievable these days. I guess that’s why these people with the fit, toned bodies are even more of an achievement.
So when it comes to building muscle and bulking, it’s something that is relatively subjective. Some people want to be lean, some want to be beefy and all alpha looking. Either way, everyone seems to think that they’ve got to hit the gym and pump iron.
Now, this may be true, but there’s a lot more to it than repetitive movements of the body using heavyweights. There’s also an entire lifestyle to consider. Eating right, in terms of having clean, healthy, balanced, calorie counted meals is of utmost importance. Hence the saying, abs are made in the kitchen.
Where I can help you with more significantly is the monitoring and targeted growth of muscles using hormonal therapy.
1. What is hormonal therapy?
Explain hormones required for muscle building and metabolism sustenance
The nitty gritty of it basically is that our body and its functions are controlled by an intricate, well-balanced release and feedback of hormones in the body. This is controlled by a combination of our brain, thyroid gland, kidneys and gonads. Amongst the myriad of hormones circulating in the body let’s just focus on two of the more prominent ones involved in building muscle.
These are Human Growth Hormones (HGH) and Testosterone; both of which are anabolic (muscle building) hormones.
Don’t be taken back by the term anabolic though. A lot of times we hear doping stories and to a certain extent, horror stories about anabolic steroids. Keep in mind that those are hormones created in a lab and injected into the body in addition to what the body is already making.
Hence why I earlier mentioned that I can be of help when it comes to building muscle. Let’s talk about injections, replacement therapies and monitoring of all these hormones and how it can be manipulated to best fit your growth needs.
What is Human Growth Hormones (HGH) though?
Human growth hormone is produced by our pituitary gland and as its name implies, it is responsible for cell growth and regeneration. Increasing muscle mass and bone density are impossible without GH, but it also plays a major role in maintaining the health of all human tissue, including that of the brain and other vital organs.
And, what about testosterone?
Testosterone is produced by the gonads (by the Leydig cells in testes in men and by the ovaries in women). Present in much greater levels in men than women, testosterone initiates the development of the male internal and external reproductive organs during foetal development and is essential for the production of sperm in adult life. This hormone also signals your body to make new blood cells, ensures that muscles and bones stay strong during and after puberty and enhances libido (sex drive) both in men and women.
So ideally, when your body has sufficient amounts of HGH and testosterone in addition to your entire lifestyle being in accordance to your muscle growing aspirations, building muscles and attaining a Herculean physique is not a far-fetched dream.
2. I’ve been working out off and on for years now. How do I know if I have low testosterone or HGH?
Signs and symptoms. Testing process.
Some of us may suspect having low HGH or testosterone levels when we work hard at the gym and eat right but still don’t look as chiselled as our gym buddy who has the exact same regime as us. If that thought does come to mind, take the time to consider if you have other signs and symptoms of low testosterone or HGH.
• Loss of sex drive
• Inability to concentrate
• Loss of muscle mass or strength
• Reduced sense of well-being
• Reduced body hair
• Increased body fat
• Change in mood
• Increased aggression
• Sleep disturbance
We will also have to exclude other possible causes of slow or absent growth, such as:
• Chronic kidney disease
• Prader-Willi syndrome – this is basically a genetic disease that causes loss of function to multiple organs
• Turner syndrome – this is where the female is born with only one X chromosome instead of two
• Pituitary tumours or cancers
• Muscle wasting disease
The best way to determine if your growth hormone levels are low is by seeing your doctor and getting the appropriate investigations done. Once we have identified whether you’ll benefit from hormone therapy, we can get to working towards your brand spanking new body!
3. So basically, I just need some hormone injections? Is that what I need to grow bigger and stronger?
– its not for everybody, it’s a genetic threshold to be met but everyone has HGH and we will monitor and manipulate HGH readings in accordance to your workouts and lifestyle to get maximum results.
Sounds simple enough, right? Lots of hormones and working out will surely produce big, strong muscles. I’ll have a testosterone shake to go, please! This is the view that many adopt, and with inadequate consultation, may end up further away from the goal of having a strong body and being healthy.
My view is that it can help, yes but only if you practice the lifestyle that goes with it.
While helpful, hormonal therapy is not necessarily the answer for everyone. This is why it is beneficial to have a sit-down with a trained medical professional about how to achieve your fitness goals safely, without compromising other aspects of your health.
What can we expect from HGH injections?
Injections of HGH can help people with a growth hormone deficiency to:
• increase exercise capacity
• improve bone density
• build muscle mass
• reduce body fat
Why is it not for everyone?
The dinner table answer for that is simple.
Our body is already has a convoluted system to maintain and control how we develop and grow as we age.
Why mess with that? Why mess with what we already have?
An idealistic me would answer that with careful tweaking of the hormonal plays in the body, we can achieve results that would not be possible with just working out.
With me telling you about the vital role hormones play in the body earlier, it is also very important to understand that playing around with hormone levels is not a walk in the park. There can be serious consequences to inappropriate hormonal activity.
• carpal tunnel syndrome
• nerve, muscle, or joint pain
• swelling of the arms and legs from fluid retention (edema)
• high cholesterol levels
• numb and tingling skin
• an increased risk of heart disease and diabetes
• the growth of cancerous tumours
• growth of facial features, hands, and feet (acromegaly)
• mood changes, dependency, and withdrawal
• an enlarged heart
• low blood sugar
• liver damage
• enlarged breasts in men (gynecomastia)
Hormonal Therapy, when administered in a safe manner can be beneficial for many. However, there are some people with underlying conditions for whom hormonal therapy is not advisable. These include those who have:
a. Prostate cancer
b. Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) >4 ng/mL
c. Male breast cancer
d. Severe sleep apnea
e. Male infertility or if you’re a couple trying to conceive
f. Hematocrit >50% or have other medical illnesses
g. Severe lower urinary tract symptoms due to benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH)
4. So how does a doctor help in maintaining your hormones?
Well basically, once you have been worked up to confirm that you do indeed have a hormonal issue, we can help with deciding the type of treatment and replacement therapy that will be best suited for you.
For instance, amongst the available options of treatment, some testosterone injections are not suitable if you’re trying to conceive. Also, when it comes to picking out the right regime, be it oral pills, injections, or creams, its best to do this with the advice of a doctor.
These sort of treatment regimes will usually require close follow up initially. Things like your sugars, blood pressures, kidney and liver function, and cholesterol should all be checked and kept in a good range. The hormonal activity should also be initially closely monitored until both doctor and client are comfortable with the progress being made.
There are different injection regimes to hormone replacement therapy as well.
Some people get one injection on a monthly or two monthly bases whereas other people are given an injection pen to take home where they inject themselves a few times a week. It’s usually your doctor who will prescribe a regime for you.
As earlier mentioned, there can be some rather serious side effects to uncontrolled hormonal therapy and this is why I feel that when choosing to embark on this journey, its best to do it with medical supervision.
That being said, I hope this article has shown some light to you who are looking into hormonal therapy to improve your outlook on life. I’m happy to help if you’d like.