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Hormones are chemical messengers produced by glands in the endocrine system that trigger specific regulatory effects and responses on certain cells or organs.

Bodybuilding Hormones 101

Your complete guide to the most important hormones for muscle growth

Hormones are chemical messengers produced by glands in the endocrine system that trigger specific regulatory effects and responses on certain cells or organs. They are essential for the function of every biological process in the human body, most importantly for bodybuilders, the growth and development of lean muscle mass. They also impact metabolism, tissue function, sleep, and mood.

Endocrinologists traditionally classify these substances that circulate through our bodies in response to certain signals as either anabolic (building-up) or catabolic (breakingdown) hormones. Most would consider the anabolic hormones as the most important muscle-building hormones, however catabolic hormones also play an important role in anabolism. The fact is that for anabolism to occur catabolism needs to happen too. In the case of exercise this relates to the breakdown of stored energy substrates to fuel the activity, as well as the breaking down of food and supplements into amino acids, fatty acids and glycogen. These buildingblocks are then absorbed into muscle cells to help fuel working muscles, as well as repair and rebuild the structure, bigger and better than before following the exercise-induced stimulus.

However, catabolic hormones can also break down muscle tissue, reducing the hardearned gains you make in the gym. As such, it is essential that you have an in-depth understanding of all the hormones that relate to bodybuilding. These hormones also have a complex interrelationship as certain substances trigger the release of a hormonal cascade that has multiple effects on the body.

To give you a better understanding of the most important hormones for muscle growth, and the hormones that are closely linked to their production and function, here is Muscle Evolution’s guide to bodybuilding hormones:

  • Testosterone
  • Growth Hormone
  • Insulin-like Growth Factor-1
  • Thyroid hormone
  • Insulin
  • Glucogon
  • Cortisol
  • DHT
  • Oestrogen

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