Eating 6 Times A Day Might Be Making You Fat!

Here's Why...

Animalbolics, part 1 to 3

Written and modified by: Eric Hesse and Joachim Bartoll
Published in Iron Magazine Online L.L.C., august 1999


In 1996 I founded Ironmagazine L.L.C. ( and ran it together with Eric Hesse and Christian Thibaudeau until early 2002. In late 1998, we published the first article about Intermittent Fasting and athletes. At this time it was known as The Animal Diet, or Animalbolics. This is our follow-up article with the complete diet and the controversy surrounding it. And no, Ori Hofmekler was not first with his Warrior Diet, Animal was first. Here is the story.

Animalbolics, Part 1 

Everything you've heard regarding bodybuilding/strength training diets has told you to eat 5-6 small meals a day. Anyone who has tried to do this has probably figured out that eating 6 times a day is hard. I for one am not even hungry six times a day, let alone have the time and desire to prepare a meal. Sure there are MRP's (ever notice how the 6 meal a day diet gained popularity when MRP's were introduced?), but not everyone can afford them.

What if I told you that you could gain muscle and lose fat by eating one meal a day? You'd think I was crazy and lock me away with Mike Mentzer in the bodybuilding loony bin. But hear me out and you may be as intrigued as I was when I discovered this diet.

To fully understand the one meal a day diet we have to take a look at what happens when we eat. More specifically when we eat carbohydrates. When we eat carbs we increase the level of blood glucose, which stimulates the secretion of insulin. Insulin is a polypeptide hormone that stimulates the assimilation of glucose into glycogen by the liver. Glycogen is a branched polymer of glucose residues that is the storage for of the latter in the liver and skeletal muscle. Insulin also stops lipolysis (the breakdown and decomposition of fat). So if you are eating 6 times a day you're going to be stopping this breakdown of fat six times a day. It's awful tough to burn fat if you are eating every couple hours.

Let's take a look at our diet in the morning. We already know that working out on an empty stomach in the morning stimulates more weight loss than if we ate before. One thing most people have already learned that burning off fat with aerobics is most effective if done in the morning before you eat. Those who train on empty, more and more, will find out that they have more and more glycogen reserve ability in their muscles and liver. So eating in the morning is going to flood your body with carbs that it really doesn't need. They're turned into fat. After all most of us are going to straight to our cars for work or school where we will sit for the next 8 hours. The only body part that really requires energy is your brain. Have some coffee and if you are on it, a thermogenic supplement. The key is no sugar. If you are starving have a protein drink or some tuna.

For lunch stick with a salad or even another protein drink. You haven't done anything to burn the carbs off still so eating a big meal with spike your insulin and you'll spend the rest of the afternoon in a daze ready to fall asleep.

When you get home from work/school it's workout time!! Eat a low glycemic meal like a piece of fruit or some oatmeal. Go to your workout and burn even more fat. Then after you get to eat.

This is where you eat your simple carb loaded post workout meal. You need no fat and simple carbs with protein after a workout. A couple hours later a complex carb, high protein meal and then sleep.

It's that simple.

As you continue with this diet your insulin sensitivity gets higher and higher, as does your protein efficiency. Sometimes, it goes 30-50% higher. That means that, your protein efficiency could be 30-50% higher. You can eat less than 30% and still digest as much protein.

Take the example of a dog. No not a little wussy dog that whines to be fed all the time but a real dog. You can leave food out all day for a dog giving him the choice of eating whenever he wants, but you'll find the dog will only eat late in the day/early evening.

Anyone who claims to patent or copyright this diet is full of shit. Our ancestors were doing this at the dawn of civilization. They'd hunt all day, barely eating and then make a kill and feast at night. These guys were lean, ripped and powerful.

By not eating carbs during the day you learn to stretch your glycogen reserves. If you control your intake of carbohydrates to the times when you muscle stores of glycogen are depleted then when you replenish the lost glycogen you can actually add more than there was before. This of course is right after a hard workout, where you've just burned a large amount. By taking in the right amount of carbohydrates you can supercompensate for the lost muscle glycogen. You take in a large amount of carbs and then the next morning return to a no carb diet ensuring that no extra carbs are turned into fat.

A normal breakfast consisting of cereal, skim milk, french toast, eggs, toast and juice will leave you insulin levels three times their normal levels for up to four hours after the meal. That's four hours where you could be burning fat. Here is a sample diet...

A Sample Diet (~190lbs)

Breakfast: 3 egg whites and 2 whole eggs
Protein shake, 16oz Orange Juice
Lunch: 1 can Tuna, 1 Orange
Pre-Workout @ 1:45: 16oz Orange Juice
Post-Workout #1 immediately after: Protein Shake w simple carbs
Post-Workout #2 about 1-2hrs later: Protein Shake
Dinner @ 9:00pm: 4oz Ground Sirloin 1oz, cheese, baked potato

Total: 185g of protein 300g carbohydrates 38g fat

You'll notice that at the end of the day that the protein, carbs and fat still equal out to a typical 6 meal a day diet. The key is timing.

Now I'm not suggesting that everyone run home pulling their hair out and throwing out their MRP's. However a friend of mine has tried this diet and has lost 10lbs in two weeks, while maintaining his strength levels. They key is eating enough protein to keep optimal muscle growth.

On non-training days follow a similar diet although you obviously won't need the pre and post workout meals. However you must eat that protein anyway so include a meal in there that includes foods high in protein and low in fat.
So there it is: An effective way to lose fat and retain lean muscle mass quickly and effectively. It's a tough diet and takes a bit of getting used to but it does get results.

Animalbolics, Part 2

The History:
The theory behind Animalbolics dates back over a year on the Varix message board. It started by pointing out the flaws in the ketogenic diet. The idea has been thrown around by various message boards and was soon appearing under a different name; "The Warrior Diet" (hmm I wonder if the wrestler follows or endorses this diet).

The Theory:
That eating 5-6 meals a day actually robs the body of potential fat burning hours and may actually make you fatter. By controlling the times when your body releases insulin you can increase fat loss and protein synthesis.

The Facts:
The diet has produced dramatic results in many people, including our very own Joachim Bartoll and Chris Thibaudeau.

The Controversy: has recently published a series of articles that are interviews with Ori Hofmekler. Who they claim originated this diet. I honestly believe he didn't originate it and T-mag is not recognizing Animals claim, and they even poke fun at him. The diet is a method and/or procedure. Methods and procedures are patentable.

The Original Post:
Here it is straight from the man himself, the original post from close to a year ago, outlining Animalbolics.

From: Animal Email:
On: 10/20/98 11:08:48 PM
Subject: 5-6 MEALS A DAY MAKES YOU FAT!!!!!!
How 5-6 meals a day makes you fat!


That's right, and you read it here first. They make you fat.

After I proved the farce of the ketogenic diets I began to think, 'What type of diet was I on that made me the leanest and put on the most mass!' Then one of the ketogenic diets authors sent me a nasty email which said, 'What diet won't shut down your thyroid, genius.'

Well, if nothing else, he was at least smart enough to realize that those almighty diets do shut down your thyroid. I felt pity for him because it was sad how he was still clinging to dreams of ketosis even though he had been scammed. But realized there was hope for him when he called me 'genius'! He still had the power of rational thinking left and I'd be damned if I didn't help this poor soul.

Hmmm. What diets don't shut down your thyroid? First, what do we know about how the thyroid shuts down when dieting? There are 3 ways; lack of carbohydrate, heat (DNP and external) and DNP binding to T4 protein and excreting it which is actually good, but that is another story. We aren't going to take DNP so those two are out and we are left with lack of carbohydrates. We are also not going to take CLA or pyruvate so we are left with a pure diet with no catches. How can we keep the carbs going? We all know of one diet that won't shut things down and that is the 'Up and down' type diet. We eat normal one day and lower our calories the next and repeat. This maintains all the hormones, but could take quite a long time. We need a faster and possibly simpler way.

Why not eat 5-6 small meals a day? Because it makes you fat! Now we are going to use the ketogenic authors arguments against them. Insulin does what? It drives glucose and needed nutrients into the cells, including fat cells, AND it stops lipolysis!!!! It stops lipolysis!!!!! If I am eating 5-6 times a day I am going to be stopping lipolysis every single time I eat again because I will get an insulin rise which, can you all say it? Stops lipolysis!! You cannot burn fat if you are eating all day!

Now, I am back to thinking about when I was the leanest. About 5 years ago when I was finishing college, but why? Because I only ate 1-2 meals a day! That's right and when you see the logic you will see the light always and realize that another scam has been perpetuated upon all of us in order to cell meal replacements. When did all these 5-6 meals a day really start to hit. When those meal replacements became all the rage. Throw them out because you don't need them anymore!!

We will start our diet in the morning. The night before we replenished all our carbs before going to sleep. It is morning and we wake up and our body is in what mode? Fat burning mode!!! The first thing you usually learn is that if you want to burn the most fat off with aerobics you do it in the morning before you eat. Since we are in fat burning mode why would we want to ruin it with food that would raise insulin? And for what? What exercise are you going to do which you are going to need all that energy for? Remember you are fully carbed from last night. If you are fully carbed up and you eat carbohydrates then where are the carbs going? They can't go to muscle so they are going to FAT! Your morning meal makes you fatter!! So what do we do? You most likely are going to sit in a car and go sit in an office for 8 hours or so. The only thing which needs sugar is your brain and it doesn't need much. To keep in and enhance the fat burning you are going to drink coffee and take an ephedrine or PPA and add some yohimbine. The coffee suppresses blood sugar and the E and Y and PPA cause a release of noradrenaline which is a potent fat burning hormone. If you get hungry you can have a protein drink, but no sugar. Fructose goes to fat automatically and the protein keeps the glycogen level up which is another fat burner. You don't want too much protein, though or that can go to sugar which is going to go to fat, as well.

What do I do for lunch? You want to stay in fat burning mode right? First let's look at what others recommend. Eat your largest meal at lunch! Absolutely and totally wrong. What happens about an hour later. You are so tired from the insulin that you can hardly think and it takes all you can do to stay awake. Not only that, but all the carbs you ate are going to fat! What did you do to deplete the liver or muscle of carbs from the morning until now? NOTHING. You sat at your desk and maybe walked across the street to buy lunch. Your muscles need nothing so it all goes to fat and you ruined your fat burning as well with the insulin from the meal. You eat a light low glycemic high fat meal, like a salad for lunch and have some more ECY and maybe another protein drink. 2 hours - 45 minutes before you are going to work out you eat a low glycemic meal like oatmeal or an apple.

This is scientifically proven to improve performance and will help you burn more fat. You workout and then you get to eat! Your muscles are primed for growth and now you want the insulin to be spiked so you get more glucose and AA's into them. We also know that most if not all of the recovery substrates need to be supplied to the muscle in a two hour window and then again before 6 hours.

Immediately after your workout you consume up to 400 calories in a glucose/protein drink. 2 hours later you hit the damaged muscle again with your regular meal. Your muscles are now loaded with glucose and protein and they are waiting for you to take some ghb and go to bed so they can get some GH.

That's it!. No BS. No pain. Look at it again. You are all carbed up. In the morning you are in or near ketosis and you want to keep it there. Eating would ruin it so you don't eat and besides, the insulin and carbs from the meal have nowhere to go so any calories would just go to fat. You don't do anything strenuous in the morning so you don't eat a high carb lunch which keeps you in ketosis.

Eat a low glycemic meal 45 minutes before your workout. The time to eat and recover is AFTER you have worked out and that is when and how you do it. Simple carbs and protein and then your meal. Sleep. No expensive powders or pills or special foods. Can't get much simpler.

This is now copyrighted material and I am serving notice that this cannot be reprinted, or posted, without my permission. Do it and I sue ya!

There are supplements and steps to follow to get the most out of your thyroid and liver, but that will be later. If you have something to say about this being wrong then get some science to prove it or shut up. Just as I had science to expose the fallacies of ketogenic diets, I also have all the science to back this up.

The Science:

Study performed by Taylor and colleagues.

Following ingestion of a test meal consisting of cereal, skim milk, scrambled eggs, French toast, apple juice, and a milk shake

[200 g (60% or 800 calories) carbohydrate, 45 g (21% fat or 405 calories), 80 g (19% or 320 calories) protein; 1,914 kcall] [The total calories and the breakdown of the intake is wrong because my scanner screwed it up and I don't have the original] by healthy subjects, muscle glycogen concentration did not start to rise until 1-2 hours after eating, and the increase was not statistically significant until 3 hours after eating. Seven hours following the meal, plasma insulin levels were still elevated threefold. Four hours following the meal, muscle glycogen began to fall, suggesting a flux of excess carbon out of the muscle and into storage as triglycerides (fat).

Another argument for Animalobolics! I had been looking for this entry into my comp for 2 years and though I don't have the entire study, that last line is significant. This was a mixed meal containing fat. This is not what you want to do after a workout. Look how long it took glycogen levels in the muscle to rise. 1-2 hours and it wasn't important until 3 hours. You need no fat and simple carbs with protein after a workout. Seven hours following the meal, plasma insulin levels were still elevated threefold. Let's see, you want to eat small meals all day, still? The point is that eating mixed meals gets your insulin up and keeps it up for a long time. Hell, by 7 hours many would have eaten 2 more times and that would push your insulin up even higher and longer. Remember, if insulin is present, fat burning is negative! The magical last line!!! Four hours following the meal, muscle glycogen began to fall, suggesting a flux of excess carbon out of the muscle and into storage as triglycerides (fat).

This is a main point of Animalobolics and why you only have carbs after your workout. Why? Because you carbed up AFTER the workout when it is most important and any further influx of carbs is going to leak out of a fully carbed up muscle and go to fat.

Again, I will give you the basics and most of you can figure out the rest. Base calorie should be figured out at 10-12 x your wt in lbs. All caloric intake is worked out by going backwards from your post workout meal. For that meal you take in 1g carbs for every 1k bodyweight. Now, you also take 1g whey or soy protein for every 2.5g of carbs that you just figured out. Do this immediately and 1-2 hours later. Subtract those numbers from your total caloric intake to see how much else you can eat for your other meals.

200lb man x 12 = 2400 calories. 200/2.2 = 90KG.

90KG = 90g carbs after workout.

90/2.5 = 36g protein.

90g carbohydrates = 360 cal.

36g protein = 145 cal protein.

Total immediate intake is 505 calories.

If you do that regimen 1-2 hours later you will then have 1010calories.

2400 base - workout meals = 1390 calories left to eat for the next 24 hours. (Almost 3 Big Macs) and if you can't make it through the day on those calories I don't know what to tell you) I'll tell you that with all that protein it is hard to eat after those 2 postworkout meals.

ALL YOUR SUBSEQUENT MEALS ARE GOING TO BE NO GLYCEMIC MEALS! Except for 2-3 doses of 200calories worth of fruit for a total of 400-500calories in carbs to keep your liver converting T4-T3. 200 in the morning 100cal or so at lunch and 100-200 at 2hrs before your next workout. 1390 - 500 calories leaves you with 890. If you are taking 1g protein per lb which I find very hard to do, that is 200g protein and 800 calories. You already have taken in 72g protein for 288 calories. From morning until your next workout you then need to get 128 g protein or 512 more calories in protein. That leaves you with only 378 calories in fat which is 42g. Just make sure you eat whey protein and eggs in the morning, then you can eat chicken or tuna salad for lunch.

Animalbolics FAQ:

Q: How do you keep from loosing muscle mass while on this diet? And do you stay on it until you are happy with BF% or do you come of for one or two days a week or what? Is this a good diet to run with a cutting cycle.

A: How do you keep from loosing muscle mass while on this diet? I'll let you answer this for yourself. All protein requirements are met as are carb requirements during the postworkout meals. As long as those are met, how are you going to lose muscle? (you can't and constant supply of insulin has NOTHING to do with maintaining muscle as AA's have their own transport system which ARE NOT affected by insulin. And do you stay on it until you are happy with BF% or do you come of for one or two days a week or what? Most people break diets on weekends, anyhow. Watch the alcohol as that seems to screw it up the most.

Q: Was wondering how you might modify this diet for a lunch time workout. I'm half a block from my gym and can take a 90 min lunch break. This is very convenient and lets me have my nights free. Also, the weight room is always damn near empty at lunch, which lets me super-set and crank up my workout tempo. Mean while, the evening crowds are sooo bad I'd be lucky to even find a weight let a lone lift it...
I'm not trying to compete or anything, but my BF as been a big concern over the last - (YES) - 4 to 5 years.

A: Here's my sense of how to do it. Just eat the protein/glucose drinks right after and 2hrs after your workout. The rest of your meals, make them low/no glycemic. There's nothing magical about working out at night. In animal's example using a PM workout, the person spends most of the day burning bodyfat before the workout. You spend less time in that EC + PPA + yohimbine fat burning at rest state during the day, but you have more hours later in the day where you reenter that state. Like, you go back to the low insulin meals later in the day, whereas the evening workout person, doesn't hit that point of low insulin fat burning till some hrs after his last shake. And he may not even eat again till the next day, the shakes being his last food. If you work out midday you will eat probably 1-2 more times. Look at the overall concept.....low/no insulin meals, then hi glycemic + protein right after and 2hrs after workout. It doesn't really matter when this happens as long as you keep the carbs to post workout. It may be a little better to have a workout later in the day, to have more hours during the day on thermogenic supplements, since if you do a midday workout, you might not be ready to take more ephedrine and caffeine later in the day. That's the only downside I can see.


So there it is. Animalbolics straight from the man. I would like to thank Animal for allowing us to use his work.

If you have any questions please feel free to email me. Also I'd like to hear any feedback you have about this whole diet.

Animalbolics, Part 3: Hormones: How they build muscle and burn fat

This is the third and final installment in the Animalbolics series. However, this article goes way beyond just what to eat and when. This is my own attempt to explain the very basics of how the components of this diet work. This is more or less a lesson into how hormones affect the way our body uses food.

There are 6 hormones that are chiefly responsible for determining whether the food we eat ends up as muscle, fat or just get burned as energy are: insulin, glucagon, growth hormone, thyroid hormone, cortisol and epinephrine.

Over 90% of people who lose weight by caloric restriction return to their original weight within two years. This is because there is a weight-regulating center in your hypothalamus, which tries to maintain a constant body weight. (The hypothalamus and pituitary gland together represent the master endocrine gland of the body, controlling all of your hormonal responses.) It works like a thermostat by controlling your hunger level and your body's metabolic rate. These effects are mediated by the nervous system and by hormones and enzymes involved in fat metabolism. If you want to change your body weight, or your body composition, you have to change the set point. The ratio of insulin to glucagon is perhaps the most important determinant of the set point and Animalbolics is the method to control this.

Obese people are very rarely overweight because they overeat, but rather because the way they eat and their lack of exercise raise the set point and act to channel calories to fat stores.

So how do you get control of your hormones and use this information to be a better bodybuilder? By careful control of your diet and exercise habits. The most important hormones involved in muscle growth are growth hormone (whose effect is largely mediated by the paracrine hormone IGF1), insulin and testosterone.

The most important hormones in fat loss are insulin (lack of insulin, that is), epinephrine, growth hormone, glucagon, thyroid hormone and cortisol. Most of these can be controlled by diet and exercise and will fall within optimal levels if you follow our nutrition and training guidelines.

As you can see insulin is a very important hormone to maintain control of when looking to lose fat. Insulin is a protein hormone, produced in the islets of Langerhans of the pancreas that regulates the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, and starches in the body. The most important role of insulin is to regulate blood glucose levels. It does this by moving glucose into cells after a meal. It also increases the use of glucose for energy and increases glycogen stores. Too much insulin has the effect of promoting fat storage.

Both insulin and glucagon are produced by the pancreas, but have opposite effects. The concern of these hormones is blood sugar regulation. After eating a carbohydrate, it is digested and sent into the bloodstream as glucose. As blood glucose levels rise, so does the release of insulin, which is required to move glucose into muscle cells for use as energy or to be stored as glycogen. If blood sugar levels rise too quickly, a large insulin release results. When this occurs, some of the glucose can be converted and stored as fat instead of being stored as glycogen. Also, too much glucose can be moved into cells, causing hypoglycemia. Glucagon is released when blood glucose levels become too low. This hormone prepares fat to be used for energy as well as muscle glycogen stores. The net result is to keep blood glucose levels normalized. By manipulation of the diet, you can regulate the insulin to glucagon ratio. This is a basic premise of Animalbolics. By negating carbohydrates you force your blood glucose levels so low that glucagon is released. Glucagon must be released in great quantities to work effectively at fat burning. So an extreme lack of insulin is necessary.

When you eat carbohydrates they are digested and absorbed by the small intestine and transported directly to the liver via the portal vein. Essentially, all of the carbohydrates you eat are converted to glucose by the liver before being released into the bloodstream. After a meal your blood glucose level rises as carbohydrates are released. This rise in blood sugar triggers a release of insulin from the pancreas. Insulin is required to help move glucose into cells by a process called "facilitate diffusion." Once inside cells, the glucose is burned for energy or stored as glycogen. This is a normal body function. The problem arises when carbohydrates are released into the bloodstream too fast. This causes too much insulin to be released. When insulin levels get too high, some of the carbohydrate is converted to fat instead of being stored as glycogen. Also, if insulin levels get too high this actually causes too much sugar to be moved into cells. This results in "hypoglycemia," which means low blood sugar. If your blood sugar is too low you feel very tired. Simple sugars cause your blood sugar level to spike, then paradoxically to decrease to a lower level than before.

Glucagon is a 29 amino acid peptide hormone liberated in the A-cells of the islets of Langerhans. Glucagon-producing A cells represent one of the earliest populations of detectable islet cells in the developing endocrine pancreas. The key biological actions of glucagon converge on regulation of glucose homeostasis through enhanced synthesis and mobilization of glucose in the liver. It has the opposite effect of insulin. An increase in blood sugar triggers a release of insulin but inhibits glucagon release. Glucagon is released several hours after a meal when blood sugar levels drop. Glucagon has the effect of reducing glucose for energy and stimulating breakdown of body fat and the use of fat for energy. Glucagon also stimulates the glycogen breakdown. The net result of glucagon is to raise the glucose levels back to normal and to signal the body to begin using fat for energy since it's running low on carbs. This is how the insulin-glucagon axis acts to regulate blood sugar levels. Insulin decreases blood sugar by moving glucose into the cells, stimulating glucose burning for energy and increasing glycogen storage. Glucagon acts to increase blood glucose levels by stimulating glycogen breakdown, stimulating glucose synthesis by a process known as gluconeogenesis, and by shifting the metabolism from carb-burning to fat-burning.

Glucagon decreases phosphofructokinase and glycogen synthase, which decrease glycolysis and glycogen synthesis, respectively. Glucagon also increases the activities of fructose-1, 6-biphosphatase and phosphorylase, which increase gluconeogenesis and glycogenolysis, respectively. Regarding fat metabolism, insulin acts to stimulate aceytl-CoA carboxylase and lipoprotein lipase, the most important enzymes regulating fat synthesis and storage, respectively. Glucagon inhibits these same two enzymes. In addition, glucagon activates adenylate cyclase, which initiates a cascade of events resulting in mobilization of fatty acids from fat stores. The fats are then transported to the muscles and used for energy.

While insulin and glucagon are controlled entirely by diet, the most effective way to control growth hormone, testosterone and epinephrine is by exercise. This is why exercise is required to gain muscle and lose fat. If you try to lose weight by cutting calories, about half of the weight you will lose will be muscle. Conversely, if you gain weight simply by increasing calories without exercising; you'll just get fat. Exercise is required to set up the proper hormonal milieu allowing selective fat loss and muscle gain. The favorable effects of exercise in increasing muscle mass while decreasing fat stores are mediated largely through growth hormone, testosterone and epinephrine.

Growth hormone (GH) is the most important hormone responsible for normal growth during childhood. Human growth hormone (also called somatotropin) is a protein of 191 amino acids. The GH-secreting cells are stimulated to synthesize and release GH by the intermittent arrival of growth hormone releasing hormone (GHRH) from the hypothalamus. GH promotes body growth by:

  • binding to receptors on the surface of liver cells
  • this stimulates them to release insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1; also known as somatomedin)
  • IGF-1 acts directly on the ends of the long bones promoting their growth

Without growth hormone, a person will never attain adult stature. Growth hormone has profound effects on the growth of the skeleton as well as the muscles. Testosterone and estrogen produced during puberty cause the skeleton to mature and stop growing, but growth hormone still promotes muscle growth and fat loss in adults. Growth hormone is released from the pituitary gland when it receives the appropriate signals. One of these signals is "growth hormone releasing hormone" (GHRH) which comes from the hypothalamus.

There are several things you can do to naturally increase your GH levels. One is to get a good night's sleep. Growth hormone is released maximally during sleep, normally about three hours after you fall asleep. Trying to build muscle without getting enough rest is nearly impossible. Second, GH release is increased during and just after intense exercise. The most effective training style for increasing GH release is high volume training. Third, eat a high protein diet. This not only stimulates GH release, but also provides the building blocks you need to build new muscle tissue. Fourth, certain combinations of amino acids have been shown to increase GH release and result in increased lean body mass.

Insulin: Optimal concentrations of insulin are required for normal growth during postnatal life. Insulin stimulates protein synthesis and inhibits protein breakdown. Without insulin, normal responses to GH are not seen and protein breakdown is severe. Insulin promotes growth primarily by shuttling nutrients (glucose and some amino acids) inside cells, providing energy and the building blocks for protein synthesis. Note that insulin and GH must both be present at the same time for normal growth to occur. This is because insulin and GH each shuttle a DIFFERENT compliment of essential amino acids inside cells, and of course all of the essential amino acids must be present at the same time for protein synthesis (and thus growth) to occur. Neither insulin nor GH alone is sufficient to support normal growth - it takes optimal levels of all the body's hormones to produce optimal health and optimal gains. As noted in a previous bulletin, excess insulin cannot create muscle mass, but it will promote fat storage. It's not the calories in sugar that make you fat - it's the insulin response.

Glucocorticoids: Glucocorticoids (primarily cortisol) promote optimal function of a wide variety of organ systems, but do not have direct growth promoting actions. Excess GC's inhibit growth by the catabolic effects of cortisol (increased protein breakdown). Normal levels of GC's seem to be needed to permit optimal function of the other hormones. The concept here is that glucocorticoids act to stimulate (or maintain) optimal levels (amounts) of metabolic enzymes, whose activities in turn are regulated by the other hormones. GC's sort of set the stage and make sure all of the machinery is in place. Cortisol functions to make sure the key regulatory enzymes are present in sufficient amounts to allow allosteric regulation (enzyme regulation via small effector molecules such as metabolic intermediates) and enzyme regulation by other hormones. Also, cortisol is important in maintenance of glucose levels and resistance to stress, which intuitively would seem important for normal growth.

Thyroid hormone is present in two forms, known as T3 and T4 {triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4)} T4 and T3 are derivatives of the amino acid tyrosine with three (T3) or four (T4) atoms of iodine. These two hormones have many effects on the body. Among the most prominent of these are:

  • an increase in metabolic rate (seen by a rise in the uptake of oxygen)
  • an increase in the rate and strength of the heart beat

Most of the circulating hormone is in the form of T4 that is converted to the more active T3 form inside target cells. Thyroidectomy (removal of the thyroid gland) has nearly as devastating an effect on growth as does hypophysectomy (removal of the pituitary gland - the body's source of GH). Restoration of T3 and T4 promptly reinitiates growth. T3 and T4 have little if any growth promoting effect in the absence of GH however. T3 acts to promote the actions of GH at three levels: GH synthesis, GH secretion and GH action. Plasma concentrations of GH are very low in the absence of T3 or T4. This action is independent of GHRH (growth hormone releasing hormone) and appears to be exerted directly at the level of gene transcription. In addition to its permissive effects on GH synthesis, T3 maintains normal responsiveness of somatotropes (the cells that make GH) to GHRH. Failure of growth in thyroid deficient individuals is largely due to GH deficiency. However, even large amounts of GH cannot sustain normal growth in thyroidectomized animals unless thyroid hormone is also given. Thyroxin decreases the amount of GH needed to stimulate growth (increases sensitivity) and exaggerates the magnitude of the response (increases efficacy). T3 and T4 seem to potentate the effects of GH on long bones and to increase its effects on protein synthesis in muscle and liver.

Controlling all of the above hormones is key when looking to maximize muscle gains and /or fat loss. The premise behind Animalbolics allows you to do this more effectively than most diets. Learning about these hormones and how they work and relate to each other is a good step in helping to plan your own diet and training regimen. For more information about the above topics I would suggest the following reading:

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2. de Castro JM, Paullin SK and DeLugas GM. Insulin and glucagon as determinants of body weight set point and microregulation in rats. J. Comp. Physiol. Psychol. 92: 571-579, 1978.

3. Guyton AC. Textbook of Medical Physiology. WB Saunders, 1991.

4. Westphal, SA, Gannon MC and Nuttall FQ. Metabolic response to glucose ingested with various amounts of protein. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 52: 267-272, 1990.

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