Most athletes know that intense exercise triggers the release of growth hormone (GH) and anabolic growth factors such as IGF-1 within the body. Now research shows that men with high fitness levels secrete more of these potent anabolic hormones in response to exercise, and they have higher resting levels compared to sedentary men.
A High Level of Fitness Ensures High Growth Hormone and IGF-1 Secretion
In this study, seven men who perform regular, intense exercise were compared with seven age-matched sedentary men during two exercise trials (cycling 60 minutes) at varying intensities. Circulating GH, IGF-1, insulin and glucose levels were monitored during and after the workouts.
Results showed that the men who perform regular, intense exercise had greater insulin sensitivity and glucose regulation. These men also exhibited higher levels of GH and IGF-1 in response to the bout of exercise.
Consequently, these men also showed higher resting concentrations of these hormones compared to males who didn’t exercise regularly. The scientists concluded that exercise training increased the activity of the GH/IGF-I system in men and this results in greater GH/IGF-1 output.
Although this study was performed on older men (mean age 51), I see no reason why these results would not apply to men aged in their 40s or even 30s – the age when circulating levels of these anabolic hormones start to decline. The fit men in this study performed regular intense cardio work. So keep at that cardio, the research is providing more and more health benefits from intense aerobic exercise.
I like to get warm and keep warm when I train. I workout wearing a few layers of clothes to get my body temperature up. I really think that elevating my body temperature improves the intensity of my workouts. I wanted to know if you had any thoughts on this strategy?
You may be on to something there. The results of a recent study suggest that increased body temperature is critical for the release of growth hormone (GH) during exercise.
A group of British researchers compared GH responses following 45 minutes of intense exercise at room temperature or a cooler temperature (39 degrees F). The GH responses of the participants were significantly lower when they exercised in the cold temperature. Therefore, elevating body temperature may be important for optimal GH release during training, particularly in cold climates.
When training in cooler temperatures, wearing some extra clothing will help elevate your body temperature during the initial stages of your workouts. This in turn may ensure a high level of GH release during and after the workout.
However, I recommend you don’t over do it. That is, don’t over heat yourself. Make sure you wear a few layers that you can peel off as your body temperature increases. Elevating your core temperature too high will have a detrimental impact on athletic performance.