Muscle model

There are 4 key components that come into play and will literally make or break your efforts of achieving the physique you want. (I know you’re probably anxious to hear about them so lets get started).

  • Hormones
  • Nutrients (macro/micro)
  • Calories
  • Training

(You were expecting something more. Damn shame. In the simplest terms it really does boil down to this).

Tick of each of these boxes and watch as your body gradually changes. Each of these components works together in conjunction with one another to produce results.

Now maximising each of these areas will result in a “rapid” transformation.

Note: I’m not saying you’ll gain 15 pounds of pure muscle in 6 weeks. You will however, allow your body to function optimally and build up at it’s own pace.

For the sake of simplicity and to keep things short, (relatively speaking) in this first part of the series we’ll cover hormones.

Note: Most people’s efforts to build muscle would go a lot smoother, if they had a relatively low body fat to begin with. (Relax, it’ll all become clear).


(Obviously if you’re on chemicals, this isn’t really a concern).

Since we’re addressing the issue of muscle growth, the key hormones we’re concerned about is none other than big daddy testosterone, the most anabolic hormone in the body, insulin and to an extent growth hormone.

All three of these hormones play a major part if you want to grow muscle tissue. Therefore, maximising these becomes priority number one.

The first thing I would do is lean down. Yep, that’s right I would lean down a bit to make improve my body’s level of sensitivity to insulin.

Lower body fat  = better hormonal response, mainly in the form of insulin sensitivity, which results in better overall nutrient partitioning.

Shedding fat also has an effect on testosterone levels, improving them, whereas being a fat ass leads to increased estrogen. (Not good when it comes to being lean and more importantly masculine).

The fatter you are the worse your body is at efficiently utilising nutrients.

So increasing insulin sensitivity and losing body fat is the first piece of the puzzle.

I’ve found the best approach for me personally is to adopt a diet lower in carbs, anywhere from around 50-120 grams a day.

I’d keep protein to about 1-1.5grams and increase the fats to compensate for the drop in carbs.

Depending on current body fat levels I would maintain that for the course of 1-3 weeks.

If you’ve got a lot of lard to lose, I recommend sticking to the above protocol for 3 weeks, before transitioning to a more conventional fat loss approach.

If we’re talking body fat ranges, In approximation, if you’re around 15% body fat with no visible abdominal definition, I would lean down till about 10% then up the calories in order to spur new growth.

If you’re at 10% body fat already and have some semblance of a six pack, I would still lean down a to about 7-8% body fat, before upping the calories and prioritising muscle and size gains.

Note: You don’t need to get super shredded 4-5% body fat.  Going below 7-8% starts to become tedious and demanding on the body.

It seems counter intuitive to go the opposite direction, but in the long run it’s definitely well worth it.

You’ll find you put on less fat during muscle gain phases. (I hate the word bulking and the idea of conventional bulking).  

Your body will also absorb and make use of the nutrients you’re feeding it and will push them towards the muscle cells instead of the fat cells.

In short, you’ll have an easier time building muscle without accumulating heaps of unwanted fat. (You don’t want to turn into a doughnut now, do you?).

Most people want to look good throughout the year, not just for 1-2 weeks out of 52.

Unless you’re a professional, competitive bodybuilder, or borderline anorexic or bulimic, conventional bulking is not the most optimal or conductive way to build muscle and look good naked.

By getting leaner first you’ll promote better insulin sensitivity, which will enable your body to shuttle nutrients to your muscle cells instead of your fat cells. Thus keeping you leaner during periods of higher caloric intake(It’s worth repeating). 

There are various ways to naturally go about raising your testosterone levels. However, they’ll never compare to being chemically enhanced, so get the notion of becoming a super freak out of your head.

Here are some things you can implement, if raising your testosterone, improving muscle mass and body composition is your goal.

  • Lean down – If you have a BMI (Body Mass Index) of 25 and can’t see your toes, you need to lose fat period. Don’t even consider a muscle gain phase until you have some abdominal definition.  If you’re skinny fat, same thing applies. Your first priority should be to balance your out of whack hormones. It makes the muscle building process a lot smoother.
  • Sleep sufficiently– 7-8hrs a night. During sleep cycles the body is repairing and testosterone peaks during the night.
  • Eat some fat– Fats aren’t the enemy, but if you over do them they aren’t going to be your friend. Avoid trans fats as much as possible. They’re the worst kind. I stick to fatty cuts of meat, egg yolks, nuts, avocado’s, butter olive oil and fish oil for my fats.
  • Supplement with zinc and vitamin D3- If you have an issue with low testosterone, supplementing with zinc and vitamin D3 has been shown to improve levels of T.  
  • Get your levels checked– Visit your doc and get your levels checked. If they’re low he/she can give you some pointers.
  • Avoid over consuming caffeine- Caffeine is a stimulant. Yes it can aid fat loss by mobilizing fatty deposits from fat cells, allowing them to be more readily burned during training. However, too much caffeine in the long-term will fry your adrenal glands and cause your body to (unnecessarily) secrete cortisol, resulting in lowered T levels

What about Growth Hormone?

 Growth hormone is important. Most people understand the importance of it when fat loss is a concern.

It has an important role in the body’s ability to utilise fat from fat stores, as well as allow the body to recover optimally.

Thus, proper sleep is important as gh is secreted by the pituitary gland during nightfall.

So partying, getting stoned and staying up late to watch bad(cheesy) horror movies are not going to help you. Not to mention when your sleep cycle is out of whack your body’s cortisol levels go up.

I’m not going to get to in depth with cortisol, other than to say you want to keep it low the majority of the time.

It’s a stress hormone that’s released when your body is over stressed.

When cortisol levels are up gh and testosterone go down. Similar to a seesaw, when one goes up the other comes down.

So not sleeping enough, being overly stressed out taking in too much caffeine (all you coffee drinkers out there) and training too damn long, will raise cortisol levels.

Back to Growth hormone then.

While it doesn’t necessarily promote muscle growth it does play a key role in the preservation of muscle tissue.

So how do you go about naturally increasing it?

Other than ensuring sufficient sleep at night, I would throw in a bit of interval training. I like to run sprints 1-2 times a week, either on foot or on the bike.

Generally speaking, after intense training your body’s level of gh will be up.

The only real way to boost gh considerably is to inject synthetic growth hormone out of a vial. It’s true. Nothing you can do naturally will compare to what you can do when enhanced.

That’s just the nature of the beast.

Cheer up, there’s still plenty you can do on your own. It’s still possible to look good without chemical assistance.

If you found this article helpful don’t forget to like, share and subscribe. Don’t miss the next article, Part 2 Nutrients and calories. 


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