This hormone pretty much does what it says on the tin, it contributes to growth by helping to regenerate bone, muscle and connective tissues such as collagen. In addition to this, growth hormone also plays a role in the metabolism of fat so maximising the amount of growth hormone secreted by the body is definitely in the interest of anybody looking to gain lean muscle mass.

The two main triggers for increased secretion of this anabolic hormone are sleep and exercise. Although the exact reasons and mechanisms behind an exercise-induced growth hormone response are not yet fully understood, it is clear that high intensity training in particular increases the levels of Growth Hormone secreted by the body.

It appears that high intensity resistance training is most effective when it comes to raising Growth Hormone levels and by high intensity we mean working above the lactate threshold for at least ten minutes to gain the greatest hormonal response. In addition to increasing the secretion immediately after exercise, high intensity work also appears to raise the levels of Human Growth Hormone at rest.

To increase the intensity of your workout several factors can be manipulated. Firstly, you could simply increase the weight that you are lifting or increase the number of repetitions. You could also decrease rest intervals between sets. A combination of all of these methods is likely to result in a hugely elevated growth hormone response.

Research has shown that to maximise the utility of the post exercise increase in Growth Hormone, protein should be ingested within 30 minutes of finishing a training session. However, further research has shown that this may not be as beneficial for elite athletes who are not necessarily aiming for a large chemical response to their training and are focused on performance. These athletes aim to recover more rapidly so that performance is not hindered by muscle fatigue and the delayed onset of muscle soreness. If performance is your goal then it would be more beneficial to consume a carbohydrate to protein ratio of 4:1 (so for every 400g of carbohydrate eat 100g protein).


- Charlotte Fisher

Nutritional Science Student