Anabolic Hormones Do Not Lead to Muscle Protein Synthesis
A popular bodybuilding myth is that increased levels of growth promoting hormones after exercise play a key role in building muscle and strength. There is simply no evidence to support this concept. In two separate studies, published in the Journal of Applied Physiology and the European Journal of Applied Physiology, researchers found that a bodybuilding participant who tries to manipulate those hormones through exercise training is wasting their time. Researchers learned that anabolic hormones, known to be essential for building a muscular body, do not influence the process leading to muscle growth known as muscle protein synthesis.
Bodybuilding Men and Women Made New Muscle Protein at Exactly the Same Rate
The first study had researchers reviewed the responses of both male and female bodybuilding participants to intense leg training. With a 45-fold difference in testosterone increase, both men and women made new muscle protein at exactly the same rate. New muscle proteins eventually add up to muscle growth. At high doses such as steroid abuse, testosterone is definitely anabolic and promotes muscle growth but the research shows that naturally occurring levels of testosterone do not influence the rate of muscle protein synthesis.
Cortisol Has Opposite Effect of Anabolic Hormones
The second study had scientists analysed the post-exercise hormonal responses of 56 men, aged from 18 to 30, who weight trained 5 days a week for 12 weeks. The men gained muscle that ranged from nothing to exceeding that of 12 pounds, yet their testosterone levels and growth hormone after exercise training showed no affiliation to muscle growth and increased strength. Interestingly, the study notes that cortisol is known to have the opposite effect of anabolic hormones because it reduces protein synthesis and breaks down tissue.