After you work out, do you have the feeling that you can do anything?
Well, you’re not alone. That “runner’s high” (which is actually triggered by any form of exercise, not just running) comes about because exercise floods your body with endorphins. This lifts your mood and stimulates the release of another important hormone that affects your metabolism: human growth hormone (HGH). This hormone is something we all want, and lots of it. It builds muscle, burns fat, helps you resist heart disease, protects your bones, and increases your overall health.
To be clear, I’m NOT taking about the injected HGH that you’ve heard about in the news, in reference to doped-up athletes – I’m talking about the natural kind that your body produces with exercise.
The key to turning your body into a growth hormone factory is to exercise at a high intensity level. During intense exercise – like cardio intervals, growth hormone spurs the body to use fat as fuel instead of glucose. So you burn more fat as you exercise, and you’re keeping your blood glucose levels stable, which gives you more energy to keep going. On the other hand, lack of exercise makes your muscles insulin-resistant and suppresses growth hormone.