Produced in the pineal gland, melatonin acts like a symphony conductor to signal and trigger the production of hormones at specific times, according to "Power Aging" by Gary Null. Melatonin also triggers the release of GH, or growth hormone, according to "Hormone Helpers" by Jose Antonio. And it regulates circadian rhythms, telling your body when to sleep. With age, you produce far less melatonin, which explains why some older people have trouble sleeping. Melatonin alone will not trigger muscle building, but taken at opportune times, in conjunction with proper diet and training, it can improve your fitness results.
Take three to five milligrams of melatonin one hour before your weight training workout to boost your body's levels of muscle building and fat burning GH, according to "Natural Anabolics" by Jerry Brainum. Taking melatonin during the day should not make you feel sleepy, but if it does, consider taking a caffeinated supplement along with it to pick up your energy.
Stack 600 mg alpha-GPC, 1.5 to three g of each L-arginine and L-lysine and three to five g of GABA along with melatonin to further increase the production of GH during your workout, says Antonio in "Hormone Helpers."
Train intensely with weights for no more than 60 minutes at a time. Training longer than this triggers the secretion of catabolic, or muscle breakdown, hormones like cortisol, and diminishes the benefits of anabolic hormones like testosterone and GH, according to "Optimum Anabolics" by Jeff Anderson. Focus on compound movements that trigger the release of muscle building hormones and target a lot of muscle fibers efficiently. Examples include squats, deadlifts, bench presses and other multi-joint exercises. Train in the eight to 12 hypertrophy, or muscle growth, range to get the most out of your workouts.
Drink a protein shake with both fast-digesting protein and carbohydrates immediately after your workout. As soon as the hard work in the gym is done, the healing process must begin. Your body cannot start to repair damaged muscles until you provide the right nutrition. Anderson recommends 30 to 50 g of whey protein and 60 to 100 g of high-glycemic carbohydrates like dextrose or fruit juice. This will trigger another anabolic hormone, known as insulin, which acts to drive nutrients into muscles.
Take in five to eight smaller meals throughout the day to provide a trickle effect of amino acids and other nutrients to healing muscles. If needed, replace meals with protein or weight gainer shakes to make up for missed meals. When you do eat whole food, choose lean proteins, low-glycemic carbs and healthy unsaturated fats. An example of a perfect muscle building meal would be salmon fillets cooked in olive oil, one cup of brown rice and broccoli .
Take another one to five milligrams of melatonin before bed. Sleep is an important time for muscle repair, and many of your anabolic hormones, like GH, are produced during REM sleep. Adequate sleep is paramount to muscle building success because irregular sleep patterns can negatively impact hormone production.
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Always check with your doctor before you begin supplementation with any hormonal substance. Melatonin may cause drowsiness, particularly in the morning after taking it the previous night; this is referred to as a "hangover" effect.
Do not take melatonin if you have a history or are at risk for clinical depression.