Weightlifting can help you make changes to your body such as trimming your waistline or bulking up your biceps. But all of the changes weightlifting makes are not visible to the naked eye. In addition to altering your physique, weightlifting can cause increases in several different hormones. Consult your doctor before starting any weightlifting routine.
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What Are Hormones?
At any given time, your body has countless different hormones actively influencing characteristics ranging from your mood to your body's growth and development. Hormones are chemical messengers -- typically produced in your endocrine glands -- that cause cells or organs to take certain actions, such as increasing production of muscle mass in the case of testosterone.
Weightlifting helps encourage the production of a number of hormones, including growth hormone. According to researchers at Pennsylvania State University, workouts using heavy weights and sets of between three and 12 repetitions each can help maximize growth-hormone production. And, that's a good thing -- particularly for women, who rely on growth hormone to increase muscle and bone strength, according to Science Daily.
Not all weightlifting-related hormone production is beneficial. Cortisol, also known as the stress hormone, can damage your body's cells and impair muscle development. Weightlifting can cause increases in your cortisol levels, particularly if you don't get a good meal after lifting. Research published in the April 2010 issue of the "European Journal of Applied Physiology" showed that consuming a lower carbohydrate diet in conjunction with intense workout sessions can increase levels of cortisol in your body.