Are you looking in the wrong places to optimize hormone release?
Showering habits that will help you pack on the muscle that you've been missing.
For decades, anyone that has been involved in any sport has always looked for ways to beat out the competition. These included: training harder, longer and "smarter", buying the newest equipment, and employing the smartest scientists and trainers to optimize hormone excretion and decrease recovery time. And then, some just took the shorter and easier route and injected the hormones straight into their bodies. There is obviously an argument for which is morally correct, but that will have to be saved for your own personal time.
It is a well known fact that massages, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), and Soft myofascial release (SMFR) can be very relaxing and have the added benefit of releasing key hormones that are essential in building lean muscle. But, recent studies are showing that showers (specifically ones with deep scrubbing) can have the same effect as these expensive alternatives. I know for most this may be very hard to believe but if you break down the basics of a daily shower routine, you will be able to see why science is pointing in this direction. For the average person, this is what a daily shower would look like:
- Turn on the shower and select a specific temperature (the hotter the better)
- Soak body with water to help with lathering process
- Lather body with preferred body soap
- Use Loofa to exfoliate dead skin cells from body
- Rinse dirt and grime from body with cold water
- Dry body
Each one of these typical steps hides its own unique benefit to making you the best, most hormone charged/balanced athlete that you can be. Lets break them down:
Water temperature selection:
Most people prefer a hot shower and this may be buried deep within their DNA without them knowing. Is it just a coincidence that all doctors want you to warm up before stretching or that massage therapists always place you under a warm blanket before they begin your massage? The body has a primitive need for being at an elevated temperature because it is able to metabolize and create energy at a much more efficient rate. Therefore, when selecting a hot temperature, you are "priming" the body, so-to-speak, for an epic release of muscle building, fat burning hormones.
Soaking the body with water:
Now that the surrounding atmosphere is hot, we need to acclimate the body to this temperature. Rapid changes in temperature can have very bad effects on the body especially when moving from hot to cold, but reverse that, and the changes are magnificent!! Researchers from the Mentira University took 23 volunteers from an Eskimo tribe in Alaska and placed them in a 100 degree steam box one hour a day for two months. The results showed that the extreme temperature change forced their bodies to burn fat and increased testosterone production by an amazing 58%!! Think about the all the wasted time you've spent taking "lukewarm" showers.
Though most people like to move directly from soaking to deep scrubbing, this may not be the best way to optimize peripheral blood flow. When the skin is softly lathered before deep scrubbing, the dermis has a chance to open the pores and capillaries allowing the skin to breathe which increases production of GH and decreases peripheral cortisol levels. If this step is skipped or the process is rushed, the body will constrict capillaries which will halt any possible positive anabolic effects that you could have from this showering process.
Use a Loofa to exfoliate dead skin cells from body:
This is where the money is made and the gains are earned. As with massages and SMFR, deep tissue work is where all of the hormones are released into your body like a 250cc shot of testosterone Ethanate straight to the glutes!!! Now that your skin is prepped and ready to go, lets grab the loofa and get to work. Brudna Dupa University located in Poland recently showed that sustained clockwise deep scrubbing for 45 seconds per body part, 2 times a day increased GH production and free testosterone levels by 34%!! Obviously you want to make sure that the loofa that you choose is not too abrasive as you do not want to sustain any damage to the epidermis, but you still want to get the exfoliating effects that a loofa can provide. We are looking for deep tissue penetration here, so try to press hard without being too aggressive. And remember, 45 seconds per body part.
Rinse body with cold water:
I know I mentioned earlier that extreme changes from hot to cold can cause negative effects on the body, but if it is done correctly, it can seal in the process that we have already started. The key here though, is to avoid allowing the face to get wet in the process. When the face is cooled too quickly, something called the Mammalian Divers Reflex can happen. This happens when whales dive deep into the ocean and it causes the respiratory drive, heart rate, and metabolism to drop drastically allowing them to stay underwater for longer periods of time. This is great for whales, but for us, it can cause a syncopal episode and that's the last thing that we need. So, crank the water to ice cold, step back, cover your face and jump in!! What this will do is allow your body to differentiate between the deep scrubbing anabolic release and the cool down recovery state.
I came across a body sized "ShamWow" and at first I thought "this is useless", but as I dove further and further into the science of anabolic showering I realized that aggressive drying could actually be causing negative effects. Traditional towels require too much pressure and repeated patterns to effectively dry the skin, this could negate the cold shower process that we just performed. But, with the technology of the body sized ShamWow, we can dry the skin with minimal trauma allowing it to stay in the recovery state.
Now, even if you follow the above steps to improve your anabolic self, you still have to make sure that you are doing these at optimal times. According to the Journal of Expert Showering, the best times to shower are exactly 90 minutes prior to going to bed and 35 minutes after waking up. Both times are associated with peak GH and Dopamine levels. I can tell you that I practice what I preach and I have been following this routine for 5 weeks and I can already see big differences in the gym and my personal life. My bench press has gone up 7.5%, my back squat has increased 36%, and my snatch has increased an amazing 44%!!! Not to mention, my skin has a healthy red glow from all of the deep scrubbing. I hope this helps you on your journey to greatness; I know that it has helped me!!!
For those of you who made it through this entire article.... Happy April Fool's Day!
Please see my most recent article:
Protein Toothpaste: Brushing your teeth is work, why not reward them with gainz!!!