If you’re gunning for serious muscle, cutting down on cardio may seem like a no-brainer. Endurance training helps you to chase down holistic benefits, but its rep for fast calorie burn puts it at odds with adding size in time for T-shirt season. For that, conventional wisdom suggests, heavy metal is your only option – health and fitness be damned.
But new science suggests that this needn’t be the case. French researchers have found a way to stay swole without sacrificing health, stamina or cardio’s impressive fat-loss potential. They have discovered that cardio training with sufficient water in your system can open the floodgates for muscle-building hormones – and that regular H2O can have an anabolic effect, helping to support growth.
In a study published in the European Journal of Endocrinology, the scientists asked test subjects to cycle on a stationary bike and measured fluctuations in their levels of human growth hormone (HGH). One group was given enough water to replace fluids lost through sweat, while the other went without. The hydrated cyclists produced 40% more HGH, translating to more fat lost and more muscle maintained.
The results suggest that receptors in the bloodstream stimulate HGH production when the fluid level ruses. This supports the findings of a separate study at California State University, which observed that dehydrated body builders experience a spike in the stress hormone cortisol and a limited release of testosterone and HGH after heavy lifting.
Getting enough water could turn the tide on these results. If you want to full your T-shirt, make sure you fill your bottle first.
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