Insulin is the most misunderstood hormones and probably the most controversial one. Due to increased popularity of current low carb diets, there is an ever-growing number or people with ‘carb phobia’ who view insulin as a hormone that promotes fat gain and disease.

It is human nature to label things good or bad and nothing comes close to being labelled good or bad than insulin (actually fats, discussed in another blog post are probably a close second).

If you’re looking to lose fat, people generally think of insulin as 100% evil and think it makes us fat by inhibiting fat burning and promoting fat storage.

Granted, over spiking of insulin has indeed been regarded as the main culprit for the current epidemic of weight gain, obesity and diabetes but many fail to realize that despite its reputation as a fat loss inhibitor (which technically it is, and I’ll explain that in greater detail below), insulin’s biological functions are critically important for muscle gain AND for that of fat loss.

Avoiding insulin is not the key for fat loss, its manipulating it to suit your goals wherein the true gold lies.


Insulin plays a critical role in promoting the actions of insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF 1), which facilities swift anabolic actions in the muscle i.e. helps you build muscle. Insulin and IGF 1 are peptide hormones with similar molecular structures. Both IGF 1 and insulin are potent anabolic agents that can inhibit breakdown of muscle protein (stop you losing muscle) while promoting amino acid uptake; whereas IGF1 promotes fat loss, insulin does the opposite and inhibits it, here in lies the problem.

There is a way to ‘hack’ this so you get the best of both worlds, all the fat burning and muscle building effects of IGF 1 and Insulin but none of the fat gain.


One of keys to burning body fat is boosting IGF 1 (without boosting insulin) during the day then boosting IGF 1 alongside Insulin at your most insulin sensitive times (post workout/ and or first thing in the morning).

This basically means you can turn your body into a fat burning machine but preserving or build (if in a calorie surplus) muscle at the same time. To take full advantage of this complicated way in which insulin affects IGF1, try incorporating these diet and supplement IGF 1 boosting hacks below:


1) CUTTING CARBS IN PRE WOKOUT MEAL: Training with lower levels of glucose and/or glycogen enhances the signal to increase both growth hormone and IGF 1 receptors in the muscles. I would still supplement with Branch Chain Amino Acids before, during or after to further stimulate protein synthesis.

Note: There are always exceptions to every rule. As discussed in an early chapter, Some people will ‘run’ better off carbohydrates, if you have 100% determined that you are a carbohydrate person (however, even most ‘carbohydrate’ people benefit from cutting carbs in this meal) or have a super-fast metabolism (ie ‘hard gainer), then you may be able to include carbohydrates in this meal.

2) CARBS IN POST WORKOUT MEAL: to finalise the actual actions of growth hormone and IFG1, one should have recovery meals immediately after exercise that includes protein and carbs.

3) USING YOUR SLEEP AS YOUR FAST: this is probably the easiest of the hacks as we all naturally drop into a fasted state whist we sleep. The deeper and more restorative our sleep, the more natural Growth Hormone and IGF 1 we will produce. Check out the chapter on sleep on how to get to get better quality sleep in order to boost GH and IGF 1.

Tomorrow Post: 
– Supplement hacks to boost IGF 1 and burn fat!
– Using the benefits of Insulin to build muscle and lose fat!