Over the years, I’ve noticed that people, especially the athletes I’ve coached, those who have the best insulin sensitivity, are able to:
- Eat more food, especially carbohydrates – without getting fat
- Build more muscle
- Lose more fat or stay leaner, especially around the belly
And one common factor that all these people have is really good insulin sensitivity, which is what I want to talk about today.
I personally believe managing your blood sugar levels and improving insulin sensitivity is one of the most important things you can do to live a healthier and longer life – at the same time, look, and feel younger.
And because of this, I have a couple of important links I want to share at the end of today’s article. So make sure you read until the end.
What’s Insulin Sensitivity
So, what does insulin sensitivity mean?
Basically, when you eat carbs and proteins, especially carbohydrates such as sugars, rice, pasta, bread, fruit, and so forth, your body’s blood sugar will naturally go up.
Now, some foods, which have a higher glycemic index and load, will cause higher blood sugar levels – such as sugar or corn flakes, for example.
Anyway, as your blood sugar goes up, your pancreas will release insulin, to help regulate the blood sugar back to normal levels.
And this goes on all day long.
Unfortunately, because of aging, genetics, negative hormonal changes, lifestyle, stress, and a poor diet, over time your blood sugar levels go higher and higher. Your body will then release more and more insulin to lower the high blood sugar.
This overtime causes insulin resistance.
This means your body doesn’t feel the insulin just like it used to and your body has to produce even MORE insulin to control your blood sugar.
Now, I’m oversimplifying all of this, but you get the point.
Insulin is an essential hormone and you need it to live. BUT, high levels of insulin, cause fat storage, especially around the belly.
And as you become more and more insulin resistant, the carbs you eat don’t go into the muscle cells as well. They don’t get used up as energy either.
Instead, they get STORED as body fat.
The end result is less muscle and more belly fat.
The people with the best genes tend to have highly sensitive insulin receptors and thus, their body only needs to produce a little bit of insulin. This means less body fat.
And, the food gets stored into the muscle cells. This means more energy and more muscle, especially when you exercise. You’ll also be stronger and have more stamina too.
And that’s what today’s topic is about – 6 clinically proven ways to increase insulin sensitivity, so you can build more muscle, lose fat, and have more energy.
1 – Better Sleep
Getting better, deeper sleep is one of the best things you can do for your health, for optimizing your hormones and improving insulin sensitivity.1-3
I will do an entire article about this topic. However, make sure you
- get to sleep before midnight, preferably before 11 pm
- get in a regular sleep pattern
- keep your room dark or wear eyeshades, like I do
- reduce or eliminate looking at computer or TV screens before bed. Or turn off the blue light or wear blue blocker glasses.
2 – Lose Fat & Gain Muscle
The less fat you have, especially belly fat, the higher your insulin sensitivity. Additionally, the more muscle you have, the higher your insulin sensitivity.4-6
So, try to lose some fat and gain muscle as well. Losing fat is more important. A combination of a better diet and exercise program is best – and I’ll talk about both of these today.
3 – Eat Better
Eating better is a major part of improving insulin sensitivity. Again, I’ll dig deeper about this in a future article, but here are some things to consider. 7-11
- Eat lower glycemic index and glycemic load carbs and stay away from high ones. This means eating more vegetables, fruits, legumes, and yams.
- Eat better quality protein and stay away from dairy and protein powders, both tend to spike up blood sugar levels.
- Eat better fats – this means to stay away from trans fats and many seed or vegetable oils that are high in omega 6 fats. This includes soybean, canola, corn, sunflower, sesame, and similar oils.
Fasting and cyclic ketogenic diets are also very good for improving insulin sensitivity.
Eating more soluble fiber is also very good.16-17
And simply lowering your carb intake will help as well.
4 – Exercise More
Exercise increases insulin sensitivity. In fact, my diabetic athletes require less injectable insulin on days they exercise.
When you exercise, the sugar moves into the muscles for storage and promotes an immediate increase in insulin sensitivity, which lasts 2–48 hours, depending on the exercise.12-13
My suggestion is to combine both aerobic and anaerobic exercise. So, 3x weekly lift weights or do resistance exercises for your muscles. This could be Mon, Wed, and Fri.
On alternate days, Tues, Thurs, and Sat – do some form of cardio. I prefer a brisk walk or a nice bike ride or get on the treadmill.
20-30 mins daily is all you need.
If you go too hard, too long, you’ll eventually stress your body and the opposite will happen. Which brings up the next point.
5 – Reduce Stress
Stress is one of the worst things for your body, especially insulin sensitivity. This is why sleep is so important – it helps reduce so many of your stress hormones.
Stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline cause insulin resistance. This is also why stress causes more belly fat. Stress also lowers testosterone and other youth hormones.14-15
So, you need to manage your stress and a lot of this first begins in your head and what you think about. Some people just turn something small into something horribly bad and just can’t let go. That’s a lot of ongoing stress.
Not sleeping enough, exercising too much, too hard, too long, and similar physical stressors all cause insulin resistance over time.
6 – Take Supplements
There are a few, clinically proven supplements that will quickly help improve insulin sensitivity, support healthy blood sugar levels, and help you build more muscle and lose belly fat.
Apple Cider Vinegar is very good. I take 1 tablespoon, 3x daily.
Chromium, Alpha Lipoic Acid, and Vanadyl Sulfate have a long, proven history.
Herbs such as Berberine, Cinnamon extract, Bitter melon, Fenugreek, and Banaba Leaf are all fantastic and very powerful if you take the correct form and dosage.
There are also about 6-7 essential vitamins and minerals that are typically low in those who have poor insulin sensitivity.
In fact, I put up a web page with the best ingredients and dosages that are clinically proven to work.
Plus, a bonus link about a formula that I use personally, that helps support healthy blood sugar, and increase my insulin sensitivity.
And make sure you at least implement one of the tactics today, so you can start building more muscle and losing more belly fat.