Testosterone is a important hormone for men and even for woman. Low testosterone will affect your mood, sex life, and health. After 18 is when testoerone levels start to slowly decline in men. Some men in their 20′s or 30′s can have low testosterone levels, called hypogonadism. Hypogonadism can be caused from various causes including; undescended testicle, a testicular injury, a pituitary gland disorder, or prescription drugs.
Testosterone is extremely important for bodybuilders, because it is the main anabolic hormone in the body. Nothing contributes to muscle building like testosterone levels. It’s important to note that testosterone artificially given, will only hurt you in the long run. Your body will stop producing it naturally and your testicles will “shrivel up”. Long term steroid abuse can permanently effect your natural testosterone production.
Women bodybuilders should not be afraid to naturally increase their testosterone levels. It will improve their confidence, energy, and sex drive also.
How to maximize natural testosterone production:
- Excercise regularly. If your a bodybuilder you should be doing this already.
- Make sure your diet is high in good fats, such as monounsaturated found in nuts such as peanuts and walnuts. Adequate omega 3 fats is crucial. They are found in walnuts, fish, and flaxseed.
- Give your body adequate rest. Get 8 hours of non-interrupted deep sleep everyday. Go to sleep at the same time everyday so you don’t interfere with your circadian rhythm.
- Avoid long term consistent calorie restriction, which can cause lower testosterone levels.
-Through dieting and weightlifting, keep your muscle mass high and body fat% reasonably low. Fat cells in the body elevate estrogen, which can reduce your testosterone levels.
- Avoid overtraining.
- Get adequate zinc in diet. Zinc is a hard mineral to absorb and many people are deficient in their diet. Zinc plays a crucial role in maintaining optimum testosterone levels and is the main basis for the supplement ZMA. Sometimes a multi-vitamin is still not enough for getting enough zinc due to inferior zinc form and because of the extra requirements by active athletes. Therefore bodybuilders often notice a improvement in sleeping and testosterone levels, when taking an additional zinc supplement.
While some believe that squats and deadlifts help increase testosterone levels long term, it is more complicated then that. There is a temporary increase in testosterone during and after resistance excercise, but testosterone levels will then quickly drop below normal for about a day or 2. Then testosterone levels will come back to normal. Resistance training will help maintain or give a small boost to testosterone levels long term, only as long as you aren’t overtraining. Excessive weight training or not giving your body breaks every few weeks, will actually cause lower testosterone levels. Testosterone levels drop from overtraining because of higher levels of cortisol, a hormone released from resistance excercise.
Diet seems to play a bigger role in maintaining testosterone levels. In a study published J Appl Physiol. 1997 Jan;82(1):49-54 on individuals doing resistance training under various diets. The testosterone levels temporarily increased post resistance excercise in all groups, but the true correlation between the groups resting Testosterone levels, was actually due to their diet(fat intake).