Increased testosterone levels are often equated with increased muscle growth. Ask any gym trainer and his immediate response would be, “The hormone is the single reason of greatest impact on body mass.”
And you know what? They are not wrong.
In fact, many studies suggest that testosterone is a primary ingredient for increased muscle growth.  Hence, we can clearly say that all exercises which are designed to increase testosterone levels would result in increased bigger muscles.
This seems logical, right?
Let us have a look.
Testosterone and body mass: A better understanding
Training regularly and having enough steroids to make your testosterone levels skyrocket would mark a difference in your muscle size. The same diet and exercise plan would not have given the same results had you trained drug- free.
Take a note of what I just said, “enough steroids to make your testosterone levels skyrocket”.
What does it mean? It means that changes in the hormone’s levels, as long as they are within the normal range,would not any significant impact on muscle growth.
I know that sounds contradictory to all the ‘knowledge’ being shared in gyms, but it has been proven scientifically.
A study aimed at measuring the impact of increase in its levels on muscle growth found that the subjects with higher testosterone levels produced greater muscle gain. The results, however, were not as pronounced as long as the levels were within the normal range (300-1,000 ng/dL for men).
A significant increase was only seen once the levels crossed the upper normal range by about 30%.
This simply means that contradictory to popular belief, testosterone boosting exercises like deadlifts and squats do not result in greater muscle growth. These exercises do increase it’s level, but not to an extent where their effect on muscle growth would become visible.
So, the entire idea of basing your complete training routine on increasing your testosterone levels is nothing but misinterpretation of facts.
Now, I am not saying that there is no reason to work towards improving your testosterone levels. Just that fulfilling the dream of bigger muscles should not be a reason for it. You can, however, put the theory to good use if you are aiming to cut down body fat percentage.
Cutting down on fat would definitely sculpt your muscles better, won’t it?
What about Fat loss?
Studies have shown that fluctuation of testosterone levels even in the normal range resulted in significant fluctuations on the body fat percentage. These studies have one simple conclusion, the higher the testosterone level, the leaner the subject was, and vice-versa.
The studies are still in their initial stages and researchers are yet to find the reason behind this association. However, they have made it clear that increased testosterone levels inhibit the growth of fat cells.
No wonder, why women find it difficult to lose weight and develop muscles.
Movements that increase testosterone you’re probably unaware of
Yes! There are exercises that boost testosterone which you perform in your daily routine or workout, but are unaware of their testosterone boosting abilities as yet.
- Cardio Workouts: Your workout routine should include 45 minutes of cardio workout, at least twice a week. How does cardio help? Cardio helps by cutting down the fat in your body and fat is responsible for stimulating the production of estrogen, a testosterone production inhibiting hormone. Running, stair climbing, swimming, rowing, and cycling would all help.
- Heavy weight lifts (weight lifting): By heavy weight lifts I mean weights that would result in muscle failure with just 4-6 reps. It can vary according to a person’s strength and stamina.
- Compound Exercises: Any exercise that focuses on more than one muscle group and mobilize more than one joint falls in this category. Bench press, dead lifts, squats, rowing and shoulder press are all under this umbrella.
In addition to accelerating the process of fat loss, higher testosterone levels are a sign of greater libido and makes one more active. Hence, there is no reason not to boost your testosterone levels naturally.
- Take the right vegetables
Vegetables rich in ‘I3C’ or Indole-3-carbine will help. I3C is a naturally occurring substance which can alter the estrogen metabolism, hence result in greater testosterone levels. Including two servings of vegetables like cabbage, kale, mustard, sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower and turnip can do wonders for you.
- More meat
Including more meat in your everyday diet can result in increased testosterone levels. As an added advantage, the protein from meat is also helpful in muscle growth.
- Get rid of your stress
Increased stress results in production of a hormone name Cortisol. It is a hormone which interferes with the production of testosterone in our body. Get rid of that stress and chill out.
- Take proper sleep
Cutting down on your sleep in order to squeeze out time for yourself from your daily routine is not a good practice. Not only does this result in a drop in your testosterone levels, it also adversely impacts your overall health.
- More time in bed
You probably know that already right? Ah, I knew, but it is my duty to explicitly put this out in front of you. So, here is one more reason to spark your sexual life.
Do you have any other thoughts about the impact of testosterone levels on our body? Feel free to share.
Also, for a better insight, you must read about 3 supplements that help gain muscles faster.
References Griggs RC, Kingston W, Jozefowicz RF, Herr BE, Forbes G, & Halliday D (1989). Effect of testosterone on muscle mass and muscle protein synthesis. Journal of applied physiology (Bethesda, Md. : 1985), 66 (1), 498-503 PMID: 2917954. ^Back to Top^ Sattler FR, Castaneda-Sceppa C, Binder EF, Schroeder ET, Wang Y, Bhasin S, Kawakubo M, Stewart Y, Yarasheski KE, Ulloor J, Colletti P, Roubenoff R, & Azen SP (2009). Testosterone and growth hormone improve body composition and muscle performance in older men. The Journal of clinical endocrinology and metabolism, 94 (6), 1991-2001 PMID: 19293261. ^Back to Top^ Storer TW, Magliano L, Woodhouse L, Lee ML, Dzekov C, Dzekov J, Casaburi R, & Bhasin S (2003). Testosterone dose-dependently increases maximal voluntary strength and leg power, but does not affect fatigability or specific tension. The Journal of clinical endocrinology and metabolism, 88 (4), 1478-85 PMID: 12679426. ^Back to Top^ Singh R, Artaza JN, Taylor WE, Braga M, Yuan X, Gonzalez-Cadavid NF, & Bhasin S (2006). Testosterone inhibits adipogenic differentiation in 3T3-L1 cells: nuclear translocation of androgen receptor complex with beta-catenin and T-cell factor 4 may bypass canonical Wnt signaling to down-regulate adipogenic transcription factors. Endocrinology, 147 (1), 141-54 PMID: 16210377. ^Back to Top^ Corona G, Monami M, Rastrelli G, Aversa A, Tishova Y, Saad F, Lenzi A, Forti G, Mannucci E, & Maggi M (2011). Testosterone and metabolic syndrome: a meta-analysis study. The journal of sexual medicine, 8 (1), 272-83 PMID: 20807333. ^Back to Top^ Michnovicz JJ, & Bradlow HL (1991). Altered estrogen metabolism and excretion in humans following consumption of indole-3-carbinol. Nutrition and cancer, 16 (1), 59-66 PMID: 1656396. ^Back to Top^ Raben A, Kiens B, Richter EA, Rasmussen LB, Svenstrup B, Micic S, & Bennett P (1992). Serum sex hormones and endurance performance after a lacto-ovo vegetarian and a mixed diet. Medicine and science in sports and exercise, 24 (11), 1290-7 PMID: 1435181. ^Back to Top^