If you’re regularly moody, depressed, tired, or you’ve noticed that you’re losing muscle mass, testosterone could be to blame. Testosterone is a hormone which you probably first heard about during puberty – it is responsible for the growth of male and female sexual traits. However, it does much more for your body than you might realize. Once you’re fully grown, testosterone is linked to muscle mass, libido, aggression, and weight gain. When it comes to working out, some people turn to artificial testosterone, such as injections or pills, to boost their hormone levels so they can become fitter and stronger. Protein’s known as an important nutrient for successful workouts, but could testosterone be a hormone that’s just as essential?
Testosterone has to be at a healthy level in order for many of your bodily functions to work. And yes, when it’s at an optimal level, testosterone will increase your muscle mass and help you achieve your goal weight. Your testosterone levels peak around the age of 20, then slowly decrease. Alarmingly, they decline by 1 percent every year of your life from the age of 40. But don’t worry – you can keep them at a healthy level.
Here’s what you need to know about testosterone.
Testosterone Encourages Weight Loss
If you’re battling the bulge and want to lose weight, testosterone will help you shed the pounds. Italian researchers found that testosterone is a hormone that promotes weight loss by preventing lipid, or fat, uptake in the cells. So, while you’re eating healthy foods and working out, make sure that your testosterone is at a healthy level. If you’re low on testosterone, you might want to supplement this hormone with pills, injections, or patches.
Testosterone Supports Muscle Growth
Various studies have shown that testosterone is essential for boosting muscle growth. According to the Journal of Applied Physiology, research suggests that testosterone boosts muscle mass by increasing muscle protein synthesis. This is important because muscles need protein in order to grow.
Are Testosterone Supplements Worth It?
Some people who want to increase their muscle mass quickly, such as athletes, might turn to anabolic steroids, which contain testosterone. However, there are dangers to doing this because testosterone needs to build up slowly in the body over time. There are bad side effects that can occur from steroids, such as higher cholesterol levels, heart problems, and liver damage. Even testosterone supplements can be dangerous, which is why it’s important to consult with your doctor before taking them. A few men who go on testosterone supplementation experience skin breakouts, breast tenderness, ankle swelling, high red blood cell counts (which could result in blood clots) and difficulty breathing during sleep.
Natural Ways To Boost Your Testosterone
You can increase your body’s testosterone levels on your own without turning to supplements. The most important thing is to first get your testosterone checked by having your blood tested. If it’s found that your testosterone levels are low, you can increase them naturally.
- Top Up On Vitamin D
Getting a range of nutrients in your daily diet is essential to boost your workout success. Protein is often regarded as the muscle nutrient because it’s the building blocks of muscle. But Vitamin D is equally important. If you have low testosterone levels, the reason could be that you’re not getting enough Vitamin D. The sun’s a great source of Vitamin D. Getting sunshine for about 12 minutes at noon in Miami if you have fair skin will give you 2,000 IU of Vitamin D, which is the daily recommendation. If you have darker skin, you’ll need approximately 15 minutes to get the same amount.
- Commit To Strength Training
Strength training workouts, such as those that make use of kettlebells, weights, and resistance bands, can increase your body’s natural level of testosterone. Thus, it’s important to do strength training workouts regularly to keep your testosterone up. It’s good to do your strength-training workouts in the evening as research has pointed to how they have a bigger effect on your testosterone levels than if you strength-train in the mornings.
- Score Enough Sleep
If you don’t get enough sleep, you don’t only feel groggy and irritable – you might have low testosterone. Getting seven or eight hours of sleep every night is part of a healthy lifestyle and it keeps your hormones at the right levels. Sleep also lowers your stress levels, which is important to maintain a healthy testosterone level. Research from the University of Berkeley discovered that stress decreases testosterone by increasing the gonadotropin-inhibiting hormone. That’s alarming since this hormone controls your endocrine system functioning.
- Add Healthy Fats To Your Diet
A low-fat diet contributes to low-testosterone! Not all fats are unhealthy for you. You need healthy fats such as fish oil and almond butter to maintain a healthy lifestyle and keep your testosterone at a good level, according to the Huffington Post. The reason? Testosterone is made up of fats, so good fats are great for keeping your hormones ticking.
Why It’s Important Not To Go Overboard
Some athletes or people who spend too much time at the gym could actually see that their testosterone levels decrease instead of increase as they hoped! Why does this happen? They’re exhausting their bodies, causing more of the stress hormone, cortisol. In fact, when your body’s got too much of the stress hormone, it makes your testosterone levels decrease.
You can tell you’re working out too much at the gym if your body’s always sore, you’re battling to sleep, your body takes longer to recover after workouts, and you don’t have the physical strength that you used to. Overtraining makes your body lose muscle instead of build it, so if you’re feeling like your body just doesn’t want to perform, take a break of at least a week before you head back to the gym.
Testosterone is often hailed as the workout hormone because it can help you build muscle. But it can do much more than that, such as ensuring you’re a healthy weight and that your body’s healthy in general. By knowing why this hormone’s important for your fitness and learning how to increase your levels naturally through a healthy lifestyle, you’ll start working on the body of your dreams.