How To Maintain Testosterone Levels While Losing Weight
Studies have proved that men with lower levels of body fat have on average higher levels of testosterone in their body…. Reducing body fat is one of the best ways to increase your natural testosterone levels HOWEVER…. during the weight loss process its more likely that your testosterone levels will fall….
In order to lose unwanted fat, your body has to burn more calories than it consumes.. in other word, it has to be in a state of calorific deficit….
When our body is struggling for calories to provide energy it does two things…. Our bodies become naturally stressed which increases the natural production of certain stress hormones such as adrenaline, cortisol and epinephrine…and its well known that greater levels of these hormones generally means less testosterone is being produced… It also slows the certain bodily processes to conserve energy.. this will include the reproductive system which again has a direct effect on testosterone production.
Read details of a study that compares the effect of calorie deficiency on testosterone production –
Another factor to consider is the thyroid gland… when we eat less calories, the body also slows the release of thyroid hormones in particular T3, T4 and TSH.. studies have shown beyond any doubt that reductions in these hormones also leads to a dramatic drop in testosterone production
Read Details Of A Study That confirms the link between Thyroid Hormone and Testosterone Levels –
To Sum It All Up
Guys with a lower body fat % have dramatically higher testosterone levels naturally.. but getting your body fat down is very hard on your natural hormone production
How To Cut Body Fat And Keep Your Testosterone Levels Up
Eat Sufficient Carbohydrates
If you want to start dieting, the first thing that most people start with is cutting down on the carb intake… and to be honest, if you keep in a calorie deficit, it’s a sure fire way to lose unwanted fat… However.. if you want to keep your testosterone levels up and maintain muscle mass its not necessary the best way… Studies have shown that reducing carb intake can have a detrimental effect on testosterone production.
Carbs are crucial for testosterone.. as the body receives less carbs, it responds by increasing stress hormone production ( we have covered earlier in the article the effect that these have on testosterone production) Glucose comes from starchy carbs, and the higher the levels of glucose in the body, the more testosterone we make.. this is due to the behaviour of GnRH – a major precursor to testosterone. in simple terms the more glucose we have, the more GnRH we produce which naturally increases testosterone synthesis.
Experts do suggest that you still try to get around 25% of your calorie intake from starchy carbs when cutting fat
Try and eat peppers or chills in your diet… Why you may ask?? peppers contain a compound called capsaicin.. it is the think that gives peppers and chilies their heat.
Studies have shown that daily supplementation with capsaicin actually helps to protect the testosterone producing cells in the testes from the stress caused by being calorie deficient.
The studies have (so far) only been carried out on Rats or mice, but we do share quite simile digestive and reproductive systems and what works in Rodents usually records the same results in humans.
Ensure You Get Enough Cholesterol and Dietary Fat
The first thing that most men do when trying to cut fat is avoid eating dietary fats and cholesterol…. of course, fat is pretty high in cholesterol but it’s certainly not the way to go if you want to lose weight yet protect your testosterone and muscle mass.
Testosterone is a lipid based hormone.. this means that it’s production needs good levels of fatty acids and cholesterol.. the leidig cells in the testes actually use cholesterol to turn into free testosterone
Studies have shown that low fat diets reduce testosterone and diets higher in fats actually increase testosterone –
Always try and get at least 28% of your daily calories from foods congaing dietary fats and cholesterol
Think Before You Exercise
We all know that the amount of food consumed is the key to effective weight loss, and you can speed results by exercising… you do need to be careful however, as some forms of exercises can seriously reduce your testosterone levels.. especially when your body is under increased pressure because you are restricting calorie intake.
For example.. you might feel that spending 30-60 minutes on a treadmill or cross trainer is doing you good… and for the sake of burning extra calories.. there is no doubt that it will certainly help…. HOWEVER.. this form of aerobic exercise also increases the production of stress hormones (cortisol etc) and we have already explained that increased cortisol = reduced testosterone.
Pushing weights is fine, but you need to keep your workouts short and intense…. use heavier weight than you might be used to but keep the repetitions small and short… instead of doing 3 sets of 12-15 lifts…. try 4 or 5 sets of 6… ensure that you use multi joint movements – (lifts, pushes squats and pull downs)
Remember – you need to reduce stress hormone release.. not encourage it… so give long periods of aerobic exercise a wide berth while cutting fat if you want to preserve your testosterone levels.
There has been lots of articles telling us that eating small meals up to 6 times a day can help boost metabolism and therefore help boost fat reduction….
This is totally incorrect… numerous studies have proven that eating regular meals 3 times a day is every bit as good, and probably better at boosting metabolism… the other thing to consider is that each and every time we eat, regardless of what it is….our testosterone levels drop…this is due to the increases of two other hormones – Insulin and leptin..
So why would you eat 6 times a day, given the fact that you would be reducing your testosterone each time too.. its mad to think that this has any real benefit….
Eating regular meals a couple of times a day has actually been shown to boost testosterone by up to 180% in men once they have reduced their body fat %.
It’s the calorie intake that is key when losing weight…. One diet plan that seems to work for many people is the 52 diet… basically you eat normally (but sensibly) for 5 days of each week – keeping to recommended calorie intake of 2500 calories per day (2000 for women) and then for 2 days of each week drop the calorie intake down to just 600… it has been proven to work for many thousands of men and women.. you are only depriving yourself for one day at a time which certainly has less effect on you (stress wise)… you can choose what days to fast ( we suggest maybe a tuesday and thursday as an example)
This study confirms the benefits of intermittent fasting on testosterone levels – Read it Here http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=Pituitary-testicular+axis+in+obese+men+during+short-term+fasting.
The Fast Way Or The Slow Way
The two ways of losing weight are the fast way or slow way.. if you want to do it quickly then you need to reduce your calorie intake by around 25-30% of your regular daily requirement.. this will give you quick results, but during this period, you will suffer from increased stress and reduced testosterone along with possible muscle mass reduction…..
The good thing with this method is that you don’t have to suffer the effects for too long, nd we would recommend 25% as the maximum reduction to help protect your testosterone levels as much as possible
If you take a slower approach (reduce daily calorie intake by 15% for example), you will not suffer as many noticeable side effects, and your hormone levels will remain closer to normal levels but you will need to endure the effects for just that little bit longer to achieve the same results
To lose weight and yet protect your testosterone levels you need to:
- Eat Enough Fat and Cholesterol
- Remember To Eat Some Carbs Too
- Try Eating Red Peppers Or Chilli’s – or Supplement With Capsaicin
- Keep Any Exercise Short and Intense
- Reduce How Many Times You Eat Per Day
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR –
I am 58 years old, I currently live in London with my wife Donna. I have one married daughter aged 33
I have always had a passion for fitness, In my younger days I was a keen swimmer and competed at county level both at home and abroad. I am also a keen squash and tennis player and have always been a keen gym goer.
I have a CPD accreditation in Sports Nutrition and am a published author with my articles featuring in some popular publications.
Over the past 12 years I have studied the effects of testosterone both in the younger man and as we get older, the effects of low or reduced testosterone and how increasing its production can really improve your health.
On a personal level, a number of years ago, I was diagnosed with Low-T myself, and my own in-depth research has helped me to redress my own health concerns.