Testosterone is critical for gaining strength, muscle mass, and achieving top physical performance. It helps cut fat, and provides the aggressiveness you need for competing in sports or gritting it out when training gets tough. As you age, testosterone helps determine sex drive, erection capacity, aggressiveness, and game. During growth, testosterone helps develop primary and secondary sexual characteristics.
Many athletes take supplemental testosterone or anabolic steroids (testosterone-like drugs) in the hope of increasing strength, muscle mass, appearance, and physical performance. The health, legal, and ethical problems associated with steroids outweigh their benefits. Men are better off maximizing testosterone levels naturally. This approach enhances metabolic health and avoids side effects of supplemental testosterone and other anabolic steroids.
Intense, high-volume endurance training suppresses testosterone, which often results in overtraining, injury, and poor performance. Moderate-intensity exercise has the opposite effect— at least in untrained or moderately-trained men. A recent study by Jerzy Zoladz and colleagues from the Department of Physiology and Biochemistry at the University School of Physical Education in Kraków, Poland showed that training between 50-85 percent of maximum effort increased free testosterone by 26 percent after only five weeks of training. These are amazing changes that will improve fitness, boost muscle mass and strength, and put lead in your pencil.
Most guys don’t want to train like Olympians, but they want sexually-attractive, fit, and healthy bodies. Combining a moderate-intensity exercise program, testosterone-promoting diet, stress management, weight reduction, and the psychological strategy of a winner will increase testosterone naturally without taking steroids. Maximizing testosterone production will boost sexual performance, improve fitness, cut fat, and enhance mental health.
Moderate-Intensity Endurance Exercise Increases Testosterone
Weight training increases testosterone levels and the activity levels of androgen receptors, which makes the body more anabolic. Increased testosterone helps increase muscle mass, strength, and power. Also, testosterone stimulates red blood cell production, which improves aerobic capacity and enhances the movement of lactate out of muscle cells.
Endurance training is another story. Intense, high-volume endurance training disrupts the hormone control system in the brain and testes, which results in less testosterone production, clinical signs of testosterone suppression (e.g., depression, loss of strength, decreased muscle mass), and decreased sperm production, which impairs the capacity to father children. Conversely, moderate intensity and volume endurance training programs increase testosterone levels.
The Polish study was one of three showing the testosterone-promoting effects of moderate-intensity exercise. The test subjects trained on a stationary bike for 40 minutes, four times per week for five weeks. They improved aerobic capacity by nearly 4 percent, total testosterone by 17 percent, and the biologically-active free testosterone by 26 percent. Changes in fitness were related to increases in testosterone— those with the greatest changes in testosterone improved fitness the most. The researchers speculated that inadequate energy intake might explain the decrease in testosterone found during intense, high-volume endurance training.
Intense training during cycling also increases pressure in the groin, which can lead to sexual and reproductive problems. Brazilian researchers, led by Felipe Carpes from the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul in Porto Alegre, showed that seat pressure increased with training intensity. Cycling-related sexual problems stem from increased pressure to the perineum caused by prolonged sitting on the bicycle saddle. The perineum is a diamond-shaped area at the base of the pelvis that extends from the anus to the root of the penis. When you sit in a chair, you put little or no stress on the perineum. Sitting on a bike seat increases stress on the perineum by 700 percent. Increased perineal stress during cycling decreases circulation, compresses nerves, and interferes with the metabolism of cells lining the blood vessels that supply the penis. People who ride a bike three hours a week or more have the greatest risk of developing nerve and circulation problems in their urogenital organs. Training at lower intensities might reduce the risk of sexual and reproductive problems during cycling.
Many leading fitness experts view moderate-intensity exercise as the key to good health. In October 2008, the United States Department of Health and Human Services recommended that Americans exercise at a moderate intensity for a total of 150 minutes per week or at a vigorous intensity for 75 minutes per week. The essence of the government’s latest message is that some exercise is better than none, and that most of the benefits of physical activity occur when going from sedentary to moderate-intensity levels of exercise. Moderate-intensity exercise improves metabolic health, which promotes testosterone metabolism, improves blood sugar and fat regulation, blood vessel health, and long life.
Boost Your Testosterone Naturally
Maximizing testosterone is important for physical performance and sexual health. Administration of testosterone supplements is sometimes indicated for low sex drive and symptoms of ‘male menopause.’ However, the long-term safety of hormone replacement therapy is unknown and controversial. The safest course for men under ages 40-50 is to maximize testosterone naturally. Good exercise and dietary habits can increase testosterone secretion. Avoiding overtraining and getting enough sleep can maximize testosterone levels. The following strategies will help increase testosterone levels. There is nothing magic about these ideas, but they are effective.