Flip on the TV, page through fitness magazines and read internet blogs, and you’ll likely hear a lot of buzz about testosterone. It’s considered one of the most important hormones for health, fitness, and overall well-being, and the centerpiece of a multi-million dollar industry.
However, there’s a lot of misinformation circulating about testosterone throughout the airwaves, the web and locker-room conversation. It’s time to set the record straight about testosterone and tell you exactly what you need to know to help you on your fitness journey.
What is Testosterone?
Testosterone is the primary male sex hormone, belonging to a group of molecules called androgens which promote male physical attributes.
Young men begin to produce large amounts of testosterone when puberty begins, a process stimulated by the pituitary gland which signals T production in the testicles.
As testosterone floods the body, men generally experience an increase in height, growth of sexual organs, increased muscle mass and more facial hair. Their voices will also deepen and they will notice an increase in sexual desire.
Testosterone production does not stop when puberty is complete. This hormone plays a role in regulating key systems of the body such as metabolism and muscle maintenance, as well as ensuring strong bone density, red blood cell production and regulating body fat distribution.
Generally, testosterone levels are highest at the peak of puberty in a male’s teenage years and in his early 20’s. After the age of 30, T levels drop off at a rate of 1 to 2 percent per year, which is why men tend to lose muscle mass and libido with age.
Luckily, there are numerous ways to ensure that T production remains high throughout the years, exercise being one of the main recommendations.
Testosterone in Women
Because testosterone is the male sex hormone, we typically associate it with masculine traits like muscle mass, aggression, facial hair and deeper voice. These things are true, but testosterone is also found in female hormone profiles, just at lower concentrations.
Just as men can benefit from trace amounts of estrogen to balance hormonal function, women need a bit of testosterone as well. This isn’t to say that every woman should hop on exogenous testosterone therapy, but it’s always worth getting a complete checkup to ensure everything is operating at normal levels. This is particularly important during and after menopause.
8 Benefits of Testosterone For Fitness
We’ve briefly touched on some of the functions of testosterone, but let’s look closer at why you need to make high T levels a priority among your fitness goals.
1. Healthy Metabolism
A high-functioning metabolism is the driver of weight loss and muscle maintenance, and is crucial for both men and women, regardless of age or ability.
When your testosterone levels are optimized, your body can absorb nutrients more efficiently, burn fat more effectively, and is less likely to pack on weight in unwanted areas like the stomach, face, and lower back.
Think of the metabolism as the body’s engine, using food as the fuel to keep things moving. Testosterone keeps the metabolism in check and operating at a high level 24 hours a day.
2. Strong Sex Drive
There’s no doubt that sex drive motivates us to take on tough challenges in life and get to the next level, and it’s no surprise that testosterone is the main driver in this equation.
With more sexual energy you will not only please your partner more regularly, but you’ll also have the motivation to achieve more reps in the gym or stay committed to the 28-day fitness challenge you signed up for.
If you are able to channel your sex drive towards positive pursuits, there are no downsides.
3. Increased Concentration
Top-level athletes, businessmen and military operatives all have a few things in common: high testosterone levels, high achievement and intense concentration on the task at hand.
Testosterone is a focus chemical that blocks out distractions and sets you on the path to success, whether it’s in the gym, in the boardroom or on the battlefield.
4. Reduced Likelihood of Injury
Nothing can throw you off your path faster than an injury, and with high testosterone levels you’ll be less likely to suffer broken bones, twisted ankles and those annoying aches and pains.
That means you can spend more time in the gym, at the dance studio, on the trail, or doing any other activities that make you happy and bring you closer to your goals.
Injury prevention gets more critical with age, so if you’re in an older demographic be sure to get those T levels checked out and optimized.
5. Mood and Happiness
You can take all the supplements you want, wear the nicest athleisure clothing and hire the best trainers in the world, but if you aren’t in a good mood, working out is going to feel like a chore.
When the testosterone is flowing, you’ll watch the excuses and self-pity melt away. You’ll be more eager to take on tough workouts and motivate the people around you.
That’s why some people call testosterone the fountain of youth! It’s a major mood booster and is key to maintaining a sunny disposition.
6. Better Sleep and Energy
Millions of Americans struggle with sleep hygiene, and healthy testosterone levels help you to get the deep, restful sleep you need each night.
Testosterone regulates sleep cycles and ensures you wake up ready to take on the day. When you exhaust yourself physically with exercise, sleep becomes easier and more satisfying as well. This is key to living a happy and healthy life overall.
7. Quicker Workout Recovery
As we age, tough workouts can leave us sore and tired for days. Testosterone helps speed up the recovery process between exercise sessions and replenish our energy stores.
If you are struggling to recover from hard workouts, it may be that your testosterone is out of whack. Optimize your T levels to get back on track and stick with a strict exercise schedule.
8. Cardiovascular Health
Our hearts and lungs are what keep us operating at a high level, and testosterone regulates the cardiovascular system for peak performance.
It boosts red blood cell production, which ensures that our muscles and organs receive essential nutrients and remain healthy with age. Better breathing, lower blood pressure and increased stamina during workouts are just a few additional benefits.
Does Exercise Impact Testosterone?
Now that you see how testosterone can help you feel healthier and work out harder, let’s see if exercise can actually boost testosterone levels in return.
There you have it: More testosterone = better workouts, and vice versa. It’s the “upward cycle” effect we all strive to attain, and the real key to health and longevity.
During a workout, men and women experience a brief boost of testosterone and enjoy the effects for up to several hours afterwards. Combine the T-boost with endorphins, high-energy music and motivation from others, and you have a recipe for success!
While compound movements like squats, lunges and presses are considered to be the best exercises for boosting testosterone, any form of exercise will do.
Sign up for a group dance class or crossfit-style workout to get moving and enjoy healthier testosterone levels throughout the day.
Natural Testosterone Boosters vs TRT
While exercise is widely considered to be the best natural testosterone booster, diet also plays a key role in increasing this hormone.
Since testosterone is derived from cholesterol, you want to make sure you’re eating plenty of healthy fats from beef, eggs, and natural oils to ensure consistent T production.
Protein is also an important part of generating testosterone, which can be supplemented with protein powders if you are falling short of your daily goals. Most modern trainers and physicians recommend you aim for a high protein, moderate fat, low carb diet for the best fitness results.
If you need an extra boost, check out natural supplements like Tribulus, Maca and Horny Goat Weed. There are also compounds like D-Aspartic acid available to give you a short-term testosterone increase over the counter.
Some men and women seek hormone replacement therapy once they reach their mid-30’s, and this treatment is becoming more popular each year.
Exogenous testosterone can be obtained with a prescription and safely administered at home, without many side effects. Just be sure to walk through all your options with a doctor before jumping on a TRT regimen.
Testosterone is not a miracle molecule by any means, but it does play a critical role in many aspects of health for men and women alike.
As you lock into a good exercise routine and dial in your diet, you’ll notice the rejuvenating effects of testosterone and enjoy a higher quality of life overall.
Talk to your doctor if you think it may be time to introduce exogenous hormones to your routine, but only after doing everything in your power to optimize T levels naturally.