Ahahahaha……. 😀 so many scary thoughts went through my head when I first put that title on paper – Lorena Bobbit, Theon Greyjoy from Game of Thrones (lol), but we’re not talking about the actions of a psychotic wife or a mentally unstable fictional character here – it’s all about man’s best friend Testosterone.
You all know the basic/common functions of Testosterone right?
- Muscle development
- Bone development/growth
- Deeping of the voice during puberty
- Growth of body hair
- Pattern baldness
- Sex drive
Did you also know that?
- Testosterone is essential in the prevention of osteoporosis
- Men with higher levels of Testosterone are
- Less likely to have high blood pressure
- Less likely to have high cholesterol
- Less likely to experience a heart attack
- Less likely to be obese
So if Testosterone is so vital to our development and maintaining good health, what happens when it starts to deplete, because it does.
Going, going, gone!!
From about the age of 40 Testosterone will decrease by about 1% per year. The consequences?
- Loss of muscle mass
- Loss of strength
- Loss of bone density leading to osteoporosis
- Abdominal fat build-up
- Higher blood pressure and cholesterol
- ‘Couldn’t give a shit’ attitude
- Loss of sex drive
You can’t prevent Testosterone depletion but you can boost Testosterone levels and definitely combat some the effects through diet and exercise, particularly with resistance training.
When I decided to write this post I thought, considering I had just turned 44, that it would be a good opportunity to get my own testosterone levels checked.
Testosterone is measured in units called nmol/l or ng/dl but I am not a scientist so I wont go into the explanation of what these units represent – all you need to know is what the average level is for your age group.
My results came back measured in nmol/l and as you can see my testosterone levels are well above the average for my age group.
|AGE||nmol/l||ng/dl||95% Range*||My result|
|<25||24||692||376 – 1008|
|25 – 29||24.2||669||257 – 1081|
|30 – 34||21.5||621||233 – 1009|
|35 – 39||20.7||597||219 – 975|
|40 – 44||20.7||597||201 – 993||29.7||855|
|45 – 49||18.9||546||220 – 872|
|50 – 54||18.9||544||170 – 918|
|55 – 59||19.1||552||204 – 900|
* 95% range (95.4% to be exact) refers to the range within which 95% of the measured values lie.
What am I doing to have testosterone levels higher the average man in my age bracket?
I am not taking any medication. I am not taking any steroid or hormone replacement therapy or eating the latest miracle plant found in the depths of the Amazonian rain forest.
The only thing I have done is regular resistance training.
Resistance training is probably the best way to get fit and active in general. It’s the best way to lose body fat, increase bone density (important as we age), improve mobility and joint function, correct posture and tone muscle.
So let’s look back at the list of consequences above (with the exception of number 6 because I don’t know many trainers who would do much to help with your sex drive – well, maybe a few but that’s a different conversation altogether lol) and compare them to the benefits of resistance training.
Benefits of Resistance Training
|Loss of muscle mass||Increases muscle mass|
|Loss of strength||Increases strength|
|Loss of bone density leading to osteoporosis||Increases bone density|
|Abdominal fat build up||Increases fat loss|
|Higher blood pressure/cholesterol||Helps reduce blood pressure/cholesterol|
|‘Couldn’t give a shit’ attitude||Gives you a goal to work towards|
Get the picture?
Get yourself a good trainer. There’s no point in going at this with a half-assed approach. If you want to make a serious change you need to work with someone who knows what they’re talking about.
Diet – a dirty word for most people, but, when we talk diet we’re basically talking good eating habits.
As I mentioned in a previous post, you may have spent a number of years reducing your calorie intake to avoid that middle age spread or to reduce your cholesterol, but becoming more active means ‘increasing’ your calories. You are more active now and your body needs extra nutrients to give it the energy it needs and improve recovery time.
You want to lower your carb intake and increase good fats and proteins.
So what’s this got to do with Testosterone? Well, a lot of the foods you are now going to include in your diet have a positive effect on Testosterone levels.
- According to some studies, a lack of protein can lower Testosterone by up to 14% so the extra protein you are now taking in line with your new training program is, in fact, helping Testosterone levels. More meat in your diet – steak, venison, turkey – doesn’t sound too bad, does it?
- Eggs – another great source of protein. Forget about all the cholesterol myths – they been disproven. In fact, the cholesterol in egg yolk is the precursor (very simply, in chemistry a precursor is something participates in a chemical reaction to produce something else) for Testosterone.
- Garlic helps lower the stress hormone cortisol which competes with Testosterone for the same sites in muscle cells. Less stress – more Testosterone. Although take with caution – with an already depleted sex drive this might just kill it all together lol
- Still, in the bedroom, LDL cholesterol (lower Testosterone higher cholesterol remember) can also lead to erectile dysfunction. Nuts (pardon the pun lol) and vegetable oils can help lower cholesterol.
- More greens. A study at Rockefeller University in which men were given 500g of cabbage a day showed it helped reduce oestrogen levels (yes we all have that girlie hormone too). Oestrogen in men can also be the cause of that flabby gut.
The list goes on and on but you get the idea, right? While you might have joined the gym and taken up resistance training and changed your diet to compliment that but all this is also helping with your Testosterone.
To wrap it up…….
As we age it is important that we become more physically active for the good of our health and well being as much as for our appearance.
As I have said before if you are new to all this seek the assistance of a good personal trainer (for both training and diet), even if it is just to learn the basics and ensure that you are doing things right. Although getting older is not a disability your initial approach to resistance training needs more consideration – a lifetime of bad habits needs the right attention to correct.
Get the training right, get the diet right and man’s best friend may stay around that little bit longer
Ronan Tutty CPT
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