February 26, 2013 15:10
The Big T: Testosterone and Training
Testosterone sometimes carries with it a positive or negative stigma, depending on the audience or context; but the fact is testosterone plays a vital role in many bodily functions in men and women, especially in training. This hormone is defined as “a steroid hormone that stimulates development of male secondary sexual characteristics, produced mainly in the testes, but also in the ovaries and adrenal cortex.”
Testosterone is responsible for the development of the male reproductive system, regulating libido, maintaining muscle, bone growth and much more. It also plays a role in increasing mental and physical drive and reversing the aging process. Despite its obvious necessary functions, low testosterone levels are often overlooked in men.
Decreases in Testosterone can cause depression, loss of energy, decreased strength, decreased height, lack of sexual desire, obesity and many other health issues. This can be caused by a variety of factors including hereditary conditions, infectious disease, tumours near or in the pituitary gland, abuse of performance enhancing drugs, excess iron, damage to the testicles, obesity and age.
When it comes to training hard, having a balanced level of testosterone is vital to effective results. In today’s competitive sports many athletes are much younger than the “seasoned” athletes, allowing them to naturally take advantage of their heightened hormone levels. This gives the older competitors a run for their money.
Athlete or not, everyone can all benefit from increased testosterone levels, helping the body to reach its natural potential. Testosterone therapies are available as prescribed by doctors, but there are also some great ways to naturally and safely boost levels. Some of these include:
Healthy Nutrition – As mentioned above a big factor in low levels is obesity. Working towards a leaner physique can relieve depression, increase energy and in turn increase testosterone. Start the process with a balanced nutrition plan from a qualified nutrition coach.
Some “go to” weight loss tips include:
• Never drink your carbohydrates – avoid juices, soda, sugar in coffee and any other beverages containing carbs. Simple carbs like those found in sugary drinks will spike blood sugar levels and cause fat storage.
• Get plenty of dietary fat – dietary fat includes fat from nuts, fish, lean meats, coconut oil, olive oil, walnut oil and more. Dietary fat is essential for promoting the body to burn excess body fat and is also known to naturally boost testosterone. Starting your day with a high, “good” fat meal with a lean protein and no carbohydrates can boost testosterone levels by up to 200%.
• Time carbs around a workout – after periods of exercise our bodies are able to process and store glucose in our muscle as glycogen rather than spilling over as fat. Try to time your carb intake for post-workout.
• Eat plenty of low calorie vegetables – a diet in high vegetables provides valuable nutrients that increase your body’s ability to transport glucose to be burned as fuel rather than stored as fat, not to mention the endless other benefits of “getting in the greens.” Vegetables also help curb appetite and keep our digestive track working more efficiently boosting our immune system and keeping us healthy.
• Get sufficient protein – a sufficient protein intake will promote more muscle growth and more muscle growth means less fat. Individuals with higher lean body weight burn fat more efficiently than those with less muscle mass. Be sure your meals include a sufficient serving of complete protein such as lean meats, fish or poultry. Some vegetarian sources include beans, lentils, Quinoa and nuts.
Effective Training – Although all exercise will promote a healthier, potentially leaner physique there are specific training methods that can naturally increase testosterone. These include High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) and Strength Training. Lower body exercises such as squats and deadlifts are also known to increase testosterone and growth hormone levels. Be sure to consult a qualified trainer before attempting exercises you are unfamiliar with.
Supplementation – although a healthy diet will lend to sufficient nutrients we can also benefit from specific supplements known to boost testosterone levels. These include:
• ZMA – ZMA is composed of zinc, magnesium and vitamin B6 and is known to increase growth hormone and free testosterone levels by up to 300%. ZMA can be purchased as a supplement by itself or in powerful blends like that found in Nutrabolics’ Hemotest 2XC. ZMA supplements are best taken before bed and will also improve sleep quality and recovery rate.
• Tribulus – when consumed in dosages of 500mg or more Tribulus is said to increase testosterone levels, enhance mood and libido. There is much speculation on the effectiveness of Tribulus, however. Tribulus is suggested to be taken when you wake up and afternoon, preferably before workouts.
• D-Aspartic Acid – D-Aspartic Acid is “an endogenous amino acid and is found in the neuroendocrine tissues of humans.” It has been shown to increase testosterone levels in men after about 12 days of usage, however additional more extensive studies on other mammals have shown that D-Aspartic Acid may also increase progesterone and estrogen levels.
• Bulbine Natalensis – Bulbine Natalensis is a South African herb backed by various research studies to raise testosterone by up to 350% while also decreasing estrogen levels by 35%. It is also effective in increasing libido, mood and overall sexual performance. Doses are suggested to be taken at levels of 25-50mg per kilogram of bodyweight.
• Fenugreek – fenugreek is a plant commonly found in the Indian Subcontinent. It is used as a spice, an herb and a vegetable. Fenugreek is also used as an effective libido enhancer and testosterone booster. Fenugreek also reduces the height of insulin spikes and blood sugar levels which can in turn reduce fat storage. Effective doses of 500-2000mg are recommended.
Put the best to the test with Hemotest 2XC
Of all the rumored substances known to boost testosterone, the ones backed with the most research are ZMA, Bulbine Natalensis and Fenugreek. As mentioned in my article “The Importance of Rest and Recovery,” Nutrabolics® has their bases covered in the ZMA department with Hemotropin 2XC™. Hemotropin 2XC™ has a “partner in crime” so to speak with the complimentary supplement Hemotest 2XC™. This product has a powerful blend of Fenugreek Extract, Bulbine Natalensis and AtraGin, allowing effective testosterone release and efficient absorption of nutrients. It also includes Acetyl L-Carnitine, an amino acid that increases nerve conductivity; and Luteolin, a flavonoid effective in reducing inflammation as well as lowering the risk of prostate and other types of cancer. Direction for use of Nutrabolics® Hemotest 2XC™ are (1) serving in the morning and/or (1) serving before training with plenty of water.
Written by Nutrabolics Athlete Ricky Goodall