Archive for the tag - testosterone

Watching Adult Content Helps Your Workout.

Computer-Man-Laptop-300-001A0770This is the study for which you’ve been waiting. According to researchers, watching adult videos before working out can improve athletic performance. And we’re not just talking about stronger forearms.

For the study, researchers showed various types of video clips to male athletes and then studied their testosterone levels and performance. Clips that were erotic, humorous, training-themed or aggressive resulted in increased testosterone in the athlete’s saliva.

In videos with a sad theme, on the other hand, testosterone levels decreased significantly.

The increases or decreases in testosterone levels correlated with performance improvements as measured by squats.

The researchers concluded that the pre-workout environment offers unique opportunities for hormonal change and athlete performance.

In other words, watching some erotic videos before you hit the gym can give your workout a boost. As if you needed any encouragement.

Study: Naturally-Occuring Testosterone Levels Don’t Influence Muscle Growth.

Conventional wisdom holds that higher levels of naturally occurring testosterone increase a person’s ability to build muscle. For this reason, many bodybuilders and weightlifters go to great lengths to maximize testosterone levels by abstaining from alcohol, eating certain foods and - in some instances - even avoiding ejaculation. (By the way, avoiding ejaculation doesn’t lead to increased testosterone.)

We certainly know that unnaturally high levels of testosterone (i.e., those obtained through steroid abuse) do result in muscle growth. And, from other research, we also know that higher levels of testosterone have been shown to limit muscle loss due to aging.

But a two new studies by scientists at McMaster University have revealed that exercise-related testosterone and growth hormone aren’t influencing factor in building muscle after lifting weights. These findings fly in the face of long-held conventional wisdom - and speak to the complicated role that hormones play in our dynamic human bodies.

The scientists came to this conclusion through two separate studies.

In the first study, men and women performed an intense leg exercise. Despite a 45-fold difference in testosterone levels, men and women were able to make new muscle protein at the same rate.

In the second study, researchers followed 56 young men through 12 weeks of exercise. The men trained 5 times a week and experienced muscle gains of nothing up to a maximum of 12 pounds. Researchers found no relationship between muscle or strength gains and levels of testosterone or growth hormone.

According to the lead author of the two studies:

While testosterone is definitely anabolic and promotes muscle growth in men and women at high doses, such as those used during steroid abuse, our findings show that naturally occurring levels of testosterone do not influence the rate of muscle protein synthesis.

Much research is still needed - and there’s a lot that’s not understood about the complex role hormones play. But for everyday strength trainers and non-senior populations, the takeaway is that pretty clear: When putting together a workout program, maximizing testosterone or growth hormone levels need not be a priority.

And feel free to ejaculate as often as your heart desires.

Study: More Testosterone, Less Muscle Loss.

Need a testosterone boost? This picture should do the trick.

Need even more encouragement to be a dirty old man? Probably not. But in case you do, a new study has found that men with higher testosterone levels experienced less muscle loss due to aging.

As we grow into our senior years, we tend to lose muscle. This muscle loss is greater in men than in women, and it’s often associated with falls, fractures and mobility limitations. Because of this, it’s important to retain as much muscle as possible during the aging process. Obviously, exercise plays a crucial role in this - but, according to the study, testosterone levels also play a factor.

For the study, researchers used data from 1,183 men ages 65 and older over the course of 4.5 years. Erin LeBlanc, MD, of Kaiser Permanente Northwest in Portland, OR and lead author of the study, concluded:

The amount of testosterone men have in their bodies may contribute to how much muscle and strength they lose as they get older. Our study adds evidence to the growing body of literature that suggest higher levels of endogenous testosterone may be favorably associated with some key components of healthy aging in men.

Of course, the research isn’t entirely unsurprising. It’s a hypothesis most of us would assume given the well-documented connection between testosterone and muscle growth.

Want more testosterone in your life? The following testosterone-boosting tips will allegedly do the trick for people of all ages, though I can’t vouch for the scientific validity:

  1. Strength train. Yup, lift things up and put them down.
  2. Get adequate sleep and rest between workouts.
  3. Eat nuts. The monounsaturated fat in nuts is believed to increase testosterone.
  4. Have sex. Even getting an increase can increase testosterone.
  5. Avoid stress.

The bottom line: Now you have yet another reason to cultivate your inner dirty old man.

Tight Underwear Prevent Muscle Growth?

Hi Davey,

There are a lot of people that say that tight underwear lowers our sperm count and testosterone levels, thereby preventing muscle gain. Is it true?


Hey Frank,

I’m so glad you asked this question!

First things first, it’s common knowledge that testosterone aids in muscle growth. The more testosterone you have, the more muscle you’re likely to build through your training. And, of course, this has been proven time and time again through the use of anabolic steroids, which - though dangerous - mimic testosterone and result in muscle growth.

If you do a Google search, you’ll see countless websites warning of the link between tight underwear and reduced testosterone and sperm counts. But rarely do they cite any research to back up their claims. I’m interested in science - not rumors.

These rumors note that the testes hang from the body for a reason; they need to be cooler to function properly. By wearing tight underwear, we hold the testes close to the body - thus, potentially raising the internal testicular temperature and decreasing functionality.

Not surprisingly, researchers have studied the link. In fact, back in 1998, Munkelwitz and Gilbert from the University of New York published a study about underwear and fertility titled, “Are Boxer Shorts Really Better?” After studying a number of volunteers, the researchers concluded that there is “no difference in scrotal temperature depending on underwear type” and that it was “unlikely that underwear type has a significant effect on male fertility.” Since testosterone influences sperm count, the research suggests that its levels aren’t influenced by tight underwear. Since then, other studies have come to similar conclusions.

Reduced testosterone levels can be caused by any number of conditions or circumstances, including:

  • Testicular damage
  • Post-puberty mumps
  • Radiation or chemotherapy
  • Testicular tumors
  • HIV/AIDs and other viral infections
  • Genetic conditions

Whether you’re in favor of boxers or briefs, know that it won’t affect your testosterone levels or your ability to build muscle. What you eat and how you work out, on the other hand, will greatly impact your results.

Davey Wavey

Cortisol And Lifting: Limit Your Workout Time.

Think you need to spend 10 hours a day in the gym to look like this? Think again. Longer workouts may have the opposite effect.

When you exercise, your body releases hormones. We generally think of hormones like testosterone, growth hormone and insulin. These three hormones are anabolic because they help build tissue.

But there is another hormone that the body releases during exercise. It’s called cortisol. Unlike the previously mentioned anabolic hormones, cortisol is catabolic - meaning it breaks tissue down. Therefore, it’s crucial to understand cortisol and the role it plays in your workout.

The hormone cortisol has the following effects:

  • Reduces protein synthesis.
  • Facilitates the conversion of protein to glucose.
  • Stops tissue growth.

In other words, the effects of cortisol on anyone looking to build muscle are very much undesirable. So, here are some tips you can use to control cortisol:

  1. Shorter training sessions. While we might think more is more when it comes to hitting the gym, keeping workouts short is one of the best ways to control cortisol. Cortisol is released by the body in response to stress, and strength training sessions shorter than 45 - 60 minutes have been demonstrated to minimize this. Similarly, cortisol is best controlled by cardio sessions shorter than 30 - 45 minutes. Going to the gym should be part of your day - not the whole day.
  2. Eat carbs when it counts. When it comes to nutrition, it’s important to recognize the inverse relationship between glycogen and cortisol. As glycogen levels go down, cortisol goes up. When your body runs out of glycogen - which it uses for energy - the increase in cortisol triggers a breakdown of protein (stored as muscle) to be converted to fuel. It’s not a good thing for people trying to build muscle, but it can be avoided by eating first thing in the morning and consuming carbs immediately after a workout. When taking your post-workout protein shake, ensure that you are also getting some simple carbohydrates that can be absorbed quickly.
  3. Manage stress. Since cortisol is released in response to stress, managing your stress levels outside of the gym will be helpful. This may mean setting aside time for meditation, bubble baths or even a massage.
  4. Get enough sleep. Cortisol levels are lowest (and growth hormone levels are highest) in the deepest phase of sleep. Get your required 7 - 8 hours, and do your best to ensure that it’s uninterrupted (i.e., put your phone on silent).
  5. Supplement. A 2001 study by Peters, Anderson & Theron concluded that getting 3 grams of Vitamin C a day helps lower cortisol levels. It’s also believed that supplementing with glutamine may help. If you’re concerned, you may wish to consider these options.

The biggest takeaway is the importance of quality vs. quantity when it comes to your gym time. Spending more time at the gym may actually have the opposite effect that you intend, so keep your workouts shorter, efficient and effective.