How Testosterone Levels Affect Weight Loss in Men
Losing weight is not always as straightforward as just eating right and exercising regularly. Unfortunately, many people who stick to a rigorous exercise program and a healthy diet still have trouble losing weight. When you are following all of the weight loss rules and you still fail to lose weight frustration sets in, which can make you feel like giving up.
One of the biggest reasons why some men have trouble losing weight has to do with hormone levels. Understanding the role that hormones like testosterone have on your body can help you lose weight and balance your hormones levels to end up healthier than ever.
Having adequate levels of testosterone is an important piece of the weight loss puzzle for men. Obesity in men is often directly linked to low testosterone levels; in turn, low testosterone levels are directly linked to muscle loss in men. Fortunately, there are natural ways to increase testosterone levels and eliminate the hormone block.
When all else fails, many men turn to bioidentical hormones to help them overcome testosterone deficiencies. This is a valid and fairly safe way to increase testosterone for the purposes of losing weight. Hormones that are manufactured to be biologically identical in structure and function to those produced by the human body (thus the name “bioidentical”) are fairly well known for their use as a menopause treatment for women. Men, however, can also benefit from using them. If natural efforts at increasing testosterone production don't work for you, bioidentical hormones may be worth investigating.
Natural Testosterone Boosters
Exercise is one important way to boost testosterone levels naturally. Specifically incorporating compound weight lifting exercises into your routine will be more likely to increase testosterone levels and thus increase your muscles-building and fat-burning capacity. These exercises activate several large muscle groups at one time.
Squats are a good example of compound weight training. Start with weights that you can only lift for 5 repetitions before exhausting your muscles. Do 3 sets of 5 repetitions of compound weight training exercises, resting a full minute between sets. It’s just as important to avoid overtraining your muscles if your goal is increased testosterone and weight loss. Over-training by stressing the same muscle groups 2 days in a row can cause your circulating testosterone levels to drop by 40%.
Eating Small Meals
Nutrition and diet also play an important role in both testosterone production and weight loss. Contrary to what you may believe, starving yourself is definitely not the best way to lose fat. If you drop your caloric intake too much below your daily energy expenditure, you body will go into “starvation mode” and start storing fat and calories until what your body perceives as a “famine” ends. Cutting fat out of your diet will not have the effect you desire either. Your body needs fat to manufacture testosterone. A diet that consists of at least 30% of fat is vital to produce adequate levels of testosterone.
So, if starving yourself is not the answer, and neither is cutting back on your fat intake, how do you lose weight? Eating small meals throughout the day can help by keeping your body from going into starvation mode. Aim for well-balanced nutrition with about 30% of your diet in fats and at least 16% in protein. Avoid alcohol, which lowers testosterone and eat plenty of nuts, which are, ironically, a healthy snack for your testes (the body part that produces the bulk of the testosterone in your body).
Eating Cruciferous Vegetables
Eating cruciferous vegetables like brussel sprouts, radishes, broccoli, and cauliflower can help you lower estrogen levels, which helps your body increase testosterone levels. A plant indole called DIM in cruciferous vegetables can help you metabolize estrogen more efficiently while at the same time making your weight training efforts more productive. DIM is available as a supplement, but eating raw cruciferous vegetables is a necessary part of a healthy weight loss diet plan.
Sleeping 6-8 Hours
Eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly are both vital to successful weight loss; however, if you want to increase your testosterone levels in an effort to lose weight and add muscles, getting an adequate amount of sleep every night is just as important. Sleeping at least 6 to 8 hours per night helps your body maintain normal circadian rhythms which are essential for healthy testosterone production. Balancing your stress levels factors into this equation as well. Stress causes the release of cortisol which shuts down testosterone production and also makes you gain belly fat.
Finally, if you're trying to boost your testosterone levels in an effort to lose weight more efficiently, have sex regularly and often. Sex can increase testosterone production in men by almost 100%, while simultaneously burning calories.
There are a number of health benefits for men having adequate levels of testosterone circulating in their blood. Being able to easily lose weight as well as build lean muscle mass is one important reason why men can benefit from making a few lifestyle changes that can increase testosterone production. Men with a goal of losing weight should also make building testosterone levels a priority. Following a few simple tips for testosterone production will sometimes do the trick, but if you need testosterone replacement therapy to get your hormone levels up to par, see a doctor about bioidentical hormone therapy. Adequate testosterone levels can change your whole life as well as your physical fitness and general health.
Geraci, R. (2000). Men's Health. 13 Ways to Naturally Boost Your Testosterone Levels. Retrieved December 5, 2011
Hendricks, C.L. (1999-2012). Testosterone and Weight Loss. Retrieved December 4, 2012
Zeligs, M. A. & Connelly, S. (2000). All About DIM: Hormone Balancing Phytonutrition from Cruciferous Vegetables. Penguin Group: New York.