Posted by admin | 06.30.15 | 10:56 am
One of testosterone’s main functions is to build muscle. For men facing low levels of the hormone, increasing strength can be a challenge. In fact, low testosterone has the exact opposite effect as it easily turns muscle to fat. In the absence of the “male hormone”, estrogen increases and puts fat where no one wants it: the chest, midsection and thighs. As we know, the build up of body fat lowers testosterone even further, creating a merciless cycle that is hard to escape.
Understandably, this is a major concern among men with low T – especially those who enjoy strength training and muscle building. However, there is good news. Not only is it possible to build muscle with low testosterone levels, strength training and exercise can help increase the amount of the hormone in the body. Your body can overcome the deficiency by adapting a healthier diet, maximizing the other hormones in your body, and modifying your workout routine to include a wider range of exercises, other than the ones that you would typically associate with muscle-building.
How to Increase Body Strength with Low Testosterone
While building muscle with low T is possible, it is a challenge. However, by fitting the tips below into your daily routine, you can create a healthier lifestyle that can work to reverse your low testosterone and the fatigue, mood swings, weight gain, and other symptoms that come with it.
Although not typically associated with increasing muscle mass, cardiovascular exercise of a minimum of 10 minutes helps increase human growth hormone (HGH), which increases muscle strength. Schedule short, intense cardio sessions two to three times a week. The best thing about cardio is that you can switch it up each time. With options such as the treadmill, elliptical, stairmaster, stationary bike, and swimming, it never has to be boring. During each cardio session, warm up for 3 minutes, then move as fast as you can for 30 seconds, and rest for 90 seconds. This high intensity interval training (HIIT) is particularly effective for weight loss and for maximizing the effects of your workout in a short amount of time.
Following your cardio routine, do short (but intense) strength-training for 30 minutes. Using free weights and resistance machines, focus on the major muscle groups of your body: chest, shoulders, back, legs, and glutes. Aim for 3 sets of 8 – 12 repetitions of each movement. You can use a lighter weight for the beginning set and a heavier one for the remaining two. Similar to your cardio routine, use different equipment and movement each day to keep yourself involved and invested in the workout. If you are new to exercise, start slow and gradually increase intensity with both cardio and weight training.
Refuel Your Body After a Workout
Within 45 minutes following an intense cardio or weight training session, eat a meal containing protein and carbohydrates. Not only does this replenish the used energy in your body, but it also helps initiate the muscle repair process that is necessary to build strength. In addition, consuming carbohydrates and protein after a hard workout may help stimulate HGH release, which will support your muscle-building efforts.
Don’t Do Too Much
Although it is necessary to push yourself through a good, hard workout to build muscle despite low T, working too hard can be counterproductive and harmful to reaching your goal. Workouts lasting more than one hour trigger your body to release cortisol. Cortisol, a catabolic hormone, breaks down muscle – which is what you are working to fight in the first place. Be sure that you give your body an adequate amount of rest in between workouts, including 8 hours of sleep at night. As mentioned previously, resting allows your muscles to repair themselves and grow. Hence, although it may seem like adding a few sets at the end of your workout will help you reach your goals quicker, it can actually hinder and/or prevent you from doing so.
Complex carbohydrates and lean proteins help build muscle and prevent fat build up. Accompany eggs, chicken, fish, and lean cuts of red meat with brown rice, sweet potatoes, or quinoa and watch yourself grow stronger and healthier. Cook all of your food in a moderate amount of healthy fat, such as olive or coconut oil.
A Note About Testosterone Replacement Therapy
Although the tips above can help reverse low T, extremely low levels of testosterone can result in a variety of health problems beyond just restricting your body’s ability to build strength. If you feel like you could benefit from low T treatments, schedule a free consultation with an experienced urologist to discuss your options.