It is common knowledge that one of the best known hormones found in the male body is testosterone. It plays a key role in developing male reproductive tissues but also in increasing muscle and bone mass. Consequently, some gym goers are keen to try and boost their testosterone levels through a variety of different means.
How it works
Testosterone is widely considered to be one of the most important hormones in building up muscle mass. Although optimum levels are responsible for enhanced energy and libido, as well as a sense of well-being, fitness fanatics will be keen to see the effects it will have on their workout regimes.
Because it works to boost muscle mass, taking a supplement or doing certain things can increase testosterone levels within the body. The higher the testosterone, the more the muscles build and this is a cycle that can continue, helping you to boost your muscles.
When you have more muscle mass, your testosterone levels will naturally be higher. Consequently, you can then use this testosterone to get even bigger muscles. Essentially, high testosterone levels and increased muscle mass go hand in hand; you don't get one without the other. When you get older, however, your testosterone levels naturally start to drop. If you are keen to keep your muscle mass at its peak, you could find yourself running into a few problems.
The common mistake that people can make when they find themselves in this situation is to work out extra hard in a bid to boost both their muscles and hormone levels. However, if you are not careful, you could find yourself faced with adverse effects. If you end up lifting too many weights, you can actually go beyond raising your testosterone levels and boost levels of cortisol instead. Cortisol is the main hormone that causes stress and it can actually reduce your testosterone levels, and your muscle mass, which is exactly what you don't want to happen.
Clearly, testosterone boosts muscle mass, but it also has a whole host of other effects that are extremely beneficial to athletes or fitness fanatics. The hormone helps to regulate insulin levels, as well as glucose and fat metabolism. Consequently, it can actually help to decrease the levels of fat in your body. When testosterone levels reduce, fat can start to build up, as the body has to work harder to regulate things.
While not directly linked to exercise, testosterone is also thought to help combat depression. Research has shown that people suffering from depression tend to have lower levels of testosterone and, when they are given treatments containing the hormone, they notice that their mood improves.
Your bones may also feel the effects of boosted testosterone levels as well. The hormone increases density because it reduces bone resorption but also stimulates mineralization of the bones as well. If you are finding that your muscle mass has increased, having stronger bones is likely to be an essential for you as well. There is no point having the strength in your muscles to lift heavy weights if you cannot hold them up with your bones.
Note: This article for Sci-MX sports nutrition is written by Lauren Sutton, a brand journalist who enjoys hitting the gym twice a week after she’s finished a long day’s writing in the office.