If you happen to be a guy experiencing low levels of testosterone, getting in some good workouts will probably give you a boost.
Even though physicians and fitness experts are still learning when it comes to exactly how exercise affects testosterone production, one thing is fairly certain: after exercising, your test levels do go up – but only for a brief time, so you’ll need to routinely exercise if you want to reap the benefits.
According to Dr. Todd Schroeder, who analyzes the ways exercise impacts hormone health in older men at the University of Southern California, this boosting period can last anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour.
What health benefits these brief bursts of testosterone may produce is not yet certain – of course, exercise has many other notable advantages when it comes to overall health.
Dr. Soctt Isaacs of Emory University believes that men with unusually low levels of testosterone may not be able to notice much of a difference from exercise alone, although men with borderline low levels may experience a much more potent effect.
Factors That Make the Difference
There are four key factors that determine how much of a boost that exercise gives to testosterone in the body:
- Age – Although more research needs to be done in this area, older men seem to experience less of a post-exercise boost in testosterone, according to Dr. Schroeder. Even so, older men can still gain many other benefits from working out as well, such as improved muscle and bone health, flexibility and balance. Taking a natural testosterone-boosting supplement will also greatly help to boost your testosterone.
- Fitness Level – If you’re out of shape you may actually get a bigger (albeit brief) boost in testosterone when starting an exercise program compared to a guy who’s already fit. However, after a few weeks your body will grow accustomed to the routine and you’ll eventually get a lower response from the same amount of exercise.
- Timing – Testosterone levels fluctuate throughout the day, starting out highest in the morning and generally going downhill from there. Dr. Isaacs points to studies which show that scheduling strength training workouts in the evening will have a much greater impact on testosterone.
- Weight – As someone who treats men with low testosterone, Dr. Isaacs considers obesity to be a major factor contributing to the problem. Guys who are overweight can usually improve their testosterone levels by losing the extra weight. He’s actually written a book about the connection between hormones and weight called Hormonal Balance: How to Lose Weight By Understanding Your Hormones and Metabolism.
Different Forms of Exercise Will Do the Trick
Weight lifting and other forms of resistance training, as well as endurance exercises, all result in a brief boost in testosterone levels, says Dr. Schroeder.
He adds, however, that weight-lifting and other forms of strength training will have a much greater effect on testosterone production. He also offered a few research-backed tips to generate an even larger boost of testosterone when doing strength-training exercises:
- The more muscles used, the better. Perform exercises that utilize large muscle groups (such as squats and dead-lifts), and doing exercises focusing on several different areas is better than just targeting one (a full-body workout vs. just doing bicep curls, for instance).
- Lift heavier weights doing fewer reps rather than using lighter weights with a higher number of reps.
- Reduce your resting period between sets.
Even though weight-lifting and strength training is best at improving testosterone production, you should still aim for a balanced exercise plan that includes cardio and stretching for optimum health.
Be careful not to overdo it, however. High endurance athletes, as well as newbies who over-train, can actually decrease their testosterone levels, which is a red flag that they’re harming their bodies. This is because exercising too much increases the stress hormone cortisol, and high levels of cortisol have been linked to a decline in testosterone.
Some signs that you may be over-training include:
- Severe muscle soreness
- Excessively long recovery time
- Difficulty sleeping
- A loss in strength and performance
Be sure to give your body enough time to recover between workouts, and make it a priority to eat the right foods and utilize any appropriate bodybuilding supplements to help your body repair itself.
See Also: The Testosterone Boosters Buyer’s Guide
Mark McIntyre is the founder of MaleHealthReview.com and acts as it’s chief contributor. He is a fitness trainer and avid mountain biker who also enjoys camping, hiking and fishing. Besides managing Male Health Review, Mark is also a guest columnist for several blogs related to men’s health. More about this author…