Testosterone in bodybuilding plays, perhaps, the most important role, because it is this hormone that forms the entire process of creating a beautiful, harmonious and muscular physique. Today we will try to answer the most popular questions about what effects testosterone has on the body, what role it plays specifically in bodybuilding, and how to increase its concentration in the body. Also, in addition to the biochemical nature of testosterone, we are going to discuss in detail the role of correct diet and competent recovery in the period between workouts in its secretion. We begin, as usual, with a classic scheme, by defining what this hormone, testosterone, is.
Testosterone is the main male sex hormone, which, by the way, is present in the body in both men and women. That's right, despite the fact that it is considered a male hormone, it is produced in the body of both sexes, with the only difference that in men it is produced to a greater extent, and in women to a lesser extent.
Actually, the amount of testosterone in the body and distinguishes men from women in the following external features: broad shoulders, narrow hips, sexual orientation, secondary sexual characteristics, reproduction of offspring, and so on.
Regarding concentration, it is correct to talk specifically about the total level of this hormone in the body, which is made up of the formula: total testosterone = bound + free.
Total testosterone consists of 2% hormone in the unbound state, 44% hormone bound to globulin (hGH) and 54% hormone bound to albumin and other proteins. The bulk of testosterone in the male body is in the bound state. The albumin-bound and free hormone are biologically active, while HSPH, on the contrary, retards their action. The active form of the hormone in both sexes is free testosterone. It determines the sex drive and the level of development of secondary sexual characteristics.
Lack of testosterone in the body leads to bone and muscle degeneration, disorders of carbohydrate and fat metabolism, heart disease and, eventually, to a weakened potency, and then to its complete loss.
Any self-respecting man, and even more so an athlete who is engaged in bodybuilding, should know what functions testosterone performs in the body. At the initial stages of formation of the body and later, it forms the mental and behavioral signs of the male type.
It increases sex drive, increases the thickness of the skin, stimulates protein synthesis, increases the rate of metabolism, strengthens the bone system, promotes the accumulation of calcium in the bones, increases sweat gland activity, increases the number of red blood cells and total blood volume in the body.
This hormone performs so many biochemical functions in the body that it would be impossible to talk about full physical development without it.
Just as the presence of testosterone in the body has its own specific indicators, you can track its deficiency by relevant signs. First of all, this is a decrease in mood, a drop in concentration, the development of insomnia, increased irritability and as a consequence - depression. On the face and body vegetation is reduced, decreased muscle mass, increased dryness of the skin, decreased sex drive, erectile dysfunction and then infertility occurs.
Also decreased testosterone production in the body is characterized by increased sweating, increased bone fragility, the appearance of fat deposits in the abdomen and generally poor health and decreased interest in life.
In medical practice, a decrease in testosterone levels is called hypogonadism. Below I will give the reasons why a man may develop this phenomenon.
First of all, it is sedentary lifestyle due to which the body loses the stimulus to the secretion of testosterone. An equally important role in this process plays an improper diet, which at the chemical level both suppresses the secretion of new hormones, and reduces the effectiveness of those that are already in the blood. Reduced testosterone production also leads to nervous disorders, as the stress hormone - cortisol suppresses testosterone production.
And one of the main factors - it's age. After 30 years, men every year the level of testosterone inevitably falls by 1-2%. It is equally important to touch on topics such as injury or disease, which lead to a decrease in testosterone secretion. Such diseases may include diabetes, lung diseases, including bronchial asthma, hypertension, coronary heart disease, cirrhosis of the liver, atherosclerosis and obesity. This can also include chronic alcoholism. Including a decrease in the production of its own testosterone can lead to injuries of the genitals.
With regard specifically to bodybuilding, heavy exercise can also cause a decrease in testosterone secretion, so if you have signs, feelings or diseases described above, you should consult a doctor and undergo appropriate tests.
Testosterone in Bodybuilding
Testosterone is valued in bodybuilding primarily for its ability to affect the muscles. Its mechanism of action is as follows. Testosterone affects the nuclei of muscle cells by binding to receptors, thus accelerating the synthesis of protein by nuclei. Thus, it turns out that this hormone accelerates the synthesis of protein in muscles. As you know, protein is the building block of our muscles. The reason why bodybuilders consume large amounts of protein foods is that the protein contained in them helps build muscle. And because testosterone accelerates protein synthesis, it helps build muscle even faster. That is why testosterone is so important in bodybuilding. Also, this hormone has a positive effect on the training process as a whole.
The main thing it gives an athlete is an increase in muscle mass, which, of course, also requires the maintenance of a proper diet. Its next positive quality is the increase in strength performance, which is a consequence of the increase in muscle mass of the body. Finally, the third plus is the acceleration of recovery between workouts, which is made possible by the activation of protein synthesis by testosterone.
In other words, muscle fibres damaged during exercise recover faster the more testosterone in the body. This is the reason why many athletes want to increase its concentration in the body.
However, you should pay attention to the fact that the concentration of testosterone in the body is not constant.
The high levels of this hormone occur in the morning hours, and throughout the day its concentration gradually decreases. However, apart from the fact that the body naturally produces more testosterone in the morning hours, its concentration is also affected by the level of physical activity.
During exercise, the level of testosterone in your body rises, and then returns to normal levels once you have completed training. The amount of the hormone produced is affected by factors such as the number of muscles involved, as well as the regularity, duration and intensity of exercise.
How to Increase Testosterone
Since, as we have already found out, testosterone plays a very important role in bodybuilding, it is quite logical to strive to increase its concentration in the body.
There are two ways to do this.
The first is to go to the dark side of strength and start injecting anabolic steroids.
The second is to stay on the light side and make the most of the three levers by which you can affect the level of testosterone in the body.
The first lever is nutrition, the second is training, and the third is recovery.
Going to the dark side gives you quick results, but first of all, it threatens health problems and secondly, legal problems. That's why we will consider the second, healthy, natural and safe option. Let's start with nutrition.
The first thing you need to pay attention to - it's your diet. How full is it?
How regularly and most importantly - what you eat?
A complete diet is one that includes proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and fiber.
How many times a day do you eat?
When actively engaged in bodybuilding, it is recommended to eat every 3-4 hours, i.e. at least 4 times a day, and for this you should carry containers of food with you. What exactly do you eat?
Remember, it is undesirable to eat fatty, fried, floury, sweet and carbonated foods. Firstly, it's bad for your health, secondly, such a diet moves you away from achieving results, and thirdly, these products negatively affect the production of testosterone by the body.
Let's talk about training. As I wrote a little earlier, the level of testosterone production depends on your physical activity.
In terms of maximizing its secretion, the best solution is high-volume strength training. Testosterone levels rise considerably during resistance training, especially when you do hard basic exercises such as barbell squats, deadlifts and bench presses.
By and large, many other basic and multi-joint exercises also do this well. As with nutrition, it's important to be systematic in your training.
If your workouts are regular, this is most beneficial for increasing the concentration of testosterone in the body.
Finally, a couple of words about the importance of recovery. Training is just an opportunity to load and injure muscles, to give them a stimulus to grow. But if you always only load muscles, you can get yourself into a state of overtraining, when the level of testosterone will fall and muscles will not grow.
That is why it is very important to have time to recover between workouts. If you train regularly, you should have at least 8 hours of sleep. It is during sleep that all biochemical reactions aimed at restoring the body's performance and the integrity of muscle fibers occur.
Do not neglect sleep, do not spend too much time in front of the TV or the computer late, and your testosterone will be at the right level.
Since the main goal of bodybuilding is to build muscles, and testosterone speeds up this process many times over, so its role in this sport will always be incredibly great. In conclusion, I would like to give a few more tips on how to increase the level of this hormone in the body in a natural way. If you are overweight, start doing cardio workouts, because subcutaneous fat negatively affects testosterone levels. Find a fitness club that has people of the opposite sex attractive to you working out, as this increases your testosterone secretion by almost 40%. Finally, keep your emotional state toned, as the more vivid experiences you have in life, the more testosterone your body produces.