If you’re interested in fitness and are looking to build muscle, it’s likely that you know about the best types of exercise to achieve this. You probably also know about the types of foods you need to include in your diet to get the best results.
But building muscle isn’t just about what happens in the gym and the kitchen. There are other health factors to consider.
Understanding your hormones, and the impact they have on your body, is another key part of building a stronger body. And one of the cornerstones of this is testosterone.
So, what is testosterone? Can you have too much of it? And why is it critical when it comes to muscle mass? Let’s take a look.
What is testosterone?
Testosterone is a hormone found in humans, as well as in other animals. For men, testosterone is produced primarily in the testicles. Women also produce testosterone, in the ovaries, but in much smaller quantities.
During puberty the production of the hormone increases significantly and around the age of 30 it begins to dip.
Testosterone is most commonly associated with sex drive, and it plays a crucial part in the production of sperm. But testosterone also affects bone and muscle mass, influences how men store body fat, and the production of red blood cells.
The benefits of testosterone for building muscle
One of the core functions of testosterone is to build and maintain muscle mass. As an androgen – a hormone responsible for body maturation and sexual development – testosterone encourages the growth of sex organs and body hair and the deepening of the voice. The anabolic effects of testosterone include the building of muscle mass and the increase in bone density.
Regular levels of testosterone are important in helping muscles develop correctly and in maintaining mass. But if your levels are low, this can have an impact on your ability to build muscle and no matter how many reps you do, or how much chicken you put away, it’s unlikely to change until you do something about your hormone levels.
Can you boost testosterone naturally?
If your levels of testosterone are low, you may have noticed difficulty building muscle, along with other unwanted side effects. Fortunately, it is possible to increase your testosterone levels.
While some of the most effective ways to increase testosterone is by testosterone replacement therapy, anabolic steroids, or injections, not everyone wants to, can, or should, use these types of interventions.
Thankfully, there are natural ways you can boost your testosterone levels
Change Your Diet. It’s true what they say – you can’t out-train a bad diet, and this is also true when it comes to your hormone levels. Eating good, balanced meals made with whole foods like broccoli, brussels sprouts, mustard, turnip, cabbage, cauliflower, and kale can help lower oestrogen in the body, rebalancing testosterone levels.
Increase your sexual activity. Low levels of testosterone can decrease your sex drive. But engaging in sexual activity more often is a natural way to boost testosterone. It can seem like a vicious cycle, but if you can make time for intimacy, and reduce factors that prevent it, like stress, you may find you can boost your testosterone, and in turn, your libido.
Reduce stress. Prolonged periods of stress can reduce testosterone levels, while also introducing harmful levels of cortisol at the same time.
Sleep more. Sleep is vital for our bodies to rest, repair and replenish. Inadequate sleep has been linked to low levels of important hormones so make sure you get a good night’s sleep as often as you can.
Getting your testosterone levels tested
If you’re concerned about your testosterone levels and have been struggling to build muscle despite diet and exercise changes, you may want to consider getting tested for confirmation. Armed with this information, you can make more informed decisions in order to optimise your health and wellbeing.
At Blue Horizon we offer a comprehensive range of blood testing options for immunity to various diseases, as well as a larger profile of diagnostic checks to help you get a complete picture of your health.
Quick and convenient home tests
This test is available as a finger prick or vacutainer sample collection option. You can also choose to visit a BMI Hospital or have a nurse home visit.
If you choose to collect the sample yourself, your home-to-laboratory kit contains everything you need to take a blood sample in the comfort of your own home, at a time to suit you, and sent it back to us for testing.
Clear, accurate results
The time it takes to receive your results will depend on the type of test you have chosen. When they are ready, your results will be sent directly to you, via email, within the time specified. If you would prefer to receive a paper copy of your results through the post, that can be arranged for you.
You can also choose the option of reported or unreported results. Reported results include information and comment from our GP which you may find helpful to discuss with your own consultant, or for your records.