Home Body Low Testosterone and Bodybuilding: Is It Really That Bad?

Low Testosterone and Bodybuilding: Is It Really That Bad?

When inside the bodybuilding community — or just the fitness community in general — you’ll hear many people harp on the subject of testosterone. This is rightfully so, as your hormones and the quality of your strength training are heavily linked.

Low testosterone and bodybuilding - Man working out in the gym

In case you’re not familiar, testosterone is also known as the “male sex hormone”. It gives them facial hair, deepens their voice, and improves their general health. It also regulates muscle and fat distribution. This means that the more testosterone you have, the more muscle you can gain and fat you can burn.

You can easily see the connection between bodybuilding and testosterone in this case, where low testosterone can be a killer for gains, but how heavy is it really? What causes low testosterone levels, and what can you do to make up for that lost testosterone?

I’ll give you the rundown so you can get a good understanding of low testosterone and the relationship it has with both your body and your gains.

 

The Consequences of Low Testosterone

Low Testosterone

Low testosterone and bodybuilding are a combination no one wants to hear. If you’re wondering if testosterone is really that important to the art of bodybuilding, the answer is muddy. It depends on your goals and aspirations for your weightlifting future. However, what you need to know is that it does indeed make a difference.

You will not be performing at your peak, and that’s because testosterone is such a strong hormone. It’s so powerful that it’s the basis for most steroids. If you’re very serious about your gains, then testosterone is everything.

However, low testosterone doesn’t just mean a decrease in your gain potential. Here are some additional negative side effects that can seriously mess up your ability to work at your peak, as well as your health in general.

  • Poor concentration
  • Poor memory
  • Lowered mood
  • Irritability
  • Lower energy levels
  • Hair loss
  • Fatigue
  • Poorer sexual health
  • Increased body fat
  • Decreased bone density
  • Mood swings
  • Loss of muscle mass

 

What Causes Low Testosterone?

Causes of low testosterone - middle aged man bodybuilding in gym

Low testosterone can be caused by a litany of issues, but before we get into them, we need to speak about one potential cause that’s directly tied to the subject at hand: bodybuilding itself.

While exercise is able to bring up your testosterone levels, there can be points where it causes temporary low testosterone levels.

There is also the subject of steroids. Even if some steroids are labeled as being different from or safer than testosterone, they’re almost always derivatives of the hormone. The higher the dosage you use and the longer you use them can dictate how large of a hit your testosterone levels will take, and they will take a hit. There are even some cases of men needing to be on hormone replacement therapy for the rest of their lives.

As for the other causes of low testosterone you can find, there are plenty. The biggest one, however, is aging. It’s just a natural part of life, unfortunately. When you hit 30, your testosterone levels will begin to decrease slowly over time.

If you feel as though you’re low on testosterone for other reasons, you can easily schedule an appointment to get your hormone levels checked out. Speak to a doctor about what the potential causes could be, and what solutions you can consider.

Here are some of the main causes of low testosterone:

  • Obesity
  • Are or were living with illnesses or conditions, such as cancer, kidney/liver disease, diabetes, anorexia, anemia, etc.
  • Chronic stress
  • Pituitary gland disorders
  • Over/underactive thyroid

 

How to Build Muscle With Low Testosterone

Obese man building muscle with low testosterone

Can you still build muscle even with low testosterone? Of course you can. If a bodybuilder quits the game just because their testosterone is low, then they’re wildly underestimating their own potential.

The bottom line is that you can not only work with low testosterone, but you can also naturally raise your levels.

If you believe you have low testosterone, the first thing you should do is get them checked. Schedule an appointment with a doctor, get your hormone levels figured out, and try to see if you can pinpoint a specific reason for your lowered testosterone.

If the reason isn’t all that serious, you can move on with step two: improving your levels. The suggestions I’m about to lay down are easier said than done, but they can go a long way in increasing your hormone levels. Here is what you can do:

  • Get a good amount of sleep
  • Eat protein-rich roofs
  • Lower/moderate your alcohol intake
  • Avoid smoking
  • Use testosterone boosters

One thing you have to remember is that it’s inevitable that your testosterone levels will begin to lower. It just happens with age. However, it shouldn’t deter you from trying to always be at your peak, no matter what that looks like.