Can You Boost Muscle Growth with Low Testosterone?
Boosting muscle growth with low testosterone levels, is that even possible?
Well, as you may already know, testosterone plays a big role in increasing muscular mass. With low testosterone, the task is going to be more difficult.
While I did say difficult, it’s not impossible.
Actually, far from it!
Testosterone and Muscle Growth: An Intimate Relationship
If you have ever set foot in a gym, you probably are no stranger to the relationship between testosterone and muscle growth.
For instance, the high presence of anabolic steroids, synthetic hormones that mimic testosterone, have heavily informed gym goers on how T can actually boost muscle growth.
But how does it really work?
First, testosterone is an androgen hormone, a hormone that starts and directs the development of male sexual traits. In adults, testosterone mainly influences muscle mass, aggressiveness and sex drive.
However, in order to better understand T’s role in muscle growth, we have to explore how our bodies build muscle in the first place.
Resistance exercise, such as weight lifting and callisthenics, trigger muscle growth by causing a tiny amount of trauma to the existing muscles.
In response to this, our bodies repair the muscle tissue and increase its strength and size. They do that by adding new protein strands to the fibres present in muscles.
This is called protein synthesis and numerous hormones, especially testosterone, act as growth factors to allow that process to happen.
Nonetheless, while testosterone role is important in muscular growth, it isn’t the only factor to play a major role in it.
Insulin, insulin-like growth factor 1, fibroblast growth factor, hepatocyte growth factor, stress levels, good rest and the old plain growth hormone also play a primordial role in muscle development.
So, Can You Boost Muscle Growth with Low Testosterone?
Of course, you can!
However, it will involve to (indirectly) boost your testosterone levels and adopting a healthier lifestyle where needed.
And to do that…there’s nothing better than High-Intensity Interval Training (aka HIIT) and weight-lifting (or callisthenics).
By mixing these two forms of exercises, you will optimize your chances to build muscle and get healthier day by day.
For example, a high-intensity exercise of (only) 10 minutes can boost growth hormone and thus, help muscular growth. (1)
When it comes to weight-lifting, progressively increasing the weight of your lifts will definitely make you have more mass and muscular definition. However, if you are looking for pure strength gains, callisthenics (aka bodyweight exercises) may be a better suited option. (2)
Additionally, stress management is indispensable to optimize your muscle gains.
Cortisol, a hormone that we secrete during stressful events, can have a significant impact on your muscle growth. This hormone attacks directly the existing muscle mass. Thus, hindering any efforts you are making to boost muscle growth.
Moreover, high levels of cortisol, also have a nefarious impact on testosterone levels.
As such, finding a good stress management strategy that works for you is very, very important to see good muscle growth.
Exercise, in itself, can help alleviate life’s stresses and help you deal with it all more serenely.
Furthermore, certain activities such as breathing exercises, meditation, yoga can physically and mentally calm you down and help you figure solutions out without the mental cloud caused by stress.
Conclusion: Can You Boost Muscle Growth with Low Testosterone?
Clearly, there are many things that can be done to boost your muscle growth and make you fitter progressively.
To make matters simpler, here’s a practical list of changes that will help you boost T levels and muscle growth:
- A diet with the ideal proportion of protein is essential for muscle growth. Usually, eat 2 grams of protein per kg of bodyweight (or 1 gram per pound). This should give you a good indication on how much protein you need daily.
- Similarly, your ideal plate should be 30% protein, 30% fat and 40% carbohydrates (including vegetables and fruits). Make sure most of your foods are wholesome (brown rice, whole grain pasta and bread, millet, oats, lean meats, organic dairy products, nuts, organic and seasonal veg and fruits, etc.)
- If you have a small frame, you will also have to increase the calories you eat in order to gain muscle mass. That’s VERY important.
- Drinking healthy protein shakes (with amino acids) before a workout (or in the 30 following minutes) can increase muscle growth. (3)
- When lifting or doing body weight exercises, make sure to push yourself until failure. In other words, push until you can’t do it any more.
- Make sure to alternate the parts of your body during workouts and have at least one rest day per week.
- Sleep enough and try to keep it regular. Muscle building needs good recovery and sleep is essential to repair and increase muscle mass. Moreover, sleep and rest days are essential to reduce the risk of injury.
- Be patient, you won’t see big and/or well defined muscles overnight. Muscle growth takes time and dedication. Set small goals and celebrate your small progress week by week (without indulging too much 😉 )!
This article “Can you boost muscle growth with low testosterone levels” was written by Michael King.
(1)The exercise-induced growth hormone response in athletes. Godfrey RJ, Madgwick Z, Whyte GP. Sports Med. 2003
(2) Resistance Training Volume Enhances Muscle Hypertrophy but Not Strength in Trained Men. Brad J. Schoenfeld, Bret Contreras, James Krieger, Jozo Grgic, Kenneth Delcastillo, Ramon Belliard and Andrew Alto. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2019
(3) The effects of protein supplements on muscle mass, strength, and aerobic and anaerobic power in healthy adults: a systematic review. Pasiakos SM, McLellan TM, Lieberman HR. Sports Med. 2015