There are a number of hormones that play a critical role in bodybuilding and strength training in general - testosterone being one of them. Though primarily responsible for the regulation of primary and secondary characteristics, testosterone also influences muscular development and fat tissue distribution. So, when levels drop it can have an affect on your muscle mass and overall performance.

Some notable indicators of low testosterone levels include:

  • Lowered sex drive
  • Increased difficulty in achieving an erection
  • Fatigue
  • Low mood or mood swings
  • Lower semen volume
  • Increased body fat
  • Hair loss
  • Loss of muscle mass
  • Decreased bone density

Testosterone levels and bodybuilding: What's the connection?


Testosterone is crucial in the development and maintenance of muscle mass and strength - this is why healthy levels are important in bodybuilding and strength training in general.

Testosterone creates and preserves bone density and with low levels of testosterone, bones tend to become quite weak and more likely to fracture or break [1]. Essentially, if your testosterone levels are low - you may not be performing at your best.

Other effects low testosterone may have on your training include [2]:

  • Low energy levels
  • Irritability
  • Poor concentration levels
  • Poor memory skills

How to build muscle with low testosterone levels


If you’re currently training with suspected low testosterone, the best way to move forward is to improve your levels. You can start by checking your testosterone levels and adopting the following lifestyle changes to improve them [3]:

  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Exercise regularly
  • Eat protein-rich foods (Read about foods that effect testosterone levels here!)
  • Get sufficient sleep
  • Moderate alcohol intake
  • Avoid smoking

LetsGetCheckeds at-home lab Testosterone Test identifies low testosterone levels which can in turn help boost performance. Online results will be available in just 5 days as well as a follow-up call with one of our dedicated nurses to explain your results and the next steps you should take.


You should take a testosterone test, coupled with a cortisol test if you are about to embark on a heavy training and a restrictive diet, especially if you are training competitively.

You should also consider measuring your testosterone levels if:

  • You have or have had prostate cancer
  • You are undergoing chemotherapy or radiation therapy
  • You suffer from Klinefelter syndrome
  • You suffer from prediabetes,type 1 or type 2 diabetes
  • You suffer from hemochromatosis or iron deficiency anemia
  • You have a pituitary gland disorder
  • You are overweight or obese
  • You suffer from chronic stress
  • You take anabolic steroids or protein powders
  • You have a family history of hormonal imbalances
  • You have an over or underactive thyroid
  • You suffer from kidney or liver disease
  • You have or have previously suffered from anorexia nervosa


References


  1. Mayo Clinic. Bone health: Tips to keep your bones healthy. Online: Mayoclinic.org, 2019
  2. Harvard Health Publishing. Testosterone — What It Does And Doesn't Do. Online: Health.harvard.edu, 2019
  3. NHS. Low testosterone levels 'linked to chronic diseases'. Online: NHS.uk. 2018