ARCH ENEMY NO1 TO THE PERFORMANCE & HEALTH OF THE OVER 40 ATHLETE –
As we age an unfortunate side effect is a decline in the Hormones that were responsible for our Growth, Development, Strength and Vitality when we were younger.
Declining Testosterone is one of those hormones that has the greatest effect on our wellbeing as we enter into our 40’s and the decline results in Muscle Loss, Loss of Bone Density, Tendons and Muscle Fascia becoming Stiffer, A Natural Gaining of Body-Fat and a Decline of Functional Capacity and Movement …. Declining Testosterone is our Arch Enemy!
The decline in Testosterone levels is part of the Natural Aging process but is possibly the Greatest Enemy to us living our lives Optimally and Performing at our best Physically in our later years;
A typical decline in Total Testosterone would be 1%-2% each year after the age of 35 - however there is often a loss to a greater degree and the extent to which it declines will also be due to Individual genetic factors and the Individual stress and strain to which you have subjected your system to;
If you have pushed your body hard physically for a number of years and put it under stress, then there is a very good chance that your Testosterone Levels will be declining greater than typical.
In fact, if you are Over the age of 40 and have subjected your body to large levels of stress over the years, whether that be stress from your lifestyle demands, physical stress from your Athletic endeavours or possibly from a Major illness, emotional stress from Divorce, Unemployment or even the death of a loved one…… Even if you have possibly simply being guilty of overstressing your system for too many years with a toxic diet including too much caffeine, energy drinks, alcohol and junk food then with any or all of these added stressors that have been placed upon your Hormonal system it is highly probable that your Testosterone levels have fallen even lower than a typical age related decline and that you are out of the acceptable range.
Every time that we face a Psychological, Physical, Emotional or Environmental Stress, the body enters the ‘Fight–Or–Flight Mode’ and activates the sympathetic nervous system which in turn automatically stimulates the adrenal glands to release the chemicals adrenalin, epinephrine and noradrenaline. With the body flooded with these chemicals, Cortisol is released, blood pressure is elevated, blood is pumped away from your organs and delivered to the muscles and blood glucose levels are elevated to give you a burst of energy - therefore resulting in elevated Insulin Levels. All these physiological processes are put into action to simply prepare you to FIGHT or to FLEE from your Stress or Danger. All of these factors as we know however, if chronically induced for prolonged periods will result in the draining of our system. A 'Metabolic Slow-Down or Breakdown' will arise and your hormonal system will not work effectively and at best be less than optimal. Your Testosterone levels in your later years will therefore suffer as a consequence.
If you want to continue to live and perform optimally and not allow this Enemy to take over and ruin your Athletic aspirations and your feelings of general wellbeing then as you enter your 40’s you should pay attention to keeping an eye on your Testosterone Levels and ensuring that they stay within the optimum range.
Monitoring your Testosterone Levels can quite easily be achieved these days by many online companies and by providing them a simple blood or saliva test from home and sending your sample to their lab. www.medichecks.com www.labtestsonline.org www.insidetracker.com
The symptoms of decreased Testosterone will include
- Lack of Energy
- Brain Fog
- Loss of Sex Drive
- Loss of Motivation
- Reduced Strength
- Loss of Muscle Mass
- Gains in bodyfat
And therefore, if you suffer 3 or more of any of these symptoms, I urge you to have your hormone levels checked sooner rather than later.
Testosterone also drives many of the positive adaptations to Training that Athletes seek including muscle Protein Synthesis which leads to increases in Muscle strength. A low Testosterone level will most definitely put a halt to any Physical Gains coming from your hard efforts
Decreased Testosterone levels can also ultimately lead to diseases including Alzheimer’s, Osteoporosis, High Blood Pressure, High Cholesterol, Heart Disease and Obesity.
Low Testosterone is Kryptonite to your Super-Powers …… And ultimately could kill you??!!!
TO DEFEAT THE ENEMY OF LOW TESTOSTERONE YOU MUST TAKE NECESSARY STEPS –
1) Firstly - obtain a Testosterone Level Test result
2) LIFT WEIGHTS Research has clearly shown that Heavy Resistance Training is the best form of exercise to boost Testosterone levels. Exercise sessions should be Intense but are best kept under 1 hour in Duration as at 45mins Testosterone and Growth Hormone Levels Peak during Exercise and then start to decline
3) AVOID EXCESSIVE LONG DURATION EXERCISE As studies consistently show that this has been shown to chronically elevate Cortisol levels and deplete Anabolic Hormone Levels by between 20 – 40% Athletes mostly at risk are those that frequently spend in excess of an hour or two exercising on a regular basis such as Endurance Athletes
4) AVOID CALORIE RESTRICTION AND LOW CARBOHYDRATE DIETS A diet based on whole foods with minimal processed foods and a good balance of Proteins, Essential Fats and Unrefined Carbohydrates will help elevate Testosterone Levels. Many studies have shown the negative effects on Testosterone levels from an over restricted calorie intake with ranges from 30 – 50% decline in Total Testosterone being reported (Kiddy et al – Guezennec) In addition research consistently shows that people who exercise regularly and restrict their carbohydrates have elevated cortisol levels. When Cortisol levels are chronically elevated all anabolic hormones including Testosterone go down. Studies have shown recently that consuming a diet with 30% of the calories coming from Carbohydrates whilst continuing to exercise resulted in a 43% drop in Testosterone to Cortisol ratio over just a 3-day period
5) AVOID STRESS Stress leads to chronic and unnatural elevations in Cortisol. Cortisol and Testosterone have an antagonistic relationship – when one is elevated the other is diminished. To ensure optimum Testosterone levels one must work to diminish stress; Look to Avoid Stressful situations - Try to make 30 minutes for yourself everyday to find some quiet time - Possibly consider using an APP like ‘CALM’ to help meditate
6) ENSURE A GOOD NIGHT SLEEP – As we can probably all lay testimony to, a good night of restful sleep goes a long way to making you less stressed the next day! In addition SLEEP IS ESSENTIAL FOR OPTIMAL HORMONES A long term study has shown that for every additional hour over 5 hours that you sleep, Testosterone levels rise 15% higher on average
7) ‘USE THE ADAPTOGEN HERB ASHWAGHANDA’ Ashwagandha is a herb used in ancient Indian Medicine for over 2,500 years and is widely used today in alternative medicine as an ‘ADAPTOGEN’ – meaning that it helps our body adapt to stress. Over 200 research papers has shown its benefits to Improve Thyroid Function, Reduce Stress, Stabilize Blood Sugar levels, lower Inflammation, Improve Stamina and Performance and Boost Testosterone. It has been known in India for centuries as ‘The Strength of The Stallion’.
In a recent study over 12 weeks using 5grams per day it was shown that Testosterone Levels were increased between 10%-22% and during this period 14% of the Male partners became pregnant ??!!! (National Institute of Health) Studies have also shown its benefit to lower Cortisol Levels up to 25% which in turn results in increased Testosterone production
I recommend starting with 500mg per day and slowly building to a maximum of between 1500-3000mg per day
8) TAKE A VITAMIN D SUPPLEMENT Vitamin D supplementation is becoming increasingly popular for a number of Health reasons; however recent research has also shown that it works as a natural Testosterone Booster. A 12-month study found that supplementing with 3000 IU of Vitamin D3 per day increased Testosterone Levels by approximately 25%
It is my personal recommendation to take this dosage at night before bed as it is during sleep that the hormonal processes mostly take place
9) INCREASE YOUR ZINC INTAKE – TAKE A ZMA SUPPLEMENT Zinc deficiency hinders Testosterone production. Zinc deficiency also leads to an increase in estrogen receptors and may increase Testosterone aromitization into estrogen. Increased estrogen equals decreased Testosterone and a loss of many Male Super-Powers!! Although Zinc can be found in many foods including Red Meat, Nuts, Eggs, Shellfish and Wholegrains like Quinoa and Rice it is not uncommon for an active Athlete or regular exerciser to have less than optimum levels due to the fact that the electrolytes Zinc and Magnesium are lost at quite a high level through sweat. I recommend taking 30-40mg Zinc and 300-600mg Magnesium - 30 Minutes before Bed every night.
This will also benefit your Testosterone Levels for another reason due to the fact, that there is a huge amount of research showing that the ZMA supplement (which contains both Zinc & Magnesium in similar quantities to what I have recommended) helps promote deep sleep which as we know is great for increasing Testosterone levels
10) LIMIT ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION Excessive and ‘Over-Frequent’ consumption of Alcohol has been shown to lower Testosterone. There are several reasons for this; Firstly the Liver is forced to work harder and break down and metabolize the ethanol in alcohol. In doing so it lowers coenzyme NAD+ which is essential for Testosterone production. Long term Alcohol consumption also increases oestrogen in the body which is the female sex hormone and an antagonist to Testosterone production. There is also no doubt that deep sleep cycles are affected by alcohol consumption and it is during these cycles when Testosterone production largely occurs
11) LIMIT SUGARS AND MAINTAIN A STABLE BLOOD GLUCOSE LEVEL Testosterone is temporarily reduced by having elevated Blood Sugar levels. If you frequently have bouts of elevated Blood Sugars, your entire hormonal system will be thrown out of whack and you will ultimately suffer chronically low Testosterone levels. This is evident in the fact that it is pretty much guaranteed that if you are diabetic that you will also have Low Testosterone. To avoid unstable Blood sugar levels avoid High Glycaemic carbohydrate foods such as Bread, White Pasta, deserts, Fruits that aren’t berries and processed foods that ordinarily contain a lot of added sugar without you knowing. Consume instead carbohydrates such as Sweet potatoes, Quinoa, Basmati rice, Wholegrain Oats, Berries and always try to ensure that at every meal you consume a good amount of Quality Proteins and essential fats as these slow down the absorption of the Carbohydrates into your blood stream.
As mentioned earlier in this BLOG ‘Ashwagandha’ also helps to stabilise Blood Sugar Levels So to summarise ‘The Strength of The Stallion’ has been proven to Lower stress, Stabilise Blood Sugar Levels, Improve Stamina and increase Testosterone levels - It seems like a No Brainer to add this to your arsenal of weapons if you do feel that you are losing your Super-Powers and especially if your Testosterone Levels are lower than optimal
You now have more than enough weapons in your Arsenal to do Battle with Arch Enemy No1 in your Quest to Regain Your Super-Powers – GET TO WORK & GOOD LUCK!!
IF YOU FEEL THAT YOU NEED FURTHER ADVICE OR ASSISTANCE IN REGAINING YOUR SUPERPOWERS & PERFORMING OPTIMALLY AGAIN -