Excess body fat makes a man look more curvaceous than cut. Body fat contains aromatase, an enzyme that converts testosterone into oestrogen, the main sex hormones in women. Having extra oestrogen floating around your system triggers your body to slow its production of testosterone. So the less testosterone you make, the more belly fat you accumulate and the more oestrogen you produce.
A study conducted on 1,822 men confirmed that a man’s waist circumference is the single strongest predictor of low testosterone levels. It’s even more accurate than age or overall health.
As males age they will naturally lose some testosterone however weight gain can accelerate this process. When researchers monitored the health of men ages 40 to 70 for 9 years, they found that the men who became overweight or obese experienced a more rapid drop in testosterone than those who’d kept a normal weight.
However on the plus side you can reverse the tide and increase your body’s testosterone production by losing weight and following a few key approaches.
- Heavy lifting, less running
Vigorous resistance exercise triggers a big burst of testosterone. Stick to weightlifting movements that hit multiple muscle groups, limit your rest between sets, and keep cardio to a minimum. This approach stimulates your body’s production of growth hormone, which helps you build more muscle faster.
- Lifestyle Tweaks
Your daily habits outside the gym have a significant influence over your testosterone levels and muscle-building ability. Many of the simplest decisions you make each day can secretly have a hand in either boosting your testosterone or slowing it down—or even stopping its production altogether.
SLEEP: Log your 8 hours. A 2011 University of Chicago study found that averaging 5 hours of shut-eye decreased men’s T levels by up to 15%.
ALCOHOL: Studies show that excess alcohol speeds the conversion of testosterone and other androgens into oestrogen. If you want to maximise your T production, fat loss, and muscle gain, then cut down on your drinking.
Nutrients work hand in hand with hormones like testosterone to build muscle. But if you’ve been following the traditional, out-dated advice for losing weight—cut calories, reduce dietary fat, and watch your intake of red meat and eggs—you are missing out on those critical nutrients that build T levels and foster “anabolism,” or muscle growth.