Testosterone is an anabolic steroid hormone produced by either the testicles, ovaries or adrenal glands, and is responsible for many important processes in your body, especially for men. The level of testosterone in your body will determine physical factors such as muscle mass, bone density and energy levels – but also competitiveness, sex drive, and more.
The amount of testosterone in the body is important for overall health and well-being, as it affects how you feel mentally and physically. There's no question that testosterone is a key determinant of performance capacity and the quality of life. It provides the drive, energy, and strength to be successful.
Testosterone helps build muscle and even bone mass. It also has a play in protein synthesis, meaning the right amount of testosterone can put your body in the perfect position to build muscle. Testosterone increases the number of neurotransmitters – this helps the body better control muscular activity such as force production better.
Testosterone production exhibits a clear circadian rhythm. It is highly reactive to different kinds of life events such as exercise – and its levels can thereby be used to monitor the effects of nutrition, sports, sleep and more.
It’s important to recognize that this hormone fluctuates over time due to several factors, including total load, stress, or age, and this influences your ability to gain muscle or perform in sports and everyday life.
Low testosterone levels can be caused by genetics, age, lifestyle factors such as diet, insufficient or too much exercise, and sleep patterns, medical conditions such as obesity or diabetes, and medications, including blood pressure drugs known as beta blockers. In athletes, low testosterone is often due to excess training and insufficient recovery.
A person might have low testosterone in the following situations:
- energy levels feel low and there’s a loss of drive in training, or
- training is not delivering increases in performance or progress is even reverted.
Testosterone levels are easy to test and can be altered with changes to lifestyle and training, supplements, or prescription medications. If you’re serious about athletic performance, you should measure your testosterone levels frequently enough, and time the measurements to coincide with important phases of your training program.