There is a lot of misconceptions about the effects that protein has on a men’s testosterone level and overall hormonal health.
Most of what is commonly understood about the relationship between the two compounds is spread by word-of-mouth.
Unfortunately, most of what is commonly understood is not the truth.
Protein and Testosterone
There are some well-known facts about the relationship between protein and testosterone that have led to this common misconception.
First off, it is well known that protein deficiency can cause the body to produce much less testosterone than it should. And this can lead to a significant loss of muscle mass.
Many people see this as a suggestion to overcompensate. Why just eliminate the deficiency when you can eat as much protein as you want?
Also, since the body uses testosterone to help with the synthesis of protein from amino acids, then people think getting extremely high levels of protein will cause freer testosterone to be available in the blood instead of being used to create protein.
Both of these assumptions lead to one suggestion: eat as much protein as possible. This is so widespread that many bodybuilding websites and programs encourage people to consume high protein diets – some people consume as much as 50% of their calories from protein.
People are often told that protein is the major contributing factor to the creation of testosterone. While it is necessary to have some protein to create testosterone, it’s not the only important building block.
Many other nutrients are required for a healthy hormonal system. More important than high levels of protein is ensuring that you have a good balance of different nutrients.
Protein, Carbohydrates and Fat
A lot of bodybuilders think that they should eat as much protein as they can and cut out as many carbs and fats from their diet as possible. This makes sense on the surface:
- If protein is responsible for the growth of muscle mass, then we should get as much of it as possible to see the most muscle gains, right? Wrong.
- If carbohydrates are used as energy, and our body stores excess carbohydrates and calories as fat, we should keep our carbohydrates low and protein high, right? Wrong.
- This one’s obvious. If we’re trying to build muscle, we want protein, so why would we want a high-fat diet? Fat will just overshadow our gains, right? Wrong.
These are common assumptions that form the guidelines for many athletes and bodybuilders’ diet programs. Unfortunately, this particular diet is a recipe for a low testosterone and a high cortisol hormonal system.
First off, one of the most important things a bodybuilder needs is a good balance of these nutrients. Yes, fat is a nutrient. Anyway, here’s how these nutrients each impact your hormone levels and your muscle growth.
Protein and Carbs
The optimal percentage of protein for an athlete’s diet is around 12-15%. Protein levels in this range revealed the highest serum levels of testosterone when compared with people who had a diet that contained between 20%, 25%, or 30% protein
It’s also important that the ratio of protein and carbohydrates is paid attention to. People who eat diets that are very high in protein and low in carbohydrates, which is typical for many athletes, have significantly lower levels of testosterone.
However, those who have diets that are high in carbs and lower in protein have much better levels of testosterone in the body.
Carbs are Champions
The information above suggest that carbohydrates have a much bigger impact than protein on our body’s production of testosterone.
If you are really looking to boost testosterone levels, don’t focus so much on protein.
A high-carbohydrate diet will also help you lower levels of cortisol, which is pretty much the worst hormone a bodybuilder could have in abundance.
Cortisol works in the opposite way of testosterone, helping your body break down muscle instead of building it.
Fats and Testosterone
Studies have shown that people who have low fat diets are less likely to have high concentrations of testosterone.
In fact, one study that was done on 12 volunteers – all men who were familiar with working out – proved that fat can have an acute and significant natural steroid effect on testosterone levels.
The study observed serum levels of testosterone in twelve men over the course of 17 days. Those who ate diets high in fat were shown to have higher levels of testosterone both during the day (which could provide them with more drive and motivation to put in extra effort at the gym) and during the well-known post workout testosterone boost.
Protein in Older Men
Most of these studies were done on younger men. If you are an older man, between the ages of 40 and 70, then the rules might be a little bit different for you.
Middle-aged and older men respond better to higher protein diets than younger men. They are less likely to have their testosterone production inhibited by a little extra protein.
Men who have consumed low protein diets, who then switch to a high protein diet later in life, will see the most significant benefits. (Though this doesn’t mean that you should eat a low protein diet for your early life just so you can switch to a high protein diet later.)
Also, older men have shown that they produce more sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) when they eat diets that are low in protein.
SHBG is a compound that our body produces that binds to sex hormones like testosterone. The higher the blood serum concentrations of SHBG are, the more testosterone will be bound by it, and the lower the overall levels of free testosterone in the body will be. For this reason it’s very important to reduce SHBG as much as possible.
Fortunately, we don’t have to entirely rewire our brains to process this information. All we have to remember is that it’s important to maintain the proper ratio of protein, carbohydrates, and fat in our diets.
All of these nutrients work together to create a hormonal system that functions properly. For the best production of testosterone, you aren’t going to want to consume more than 15% protein. Make sure your body gets plenty of good quality carbohydrates and fats as well.
About the Author
By Sean Ward, Founder of Naturally Boost Testosterone, a men’s health blog dedicated to providing natural ways for men to boost hormone levels. Check out www.naturally-boost-testosterone.com to learn more about Sean and his work. You can also find him on Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook
If you want to build muscle maximally, you’ve got to consume more calories than you’re expending. If you’re a fitness enthusiast then there is a likely chance that you have heard the terms “bulking””and “cutting”. Bulking is the phase where you eat in a calorie surplus (i.e. eat more calories than you burn) in order to gain muscle and the cutting phase is when you eat in a calorie deficit (i.e. eat fewer calories than you burn) in order to lean out and reduce fat so that your muscles stand out in all of their glory.
Now, the trouble many people have with eating in a calorie surplus is that you will put on fat. Unfortunately, we cannot control how our bodies use the extra energy we provide them through food. Most of the extra calories are guaranteed to go towards repairing and building muscles, but some of it will end up as fat – which is why the cutting phase is so important.
If you are in a cutting phase and eating at a suitable deficit and still not losing weight, then you should seek medical advice. Symptoms of low testosterone levels are often overlooked; however, low testosterone levels and high estrogen levels result in excess fat being held around the abdomen. This is definitely not ideal if you’re looking to get lean.
It is possible to make your own life easier by controlling your bulk to only gain a minimal amount of fat; which will make your cutting phase much easier. Many people see their bulking phase as a time to throw all diet rules out of the window. They think they can eat whatever they want, whenever they want because the goal is to gain weight. Unfortunately, human beings grow muscles at a very slow rate which makes the overload of calories completely pointless and even harmful to your final goals.
Here are 5 rules to keep in mind when you’re bulking in order to grow lean muscles with minimal fat:
1. Ditch Hours of Cardio and Opt for Sprints or HIIT Cardio
I know, I know, cardio is incredibly effective for fat loss. But if you’re afraid of gaining fat during your bulk and overdoing it with hours and hours of cardio then you’re doing your gains a disservice.
Long periods of cardio does burn fat, however, can negatively affect your training due to impaired recovery.
Do not despair, sprints and high intensity interval training (HIIT) will be your saving grace. Think of a sprinter’s body. A sprinter has minimal fat and loads of muscle. This is due to the fact that sprints and HIIT have an after burn effect which keeps on burning fat for hours after the exercise. The short period of high intensity has been proven to burn fat while retaining muscle.
2. Cycle Your Carbs and Eat Enough Protein
Carbohydrates, Fats, and Proteins are known as macronutrients and they make up everything we eat. Our bodies need carbohydrates for energy, fat for micronutrient (vitamins and minerals) absorption, and protein to build muscles.
Most men and women do not eat enough protein in their day to day lives. Protein is the building block of muscles and a lack of protein will result in a plateau in the gym. You need to eat protein to gain muscle, it’s that simple. The general rule is to eat around 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight a day.
This does not mean that you must only focus on eating protein, because carbohydrates and fats are also incredibly important—but you must ensure you’re eating enough protein to sustain your muscle growth.
Carbohydrates are essential for energy. This is why it’s a good idea to eat more carbs on training days and fewer carbs on non-training days, or less intense arm focused days. This will ensure you have enough energy to smash your intense workouts while monitoring the number of calories you consume in a week to avoid excess fat gains.
3. Lift Heavy
Lifting heavy will ensure you’re overloading your muscles; which is the only way your muscles will grow.
Compound movements are ideal for getting the heart rate up. An increase in heart rate means you’ll be burning more calories when you exercise and, in turn, burning more fat. If you’re not working hard in the gym, then the extra calories will have no muscle damage to repair.
Compound moves are ideal for building muscle mass across many muscle groups and isolated movements focus on building strength in targeted muscle groups. Combining the two forms of exercise will ensure optimal growth with minimal fat.
4. Don’t Go Overboard with the Calorie Surplus
As previously mentioned, the body gains muscle very slowly. This means that you must slowly increase your calories and try to make sure you’re eating in just the right surplus balance to repair your muscles.
You are guaranteed to gain a lot of fat if you see a calorie surplus as a time to eat anything and everything. It should be closely monitored so that you can see muscle gain and, if you plateau, then continue to increase your calories slowly.
5. Try a Clean Bulk – A Calorie is Not a Calorie
If you’re counting calories, it’s important to remember that your body will only be able to grow if it’s given all of the right nutrients (carbs. fats, and proteins). If your body receives a lot of junk food, it’s going to be much easier to overeat since these nutrient devoid foods will have a weak appetitive response. If you pump your body with nutrients, it will use the food that you give it which will be less likely to end up as fat.
An added benefit of a clean bulk is that you will be able to eat larger quantities of food which will keep you feeling full for longer.
Follow these rules and you will be able to gain muscle mass without gaining fat.
Catherine Grant is an Editor-in-Chief of America’s best bodybuilding supplements website – TopTestosteroneBoosters.org . She is a health and fitness enthusiast. She wrote health and fitness related articles for numerous reputable sites like Huffpost, EvanCarmichael, MasterHerald, Get-a-Wingman, Lifehack etc… She is passionate about helping others reach their health goals through sharing her own personal experiences.
For many bodybuilders, protein consumption is practically a religion. If you’ve been working on building muscle, you’ve probably had your fair share of protein powder. Testosterone – the ultimate male hormone – has also always been associated with muscle building, but did you know that there is such a thing as too much protein, and that it can affect your testosterone levels?
You may want to rethink your notions on protein and its relationships with muscle gains and with test levels as, apparently, the mechanisms behind these two are rather conflicting.
So does having more protein make you manlier? The answer is actually best given on a case to case basis. In this article we’ll guide you through the science and present you with the important facts you need to know to optimize protein consumption and keep your testosterone levels high.
Why you need to think twice about that off-the-roof protein consumption
No, we’re not saying that protein is bad. It’s true that protein is a crucial macronutrient for bodybuilding. We all need protein to build muscle and have a functional body. However, there is an optimal level and that level is not always at the as-much-as-you-can-eat level.
Somewhere along the timeline of healthy living and legendary bodybuilding history, there started this notion that there’s no such thing as too much protein in your diet. Some people have accepted this as the norm and even forced themselves to consume 11.5g/protein per pound of bodyweight (that’s over 40% of one’s daily caloric intake!).
What’s worse is that this notion has been perpetuated by manufacturers who are more concerned about generating hype and marketing than they are about your health. It’s high time that you know the truth and we get down to the real science!
How varied diet macros affect your body
Here’s what you’ve probably been missing: protein and testosterone, the primary muscle building hormone, have a negative relationship. Don’t take it from us but from the following studies conducted by the experts, this is not broscience my friend. Brace yourself!
Study#1. The Link Between Dietary Protein/ Carbohydrate Ratios and Steroid Hormone Concentrations in Blood (Anderson. 1987)
This study investigated whether significant hormone levels (i.e. testosterone, sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG), cortisol and corticosteroid binding globulin (Transcortin)) were influenced by dietary differences in macronutrients.
Researchers mainly looked for differences between a high carbohydrate: protein dietary ratio, and a higher protein: carb ratio. As for the results, they found out that higher carb: protein diet resulted in higher levels of circulating testosterone.
Moreover, testosterone’s “check” hormone, SHBG, also had lower concentrations in high carb diets. SHBG transports the testosterone in your bloodstream in inactive form, which means that those hormones would not be bioavailable and produce any effects. This is not what you want.
The same diet ratio also resulted in lower levels of circulating stress hormones. Overall, these markers lead to better conditions for improved anabolism and muscle protein synthesis
On the other hand, the opposite has surprisingly been observed in the high protein group. Overall, their results draw the conclusion that higher protein intake is not associated with a superior hormone profile.
However, this does not mean that diets high in carbohydrates are the best. Rather, it means that you should not go too crazy on the protein. A high fat ketogenic diet has shown no negative effects on testosterone levels, so indeed levels of carbohydrates are not the issue.
Study#2: The Relationship Between Testosterone and Cortisol Concentration in Resistance Trained Individuals Relative to Dietary Intake (Volek. 1997)
This study refutes the belief that the “peri workout” window is the most important time to load up on protein with the aim to maximize muscle growth. However, the results show that fat may actually be responsible for one’s gains as a result of post exercise test spikes, not protein!
These findings were mainly reflected in the baseline levels they collected from subjects who consumed a diet with more calories derived from fat, who correspondingly had higher testosterone levels.
This trend has been consistent even more interestingly when testosterone was plotted against saturated fat intake and monosaturated fats. Again, this study points out on the relevance of nutrition for optimal test levels. And as in the previous study, it suggests that you don’t have to stick to the all high protein or high protein + low(er) carbs diet. Focus on healthy fats!
Study#3: Protein Supplementation Does Not Alter Anabolic or Endocrine Hormonal Response Following Resistance Training (Gonzalez. 2015)
In this study, a placebo was tested against a protein supplement consisting of 20g protein, 6g carbs, and 1g fat post workout on the hormonal response of 10 healthy, young men who engaged in resistance training.
Their results show that hormone-wise, there is no significant difference between the two groups — not in testosterone, cortisol, insulin, or even in growth hormone levels.
This cements the notion that protein is indeed crucial in bodybuilding, but there is no need to consume so much. More importantly, this study might make you consider if spending so much money on those protein powders are really worth it.
So who actually needs a high protein diet?
As hinted at in the first study mentioned, it’s older people who have a need for more dietery protein, and this is shown in at least one study. In the study, the subjects are in age ranges from 40 to 70.
The results showed that men who consumed the lowest protein also had highest levels of SHBG, the binding protein which inactivates testosterone and the other sex hormones. And with lower levels of these hormones means less are free to elicit beneficial effects on the body.
However, lets not forget the limits of the study and wait for more studies on men with a younger age range.
So when should you use protein supplements?
Ideally, protein supplements are only advised if you are unable to meet your nutritional requirements or trying to lose weight. You may use online protein intake calculators to find out, or consult a bodybuilding dietician or nutritionist.
When you have established that you do need that extra protein from supplementation, skip the protein powders and instead consume a real post workout meal consisting of real meat or eggs. Enjoy a diet of steak and eggs, which incidentally is highly recommended by legendary body builder Vince Gironda. There is no need for pre workout supplements. Make sure your diet contains ample fats, some carbs, and decent amount of protein. I recommend aiming for 0.8-1g/ pound of bodyweight in protein.
What do we focus on now?
When you break things down into it’s chemistry, you’ll notice that testosterone is in fact closely tied to fatty acids. You’ve might have heard about boosting test through the selenium in Brazilian nuts (popularized by Tim Ferriss) but another way to go is through working on omega 3’s and 6’s, particularly the modified omega 6 fatty acid known as Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA). You can always conveniently pop CLA from supplements or you can also just get your CLA from grass-fed meats and butter.
When you’ve established that you’re consuming all the protein you need, it’s time to save some cash and stop buying all those protein powders.
Remember that if your daily requirements for protein does not entail a need for protein powders, a post-workout meal with a good servings of fat and modest servings of carbs and protein will suffice. It’s always better to go for real food whenever you can instead of buying supplements.
Keep in mind that animal protein is an essential part of your diet specifically for your vitamin B12 needs, red blood cell health (iron) and many other vitamins, minerals and fatty acids such as CLA.
In fact animal foods contain more nutrients than the majority of plant foods. This is especially the case with organ meats such as liver though keep in mind that animal protein alone will not give you higher testosterone levels!
About The Author
Alex Eriksson is the founder of Anabolic Health, a men’s health blog dedicated to providing honest and research backed advice for optimal male hormonal health. Check out https://www.anabolichealth.com/ to learn more about Alex and his work..
Twitter – Anabolic_Health
Facebook – AnabolicHealth
I see countless people in the gym working their asses off, putting in huge amounts of work, all with the commendable goal of building a lean and muscular physique.
Yet somewhat depressingly, these same people (even despite all their hard work), see very little results. They absolutely smoke themselves in the gym day after day, but can’t seem to lose any substantial amount of fat, or build any appreciable amount of muscle.
Now, for most people I would say that putting in hard work and eating a caloric surplus would be enough to build a strong and muscular physique – and most people would probably agree with me. While programming does indeed play a part (increasingly so as we become a more advanced in our tanning lifetime), often it doesn’t have to be perfect – as long as you work hard you will see results.
But for some people, this does not seem to be the case – and it can often be put down to a single factor: testosterone.
Most people think of testosterone as a sex hormone. They know it can influence our libidos significantly, while also impacting our physical development during puberty. But what most seem to forget is that testosterone also has a host of other important qualities.
Testosterone promotes the breakdown and mobilization of fat from the body’s adipose tissue (fat tissue), which in turn can play an important role in maintaining a lean physique. It also promotes the development and repair of muscle tissue, and as such can have large implications on our capacity to build muscle mass.
It therefore stands to reason that if we do suffer from low testosterone, our ability to build a strong and muscular physique will be severely limited – even if we are training hard.
Signs of Low Testosterone
While testosterone is most well-known for its androgenic and anabolic qualities, it also plays a number of important roles integral to maintaining the health of the human body. As such, there are numerous signs and symptoms of low testosterone – so if you are demonstrating even one of the following qualities, you may actually be suffering from lowered testosterone levels.
As previously mentioned, those suffering low testosterone may presenting with a difficulty losing weight and building muscle. In fact, they may even be putting on fat (most commonly around the stomach and pecs) and losing muscle tissue – even despite regular exercise.
As testosterone does play an important role in maintaining a healthy sex drive, low levels of testosterone demonstrate a direct relationship with a reduced libido, often coupled with difficulty achieving a full erection. Low testosterone can also result in a reduced (or lowered) volume of semen during ejaculation, due to a reduced semen production.
Low testosterone have shown to cause an increased rate of hair loss, and has shown extremely strong associations with fatigue and lowered energy levels. This lack of energy is also shown in conjunction with somewhat erratic mood swings.
While it is important to note that if you are showing one of the aforementioned symptoms, it does not mean that you do undoubtedly have low testosterone – but they are indeed symptoms of lowered testosterone, which could be seriously limiting your capacity to build a lean and strong physique.
Fortunately, while low testosterone does have a host of negative implications, it is by no means a death sentence.
There are a number of changes that can be made to our diet that can maximize testosterone production naturally. These changes can seriously improve the testosterone levels of those suffering low test, while also maximizing both fat loss and muscle growth.
All it takes is a few key changes, and as always, some serious hard work.
Diet and Testosterone
There are a number of factors that can influence our testosterone production, although none more so than our diet.
What we consume can seriously influence how much (and how efficiently) testosterone is produced within our bodies. By eating correctly and maximizing the consumption of the correct foods we can cause large increases in testosterone production, which in turn, can influence our ability to build muscle and lose fat.
Now, the traditional western diet is typically high in carbohydrates, while containing relatively low amounts of protein, and moderate amounts of fat.
If we break it down a little further, the type of carbohydrates consumed are highly processed. These carbohydrates are typically high in GI, and contain very few actual nutrients (meaning they are not very nutrient dense). A high consumption of these carbohydrates have shown to influence our ability to handle the hormone insulin, lead to systemic inflammation (and a subsequent rise in cortisol production), and reduce testosterone production.
Moreover, the fats we consume often come from highly processed vegetable oils (such as vegetable oils, safflower oil, and cottonseed oil), which similarly to highly processed carbohydrates, have shown strong associations with limited testosterone production and increased inflammation.
So ultimately, the typical western diet is death to testosterone.
As a result, we can make some key changes to our diet that can lead to improves testosterone production.
Fat and Testosterone
Firstly, we need to increase our consumption of natural fats, such as monounsaturated fats (think nuts, avocados, and fish) and saturated fats (think red meat, eggs, and dairy). These fats do not cause the systemic inflammation associated with highly processed, polyunsaturated fats, and also contain naturally occurring cholesterol.
Testosterone is known as a steroidal hormone, and Cholesterol is actually used in the production of steroidal hormones. As a result, by limiting our cholesterol intake we can seriously limit our testosterone production.
As a result, 20-30 percent of our daily energy intake should come from fats directly. As previously mentioned, majority of these should be saturated and monounsaturated fats – we should try to limit our intake of highly processed, polyunsaturated fats entirely.
And a quick note: While fats were once thought of as the root cause of all our health related problems (hence the low fat diet craze that once swept the nation) this has since been debunked. In fact, those who consume diets low in fat have since been shown to have greater risk of developing cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and even cancer.
This means that there is no need to fear fatty meat or fish, butter, or full fat dairy. In fact, these unprocessed fats are going to have the most positive association with testosterone.
Carbohydrates and Testosterone
Secondly, we need to limit our intake of highly processed carbohydrates. As these have shown to increase fat deposition and reduce testosterone levels directly, the need to go.
The majority of our carbohydrates should come from vegetables, as they are low GI (and as such barely influence insulin levels) and contain a huge amount of vitamins and minerals. These vitamins and minerals can improve cell function and hormone production, which can further increase testosterone production at a cellular level.
It is important to note that we don’t want to avoid carbohydrates completely, as they provide essential energy that is used to fuel our workouts – we just want to avoid highly processed carbohydrates as they influence health negatively.
If we want to look at it simply, if it looks like it grew in the ground then it is good to eat, if it looks as if it was made in a factory, it should be avoided.
Protein and Testosterone
Interestingly, protein consumption has shown to have very little influence on testosterone levels.
Despite this, it is worth mentioning that maintaining a relatively high protein intake (much higher than that recommended by the national guidelines…) is terribly important. Having adequate protein intake is essential to maintaining effective hormone production and the development of new muscle tissue.
Moreover, protein is the most filling of all foods. By consuming adequate protein, we can limit hunger signals and cravings, which in turn will reduce our likelihood of eating highly processed foods.
1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight should be more than enough to ensure healthy hormone production, while also providing a high level of satiety on a day to day basis.
Low testosterone can have some seriously negative implications, two of which are the limited ability to lose fat and the inhibited capacity to build muscle mass. While lowered testosterone levels is a pain in the ass, it is not the end of the world – testosterone production can be improves through smart dietary interventions.
The largest part of this is moving away from the traditional eastern diet (typified by a high consumption of processed foods) to a diet high in natural, unprocessed foods.
This means increasing fat consumption by eating more dairy, meat, buts, eggs, fish, and avocados. These foods are high in monounsaturated and saturated fats (which are also known as healthy fats) and are known to improve health and play an important role in the production of testosterone. It is because of this reason we shouldn’t fear full fat dairy, butter, or fatty meat.
All our carbohydrates should come from natural sources such as vegetables (think, sweet potatoes, legumes, potatoes, pumpkin). These sources are relatively low in GI (and subsequently reduce insulin secretion and fat accumulation), while also containing a huge amount of vitamins and minerals (which are essential for hormone production).
And while protein intake does not directly influence hormone production, having adequate protein is essential to maximizing fat loss and muscle development.
So by making these key dietary changes, we can optimize our body’s testosterone production, vastly improving our capacity to lose fat and build muscle – assuming we are still working hard in the gym.
About The Author
Luke Cafferty. Luke is a fitness junkie, personal trainer, and blogger.
He’s passionate about living a healthy lifestyle and maintaining a strong and well-rounded physique.
Check out more of his work at StrengthAuthority.com or follow him on Facebook or Twitter.
You can contact him at –
Are There Benefits to Working Out At Night?
People often say that exercising at night can mess with your sleep cycle, making you unable to fall asleep afterwards. Has the myth been invented by those who need an excuse for skipping after-work workouts, or does night exercising really interfere with your ability to fall asleep?
The desirable outcomes of physical training include increased heart rate, raised core body temperature, and the release of adrenaline. However, all this also depends on whether you are a night owl or not. Maybe you like to train after your evening snack, go running at 10 PM, or lift weights while watching The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, or even the Late Late Show with James Corden.
Working Out Close To Bedtime
Men who experience difficulties falling asleep after a powerful workout should certainly avoid working out right before bedtime. For the most part, training at any time of day will help you sleep, but your body needs some time to rest and release the after-workout tension. It’s really difficult to wind down fast after a midnight-hour yoga session or cardio workout, when the brain is active and the level of adrenaline is high.
If this is the case with your everyday routine as well, than the best strategy for allowing your body temperature, heart rate, and adrenaline levels to stabilize is to give yourself a couple of hours between sleep time and workout time, and ensure you will go to bed tired, but not pumped.
On the other hand, the results of a 2011 study conducted at the University of Jyväskylä (Finland) indicate that sleep quality is not disturbed by vigorous late-night exercise. The effects were examined by measuring cardiac autonomic activity, as well as subjective, polysomnographic, and actigraphic sleep quality. In 2013, a poll with 1,000 participants was conducted by the National Sleep Foundation, which showed that an astonishing 83% of those who have trained at any time of day reported sleeping better! It seems that the majority of people find that their sleep quality isn’t adversely affected by exercising late at night. Only 3% of late-day vigorous exercisers slept worse on their exercise days, while 50% of moderate and vigorous exercises slept better.
Human Reaction To Light
Light is the biggest environmental cue or signal recognized by our bodies. We have all adapted to the signals in our environment that help our body prompt the activation of certain processes and systems. This is called a circadian rhythm – the regulation of human bodily systems based on parts of the day. The human body has evolved to sustain itself and function automatically, so the brain can deal with higher-level tasks by devoting more energy to them. In short, this means you have become wired to sleep at night and be alert during the day – however, if you so desire, you are able to rewire your body and get used to a different life pattern. However, this will cost you, as studies have proven that disrupting your natural sleep cycle has an adverse effect.
Biological Rhythms Differ
People have different biological rhythms, so we should base our discussion on the influences of performance on sleeping habits on this simple fact. Having a consistent sleep cycle can improve your performances in different activities, improve your cognitive abilities, and help you prevent injury and unwanted stress. When it comes to differences between circadian rhythm trends, waking time tends to be of the greatest influence – a person waking up at 7 AM and exercising at 7 PM will feel differently than one who gets up at 10AM and is about the exercise at the same time.
One of the reasons for this difference lies in hormonal levels, which peak at different times. Testosterone levels are on the rise during the day, and are at their best in the late afternoon, while cortisol levels are the highest when you get out of bed, and slowly diminish as night rolls into town. The ratio of these two hormones in your blood is what gets you into an anabolic state. The best ratio is achieved in the late afternoon and early evening – which is what makes this the perfect time to work on strength and muscle hypertrophy.
Larks vs Owls
Larks are those that rise from sleep earlier, and they wake up full of energy and enthusiasm. As opposed to them, owls need a few hours to feel alert and get functioning. They wake later and more slowly. However, the majority of the population is indifferent, meaning that these two groups form a minority. Larks perform better at the beginning of a day, while owls find their performance better in the late afternoon or evening.
In the evening, mental focus is waning, but lung performance is at its best, strength and flexibility are at their peak, as well as body temperature, stamina and coordination. However, the night is when bodily processes should be slowing down as a preparation for sleep. In order to achieve that, the human body produces more melatonin (starting around 9 PM), to get the body ready for rest.
The body’s best potential for most vigorous performance is in the afternoon and evening, when it’s in peak condition (however, individual differences must not be neglected). Based on the circadian rhythm and body temperature, you actually have a wide window of time to schedule your workouts. Anytime between 14:30 and 20:30 will get you the best results. If you plan on doing a workout that will last longer than an hour, you should schedule it a bit earlier, to provide your body with enough time to wind down.
If you are, on the other hand, a lark, and wish to get down to business in the early hours, you can give yourself a boost with a caffeine-based supplement. Something in the range of 3mg per kilogram of body weight is all you need, as caffeine will lower the testosterone/cortisol ratio. This will not be as good as training later during the day, but it will definitely provide results. However, you do need to remember that taking caffeine supplements on a daily basis over a longer period of time will develop a resistance to the beneficial effects of the supplement.
The Benefits of Working Out at Night
Peak performance. If you’re not much of a morning person, you just might feel stronger when the sun goes down and your workout will be more vigorous. Even though calories burned at 8 AM and 8 PM are different, your performance depends on your mood shift and energy levels throughout the day. After training, you can feel refreshed and full of energy.
No rush. Gyms are actually packed in the morning, so by hitting it in the evening hours, you could have the space and equipment all for yourself. There’s no waiting for dumbbells and treadmills. There’s no stressing about whether you’ll make it to work or not, because what awaits you is a post-workout snack and an hour or two of relaxation. The streets and parks are less crowded as well, so you can jog more freely outside. Of course, you should take care of your safety first and wear reflective tape for clothing, so to be visible to vehicle drivers. Experience the freedom of night runs.
De-stress. Achieving mental balance is quite important for functioning well on a daily basis. If you’ve spent the last 8 or more hours working or running errands, then a good physical workout is what will get you decompressed and balanced. Hit the weights or jump on the treadmill, focus on your movements, and forget about your day for a minute. Perhaps this kind of stress busting is really what you need. Also, after-workout yoga stretches are a great way to ease out of a powerful practice and wrap up for the day.
Growth and recovery. Growth hormone is secreted while you sleep. This means that, after a powerful weightlifting session, a healthy post-workout meal, and a quick shower, your body is ready for growth and rest. While you sleep, the body repairs and recovers at night. One of the main factors involved in exercise recovery is growth hormone, which assists in repairing muscle and breaking down fat.
Getting to be more social. It’s easier to strike up a conversation with someone in the evening than in the morning. Most people aren’t that talkative first thing in the morning. They are just in a hurry to finish their training and then rush to work. Evening exercisers are more sociable probably because they make going to the gym their only evening plan. This makes it easier to find workout buddies and share some stories and laugh.
So, are you a lark or an owl? Can you start performing squats first thing in the morning or when the moon rises? Your performance depends on the type of person you are, because you should take advantage of the time of day when you know that your body is at its peak. Night exercising has a variety of benefits, but if it messes with your sleep cycle and daily routine, then it probably won’t be worth that much to you.”
About The Author
Mathews McGarry is passionate about many forms of strength training, and has spent years lifting, dragging and flipping all manner of heavy objects. After graduating from the Faculty of Health Sciences, he started writing about his experiences, and sharing tips for a better life.
You can contact him at –
Why You Should Stop Drinking Liquor
Are you a bar star? An alpha-male, who can pound more shots and guzzle down more beers than the average dude? You are an animal and everybody knows it. You may even find yourself ringing up a $500 tab. In your head you are the perfect match for any attractive girl in the proximity, but are you? Your false sense of liquid pride is most likely doing the opposite. More likely than not, you are probably slurring your words, extremely sloppy and a sweaty mess. On the other end of the spectrum, who likes a Sober Steve? That guy’s weird. Who doesn’t drink? Why would you choose to not drink? Well, so-called Sober Steve is probably more alpha than you.
1. Alcohol is Killing Your Workout
It’s no secret: a six pack of beer most certainly screws up your shot at maintaining six-pack abs. Of course, drinking in moderation will have little effect on your body and eating habits, but who goes out and has one drink? There is no point to even going out if you only want one drink, so it’s a better idea to stay sober. And if you are an athlete of any sort, it’s also a good idea to avoid binge drinking at all cost. A study done by US National Library of Medicine found that athletes who consume alcohol at least once a week are at a two time higher risk of injury than non drinkers.
Have you ever heard of the hangover effect? This simply means sports performance is reduced up to 11 percent. After a long night of drinking, that usually leads to dehydration, and that will most certainly lead to a decrease in performance. So to give you some closure, alcohol makes it harder to tone your body and workout to your full potential. And if you abuse drugs? Watch out, those will take you down harder than anything.
2. Men Who Don’t Drink Feel Much Better Every Day
Alcohol is a sneaky substance. Have you ever noticed that when the buzz starts, alcohol brings a warm fuzzy feeling, but by the end of the night the world is spinning and you regret everything? Enjoying a night without alcohol means more stability. Without alcohol reaping havoc on your mood and emotions, you will generally feel better and be in a better mood. A night of heavy drinking may be an awesome time however, the next day… Not so much. The emotional roller-coaster ride a drinking spree causes can lead to serious depression and other health issues. By just cutting liquor out of your diet, your overall mood can increase and you can be the best version of yourself as possible.
3. Always in Control
A lot of people drink to enjoy the dysfunction. It’s easy to justify around your guy pals. However, think of being able to control every situation soberly. This means, no more unwarranted fist fights with your best friend, no more sloppy uncontrollable actions and no more slurring. Okay, so we all know liquor is that secret “confidence” potion, but can you imagine what you actually sound like asking that beautiful women out at the bar? If you are sober and confident, asking a woman out will be nerveracking, but at least you won’t sound like a drunken sailor.
If you are one of those guys who for some reason loves bar fights, being sober benefits you more than ever. Your likelihood of winning against a sloppy drunk is instantly in your favor if you are sober.
4. You Will Have Better Sex
Ever have trouble “getting it up” because you were too drunk? Alcohol affects the libido more than the average person knows. Believe it or not, alcohol actually decreases sexual desire. Too much booze actually makes you less horny. With your beer goggles on she might be a 10 and you finally talk her into coming home with you but by the end of the night however those 12 shots you took are probably leading you straight to dreaming about it. This goes for women too because they lose sensitivity, too. It makes both sexes performance terrible and it makes it very hard to orgasm. That’s because alcohol is a depressant, which means it reduces the amount of arousal or pleasure you feel. (Read This: Why I Wake Up Every Morning With a Boner)
5. You Will Save a lot of Money
Have you ever sat back and thought how about much money you money you spend on liquor? If you want an exact number, check out this alcohol spending calculator. Would you believe me if I told you that the bar, tavern and night club industry tallied up over $23.4 billion in revenue. So if you do not feel like going to that form and figuring out exactly how much you spend, let’s do a hypothetical. Most people spend $10 on a bottle of wine, that is equals $200 per week which adds up to $800 per month. You can drive a Mercedes Benz for that kind of money! Not to mention, adds up to around $10,000 a year on booze alone. Here are some tips on how to cut back:
- When you go out, only bring cash. Sticking to a budget is like dieting, it is very hard and most people break it after awhile. However, bringing cash with you is the easiest way to stick to your booze budget. When you start a tab with a credit card/ debit card at the bar or club, its real easy to rack up a heavy bill. But if you go with just cash you are willing to spend, there is no way to go over budget.
- It’s 5’o’clock somewhere, right? Take advantage of happy hours. If you really like to drink but are sick and tired of spending the ridiculous alcohol prices, check out happy hour menus at your favorite spots. Usually bars or restaurants have 2 for 1 specials and discounted food as well.
- Share a pitcher with your buddies. Pitchers at bars are usually discounted. Get there at the right time (happy hour) and you can get enough beer for five people for only $1 a person. Quit being a beer snob, because domestic beers are much cheaper than your average hipster craft beer.
Alcohol is the most commonly used mood altering substance. In fact, one in every 12 adults suffer from alcohol abuse. On top of that, there are several million alcohol abusers who engage in borderline alcoholic ways, or alcohol misuse.
Some cold hard facts about alcoholism:
- excessive alcohol abuse accounts for 88,000 annual deaths
- alcoholism is the 3rd leading accidental cause of death in America
- up to 40% of hospital beds in the United States contain patients being treated because of alcohol consumption.
If you or someone you love is battling alcoholism, it is crucial to seek help. There are many options for you, like luxury drug rehab or luxury alcohol rehab, especially if you believe the problem is getting worse.
Remember, staying alpha doesn’t mean you have to be a shit-show for life.
About The Author
Ben Emerling is a content writer who works in the Metro Detroit area.
Creative writer by day and avid adventurist by night, he dedicates his life to helping people achieve sobriety. Ben currently works for www.monarchshores.com.
See More from Ben –