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Testosterone and Muscle


Introducing Testosterone, the male sex hormone responsible for all kinds of fabulous physiological functions! A pretty commonly known fact is that testosterone increases sex drive and facial hair. However, testosterone is so much more than its reputation would suggest. Men and women need the proper amount of testosterone to develop and function normally. Perhaps a not so commonly known fact about our buddy, testosterone, is that it aids in protein synthesis. Anyone serious about working out and enhancing their muscle tissue knows protein is absolutely necessary for any positive gain. Testosterone is an anabolic hormone, so it effectively helps rebuild muscle fibers with amino acids giving it the ability to preserve existing muscle mass or build on it, creating more muscle mass. Testosterone also speeds up regeneration and recovery time after injury or illness.

Men typically have thicker, more muscular bodies than women, for which testosterone is largely responsible. Men generally also have lower levels of body fat. This could also be due to higher levels of testosterone being that it speeds up the body’s metabolic functioning resulting in the burning of body fat. Testosterone is produced from cholesterol in the body, but having high cholesterol doesn’t mean your body will produce more testosterone. There is a very specific feedback loop which tells the brain, particularly the pituitary gland, to stop producing testosterone when there’s a sufficient amount of it in the body.

Given this information, it would make sense that the more testosterone in your body, the more muscle mass you’ll be able to accumulate. Many athletes have taken testosterone supplementally to increase performance. Testosterone levels in humans are much like metabolic rates in that it varies from individual to individual. While maintaining a “healthy” and/or “normal” level of testosterone is a good idea and will assist in gaining lean muscle mass, having too much or too little testosterone can have adverse effects.

It goes without saying that muscle mass doesn’t increase without working out. However, it is important to give the body adequate time to rest and recover. Cortisol, the body’s “survival” hormone is testosterone’s arch nemesis. When cortisol levels rise (one reason being due to too much working out without enough rest), testosterone levels decrease. Seeing too much cortisol and not enough testosterone in the body will most likely result in a gain in weight instead of muscles.