I'm a man in my early 40's. With kids and my job, I work too much and sleep too little but I have managed to maintain a very consistent workout schedule. I have made considerable gains over the past few years and I am always looking for ways to increase those gains naturally. Do you have any recommendations for supplements which will help boost testosterone production?
Bob in CA.
There are a number of supplements called prohormones that boost testosterone levels. As far as prohormones are concerned, though, the results are mixed and side effects negative. One great source of information on prohormones is on this site at Big Cat's Prohormone Science!
Fortunately, there are natural ways to boost testosterone production. Since you say you have maintained a consistent workout regime, you are probably not 30% or more overweight. If you are, the first thing you should do is lose weight! Excess fat increases estrogen levels and may lower testosterone!
Conversely, dieting too fast can do the same thing! Reducing calorie levels by more than 15% can cause your body to shut off testosterone production.
I hope your training routine includes heavy, compound exercises like squats, bench presses and barbell rows, since there have been studies that indicate that these heavy exercises increase testosterone levels.
Using weights that are 85% of your max for 5 repetitions for at least 3 sets with at least a minute rest between sets seems to be the key here for maximum testosterone production. This may explain why doing squats alone increases the sizes of biceps too!
Men with the highest testosterone levels ate nuts! Yes, monounsaturated fat seems to increase testosterone levels, so include nuts, olive oil, canola oil, and peanut butter!
Finally, Bill, the best thing you can do to raise your testosterone levels is SLEEP! Inadequate sleep leads to an inability to recuperate which leads to over training, which could result in a 40% decrease in testosterone levels! So the first thing I would do is start sleeping at least 7-8 hours per night.
The combination of these suggestions should keep those gains coming! Do contact us again with a progress report! If you have any good photos that indicate the superior physique you are maintaining, please send us a copy for us to use in this column.
I am 42 years old. I was in "ok" shape, working out, etc., then in April of this year I broke my leg. Now, I have no muscle tone and gained about twenty pounds. Although the Doctor released me, my leg (just above the ankle and the foot) gets sore and swollen daily.
I am getting married Dec. 14 in Vegas and I don't want to look like this for my big day. I heard about a "six week boot camp" on the radio. Can you help me??
Debbie K, Middleton, Idaho
Help is on the way! And you've got just enough time to get back in shape for your big day. The first, step is desire. You've got the motivation with your wedding day less than two months away, but be sure that you have the desire, and then nothing will stand in you way.
Here's a plan to get you into shape quickly for your big day! But, remember, this is an emergency plan.
Diet and cardio will be the areas requiring your attention, so let's start with cardio. You need to burn lots of calories, Debbie, and you need to burn then quickly. Daily cardio sessions of sixty-minute sessions are necessary to help burn off excess calories. Now, some will question the validity of long cardio sessions in terms of compromising muscle mass. These are valid concerns for the long term, but in an emergency situation such as an upcoming wedding we need to get off those excess pounds quickly! Long, intense (with the emphasis on intense) cardio session will burn lots of calories.
Elliptical machines and stationary or recumbent bikes are a good way to start while your leg is still sore and swollen. As your symptoms subside and the healing continues you may be able to add in jogging and then running. Spinning classes are a fun way to pass the sixty minutes and still burn many calories. Part of a spinning class has you up and out of the seat during the workout.
A good hard-soled shoe will help ease the pressure on your newly healed area. Better yet, use a shoe specifically designed for spinning or biking. Try spinning, it's fun!
Your diet over the next weeks will be the critical element in your success and it will be the area that tests your level of desire. Remember that to lose weight you must expend more calories than you ingest. Every time you reach for food you must think, "Will this get me to my goal?" If not, do not eat that item!
When needing to shape up quickly, a low-carbohydrate diet is a good choice. Take in just enough carbs to provide energy to get through your workout, but keep the total carb intake low to have all the fat burning benefits. Keep your protein intake rather high, carbs in the low to moderate range, and fats low. And remember when choosing your carbohydrates, a calorie is not simply a calorie. You must use complex carbohydrates that are moderate to low on the glycemic index to help reduce those stubborn pockets of fat.
In emergency situations, many turn to thermogenic products to help with the fat burning process. When I was trying to lean out, Juliette Bergman suggested I use Xenedrine EFX. Other popular products included Nutrex Lipo 6 and AST Dymetedrine Extreme. Please consider all cautionary warnings with regard to ephedra based products before using. While most people using recommended doses can use ephedra based produces without side effects, some claim ill effects such as increased hypertension and heart risks. So, do a little research on your own and check with your physician before using.
In addition to your daily cardio sessions, Debbie you need to be involved with resistance training four days per week during your emergency program. Two days focusing on upper body with 12-15 rep ranges and two days working the lower body with 15-25 rep ranges should help lean out your body quickly.
From now until December 14th, wake up each morning, Debbie, with the goal to improve your nutrition, cardio and resistance training routine so that you may improve your physique for your special day.
Good luck and send in pictures of your wedding day so we may see your legendary physique.
Reminder to babyboomers! We are looking to feature your legendary babyboomer physiques. Send photos to firstname.lastname@example.org or rbaldwin@MAIL.GC.CC.FL.US. See last week's Bodybuilding for Babyboomers article for details.
All submitted photos become property of Legendary Fitness, LLC; submission shall constitute a grant to the use of your photos and information as we deem appropriate.
Copyright 2002. Diane Fields, Member Legendary Fitness, LLC. All rights reserved. The advice given in this column should not be viewed as a substitute for professional medical services. Before undertaking any exercise or nutrition program, Legendary Fitness, LLC advises all to undergo a thorough medical examination and get permission from their personal physician.