Lethargic, unmotivated, underperforming, not able to gain muscle mass or strength. Are you finding that it takes a lot longer than it used to in order to recover from a workout?
Unable to handle minor stressors or finding it difficult to gain clarity on life decisions?
All of these and more can be symptoms of low testosterone activity and/or elevated cortisol.
Daniel Kelly, a heath and fitness coach from the U.K. details his journey with low testosterone in a blog post on Western Mastery. He struggled with motivation and even finding his purpose in life until he discovered he had the testosterone levels of an 80 year old man and addressed it through testosterone replacement therapy.
For over a year, I had been a shell of my former self. It was debilitating and I was no longer the man I used to be.
Testosterone gave me back the energy I had lost. It gave me the confidence, focus, drive and determination to go after the things I wanted in life.
Now I’m not advocating for testosterone replacement therapy but it goes to show the impact that testosterone can have on our lives.
So how do you know if low testosterone is the cause of your symptoms?
The Cortisol to Testosterone Ratio Imbalance
When the testosterone to cortisol ratio is thrown out of balance, specifically when testosterone goes down and cortisol goes up, under performing will manifest in fitness, business and everyday life.
Often I have guys coming into my office having lost their drive or feeling like they are running at 80% capacity, no matter how much sleep or how much caffeine they take in.
These are young guys all the way up to guys in their 6th and 7th decade of life who remember having that GO button and capacity to make things happen in and out of the gym who now only get lackluster results no matter how hard they push.
Symptoms of Low Testosterone
At first, it is simply low testosterone activity or an elevated cortisol response from chronic stress.
But as this pattern is allowed to continue, eventually it starts affecting their confidence in the board room and in the gym.
The weights feel heavier, the run feels longer, and the day to day decisions at the office are so much more daunting. Instead of being sure of themselves, they are continually second guessing themselves.
They often tell me I am not an anxious guy or I don’t think I am actually depressed, I know what depression feels like and this isn’t it. But how they are manifesting in life has all the psychological calling cards of anxiety and depression.
Benefits of Testosterone
You see testosterone may be a big hitter when it comes to stimulating muscle protein synthesis but it is also a huge deal when it comes to the nervous system.
In fact, its effects on the nervous system may be even more wide-ranging and important than its effects on the musculoskeletal system.
Testosterone is directly involved in neuron regeneration and growth as well as brain plasticity.
Optimal testosterone levels promote heightened social interaction, the capacity to make hard decisions and to learn new concepts.
Optimal Testosterone Levels
If you are a guy and you haven’t had your testosterone levels checked, what are you waiting for?
Let me forewarn you though that most labs will have a normal testosterone level that ranges from 250-1200 ng/dL. Now I hope that it would be common sense to realize that a level of 250 is going to impact one’s physiology and psychology than if you’re on the upper end of the spectrum at 1200. Basically, make sure your levels are optimal for YOU.
Having the symptoms discussed above and a testosterone of 500ng/dL would suggest that 500ng/dL is likely not your winning zone.
See how your body feels when you are running at 800-1000 ng/dL. Having optimal testosterone is not vanity it is invaluable for every human, male and female.
Even though women do not have testosterone levels in the 100’s, they still can see dramatic changes in well-being and physical performance by optimizing their levels.
You have heard that testosterone levels peak at about age 20 and then start to dwindle slowly but surely with each passing decade.
Do I see this trend? Yes.
Is this trend normal or optimal? Not a chance.
I see guys who are crushing it in their 80s with testosterone over 800ng/dL and women in their 60’s with testosterone over 50ng/dL and they are crushing it as well.
And by crushing it, I mean they have high vitality, they are highly motivated, they are maintaining a high level of muscle mass and cognitively they are very sharp.
I have also seen plenty of 25 year old’s with a testosterone of 150-250ng/dL and they are scared, and lacking the confidence to go full tilt in life.