Boosting your testosterone levels might be great for your present and future health, but having too much of a good thing in your system could get you kicked out of international athletic competition.
The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), recently in the news for its dogged pursuit of cyclists Floyd Landis and Lance Armstrong for doping allegations during Tour de France competition, has named testosterone as a “banned substance on the Prohibited List of all illegal performance-enhancing substances.”
WADA classified testosterone as “an anabolic androgenic steroid, an illegal steroid that is intended to produce or facilitate male growth and physical characteristics in an athlete.”
Unlike chemically-produced substances that are designed to enhance an athlete’s performance, testosterone is produced naturally by the body and levels vary by individual. WADA tests for levels of the hormone that seem to be an “unnatural amount” and officials have placed that level as a 4:1 ratio or greater, meaning the human body cannot create that amount naturally.
Why Does This Matter To You?
Frankly, unless you are a world-class athlete preparing for international competition, how WADA classifies illegal testosterone levels means absolutely nothing. Yet, as a recent scientific study has attempted to prove, how and how often you work-out can raise your testosterone levels, for a lengthy period of time, and their findings have implications for not only the long-term health of the average person but also for those agencies governing international competition.
In mid-August, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reported findings from a group of researchers from the University of Oslo in Norway that demonstrate how muscle cells retain their level of fitness even after extended periods of inaction based on nuclei that are stored in the muscle’s DNA.
According to Kristian Gunderson, the team leader, the testosterone hormone raises the number of nuclei found in muscle cells well beyond what the body can produce by normal fitness routines alone.
“If you have nuclei that last forever,” Gunderson reported. “Then you would also have an advantage that could last forever.”
From Professional Athletes to Weekend Warriors
In February 2010, WADA banned more than 30 athletes from Olympic competition during the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, including a number of Russian athletes. During those same Olympics, the IOC conducted more than 2,100 individual tests during the games, including random blood and urine tests.
From soccer to cycling, drug testing is common practice, but what if the hormone causing the advantage is naturally produced and that advantage can be regained even after a lengthy suspension? For now, commissions such as WADA and IOC are concerned with chemical enhancements but their attention could turn to naturally-produced testosterone levels, if the findings from the Oslo group turn out to be validated by the international medical community.
For the average person, though, the findings on the science of muscle memory mean something else entirely. The idea that your fitness levels could be stored and recalled at the DNA level gives hope to an entire generation of weekend warriors who want to keep their active lifestyles going long after their youth and workout practices have eroded.
Unlike world class athletes, you don’t have to worry about a governing body of international do-gooders sniffing around your medicine cabinet. You are free to take whatever substance or supplement you want, but what if you could boost those testosterone levels naturally, without a steroid or some other method of physical enhancement?
Seven Ways to Naturally Boost Testosterone Levels
- Always give 100% Okay, so is that the biggest cliché you have ever heard, uttered by every high school coach in America? Yep, but in this case, you want to push your workout to the limit, especially if you are coming off an injury or a long lay-off. Greater muscle stress translates to greater outputs of testosterone. If you stop before your body has reached its maximum level of fatigue then you have cheated yourself out of a maximum impact workout.
- Work Your Legs Truth be told, many who hit the weights regularly ignore the lower body while concentrating on getting those abs, arms, and chest toned and ripped. However, leg training pumps up your hormone levels. This will help you with the parts of the body that you think “really matter”, so don’t forget those leg lifts, ankle curls, and thigh busters.
- Compound Interest This play on words is referring to compound exercises that work multiple muscle groups at once. Add such exercises as squats, bench pressing, rowing, and good, old-fashioned chin-ups, pull-ups, lunges, and dips to your regular exercise routine. These exercise sets will place your body under a greater amount of stress which will raise your testosterone levels.
- Eat Your Veggies Didn’t your mother always tell you to eat your vegetables? You’ll want to especially concentrate your diet on cruciferous vegetables. Those would include the type of stuff you used to leave on your dinner plate or feed to your dog such as broccoli, radishes, turnips, and cauliflower. Cabbage is also a good source which you can thankfully get in cole slaw (you know, that creamy stuff on the side of your fried fish platter). These foods have been proven to reduce the amount of estrogen in your body, thereby increasing that male hormone.
- Limit Your Drinks Sorry, guys and gals, but drinking alcohol has been shown to have an adverse impact on your levels of testosterone. Drink in moderation and avoid binge drinking. You should do that anyway, but this gives you a reason to pass up that extra drink.
- Avoid Spiking Cortisol Stress is also a key culprit when trying to raise testosterone. When stressed, the body releases something called cortisol – which is a highly catabolic hormone that will result in your testosterone levels plummeting. Stay calm and enjoy life!
- Have More Sex Sexual stimulation results in the body generating more endorphins, which also raise testosterone levels (not that you needed an excuse to have more sex).
As you can tell, you do not have to be a record-breaking athlete or raid your local pharmacy to produce a hormone that will help code your DNA with the memory of your former fitness. If the nuclei in your body do last nearly a lifetime, as the Oslo research suggested, you will have set yourself up for your golden years. By living a healthy lifestyle now, yes, but also by allowing your muscles to store and recall a state of fitness even as your workout rate decreases.
Additional Reading on SteroidsLive:
- Shane Carwin and Others Linked to Steroids
- Evidence HGH Improves Athletic Production
- Muscle Memory and How It Impacts Your Personal Fitness