There are many solutions to maintaining high testosterone and libido levels while cutting or dieting. Yes, you can actually increase your testosterone levels while losing body fat. In this post, I’ll teach you ways you can lose fat without declining your testosterone and libido levels.
The connection between testosterone and a calorie deficient diet
When we restrict our calorie intake our bodies experience hormonal changes. Our reproductive system starts to go into survival mode. This means our testosterone levels decrease and our cortisol levels will increase (study, study).
When in high stress/survival situations it doesn’t make sense for our bodies to keep producing testosterone and instead increases cortisol production to cope with the stress.
Crash diets are the worst way to lose fat. It is important not to follow a crash diet as this is a certain and probably the fastest way to stuff up your hormonal levels. There are many ways to shred weight fast without lowering testosterone levels. Firstly the more fat we store in our bodies the more aromatase our body will contain. This is an enzyme that converts testosterone into estrogen. Estrogen is a hormone men want less of. So by having high levels of body fat, we will increase estrogen levels within the body which is by no means making us more masculine. I’d recommend that leaning down to the 8-12% body fat range would be actually great for your testosterone levels and sex drive.
Less body fat equals less estrogen, aim for 8-12% body fat range.
Rules to follow to maintain high testosterone and libido levels while dieting/cutting
Don’t eliminate fats from your diet
Not long ago the norm advice to lose weight was to dramatically lower your fat intake. This is bad advice, especially when given by steroid users as they don’t need to worry about low T levels as they are injecting them.
Low fat diets have now been proven to cause low testosterone levels. Healthy fats are needed for men to achieve maximum T levels
Try intermittent fasting
There have been lots of articles telling us that eating small meals up to 6 times a day can help boost metabolism and therefore help boost fat reduction. Let’s not forget there is no evidence to back up these claims that 6 meals will boost your metabolism. Most people who attempt this weight loss method rarely experience any results and that is for one main reason. When you eat 6 meals a day you are constantly spiking your insulin levels making it nearly impossible to break through your weight loss plateau. Increasing insulin this often is just doing injustice to your weight loss effort. It’s like pushing down on the accelerator and brake at the same time.
Regular insulin spikes and fat loss don’t go well together. This is why fasting has become so popular. By fasting, you are reducing the number of insulin spikes within a 24 hour period allowing more fat to be used as energy. And yes fasting has proven to be an effective way to increase testosterone levels and maintain muscle mass while dieting.
I suggest watching this fasting video by Jason Fung to improve your understanding of how IF is the ultimate way to lose weight. If you chose IF as your weight loss solution check out this book eat stop eat to give yourself a kick start.
Fasting has many hormonal benefits
This study suggests that starvation-induced enhancement of growth hormone is brought by an increased frequency of growth hormone release and longer and more pronounced periods of somatostatin withdrawal.
Also, Intermittent Fasting has been shown in this study from the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism to decrease the hormone, Leptin. This decrease in Leptin causes an immediate stimulation of testosterone secretion. This means your blood testosterone levels will skyrocket.
Eat more carbs
Carbs are crucial for testosterone as the body receives fewer carbs, it responds by increasing stress hormone production. The trick is to eat a healthy amount of carbs but while keeping insulin spikes to a minimum. There are 2 ways to do this:
1: Intermittent fasting: This way you can eat a healthy amount of carbs while keeping insulin spikes to a minimum. This supply of nutrients will allow you to lose fat while maintaining muscle and healthy hormonal levels.
2: Carb cycling: This is where you time your carb intake around your workout and rest days. This will also reduce insulin spikes and only provide your body with calories in a time of need. This is supply vs demand at its finest.
It’s important to realize that your body makes much more testosterone during sleep than when you’re awake. Less than 7 hours and your testosterone levels may drop. Imagine when you are asleep little workers come out to repair your body. If you are on a calorie deficient diet these workers need a longer time to get their job done and to create a stronger you. By giving these workers a long time to work you will maintain healthy levels of testosterone. Sleep less than 7 hours and you are sending these workers home before they get to finish their job.
A recent study by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute found testosterone levels dropped significantly in men who don’t get enough sleep—equivalent to aging 10-15 years. The study analyzed 10 healthy, lean guys, averaging around 24 years old. When deprived of sleep, their testosterone levels dropped by a whopping 10-15%.
Make sure you don’t have any micronutrient deficiencies
One of the easiest ways to boost your testosterone levels is to make sure you don’t have any micronutrient deficiencies. Even if you think you have a bulletproof diet there is still a good chance you are not meeting your micronutrient requirements.
A 2006 study “Food Alone May Not Provide Sufficient Micronutrients for Preventing Deficiency,” published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, showed even more convincingly that it’s really hard to get all the essential vitamins and minerals from food alone. In this study, 70 athlete diets were analyzed. And every single one was deficient in more than two micronutrients.
One simple way to help remove these micronutrient deficiencies while dieting is to consume a reliable multivitamin supplement. To learn about which multivitamins to choose and removing micronutrient deficiencies check out this post (Can multivitamins boost testosterone production).
Take a chill pill
keep cortisol levels low by generally reducing the stress in your life. While on a calorie deficient diet your cortisol levels are easily increased by stress (study, study). Ensure you reward yourself for weekly achievements. And Don’t forget to enjoy the process.
No more endurance training
Whether it be long runs or marathon gym sessions you need to be aware that exercising over 45 minutes could raise your cortisol levels to a point where it will put your testosterone level to a halt. Remember when you are on a calorie deficient diet it is easier to increase your cortisol levels.
By doing endurance training your risk decreasing testosterone levels and may experience some muscle loss!
While on a diet keep training sessions short and effective. One study proved that high-volume runners, age not mentioned, had lower T levels than moderate-volume runners, and the difference was rather large. A study even proved that at rest, testosterone appears to be lower in the endurance-trained male than in the untrained male (Study).
You are probably thinking how can I follow all these rules and still shred fat without losing muscle. In my opinion, the easiest way to do this is by giving intermittent fasting a go. It is a very popular method for losing weight while keeping testosterone levels high and maintaining muscle mass. Actually, you may increase your testosterone and libido levels and experience a new heighten sex drive and energy levels.
NOTE: If you are new to Intermittent fasting I highly recommend reading eat stop eat. This will save you time and kick start your weight loss journey. It breaks down intermittent fasting in such an easy method that allows for optimal macronutrient ratios to insure you enjoy your weight loss without going crazy with cravings.