What Are “Normal” Testosterone Levels and How To Increase Them If They Are Low?

CIMG1556In this article I talk about Testosterone Level Ranges, what is considered normal, and possible ways to increase them.

What is Testosterone and Why Do We Need Healthy Testosterone Levels?

As most of you fellow bodybuilders know, testosterone is the male hormone responsible for the development of the male sex and reproduction organs; in addition to also promoting male characteristics such as a deep voice, facial hair, increased levels of muscle mass, aggressiveness, confidence, and supports a healthy sex drive. Men’s testicles produce this hormone in large quantities while female’s ovaries produce some of it in very small quantities.

Low levels of this hormone create metabolic issues that have immediate and long-term consequences for the person suffering from a deficiency.

Maladies Of Low Testosterone Levels

Needless to say low levels of testosterone can cause a male to first and foremost lose his sex drive. Also energy levels will plummet as well as muscle mass and strength.

Even if you are giving it all you got in the gym and following your diet, you may find that getting a good pump at the gym is hard, and also that gaining muscle is becoming a very hard task to accomplish. Worst of all, fat loss seems harder than ever as well.

If you suffer from low testosterone your mood may also take a dive and you may often feel depressed. In addition to the above, the following are also maladies of low testosterone levels:

*Increased insulin resistance (which makes it hard to lose body fat as insulin levels will increase in the body due to the fact that the cells are not accepting this hormone efficiently).

* Constant fatigue and reduced zest for life.

* Depression, bad moods and aggressive behavior (something that oddly enough has been mistakenly blamed on high testosterone levels for years).

* Reduced mental capacity and even Alzheimer’s disease.

Age For Testosterone Level Decline:

At what age does this decline start happening? The time at which this decline in levels begins is still much debated amongst experts but recent research seems to indicate that it can begin as early as 25-30 years old. My advice to you is that if your sex drive is low, then you should have your levels checked because this is the most common symptom of low testosterone. A simple blood work will show you what your testosterone levels look like. Typically, this is not a test that the Doctor orders when you get your physical so you need to request it from your Doctor when you get your next physical.

What are the Normal Values for Testosterone Levels?

Normal values of testosterone levels for males: normal range of total testosterone for men is between 300 – 1200 nanograms per deciliters (ng/dl). Normal ranges for free testosterone (the actual active testosterone that your body can use) are: 8.7 – 25 picograms per milliliters (pg/ml).

Normal values of testosterone levels for women: normal range of total testosterone for women is between 15 – 70 nanograms per deciliters (ng/dl). Normal ranges for free testosterone (the actual active testosterone that your body can use) are: 0.5 – 5 picograms per milliliters (pg/ml).

Needless to say the closer to the upper level you are in both ranges the better.

What to Do If Your Test Shows Low Testosterone Levels?

If you come up with low testosterone levels in your test results, I would first try to use some natural alternatives in order to see if these can help you to restore your levels. The efficacy of some of these supplements is still under debate by some of the experts in the field, but in my opinion, before considering hormonal replacement therapy, I would explore all over the counter alternatives.

Also, I would like to mention that by increasing your hormonal levels you may experience some acne and slightly increased aggression. Finally, if you have a propensity for male pattern baldness and/or an increased prostate you should monitor these things if you still decide to use some of these products.

Some natural testosterone boosters that I really like are (not in any particular order):

Natural Testosterone Booster #1: ZMA – Relatively inexpensive, ZMA provides nutritional insurance against a deficiency of Zinc, Magnesium and vitamin B-6. A deficiency of zinc alone can dramatically lower your testosterone levels, so I feel it is a good idea to first and foremost make sure that the low levels do not come from a nutritional deficiency.

ZMA consists of Zinc Monomethionine Aspartate, Magnesium Aspartate and vitamin B-6. This all-natural product has been clinically proven to significantly increase anabolic hormone levels and muscle strength in trained athletes. Hard training athletes typically deplete the body from these essential minerals.

Studies have shown that supplementing with 30mg of Zinc and 450mg of Magnesium per day can elevate testosterone levels up to 30%.

Note:
Due to the fact that ZMA consists of two minerals and a vitamin B, teenagers can safely use this product

How to Use: Take a serving of ZMA prior to going to sleep. There is no need to cycle off this product.

 

Natural Testosterone Booster #2: Labrada Nutrition’s HumanoGrowth – This testosterone booster is composed of 2 ingredients that help to increase testosterone, growth hormone levels, lower cortisol, improve mood and maximize recovery as well as protein synthesis (ability of the body to turn the protein you eat into muscle):

a) Humanofort – a patented standardized embryo extract from Europe that has been shown to boost testosterone and growth hormone levels while reducing cortisol. It is rich in various growth factors that are good for hormonal production and general health as well. It even helps to improve the quality of your sleep!

b) Lean Muscle Accelerator (LMA) – a purified plasma protein that improves protein efficiency by up to 31% and promotes a positive nitrogen balance by up to 20%. In simple terms, this all means that you convert more of the protein that you eat into muscle. In addition, this plasma protein also helps your body to burn more fat for fuel instead of muscle tissue during periods of dieting.

How to Use: Take 4 capsules of HumanoGrowth prior to sleep. There is no need to cycle off this product.

For more information on HumanoGrowth click here: HumanoGrowth Information Page.

Note: Great news! If interested in HumanoGrowth, be sure to use the discount code Lee15 as Lee is running a wonderful special this week.

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At What Age Should I Start Using Testosterone Boosters?

Since testsoterone levels begin to decline at 25, that is the age I would recommend you start checking your testosterone levels and start considering some testosterone boosting supplementation. Teenagers, in my opinion, should stay away from any supplement that has an effect on hormonal levels as there is no need to upset a teens delicate hormonal balance. However, there is no harm in teens using ZMA as these are just minerals that prevent a deficiency. Besides, teenagers produce approximately the equivalent of a 300 mg shot of testosterone per week anyway so there is no need to attempt to increase the production of testosterone in a system that is already producing at peak levels.

Do I Need to Take All Testosterone Boosters To Get Results?

Not at all. While I would recommend you to consider stacking all products if your testosterone levels are really low, if money is an issue you can get some ZMA in order to ensure that your low testosterone is not caused by a deficiency of those minerals. Then you can use HumanoGrowth if you have extra money.

Testosterone Levels Testing

I suggest that you re-check your testosterone levels after 12 weeks of using your testosterone boosters, getting proper rest and following a proper bodybuilding training/nutrition program that maximizes your hormonal output and keeps your cortisol levels in check. If your levels remain unchanged then I suggest that you talk to a well qualified endocrinologist so that you can look at what the cause for the low levels is and analyze what your options are.

More Information About Testosterone Levels, How to Increase Them, and What Is Causing Them To Go Down

Here is an incredibly informative resource that I found which discusses the subject in more depth and also gives solid information on the many reasons (such as estrogens in the plastic bottles of the water that you drink from* and even shampoos!) that are causing us guys to have lower testosterone levels at an earlier age! You cannot afford to skip this!

==> 3-Hidden Ingredients That Are Killing Your T-Levels & The 24-Hour Testosterone Fix

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Natural Bodybuilding Tip: What To Eat Before And After Workout With Hugo & Rodzilla

In today’s natural bodybuilding video blog, I cover with my good friend Rodzilla what to eat before and after the workout (pre / post workout nutrition).

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For pre-workout meal: Rodzilla has a regular meal consisting of 60 grams of protein and 60 grams of carbs around 90 minutes before the workout. Right after the workout he has a whey isolate protein shake.

Some people actually eat very close to the workout as they can digest the food very quickly but for us, what works best is to leave 90 minutes to 2 hours before the time we eat and the workout.

I typically have a real meal between 90-120 minutes. I also have sweet potatoes or white potato along with a lean source of protein like chicken, turkey or fish or egg whites with a couple of real eggs. I make sure to consume 50 grams of protein. Carb wise I consume around 65 grams of carbs and 10 grams of good fats from either fish oils, eggs or almonds.

I may take either Super Charge of PE1 which are awesome pre-workout supplements. I save these for workouts like legs.

After the workout I have a Muscle Mass Gainer from Labrada Nutrition (3 scoops = 90 grams of carbs and 20 grams of protein) and mix that up with 1 scoop of Whey Isolate. The carbs of the Gainer are from maltodextrin which are fast released and the isolate of course is fast released protein.

(Check out the Labrada Mass Gainer and IsoleanPro here: http://www.labrada-nutrition.com)

90 minutes after my post workout meal I have a real meal consisting of 45 grams of protein and 45 grams of carbs.

What if you cannot afford whey isolate? Then in that case have either a protein blend or a lean protein like egg whites. You will still make great gains.

Hope that this bodybuilding tip helps. Please let me know what other tips you would like us to talk about.

Until next time, take care and train hard!

hugo_sign

 

 

 

Natural Bodybuilding Supplement FAQ: Do Fish Oils Cause Prostate Cancer?

Today I want to share with you a natural bodybuilding question that I have been getting lately. The question is: Do fish oils cause prostate cancer?

Do Fish Oils Cause Prostate Cancer?

Is there really a correlation between fish oils and prostate cancer? Some study claims so. However, the key thing to understand is that this is an epidimeological study. This is a correlational stufy…it looks at things that people eat and gathers a whole bunch of data and tries to make a correlation. So this is not a biological study that took a whole bunch of prostate cells and studied the effects of fish oil supplementation.

While I am not stating that this study is invalid, I just want to make it clear that the results are based on statistical data gathering as opposed to a biological in vitro or in vivo study.

Based on the fact that there is a huge amount of evidence pointing to the safety and efficacy of fish oils, we have to be careful with making a decision to drop the fish oils out from our diet. Especially considering the fact that there is tons of scientific evidence pointing to the positive effects of fish oils in regards to insulin sensitivity, brain function, joint function, fat burning, hormonal production, etc.

Also keep in mind that every single food you consume (and supplement) probably has a study out there that may link it to some sort of disease. Heck, you can even link breathing air to cancer but I don’t think any of us will stop to breathe any time soon. Thus, always weigh out the various studies and the benefit that a food or supplement will offer you. If the positive outweighs the negatives keep it in your diet. When it comes to fish oils I certainly feel that the benefits completely outweigh the results of this one statistical correlational study.

Take care and train hard!

Are BCAAs Good for Gaining Muscle Mass? [How to USE]

Been getting tons of questions regarding whether you need to use BCAAs for gaining muscle. Check out my answer in this video below:

Do You Need BCAAs for Gaining Muscle?

Branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) are among the nine essential amino acids that the body needs to function. There are 3 BCAAs which are leucine, isoleucine and valine. These amino acids are processed in the muscle tissue and the most anti-catabolic one is Leucine.

In my opinion, BCAAs are GREAT if you are dieting down and looking to gain muscle as you lose fat. If you are in an exclusive muscle building diet which gives you sufficient calories to gain muscle, you can still use them to accelerate results if your finances allow for it. If you are on a budget, you can pass on this supplement to be honest.

Best Way To Consume Them

The best way to consume BCAAs is before, during and after the workout. I use the Labrada Power BCAA product (mixed with PowerCarb for better utilization) as it is better to mix up the BCAAs in a drink than to swallow multiple capsules of 1 gram each (since I take 20 grams when using it during the workout).

You can also use the BCAAs in between meals. This is a great strategy not only to preserve muscle tissue as you are dieting, but also to suppress your appetite. 5-10 grams between meals will do the trick.

Bottom Line

For muscle building: If you have the finances to add it and further accelerate your gains, then why not. IF you don’t have the finances, then just stick to the basic supplements stack (multiple vitamins, protein and essential fats).

For fat loss/dieting: Excellent supplement to use in order to keep your muscle as you lose fat. It is during a fat loss diet that BCAAs work their magic best!

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Are Protein Shakes More Important Than Real Food In a Bodybuilding Diet?

Real food is by far the most important component of a bodybuilding diet. There are so many nutrients that real food contains, many of which have not even been discovered yet, that you would be doing yourself a disservice by limiting the amount of real food that you are eating.

In addition, real food has what is called a “thermic effect”. A “thermic effect” is the impact that real food has in your metabolism. Because real food requires digestion, your body burns more calories in processing it; as opposed to shakes which are already pre-digested.

Regardless of what the ads tell you, protein shakes do not offer any muscle building benefit, nor “secret muscle building ingredient”, above and beyond what real food offers you. Yes, I have read the ads too with all sorts of speedy muscle building promises but I can assure you through experience that most of the ingredients advertised as miraculous have not been proven to work neither by science (even though most ads of this nature usually talk about research studies that usually do not exist) nor by actual results at the gym. These products however have been proven beyond the shadow of any scientific doubt to shrink the size of your wallet and bank account.

What protein shakes do offer the bodybuilder and fitness enthusiast is a convenient way to ingest your protein, thus allowing you to have your five to six meals every day without having to ingest real food in all of them. In addition, the best protein shakes in the market offer a protein blend of different sources of protein, something that introduces amino acid variety into your bodybuilding diet, thus making your diet more complete. However, do not ever think that protein shakes are superior to food.

How Much To Consume

I recommend that you always have a breakfast, a lunch and a dinner consisting of real food items. A breakfast may consist of egg whites and oatmeal, lunch of chicken, some brown rice and green beans, while dinner can be some salmon, with a baked potatoe and some broccoli. In between meals, then you can have your protein shakes so that you can have fulfill your every 2-3 hour meal requirement. Depending upon what your bodybuilding goals are, you may choose to just use a protein powder and mix it with either water or skim milk (assuming that you are not competing), or a weight gainer that has more carbohydrate calories to help fuel the metabolism of hardgainers. You may also have an MRP (Meal Replacement Powder) or an RTD (Ready to Drink) for the convenience that they offer. For more information on this subject, please take a look at my article on Protein Supplements.

LEAN BODY® RTD LEAN BODY®

 

Never take in more than half of your meals in the form of protein shakes. So if you consume 5 meals a day, make sure that 3 of those are real meals. If you consume 6, then up to 3 can be shakes. If you are wondering what I do, I personally have 4 real meals and two shakes.

Which Brands to Choose?

As far as a brand, stick to reputable brands, like Labrada Nutrition, which ensure that each batch of their products contains exactly what the label claims. Beware of brands that sell your 5-lbs of protein powder for less than $30 dollars. Good grade proteins are expensive to manufacture, reason why you will see good companies like Labrada Nutrition pricing their products accordingly. Cheap grade proteins will cause gas and bloating as they are hard for the body to assimilate. In addition, some products that are very cheap may not even contain what the label claims.

Related Video On Protein Shake Quality: Are There Steroids In Your Protein?

 

About the Author

hugoHugo Rivera is an International best selling fitness author certified in personal training and nutrition with a computer engineering degree from the University of South Florida. Hugo is owner of www.hugorivera.net, an informational, free fitness and nutrition website. He is author of over 10 fitness books (with over a million copies sold) including his best sellers: Body Re-Engineering, The Body Sculpting Bible for Men, The Body Sculpting Bible for Women, the Weight Training Diary, and the Hardgainers Handbook of Bodybuilding. Today via his website HugoRivera.net, numerous articles, book publications, TV and radio appearances Hugo continues to educate the public on how to achieve the body of their dreams via the use of weight training exercise, good nutrition and correct supplementation. You can follow Hugo via:

YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/hugoriverafitness
Facebook: www.facebook.com/hugorivera.net
Google Plus: www.google.com/+HugoriveraNetnaturalbodybuilding
Twitter: www.twitter.com/hrfit
Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/hugoriverafitness
BodySpace: http://bodyspace.bodybuilding.com/hrfit/

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