- Men's Health & Wellness
Prevent Testosterone From Plummeting During High Intensity Interval Training
Navy SEALs Forging Mental Toughness
For those of us in the military (particularly special warfare groups), it's important to realize that physical fitness and mental toughness are paramount. There's no better way to be a danger to yourself and others than to be unfit in these 2 ways. One problem that many of us face is the inevitable plateau. Although sometimes it's because you have reached a peak of conditioning, sometimes, there are other causes. One of those causes is low testosterone levels.
Tips to Maintaining Natural Testosterone Levels
Cut Back on Extra Body Fat
Most of the time it's good to have a little extra body fat to carry around. It's a reserve for your body to feed off of! However, when you start to get to 25-30% over your ideal body weight, estrogen levels start to elevate and testosterone levels drop, significantly.
Take Weight Off Slowly
The ideal rate of fat loss is around 1 pound per week. If you're working out excessively or too intensely, you'll be torching away a lot more muscle than fat. When you eliminate more than 10-15% of your daily caloric intake, your body goes into starvation mode, and preserves body fat to help survive when it thinks there's no food available.
Eat Balanced Diets
The new trend seems to be high protein, high fat, low carbohydrate diets. According to a Penn State study, this can severely hamper testosterone production, by as much as 12% in men. Eat the right kinds of carbohydrates; vegetables and oats!
Perform Compound Exercises
Single motion or static weight lifting is great for building mass, but not functionality. It has been proven that exercises that use multiple large muscle groups can cause an explosion in testosterone production. This is what we need for building muscle and recovery!
Heavy Weight, Low Reps
Anything more than 5 repetitions of a static lift won't do much in the way of building muscle, and doesn't motivate your body to produce more testosterone. Lift using heavier weight, but make sure form is perfect and that you are putting out maximum effort.
Three to Eight Sets
Doing just 1 or 2 sets of an exercise won't harbor much growth. You must lift for at least 3 sets in order to see any gain whatsoever. Another key note is to rest for a solid minute between each set. This allows your muscles to recover briefly so you can still lift at maximum capacity.
Train Hard, Rest Harder
It's important to put out 110% every time you work out or do physical training of any nature. It's also important to rest 110% when you're not training. Over training can cause up to a 40% decrease in testosterone levels in males. This will be devastating to temper, recovery, training, and anything else you do for that matter.
Although this list is not all inclusive, they're some very important things to target. In addition, make sure you're still consuming healthy fats (from dairy and nuts), quit drinking alcohol, and sleep at least 8 hours a day.
On a side note for those active duty military out there, I've discovered 2 interval training oriented sites that will help in your BUD/S Prep Program or Special Operating Forces Selection training. For those of you interested in going into Naval Special Warfare, take a peak at SealFit. For the Army, Air Force, and certain programs in the Marine Corps, check out Military Athlete. Historically Military Athlete was free, but has since implemented a monthly fee. You can see from the sample workouts provided that the regimen is well worth it! They also offer free Squad PT sessions that are adaptable.