“Oh, I can eat whatever I want… Oh, I can eat all the bacon I want, steak, chicken… it’s GREAT!”
I always knew something was off about that diet… and I was right.
Sure, a couple of my friends slimmed down substantially, claiming to have six packs while eating all the fats they want, but their testosterone levels must have been a mess!!
Meat Has Always Been Considered The “Manly” Food…. But…
If you were to know no better, and were to look at a medium-rare steak versus a bowl of white rice, which would you say would increase your testosterone production?
Without a doubt, I would go with the steak… protein in general.
But as it turns out, it doesn’t work that way…
In this study, one group of men was given a high-CARB / low-protein diet, and another group was given a high-PROTEIN / low carb diet. The men who consumed higher carbs, and lower protein, had HIGHER testosterone levels, and LOWER cortisol levels compared to the group who ingested a higher ratio of protein to carbs…..
Cortisol, The Enemy Of Testosterone
Cortisol is your stress hormone, or your “fight-or-flight” hormone… generally when you have high cortisol levels, you have low testosterone levels, and vice versa.
During times of high stress, cortisol skyrockets, disrupting your normal hormone production, as well as sleep patterns, metabolism and sense of well-being.
That’s why it is of utmost importance to STOP once in a while, and do nothing… stop being so “productive”, and allow your mind and body to relax. If not, cortisol can take control…
Low Carbs = Low Testosterone, High Cortisol ESPECIALLY When Working Out
I once read in an EXCELLENT strength trainer’s manual (wish I had kept the link… this was a number of years back), about the importance of ingesting some carbs along with your protein, post workout. This restores energy “fuel”, and keeps your testosterone from dropping.
(Another interesting tip I gleaned from that manual: besides the mandatory post-protein, post carbohydrate intake, drinking fruit juice immediately after your workout has been said to have a high muscle healing effect – most likely due to the carbs as well).
But something new I recently discovered: a man’s ratio of testosterone to cortisol is a gauge of overtraining (called the fTC ratio, or free Testosterone to Cortisol ratio)…
Overtraining is when you overwhelm your muscles, without properly allowing them to heal.
All of the following CAN lead to overtraining (everybody’s body is different, and can handle different loads, but these are all risk factors):
- Working out the same muscle group two days in a row (not allowing them sufficient time to heal)
- Working out for too long (45 minutes to 90 minutes is all you really need)
- Performing cardio for TOO long (hard to gauge this, but long distance bicyclists and marathon runners generally have much lower T levels following a race)
- Not sleeping enough, and then working out again (especially working out the day after not sleeping well).
- Not providing your body with the proper nutrition post workout
As to the last point, this study showed that men who performed three consecutive days of intense training had a sharp decline in testosterone when ingesting a low level of carbs. Meanwhile, men who had a carb-heavy diet before and on workout days were able to maintain their normal levels of testosterone.
Carbs are ESSENTIAL to your man-ness!!!
Carbs Can Increase Stomach Fat, And Excess Stomach Fat Is Linked To Low Testosterone!
Yes, carbs are important for testosterone, but eating excess carbs is the QUICKEST way to increase stomach fat, and excess stomach fat has been linked to LOW T!!.
There’s a bit of a “chicken and the egg” thing going on here…. which came first? Does excess stomach fat lead to low testosterone? Or does low testosterone lead to excess stomach fat?
Hard to tell, but there’s definitely some sort of 2 way relationship there, and you want to TRY and keep your stomach area as slim as possible (at least compared to where you were baseline – meaning teens, early 20’s).
I know this can be very difficult. Especially as we age, this battle becomes increasingly difficult (everything we eat just STICKS to our gut area… not like in our teens… eat some late night Taco Bell, and by the next day it was out of your system… back to a six-pack).
So how do we take in the proper amount of carbs, without gaining excess GUT?
Mr. Manpower’s Guidelines To Proper Carb-Intake For Testosterone Production, Without Gaining A Gut
We’ve already established that the low-carb diet is not for men… at least not for men who want to function like men.
But excess carbs is an issue, too, leading to extra abdominal fat… so how to balance everything?
Personally, these are my dietary guidelines to get my proper carbohydrate intake, without building my gut:
- Eat a high protein, high-carb cereal with plenty of fiber and milk in the morning (milk has fat-burning qualities on it’s own). Look for one of those cereals made for losing weight. Combined with some coffee, this will flush your system, and make way for more food (as well as kick-start your metabolism).
- Don’t go TOO long throughout the day without eating a small snack at least; you want to keep your metabolism going.
- Eat a balanced lunch, with a fair amount of REAL carbs (white rice or potatoes), but not a super heavy load, and a fair amount of protein and fats of some sort.
- Eat an hour and a half before working out. A decent meal of carbs and protein. If possible, use your lunch ^^^ as your pre-workout meal, to not overdo the calorie intake for the day. If you have to workout late in the day, then eat a small lunch (tuna on wheat is perfect, with a few chips for the fats, and a fruit) to hold yourself over to the larger meal, and to not overdo calorie intake.
- Drink a protein shake and a small plate of white rice, pasta or potatoes IMMEDIATELY after your workout, for the carb and protein replenishing.
- An hour after your post workout “meal”, eat dinner, or a real meal, with heavier protein, but much less carbs… you’ve already had plenty of carbs throughout the day.
- Try not to eat TOO late, but do eat a very small, healthy snack before sleeping, as a small carb “dose” right before bed helps you sleep better, which: 1) better recharges testosterone, 2) reduces cortisol the following day, 3) helps muscles heal and grow better, 4)improves metabolism the next day, 5) improves mind-state the following day.
- Treat yourself once in a blue moon to a nice, fatty snack, like a bacon cheeseburger or pizza, which gives you that nice fat injection (that we crave so much), also important for testosterone, BUT LIMIT YOURSELF.
- Crackery, starchy, bready snacks, and sugary snacks… cut them out as much as possible. They provide no nutrients, and are the fluffy kind of starches that just add “gut” with nothing in return.
- Coming from an ex HEAVY-drinker, limit your alcohol intake when possible… if it’s a good night, and you’re having fun, go for it… just know you’ll have to make up for it later. If there’s no good reason to drink, and the “opportunity” presents itself, consider passing.
- Of course, eat fruits and vegetable when you can.
I don’t eat brown rice, as it doesn’t provide me with that energy boost like white rice does… I rather just eat a smaller portion of white rice.
The formula to losing gut is simple = take in less calories a day than you burn. Try your best to balance these things!
Also, add some cardio to your day! It’s not so much the intensity, but rather the duration! When possible, rather than taking the car somewhere, walk! Rather than take the elevator, take the stairs! Go play basketball! Or just go for a jog around the block a couple of times! This helps with the burning calories part of the formula.
Follow these guidelines, and you should have enough carbs to keep your T levels healthy, without growing your gut.
For a set of 25 COMMANDMENTS to keep your testosterone production at full strength, check this out…
Have a good one!!
-David Carreras aka Mr. Manpower
Mr. Manpower’s Guide to
Overall Manhood Enhancement