There are numerous ways to evaluate testosterone and how it aids with enhancing both performance and muscle growth. The skeletal muscle growth is largely due to both testosterone receptors and the actual amount of testosterone produced in the body. If there is an influx of receptors, yet not enough testosterone, there will be little gains in your program. The objective, however, is to maximize both at the same time. So how do you do that? The answer is rather complicated, so ill hit the nitty-gritty.
Testosterone doesn’t have to be defined here; we all know the various effects it has on the body. The most popular one is its effect on the muscle size, which is largely due to why bodybuilders use it so often. Here, I’m referring to anabolic steroids.
These are taken in cycles in order to maximize the both the body’s testosterone count and matching receptors. The receptors are what actually have the greatest effect on growth, and testosterone is highly dependent upon it. If it’s so perfect, the why do bodybuilders cycle off?
Well, once the body has enough of something, it won’t respond as highly anymore, which should shed some light as to why the most gains in cycles of steroid use are seen in the beginning weeks. The body will eventually stop producing its natural testosterone, so it’s important to cycle both on and off to have a homeostatic balance.
How do you retain testosterone receptors?
To be honest, there are a many ideas people have which aid in increasing the number of receptors, yet all lead back to one centralized theory; muscle contractions. Muscle contraction is what generates the best amount of both receptors and sensitivity that the muscles have for testosterone. This being said, why are natural bodybuilders so much smaller than steroid users if they both lift the same amount of volume? Natural guys usually have a higher dose of receptors, yet are lower in testosterone count. If they could increase this number they would have extremely high amounts of receptors and testosterone cells. This refers back my steroid illustration. The beginning usage of anabolic steroids has a direct effect on the body’s ability to capitalize on peak growth, largely due to this “lock and key “mechanism seen with receptors and the cells they cooperate with.
How do Naturals maximize testosterone growth then?
For natural bodybuilders, you must realize that your testosterone is going to be limited, but that doesn’t mean there is no hope for growth, it just means you have to be extra careful. I wrote another article dealing with naturals and not overtraining in order to see maximum growth, and this is why.
Natural guys must be very weary of magazines which promote giant sets of volume training because it is intended for guys in a “different” caliber. They have special permission to overtrain because their muscles are going to repair much faster than yours. The key element to remember is that giant training can reduce testosterone count and cause feelings associated with overtraining such as:
- Depression, mood swings
- Decreased libido
- Decreased strength
- Loss of hair
- Erectile dysfunction
Ways to eliminate these awful side effects:
Don’t overtrain your body! It varies among different frames, but giant sets of more than 12 per muscle group will cause more harm than good if done regularly. The naturals claim to fame is their high number of testosterone receptors, yet low test cell count. The problem here is finding out how to boost the testosterone cells in order to maximize our skeletal muscle.
- To start, maintain a good sleep habit. Poor sleep has been said to reduce test boost up to 40%! In addition, good sleep will ensure more secretions of the Human Growth Hormone (God’s gift to naturals). Relaxation reduces anxiety and cortisol levels, which is a catabolic ENEMY to muscle production.
- Avoid drinking tons of water 1-2 hours prior to bedtime to avoid waking up to use bathroom. Instead, urinate before sleep occurs.
- Have a comfortable room temperature (prefer cool environment)
- Relax and sleep long (up to 7-9 hours)
- Use natural substances to increase sleep effect: zinc or ZMA
- Train hardcore, but don’t overdo it. I know this sounds repetitive, but I see it every day when guys are in the gym for hours doing massive sets to one muscle group! Regulate your body and condense these sets down. Only shoot for high set volumes on larger muscle groups (back, chest, quads). Train with heavy weight and lowered reps (4-6) to cause deeper muscle stimulus. This will increases the body’s natural test boost. Also, apply this method: Less TALK, more WORK. Sounds quirky, but keeping your time short (less than hour) will prevent catabolic hormones like cortisol from setting in. There is a MAJOR debate on this one, but for naturals, I wouldn’t take the chance. It will take you days to boost your levels back up.
- Physical Activity in general will aid in testosterone boost, but especially when this involves sexual intercourse. Sexual activity has been shown to increase testosterone recruitment, as long as you’re actively releasing once per week.
- Diet Diet Diet! Yes, the dreaded and final part to this chapter for naturals. The nutrition of a natural bodybuilder must be sound. There is no room for error, especially when starving for your show. When people refer to me as a natural body builder, I’m very quick to correct them by saying “I’m not a bodybuilder, I’m a dieter.” It’s true to an extent. Yes, I build my body, but being that my class is filled with middle and lightweights, I strongly prefer to be a better dieter; for those people are who look the best on stage.
The diet must be filled with calories and implemented on a regular basis. Use the rule of thumb in bodybuilding here... always eat every 2-3 hours. It will ensure proper hormone balance in addition to a faster metabolic rate (the key to success in dieting for a show).
Next, focus on foods with protein and complex carbohydrates. The complex carbs ensure stable hormones, especially when referring to insulin levels spiking after a high glycemic meal.
Monounsaturated fats such as almonds or peanut will increase “good cholesterol” (HDL) and also dramatically help test levels. Cabbage, broccoli, and other leafy vegetables are also just as important to incorporate according to research. This has an effect on Carbinol, which promotes test growth with reduction in estrogen.
These helpful hints are one’s to incorporate on a daily basis. If possible, it should become a lifestyle habit which will ensure the most amount of progress that your body is capable of producing.