I’m sure you’ve heard of the terms bulking and cutting before. Many people use bulking as a way to build muscle and put on size, but it does come with drawbacks that should be taken into account.
Does Bulking Lower Testosterone?
Bulking leads to increased fat gain, and higher body fat does result in lower testosterone levels.
1.What Exactly Is Bulking?
The term bulking refers to eating more calories than your body is burning. The goal is to put on muscle and as much size as possible. This cannot be done without also adding some fat.
It’s usually done for a period of around 4-6 months. The increased calories that your body takes in are meant to increase muscle size and strength.
About 10-20% above your daily maintenance calories are usually consumed while bulking. If your maintenance calories are 3000, then you would want to eat about 3300 to 3600 calories per day to gain weight.
The slighter the increase in calories, the less fat you will be putting on during the bulk phase. If you aren’t gaining any weight, then you can increase the calories.
It is suggested that 45-60% of your calories come from carbs, 20-25% from protein, and 15-30% from fat. This ensures you have enough energy from carbs to fuel your workouts. While also providing enough protein for muscle gain and the most minimal fat gain.
2.Lean Vs Dirty Bulking
Both of these methods involve eating more calories than you burn to put on size.
However, lean bulking usually tries to do so by eating mainly clean foods that are low in fat and sugar. This is the smarter choice that will result in higher testosterone levels.
A dirty bulk includes eating the most food possible, including junk food in order to put on the most size. This will lead to faster weight and muscle gain. However, you will put on a substantial more amount of fat than a lean bulk. Therefore, decreasing your testosterone more.
When considering a bulk, many people focus mainly on fats, protein, and carbs. However, vitamins and minerals should also be taken into account. Proper nutrition is also important when considering recovery, risk of disease, energy and mood.
Lean bulking involves including more nutrient dense foods. Plus, you don’t get the added risks from processed or junk foods.
Studies have shown that vitamins A, C, and E play a role in supporting muscle growth. These vitamins are found in fruits and vegetables.
Even people eating high amounts of calories in bulking diets can have nutrient deficiencies. If your main goal is to eat proteins, carbs, and fats only then you’ll most likely encounter this. Don’t forget to throw in your fruits and veggies.
Higher intakes of processed foods that contain added sugar, trans fat, cholesterol, sodium lead to increased risk of disease and inflammation. They will also result in lowered testosterone levels.
From a health standpoint, a lean bulk would be the clear choice. If your goal is to also stay healthy while gaining size and muscle, this would be your choice.
Sure you will build slightly more strength and muscle from a dirty bulk, you will be putting your health and body fat levels at risk.
3.The Problem With Bulking
When you are bulking, you are putting on fat and moving away from your ideal physique. Most people’s ideal physique is shredded with low body fat. So they bulk and put on weight and fat for many months just to cut down and finally reach their physique for a couple months.
The whole process of bulking they are moving away from how they want to look, which is counter intuitive.
One of the most important points I will make is that; As your body fat increases, your testosterone decreases. There, you can now click off this page, you have your answer.
Unless you want some more detail and would like to learn how to increase your testosterone, of course. It’s impossible to do a 100% clean bulk without putting on any fat. So you will be always be slightly increasing fat and decreasing your testosterone as you bulk.
When you gain more fat, your hormonal environment in your body becomes more feminine. That is, body fat lowers testosterone and increases estrogen. This causes issues with insulin and makes your body store more carbohydrates as fat, rather than feeding them into your muscles.
People above 15% body fat have elevated estrogen levels, which decreases testosterone.
4.What Does Low Testosterone Do
Low testosterone in a male does not only mean less muscle. It also leads to low sex drive, increased fat storage, and increases in depression, disease, and cancer.
Low testosterone can also lead to reduced bone mass. This can make bones weaker and more susceptible to injury and fractures.
Reduction in sperm cells and lowered sex drive can cause fertility issues. Sleep apnea is another common occurrence is those men who have low testosterone.
Decrease in energy levels is another symptom that many will suddenly notice. This is one of the main reasons for older men to turn to testosterone replacement therapy. When you start feeling sluggish and unable to do things all day, it’s very difficult to carry on with your everyday life.
5.How To Naturally Boost Testosterone Levels
When thinking of increasing testosterone, many first think of steroids. Steroids do effectively increase testosterone but do so with side effects. Additionally, when a person stops using artificial testosterone, their body has issues producing testosterone on its own.
Your diet is one of the main contributors to your testosterone levels. Some foods that help increase testosterone are beef, eggs, tuna, oysters, beans, and shellfish.
Any food rich in vitamin D helps with boosting testosterone levels. Zinc is also helpful and is found in oysters and shellfish.
Also take into account that having more muscle mass and less body fat increases testosterone. So, working out and staying active will play an important role. See here to learn how you can increase your metabolism & burn extra fat.
Minimize stress and cortisol levels. Long-term stress increases the hormone cortisol. This can increase food intake, weight gain, and the storage of fat in the body, which all negatively effect testosterone.
Make sure you are getting enough adequate sleep. A study showed that those sleeping for only 5 hours a night had a 15% reduction in testosterone levels.
Consider natural testosterone boosters, such as ashwagandha, which has been studied and shown to increase testosterone, sperm count, and reduce cortisol levels. It is an ancient medicinal herb that can be bought in pill form.
Ginger extract may also boost testosterone levels and has many other health benefits. A healthy sex life also regulates sex hormones and testosterone levels.
Avoid estrogen-like chemicals such as BPA, parabens, and other chemicals found in some plastics. Alcohol and medicinal and recreational drug use also lower testosterone.