(Article Medically Reviewed By Dr. Zach Hyde)
How Excess Body Fat FEMINIZES Men
Our editorial team has just put together this detailed post on obesity and testosterone.
Inside, you’ll learn the primary reason why obesity does such a number on a mans testosterone levels, along with powerful suggestions on how to reverse the situation.
And keep in mind as you proceed…
If you have a substantial amount of weight to lose, don’t feel like you need to get washboard lean.
Your genetics likely don’t support sub 10 percent body fat numbers, but that’s okay.
What you’re looking for is a consistent downward trend in fat accumulation, combined with an upward trend in muscle accumulation.
(Read the above sentence one more time)
Because this shift away from fat toward muscle is going to move your body into a more anabolic state.
You’ll hang onto more of the testosterone your body produces, and less will be converted into estrogen via aromatase.
And this will occur even IF you still have a significant amount of weight to lose.
So all you need to do is focus on having less body fat (and more muscle) this month than you did last month.
Then make this a lifelong habit that you put time into every single day, just like brushing your teeth or taking a shower.
In other words, make it non negotiable.
This is important because every man must play the genetic cards they’ve been dealt, otherwise they will lose at the game of life.
If you’re obese, the game for you must be played in the gym, out on the walking trail and at the dinner table every night.
But now that you know you don’t need to look like a fitness model for this to work, the pressure is now officially off.
Just cut back on the binge eating, make smarter food choices, lift weights a few times a week and develop a daily walking habit.
That’s all it takes.
Read on to learn more..
Obesity and Testosterone Part 1:
Being overweight or obese can make life very challenging. It can wreak havoc on your confidence, cause depression, and make it very difficult to get motivated.
Specifically for men, a major part of the issue has to do with testosterone levels. Excess body fat is proven to lower testosterone levels, drastically!
This in itself can cause a ton of problems because testosterone is literally the hormone that makes a man a man.
It’s a key ingredient for your overall mood and motivation levels, facial hair growth, strong erections, high libido, sexual performance, lean muscle mass, and desire for success.
When you’re overweight and don’t have enough testosterone, all these things suffer. The good news is that you can fight back by making a few lifestyle changes.
Over years of study and hard work, we have created a proven approach to burn fat and raise testosterone levels – and it works.
With dedication it’s absolutely possible to lose weight and regain your testosterone. And the only way you can fail is if you quit!
Testosterone & Body Fat
First, let’s explore the link between obesity and testosterone in more detail.
Scientists have confirmed time and time again that there are some serious negative side effects to having too much body fat.
That’s especially true when it comes to the production of testosterone and estrogen by your body.
When you have excess body fat, your body starts to increase production of an enzyme called aromatase. When your body produces elevated levels of aromatase, it can wreak havoc on your testosterone levels.
The reason why is because the aromatase enzyme actually converts your testosterone into estrogen. (source)
Yes, estrogen – the hormone that gives women feminine characteristics. As you might imagine, this can have quite the negative impact on a man.
As your body fat levels increase, this negative effect will only compound itself – it will get worse. So it’s crucial to make lifestyle changes now to avoid continuing the vicious cycle.
Obesity and Testosterone – The Downward Cycle
There is a cycle to the obesity-testosterone connection, and it’s not a good one.
If you are overweight and you continue to gain weight, it will become harder to lose the weight. That’s not just your brain playing tricks on you either, there is a scientific reason why.
As I mentioned, once the aromatase enzyme takes over your system, your T levels will go down while your estrogen levels go up. This effect gets worse with increased levels of body fat.
Once you’re at this point, the lack of testosterone in your system is actually fighting against you in your quest to lose weight.
That’s the vicious cycle – excess body fat kills T levels, which in turn makes it even harder to lose weight.
There are a few scientifically proven reasons why this is.
The biggest one is that testosterone is proven to boost your metabolic rate. Meaning, testosterone helps your body burn energy (calories).
This is directly tied to decreasing your body fat levels because you need to burn calories to lose the weight.
Closely related to that is the fact that testosterone is itself a fat-reducing hormone. Science has proven that testosterone can prevent your body from absorbing excess fat while simultaneously stimulating your body to burn fat. (source)
Finally, testosterone can even prevent new fat cells from forming in your body. However, in order for this to work, you need relatively high levels of testosterone in your blood stream.
Blood Sugar, Obesity and Testosterone
Excess body fat can also lead to another vicious cycle that’s seriously detrimental to your testosterone levels.
I’m talking about the fact that obese men are almost always insulin resistant.
This essentially means that obesity negatively impacts the body’s ability to regulate its own blood sugar levels.
Why is that bad?
Well, science has shown that high blood sugar levels can have a negative effect on testosterone levels in men.
The facts here come from a study done in 2013 where a group of men were given glucose (a form of sugar) to judge its impacts on overall testosterone levels.
The results from this study clearly state that elevated blood sugar caused by glucose ingestion was associated with about a 25% decrease in testosterone levels. (source)
It really is another vicious cycle.
As your fat levels increase, your insulin resistance will increase too. That means your blood sugar levels will go up and your testosterone levels will continue to drop.
As I said before, as your T levels drop, these negative effects are compounded and losing weight gets even harder.
Low Testosterone & Obesity Treatment
If you’ve been reading this and feeling like you need to make a change in your life, then you’re absolutely right.
It’s possible to lose the weight, burn the fat, and increase your testosterone levels – no matter how bad your situation is.
We take a three-pronged approach with men who need to lose a significant amount of weight.
1. Make Smart Food Choices
I know you have probably heard this before, but diet is critical when it comes to losing weight.
There are two sides to this coin: cutting out unhealthy foods, then replacing them with key testosterone-boosting foods.
You don’t need to eat boring and tasteless stuff either. In fact, our top recommendation for men in this situation is to increase their intake of grass-fed beef. That’s right – you can still eat steak.
Beef has an excellent amino acid balance and contains saturated fats. Worry not – this type of fat is good because it’s proven to provide the biggest boost to testosterone production.
Just make sure the beef is grass fed. This is crucial because it means the animal was not corn-fed and not exposed to harmful pesticides and estrogenic chemicals.
Eggs are another excellent food that can help boost T levels. I recommend free range eggs for the same reason I recommend grass-fed beef (no pesticides or harmful chemicals).
Eggs have such a great amino acid balance that they are widely considered “the perfect protein.” They also contain plenty of vitamins and healthy fats that encourage testosterone production.
We also strongly suggest that you keep your diet balanced. Meaning, don’t cut out the carbs! This is a common weight loss fad, but in reality it’s terrible for testosterone levels.
There are tons of studies out there proving that carbohydrates are critical for healthy testosterone production. You can read more about testosterone and carbs here.
So the take home here is, fill up with high quality protein combined with clean carbs like white rice, fruit and sweet potatoes. If you tolerate dairy, add greek yogurt and milk, especially on weight training days.
Make these foods your primary staples instead of McDonalds, Haagen Daz and Frito Lay.
Finally, one of the biggest favors you can do yourself is to stop eating when you’re full.
2. Fasted Walking
Something as simple as going for a walk can be highly beneficial in your quest to lose weight. However, the key here is to do this while in a fasted state.
Fasting can be an incredible tool in your weight loss journey. I know it sounds difficult, but the benefits are truly astounding.
Consider these facts…
One study found that after men complete a 24-hour fast, their growth hormone levels go up an average of 2000% over their baseline numbers. (source)
That’s pretty incredible when you consider that growth hormone is crucial for building lean muscle and it goes up right along with testosterone.
Another study found that short periods of fasting increased luteinizing hormone, a chemical in the body that’s essential for testosterone production.
Now, I’m not saying you need to fast for days on end (although it does have incredible benefits). My preferred method is intermittent fasting.
Intermittent fasting means you fast for shorter periods, but you do it daily. This can also have massive benefits when it comes to burning fat and raising T levels.
One study found that when men fasted for just 12 hours, they burned significantly more fat while exercising during the fast. (source)
That brings us back to the topic of this section: fasted walking.
Walking is great exercise. By walking in a fasted state, your body is primed and ready to burn fat because there’s no food it can use for energy.
My recommendation is to do a 16-hour intermittent fast every night. To best way to achieve this is to stop eating at 7 pm every night.
Then, after you wake up but before your first meal, schedule a long fasted walk of 30-60 minutes.
Once you hit the 16-hour fast mark at 11:00 am, it will be time to eat. At this point go eat a healthy meal that includes the foods discussed in the previous section.
3. Weight Training
The third prong of this approach brings it all together. If you combine it with the first two (healthy diet + fasted walking) then you will crush your weight loss goals.
This isn’t just my opinion either. There is a ton of hard science out there on this topic.
One study out of Wake Forest University found that weight training resulted in less muscle loss and significant fat loss compared to cardio workouts. When combined with a healthy diet and regular walks, fat loss increased even more. (source)
Weight Training Boosts Testosterone Production
At this point, you should be very aware of how crucial it is to raise your testosterone levels if you’re obese. Fortunately, weight training is one of the best ways to increase testosterone levels.
Multiple studies have found that lifting weights (resistance training) can cause a significant increase in overall testosterone levels.
Another study, this one specifically on obese men, found that regular exercise was even more impactful for raising testosterone levels than simply losing excess fat. (source)
Weight Training Spikes Growth Hormone
I briefly mentioned growth hormone above in relation to fasting. It helps you build lean muscle and burn fat.
It’s also directly related to testosterone – when growth hormone goes up, so does testosterone.
Weight training is a great way to raise growth hormone levels. Of all the types of exercise that you could do, weight training is the best one of them all for growth hormone levels.
On top of that, as you lift heavier weights and take less rest in between lifts, this effect increases. So as you get stronger, weight training will provide a bigger boost to your growth hormone and testosterone production.
Weight Training Reduces Insulin Resistance
As I mentioned earlier, insulin resistance means that your body cannot effectively regulate its own blood sugar levels. In turn, this can lower your testosterone levels. This effect gets worse as you gain more body fat.
The good news is that weight training can help you fight back – and there’s science to back that up.
Several major studies have confirmed this. Each one found that weight training was effective in reducing insulin resistance in overweight and obese men.
Weight Training Boosts Self Confidence
This one is a bit more subjective, but it makes sense if you think about it.
When you lift weights, you burn fat and build muscle. This will make you look better and feel better about yourself, which will give you a massive confidence boost.
And this new self confidence with be a big motivator that will keep you dialed in on your goals.
And once you reach this point, the only way you can possibly fail is if you quit.
Now let’s summarize:
- Don’t worry about getting washboards lean.
- Make smart food choices.
- Walk in a fasted state.
- Lift weights.
- Make this a life long habit (don’t quit)