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Low Testosterone and Exercise: Where to go from here?

by (88)
Updated October 20, 2014 at 4:01 AM
Created August 09, 2013 at 11:50 PM

EDITS: Some info- I'm 17, 113 lbs, male, and 5'7"

Hey everyone, so I've been struggling quite a lot for the past 3-4 months, due to the problems I'm facing with trying to balance nutrition and working out. Right now though, I seem to have had an Epiphany. I've asked MULTIPLE questions, and picked around to try to find out everything regarding paleo nutrition geared for optimal aesthetic results, but I hadn't thought about sustainability, and where I was going with it.

I have worked tremendously hard and put myself under quite a lot of pressure for a long period of time now, just over a year, to reach certain aesthetic goals I had regarding my body. However, as I said earlier, I've had an epiphany, and realized that I have been pushing against an immovable object.

What I mean by this is that currently, I have very low testosterone levels. At the same time, I'm very underweight, and I need AND want to put on some weight, and thus I've been focusing on trying to do progressive weight training workouts with less High-intensity training and less "smashing my muscles into submission through countless long workouts"

However, I can't seem to do anything but gain bodyfat. I have become significantly "softer" than I was a few months ago, despite thinking I'm doing everything right. So what I realized is that I must be effectively "hamstrung" by my hormonal state, and thus I probably can't build muscle effectively at all. Thus trying to gain weight is probably something I should attempt once my Testosterone levels have come back to what they should be given my age: very god-damn high.

Any thoughts on this? What do some of the more experienced Hacker's think, and if I'm correct in assuming that I can't really build any muscle or lose fat efficiently right now, then what should I do in regards to working out? I feel so much better after exercising, and pushing myself hard, yet it's hard to motivate myself to work out if I feel that all of my efforts are futile because of having no anabolic hormones

Lastly, if anyone else reads this and is a teenager gone paleo, I have some advice: Relax and enjoy yourself. Sure, go after goals you have regarding how you look, but realize that life is full of so much more than just appearance, and often your pre-conceived notions about the lengths of time it should take to accomplish certain things will be blown out of the water by life's massive palm, slapping you across the face.

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0 · September 06, 2013 at 1:27 AM

You can only do what you can do. Rowing is indeed a great sport. One hell of a workout that is! If you could rent your own kayak and paddle on your own for half an hour, two to four times a week, that would be interesting. It would reset you mind a little! Other than that, you seem to be doing fine: You appear to have everything lined up. Keep in touch!

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88 · September 03, 2013 at 7:04 PM

I did team sports(rowing) for a long time, and I really couldn't deal with 2 hr practices, 5x a week, especially when my goals were still in the back of my head. My levels are raising though, everything is starting to work better, so right now I am holding off trying to intentionally gain weight, I'm waiting till I have my levels checked again in 2 months, at which point I'll know what I should do. Thanks so much for your kind words!

Addf4504a84c85a48050cef20a1f114e
0 · September 03, 2013 at 1:01 PM

does not mean your system is not working properly. You do have genetic limitations as to your size. It may not be what you want it to be, but it is what it is. If you're getting too frustrated spending time at the gym and getting results, I would recommend to cut it short and focus on another sport, like a team sport, to bring your mind somewhere else for the time being. Good luck!

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0 · September 03, 2013 at 12:59 PM

It is normal to start on a lower dose: My dose was start dose was a quarter of the minimum recommended dose. Don't be discouraged by the «virtually undetectable levels»: everyone has testosterone in their system, even women and children. And all of it can be detected. I think at this point you need to take it easy: If you're eating right, remaining active the right way and whatever medical malfunction you may have is being addressed, you have nothing to worry about. If you don't have «childbearing hips» and boobs, you should be fine. Just because you're not bulking up to become a behemoth

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88 · September 03, 2013 at 3:43 AM

Blackjack661, what do you think I should do? I really am open to any opinions or comments, so please, let me know, I'd actually appreciate it, thanks!

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88 · September 02, 2013 at 9:44 PM

Really? I want to experiment with doing that, but right now I'm having problems with Enterobacter Cloacae, just a slightly elevated level was recorded on my stool analysis, and so I was sort of avoiding starch for the time being... I also try to eat oysters/liver at least 1x a week, will that take care of the zinc?

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88 · September 02, 2013 at 6:37 PM

without even knowing it, I just don't know what to think anymore. It's really frustrating

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88 · September 02, 2013 at 6:37 PM

I was tested.. I had "virtually undetectable" levels, and my endo started me on even a lowered dose because the normal dose would have been too large a shock on my system. I've probably had screwed up hormones for years, because 3 years ago I had anorexia, and got down to a very low weight (89 lbs) . That is behind me now, and trust me, the experience recovering from it has not been a fun ordeal, though I have learned alot and matured as a person, I'm still left in a state of not really knowing how "back to normal" my body is. I thought I did, but after discovering I had such low T-

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88 · September 02, 2013 at 6:26 PM

carbs, from dense glucose-rich sources, and not from things like psyillium husk.. which I was counting before. Very stupid. However, with the gut bacteria problem, I'm afraid to eat starch because I have read and heard from people on here, and elsewhere that eating starch with a bacterial problem just feeds the bad bacteria, and I want it gone, because it's Enterobacter Cloacae, and has probably been inhibiting my absorption of lot of stuff

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88 · September 02, 2013 at 6:23 PM

It's different because I was asking for opinions on lifestyle as well.. I honestly know what I want to do/try now, I just have one hang up, regarding my gut bacteria.. I'd like to experiment with more carbs, probably 2-3 days a week on the days I do gymnastics strength work, to learn whether my body really can work well with carbs, because going high fat and lower carb has only led me down a 4 month road of losing muscle and looking worse.. Granted I had less calories than I should have, so that is part of it, but I'm starting to think I should just see what happens when I have REAL

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26182 · September 02, 2013 at 6:03 PM

how is this different than your other question: http://paleohacks.com/questions/206795/gymnastics-strength-training-hormonal-stimulation-similar-to-heavy-lifting-tut#axzz2dl7xOTc3

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88 · August 12, 2013 at 1:40 PM

Sorry, I seem to have!

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5 Answers

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458b7bac46cb9d6110245305ce8fae44
88 · September 03, 2013 at 3:43 AM

Blackjack661, what do you think I should do? I really am open to any opinions or comments, so please, let me know, I'd actually appreciate it, thanks!

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39841 · September 02, 2013 at 8:42 PM

I'd recommend that you eat far more starch, workout less often, take a zinc picolinate supplement once per day and do what you can to approach 8 hours of sleep per night.

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88 · September 02, 2013 at 9:44 PM

Really? I want to experiment with doing that, but right now I'm having problems with Enterobacter Cloacae, just a slightly elevated level was recorded on my stool analysis, and so I was sort of avoiding starch for the time being... I also try to eat oysters/liver at least 1x a week, will that take care of the zinc?

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0 · September 02, 2013 at 5:55 PM

Jdoane,

I think I am in a good position to answer your question for the following reason: I have been on hormone replacement therapy since I was 16!

That being said, this does NOT mean that you'll need it too: I'll get to that later. I just thought I'd establish my credibility prior to giving you any form of advice. And no, I am NOT a doctor, so please, do not take this as any form of medical advice. Take it for what it is: information on the Internet.

The first thing you'll have to tell us is how you know your testosterone levels are low? Did you take blood tests for that? How many blood tests did you take? Did your physician specifically mention that you had low testosterone? Testosterone levels fluctuate quite a bit throughout the day, especially at your young age. So in order to find out if you have low testosterone, you have to take at least tow blood tests at different times of the day!

Anon is right saying by too much. Brief, high intensity training sessions can increase your testosterone. Note that too much stress can lower your testosterone. That often explains why those busy office people with a tough boss in a high stress work environment have low sex drive and a decreased muscle mass!

Here is another interesting link:

http://fitness.mercola.com/sites/fitness/archive/2012/07/27/increase-testosterone-levels.aspx

It come from Mercola, a reliable source to Paleo dieters!

Other than that, you might just still be a bit young, not all that «mature» yet. Some people don't start shaving regularly until they're 20. Others shave from the first time when they're 12.

Finally, you might have hypogonadism, a condition when the testicles are unable to produce enough testosterone or any at all. This usually happens to individuals who have lost a testicle or both for whatever reason (playing hockey, cancer etc...). If such is the case, you'll have to follow hormone replacement therapy and take testosterone gel or patches (pills and injections have «gone out of style», so to say). Androgel is probably the most popular testosterone gel. But I HIGHLY doubt you'll need it. Just FYI.

Keep your workout short (45 minutes or less), intense (don't do 3 working sets of like 10 exercises: do 1 working set of 2 or 3 exercises, preceded by 1 or 2 warm up set). In your head, it may feel like not enough. But at the gym, less is more. And you need to de-stress! Unless you're missing your balls, you should not have to worry about your testosterone levels. Mass gains at 17 obtained from working out are limited, especially if you compare it to what 20, 30 and 40 year olds at your gym are getting. Most of your gains will com from natural growth at this point. For myself, when I got into my early twenties, that is when the gains started coming in, pound after pound. At 17, it was almost a lost battle! But definitely not time wasted! There is a lot to learn at the gym.

Hope this helps.

Addf4504a84c85a48050cef20a1f114e
0 · September 06, 2013 at 1:27 AM

You can only do what you can do. Rowing is indeed a great sport. One hell of a workout that is! If you could rent your own kayak and paddle on your own for half an hour, two to four times a week, that would be interesting. It would reset you mind a little! Other than that, you seem to be doing fine: You appear to have everything lined up. Keep in touch!

458b7bac46cb9d6110245305ce8fae44
88 · September 03, 2013 at 7:04 PM

I did team sports(rowing) for a long time, and I really couldn't deal with 2 hr practices, 5x a week, especially when my goals were still in the back of my head. My levels are raising though, everything is starting to work better, so right now I am holding off trying to intentionally gain weight, I'm waiting till I have my levels checked again in 2 months, at which point I'll know what I should do. Thanks so much for your kind words!

Addf4504a84c85a48050cef20a1f114e
0 · September 03, 2013 at 1:01 PM

does not mean your system is not working properly. You do have genetic limitations as to your size. It may not be what you want it to be, but it is what it is. If you're getting too frustrated spending time at the gym and getting results, I would recommend to cut it short and focus on another sport, like a team sport, to bring your mind somewhere else for the time being. Good luck!

Addf4504a84c85a48050cef20a1f114e
0 · September 03, 2013 at 12:59 PM

It is normal to start on a lower dose: My dose was start dose was a quarter of the minimum recommended dose. Don't be discouraged by the «virtually undetectable levels»: everyone has testosterone in their system, even women and children. And all of it can be detected. I think at this point you need to take it easy: If you're eating right, remaining active the right way and whatever medical malfunction you may have is being addressed, you have nothing to worry about. If you don't have «childbearing hips» and boobs, you should be fine. Just because you're not bulking up to become a behemoth

458b7bac46cb9d6110245305ce8fae44
88 · September 02, 2013 at 6:37 PM

without even knowing it, I just don't know what to think anymore. It's really frustrating

458b7bac46cb9d6110245305ce8fae44
88 · September 02, 2013 at 6:37 PM

I was tested.. I had "virtually undetectable" levels, and my endo started me on even a lowered dose because the normal dose would have been too large a shock on my system. I've probably had screwed up hormones for years, because 3 years ago I had anorexia, and got down to a very low weight (89 lbs) . That is behind me now, and trust me, the experience recovering from it has not been a fun ordeal, though I have learned alot and matured as a person, I'm still left in a state of not really knowing how "back to normal" my body is. I thought I did, but after discovering I had such low T-

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2771 · August 26, 2013 at 4:56 PM

It sounds like you're suffering from what a lot of here have suffered before, and that's "Too much." We find out what's good for us, and then take it to extremes, at least I did. I started working out harder and harder and more often, getting great results. Suddenly, after a month or two of seeing great changes, hit a wall. Then I started to feel miserable. I was obsessing about weight, macro nutrients and exercise intensity. Luckily, I figured I was pushing it to hard, and I had read here and other places that too much exercise can LOWER testosterone. I don't know how often our ancestors pushed themselves real hard and for how long, but a lot of us hit the gym way more than our body is ready for. We need to push our limits, but we need time to recover and to de-stress.

I now only do strength training once a week and sprints or HIIT once or twice a week, and never more than an hour. I also try to walk everyday, but a nice relaxing one. I'm not noticing pounds falling off of me, but I am feeling pretty good, and that's probably more important.

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373 · August 12, 2013 at 2:25 AM

Is it me, or did you fail to mention your age?

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88 · August 12, 2013 at 1:40 PM

Sorry, I seem to have!

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