Sex, Testosterone, and Running: How are They All Connected?

Fit athlete preparing for deadlifts in the gym.

Nothing says manly like testosterone, the “male hormone”. It stands for masculine strength, potency and, particularly in the fitness world, muscle growth. To understand the effect of testosterone, consider the following study by a research group under the supervision of Shalender Bhasin, M.D., published in The New England Journal of Medicine:

The study group consisted of 43 male subjects who engaged in recreational exercise and had previous experience with weightlifting. They were asked to follow a standardized strength training program. One group was given a specific quantity of testosterone once a week. After only ten weeks of training, the subjects’ lean body mass increased by approx. 6 kg. Their bench-press max increased by 22% and their leg-press max by 38% compared to their pre-test values. The placebo group’s lean body mass only increased by 1.9 kg. Their bench-press max increased by 11% and their leg-press by 21%. Another test group was given testosterone but did not participate in the training program. In spite of this, their lean body mass increased by 3.2 kg. Their bench- and leg-press maxes were almost identical with those of the group who did the training program but did not receive testosterone.

Fit athlete preparing for deadlifts in the gym.

Testosterone doping usually results in massive muscle gain. In endurance sports, testosterone is also used as a performance enhancing drug because it speeds up the body’s recovery. However, there is a major downside to doping…

The side effects are disastrous for your health:

  • Impotence
  • Testicular degeneration
  • Hair loss
  • Acne
  • Increased risk of heart attack
  • Arteriosclerosis
  • Behavior changes

But, of course, there are natural ways of increasing your testosterone levels:

Running regularly increases your testosterone level
If you think it takes herculean efforts to make your testosterone level rise, then think again. Moderate endurance training is perfect for boosting your body’s production of testosterone. Also, short, intense interval workouts have been found to significantly increase testosterone levels.

young and handsome athlete with earphones running outdoors (with little motion blur)Feel better, look better! Add style to your workouts.

However, the opposite effect can occur in runners who are training for an ultramarathon and running extremely long distances. Extreme endurance workouts over a long period of time have been shown to lower the production of testosterone. Therefore, endurance athletes training at very high volumes should have their testosterone levels checked on a regular basis.

Strength training leads to more testosterone
Short, intense strength workouts also cause the body to release higher amounts of testosterone. Total body training, in which you work all the major muscle groups, is perfect for this.

Hispanic Man Doing Push Ups

Make sure to get plenty of sleep and avoid stress
Stress is an absolute testosterone killer. The best defense against stress is plenty of good-quality sleep. This helps your body recover more quickly and it lowers your stress level.

Don’t forget about vitamin D
Recent studies have shown that there are similarities in the seasonal fluctuation of vitamin D and testosterone. Furthermore, there is evidence suggesting that taking supplemental vitamin D can also boost the production of testosterone in the testicular cells.

Fit man doing a very intense workout at the gym.

Bottom line: There are natural ways of increasing your testosterone level. Regular exercise is one of the most effective ways of benefiting from the positive effects of testosterone. Increased testosterone not only improves your athletic performance, but it is good for your libido, too. A study conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health with 30,000 subjects found that men who exercise regularly have a 30% lower risk of impotency than those who do not exercise.

So download our bodyweight training app, Runtastic Results, today and increase your testosterone level in a natural way.

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Herwig Natmessnig As a former professional athlete (whitewater slalom), Herwig lives for fitness. Whether in competition or just for fun, he can never turn down a challenge. View all posts by Herwig Natmessnig »