The Importance of Healthy Testosterone Levels for MMA Athletes

For men and especially active men, testosterone is the holy grail of hormones as it is literally what makes a man a man. According to the National Institutes of Health, testosterone is responsible for driving gains in bone density, body hair and changes to your voice as you go through puberty. Testosterone is also important for the regulating of important functions such as sex drive, bone and muscle mass, muscle strength, red blood cell production and fat distribution.

Sadly, most men’s testosterone levels start to decrease once they reach their 30’s. Guys who are especially interested in fitness and gaining bigger, stronger muscles constantly seek out ways to boost their testosterone production. So, instead of taking potentially dangerous (and illegal) drugs, the only real foolproof way to increase and maintain healthy levels of testosterone is by making use of medically approved human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) treatments, as well as eating well and training hard.   

Increasing your testosterone naturally

 If you are serious about working out and staying fit you need to ensure that your testosterone levels are at a healthy level. One way to maintain high testosterone levels is to eat foods that are high in magnesium, vitamin k, and zinc such as dark green leafy vegetables, shellfish and plenty of eggs. Other ways to naturally boost your hormone levels to ensure you are in the best shape possible includes:

 Exercise and lift weights

 Exercise is by far one of the most effective ways to prevent a number of lifestyle-related issues, including compromised testosterone levels. Studies found that men who exercised regularly had higher levels of the sex hormone than those who didn’t. Resistance training such as weight lifting is the best type of exercise to boost testosterone levels both in the short term and long term. High-intensity interval training and martial arts training (especially Mixed Martial Arts) are both very effective, especially when combined with a nutrient-rich diet.

 Get plenty of sleep

Getting enough good-quality sleep is as important to your health as diet and fitness is and can also have major effects on your testosterone levels.  The recommended amount of sleep varies from person to person although a recent study found that sleeping only 5 hours a night was linked to a 15% reduction in testosterone levels.  Another study calculated that for every extra hour of sleep you manage per night, testosterone levels rise by an average of 15%. Many people seem to function just fine on less sleep but medical practitioners recommend around 7 to 10 hours of sleep a night in order to enjoy optimal health benefits and testosterone levels.

 Testosterone may play a vital role in terms of general fitness and muscle growth, but it is only one contributing factor. Aspects such as an athlete’s age, nutrition, level of fitness, quality of sleep (as mentioned above) and discipline all contribute readily to the body’s ability to build strong, lean muscle. If you suspect you suffer from a testosterone deficiency seek professional medical advice immediately as blindly taking hormone replacements can compromise your MMA career indefinitely.

-Photo by Daniel Apodaca on Unsplash

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