Ah, cutting season. When done right, the end results are simply astounding. However, in my opinion, it is also the most agonizing part of building an Adonis physique. That being said, the anguish that comes with losing fat while maintaining muscle mass can be made easier by supplements and one of them, is testosterone boosters.
In this article, my goal is to help you uncover a deeper knowledge on the relationship between muscle, fat, and several hormones so that you can understand how the right testosterone booster can help you cut. Furthermore, I will also include a few tips and tricks on how you can find these supplements as well as my own official list of the Best T-Boosters for cutting this 2018. So, are you ready to get shredded? Then let’s get to it.
WHAT HAPPENS TO TESTOSTERONE WHEN CUTTING?
Among many other things, testosterone plays a HUGE role when developing muscle. If you have more T in your system, it essentially makes it easier to build lean mass and strength. Thus, why men are typically (not always) stronger and more muscular than women.
Unfortunately though, cutting can have undesirable effects on our beloved testosterone. The question now is…
How does cutting decrease testosterone?
Compared to when you’re bulking, cutting will typically have you change two things: your diet (1) and your workouts (2). Let’s talk about both.
When it comes to diet, you will be placing your body in a calorie-deficient state. No matter what trendy diet you’re following, you still need to subject your body to a caloric deficiency to lose weight. If you can’t do that, I’m sorry, but you’re still going to be a fat ass.
Calories out over calories in, boys. That’s just how it is.
Speaking of trendy diets, perhaps the easiest way to cut calories is to eat less carbohydrates. Ever since I started my bodybuilding journey, that’s what all my trainers told me whenever I’m cutting, to “eat less carbs”. Unfortunately though, depriving your body of precious carbohydrates is bad news for testosterone.
- As shown in the results of one study, men who had a high carb diet consistently had higher testosterone than during a high protein diet. This tells me that although protein is still an important part of nutrition, you shouldn’t completely cut out your carbohydrates if you want to preserve your T.
Regardless of what diet you’re following though, whether it be keto or intermittent fasting or vegan or whatever, being in a caloric deficiency is still going to be a burden on your body. That being said, your body is also smart and it responds to the decreased calories in several ways.
Unfortunately, one of them is to slow down your reproductive functions. As evidenced in research, fasted men had significantly lower levels of testosterone and several other related hormones related to the reproductive system. Moreover, your body also produces more cortisol – a catabolic hormone that when elevated, can negatively impact testosterone concentrations.
During your cutting season, you’re most likely going to want to ramp up your cardio. Again, based on my observations and my personal experience, this is the advice that most of us get when trying to lose fat and weight.
However, choosing the dreadful treadmill and bike over old-fashioned weight lifting may actually cost you your testosterone. Yes, you read that right: endurance training lowers testosterone.
- “With running volumes greater than 64 km a week, training was inversely related to testosterone levels”, as stated in research. So, essentially, the more time (and distance) you spend on whatever cardio machine you choose, the lower your testosterone is going to be.
- Furthermore, another research showed higher levels of cortisol immediately after a marathon. Combine this with the cortisol-evelating effects of being calorie deficient and you’re setting yourself up for low T.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t do cardio though. Obviously, there’s a reason why it’s been a staple mode of exercise for cutting. However, I do recommend that you do HIIT (high intensity interval training) instead of the usual steady state cardio so you can minimize the debilitating effects endurance training has on T.
WHAT SHOULD MEN LOOK FOR IN A TESTOSTERONE BOOSTER FOR CUTTING?
When you’re trying to lose fat while still retaining muscle, supplements are an undeniable source of great help. Particularly for testosterone boosters though, you’re going to want a product that offsets not just the hormonal changes that come with cutting, but also some of the performance, nutritional, and perhaps even the mental challenges, too.
This, then, begs the question:
WHAT FEATURES SHOULD A T-BOOSTER FOR CUTTING HAVE?
Here, I’ll be suggesting a few features found in some testosterone boosters that I believe can help you shed the excess fat off that curvy body of yours and sculpt your physique to the likeness of a greek god. Also, I’ll be listing a few common but effective ingredients that are behind these features.
EFFECTIVE TESTOSTERONE BOOSTS
If you’re looking for a testosterone booster, regardless of reason, I think this should ALWAYS be #1 on your list of priorities. After all, why even buy a T booster that doesn’t boost T, right?
Sadly, looking for these products isn’t as easy as it sounds. There are a lot of duds out there, perhaps even more than the good ones, and these ineffective stacks are what give natural testosterone boosters somewhat of a tainted name in the fitness community.
When you do find one that works, however, I’m telling you right now – it’s worth it. To make the hunt easier, I suggest you keep an eye out for these research-backed ingredients:
Largely considered as the single most powerful testosterone booster known today, DAA is an amino acid that can boost T by up to 42% in 12 short days. The manner it does so is stellar, too, which, in my opinion, makes it a suitable ingredient for each and every T boosting product. Make sure you get a good dose though. Otherwise, it won’t be effective.
- Vitamin D – This vitamin comes from the sun but unfortunately, a lot of us aren’t getting enough of it because our days are mostly spent cramped inside office walls. As a result, our testosterone takes a dip, too. On the contrary, supplementing with Vitamin D can help support healthy levels of T, so make sure you get plenty.
- Vitamin B6 – Like Vitamin D, levels of Vitamin B6 seem correlated to levels of testosterone.
- Zinc – This mineral is essential for testosterone synthesis, making it a great addition to any T boosting stack. Furthermore, it also prevents test from dropping after exercise which, according to research, “may benefit (athletic) performance”
SUPPORT FOR STRENGTH AND PERFORMANCE
Remember what I said about endurance training contributing to low T? Yeah, now it’s time we talk about what may be its polar opposite: strength training.
When talking about strength or weight lifting exercises, the first three that come to mind are squats (1), deadlift (2), and bench press (3). These three have been considered the holy grail, the triumvirate, of classic bodybuilding and to this very day, these three and their several variations are still part of nearly every athlete’s routine.
From a testosterone boosting stand point, one research studied the effects of jump squats and bench press on testosterone and cortisol.
As you can see from the table to your right, bench press and jump squats (performed at 5 sets of 10 reps) significantly raised testosterone post-exercise without dealing any significant change to cortisol.
Compared endurance training where the effects are the exact opposite, I suggest you make strength or power-based exercises the better part of your routine, even when you’re cutting. This way, you not only get to preserve your strength and mass better, you get to keep your testosterone in tact, too. These ingredients can help:
- Fenugreek – This herb not only boosts bioavailable T, it also increases strength, energy, and overall well-being.
- Ashwagandha – As an adaptogen, this herb’s hormonal benefits extend beyond testosterone. When it comes to physical performance though, study states it can increase power, velocity, and vO2 Max (oxygen uptake).
PROMOTE ANABOLISM, PREVENT CATABOLISM
“Okay, so testosterone and strength training promote anabolism, we get it”
Calm yo’ tits, boys. If you truly wanted the best T-boosters for cutting, get ready because there’s more to it than just raising test and lifting heavy-ass weights.
In particular, your body has “other” hormones aside from testosterone that determine how well your body can hold your muscle while being on a caloric deficiency. We’ve already talked about one, cortisol, so let’s talk about that first.
Like I said, cutting entails being on a caloric deficiency and, oftentimes, some sort of endurance training, too. Unfortunately, both of them increases levels of cortisol. But what exactly does cortisol have to do with T and being shredded?
Cortisol is both a stress and catabolic hormone. Essentially, the more you get stressed, the higher your cortisol will be, making it harder for you to build (or in this case, preserve) muscle mass. Moreover, chronically elevated cortisol has also been linked with stress eating which makes it mentally harder for you to stay inside your calorie limit.
Case in point, look for adaptogens, ingredients that regulate stress (cortisol), the next time you shop for testosterone boosters. In my opinion, these are some of the best:
- Rhodiola Rosea – This herb makes your body resistant to stress and fatigue; consequently maintaining testosterone and cortisol as if you weren’t stressed at all.
- Tongkat Ali – Mostly known for its effects on sex drive, Tongkat Ali can also raise testosterone while lowering cortisol in stressed men and women. This makes it great for cutting, too.
Like testosterone, both men and women have estrogen, too, but if men have more T then women have more E. That’s typically how it goes. This gender difference in hormonal equilibrium partly explains why women typically have more body fat than men, especially around the chest and thigh areas, despite eating relatively fewer calories.
However, men (and women) also have the aromatase enzyme which converts our beloved testosterone into the fat-storing estrogen. Therefore, if you have boosted T, the more targets the enzyme will have to turn into estrogen. So, to more efficiently shed fat and retain lean muscle, I think your T-booster for cutting must also have aromatase-inhibitors, such as:
- Luteolin – Per research, this compound’s aromatase-inhibiting properties is competitive to that of pharmaceutical grade aromatase inhibitors. To me, this makes it one of the better, if not the best anti-estrogen supplement used in T boosters.
- Diindolylmethane (DIM) – From the reviews I’ve written, I think this may be the most commonly used aromatase inhibitor found in natural testosterone boosters. It also has plenty of research under its belt albeit centered mostly around women’s health.
Apart from low T and high cortisol, taking in less calories, especially ones achieved through low-carb diets, have also been linked to lower thyroid activity, resulting in less thyroid hormones, ultimately resulting in low T. It’s a bit complicated, you see, but it’s essentially a cycle.
Per research, “the skeletal muscle is a major target of thyroid hormone signalling”, making it essential for muscle growth. Furthermore, another research suggests that thyroid hormones are involved in lipid (fat) metabolism with a particular influence on fat degradation.
However, testosterone boosters don’t typically say they intend to improve thyroid hormones probably because most people just focus on T, sex, and muscle, so manufacturers just focus their marketing strategies off of those three. That being said, you might think it’s hard finding a testosterone supplement that offers thyroid benefits.
If so, well, you thought wrong. As it turns out, one of the most commonly used minerals in testosterone boosters is healthy for thyroid function, too. What is it, you ask?
According to research, “exhaustion exercise led to a significant inhibition of both thyroid hormones and testosterone concentrations”. However, after Zinc supplementation, the researchers noted that thyroid hormones (T3, “free” T3, and T4) and testosterone were significantly higher both at rest and at exhaustion.
This adds another layer to how Zinc can help, not just with testosterone, but with muscle growth and fat loss as well.
Sex Hormone-Binding Globulin (SHBG)
Basically, SHBG binds to sex hormones such as testosterone and inhibits them from interacting with their respective receptors. Think of it like a clingy, extra possessive girlfriend that just won’t allow you to go out and have fun with your friends.
Clearly, you don’t want that. Your T doesn’t, too. So, if you want to maximize the benefits you can get from boosted T, look for anti-SHBG ingredients the next time you rummage Amazon or GNC for testosterone boosters. Consider the following ingredients:
- Magnesium – This mineral weakens the bond between T and SHBG, allowing T to still bind to androgen receptors in skeletal tissue and signal protein synthesis.
- Stinging Nettle – Has lignans that have high affinities to SHBG. Essentially, these lignans bind to SHBG in testosterone’s stead, leaving you with more “free” T. Plus, it lowers estrogen, too.
- Boron – Boron works fast – incredibly fast. In fact, one research noted significantly lower levels of SHBG after just 6 hours after supplementation. Moreover, it also boosts other testosterone boosters like Magnesium and Vitamin D.
SET FAT ABLAZE
Say you’ve found a supplement that naturally boosts testosterone and properly supports athletic performance and hormonal equilibrium. If so, I think this is the final piece of the puzzle. For a cut to look as good as it should, you must shed as much as fat as you aesthetically want. To make that part easier, T boosters do include typical fat burning ingredients, such as:
- Green Tea – Back in the day, I only see a few people regularly drink tea but nowadays, it’s one of the best-selling beverages in cafes. For cutting, Green Tea has polyphenols that burn fat.
- Caffeine – Honestly, I prefer my caffeine in my morning cup of coffee but regardless of preference, caffeine increases thermogenesis and fat metabolism.
- Capsaicin – This is what makes chilli peppers like Cayenne spicy. Like the previous ingredients, it also increases thermogenesis. However, it also helps suppress appetite, which makes it specifically great for cutting where a rise in cortisol can sometimes lead to stress eating.
RECAP: THE BEST T-BOOSTERS FOR CUTTING
|T-Booster Supplement||My Review||Website|
|#1 – Performance Lab SPORT T-Booster||My Review||www.performancelab.com|
|#2 – TestoFuel||My Review||www.testofuel.com|
|#3 – High T Black||My Review||www.kfmbrands.com|
|#4 – Quantum T||My Review||www.mtheorysupplements.com|
|#5 – Prime Male||My Review||www.primemale.com|
If you’re still on the edge on whether you need a testosterone booster during your cutting period, I’m telling you right now — you don’t. However, cutting also comes with many challenges; some of which may make you want to quit. Trust me. I’ve been there so many times throughout my bodybuilding journey and most times, I end up needing someone or something to push me.
The struggle was real. It still is. But a handful of the many testosterone boosters I’ve tested revealed an easier yet safe and legal path.
That being said, many people (myself included) have written positive testimonials on the wonders that the right T supplement can do for health and fitness. Specifically for cutting, I feel like the best T-boosters not only provide ample testosterone boosts, but also support strength, anabolism, and of course, fat burning. If you haven’t found the right supplement for you, let this guide and my reviews be your reference.