In general, humans are subjected to a lot of the same essential life-sustaining things – we all need food, water, shelter, exercise, and perhaps even sex. This is common to most, if not all of us.
On the other hand hand, there are bodybuilders – huge, sculpted, and strong monster-esque humans that virtually need more of everything. More specifically though, male bodybuilders need higher testosterone.
To them, this is their life blood; the key to their beastly existence; the main reason why their muscles grow. Without it, they shrink back to their puny evolutionary states. So, why does this happen? What is bodybuilding, anyway? Today, I will answer all those questions (and more) but before anything else, check out the best natural T-boosters for bodybuilding.
The Best T-Boosters For Bodybuilding
WHAT IS BODYBUILDING?
Men and women share the same skeletal muscle build-up. However, us men are biologically designed to have more muscle bulk than our feminine counterparts. We also build muscle better than they do.
Don’t accuse me of being sexist though. I love women and I treat my wife as my equal. However, we males simply evolved to be the bulkier sex. A big part of why this happens is because men typically have 40-60% more testosterone than women.
In bodybuilding, maintaining healthy levels of testosterone, along with the regulation of other hormones, proper exercise routine, a balanced nutrition plan, and a healthy dose of sleep all contribute to an optimal internal environment for builder bigger muscles.
In terms of building muscle, our body has two metabolic states:
- Anabolism – This is where our bodies arrange organic compounds from simpler compounds to store energy.
- Catabolism – This, on the other hand, is the disintegration of those same organic compounds to release energy.
In simpler terms, anabolism is the state where our body “builds” while catabolism is the opposite in the sense that it “destroys“. Anabolism is where bodybuilders earn their money and this is exactly where they want to be most of the time. Over time though, it gets harder to stay in this anabolic state.
The Irony in Bodybuilding
Let me tell you a story that’s all too familiar with bodybuilders.
Once upon a time, a man decides to get in shape. He goes to his local gym and gets himself a membership card. He then proceeds to working out and executing the routine that the gym trainer gives him. After a few weeks, he then sees results. He feels stronger, more confident, and better overall. He gets addicted to these iron bars and before he even knows it, he decides to get a little more serious. The man cleans up his diet and modifies his lifestyle around bodybuilding.
When the man has already become massive, his obsession with lifting does not come to a halt. Instead, it intensifies and he wants to get even bigger so he lifts some more. He added more reps, sets, plates, and spent more hours at the gym.
To him and many bodybuilders, this should work to a certain degree. However, as the man packs on more plates on to his iron throne, he will notice that it will be harder to gain a pound of muscle.
This is the irony in bodybuilding.
Over time, as the bodybuilder does more, he’ll be getting lesser gains in return. This irony is a paradox that when left unchecked, could cause chronic mental and physical fatigue which can drive the body to a catabolic state. I’m not just saying this based on observation though. No, there’s an actual science that proves this.
According to this research, “there is a direct link between stress and the adrenal glands, and the physical stress of overtraining may cause the hormones produced in these glands to become depleted.” Moreover, the same study also sates that “Overtraining Syndrome (OS) has been described as chronic fatigue, burnout and staleness, where an imbalance between training/competition, versus recovery occurs.”
Fortunately, there are ways around it and the really serious bodybuilders know it. I mean, think about it. If there wasn’t a solution to this ironic paradox, we wouldn’t be seeing 200-400 pound man beasts gracing the rubber gym floor. One of these solutions is to boost testosterone.
HOW DO TESTOSTERONE SUPPLEMENTS IMPACT BODYBUILDING?
Like I said, testosterone plays a major part in building muscle. As such, natural testosterone boosting supplements are a hot commodity in serious and clean bodybuilding. The question now is, how do these supplements do their magic?
Increase Muscle Mass
Testosterone is the primary androgen found in skeletal muscle. Therefore, when testosterone decreases, muscle mass will follow suit. On the contrary, more testosterone typically equates to an easier time building muscle.
This is why testosterone, a steroid hormone, is so important to bodybuilders because technically, they won’t be able to build muscle without it. Strictly in terms of promoting anabolism, testosterone can help by triggering protein synthesis, muscle regeneration, and increased growth factor.
Bolster Physical Performance
The best testosterone boosters that are made specifically to aid muscle growth don’t just focus on optimizing hormones for anabolism; they also improve your physical attributes. After all, how can anyone build muscle without training, right?
That being said, a significant boost in testosterone almost automatically helps build muscle. However, the best of them use ingredients that not only boost testosterone but strength and stamina, too.
With a rise in testosterone, estrogen levels tend to go up as well thanks to an enzyme called aromatase. This is what makes hormonal regulation tricky. Messing with something triggers a chain reaction and before you know it, your hormones are all out of whack.
Fortunately though, a lot of testosterone boosting products include ingredients to limit this chain reaction, creating an internal environment that’s conducive to testosterone and anabolic muscle growth.
To regulate estrogen, testosterone boosting supplements include aromatase inhibitors in their formula. By blocking aromatase activity, it prevents testosterone from converting to estrogen which then lowers overall estrogen.
Estrogen regulation is important to bodybuilding since excessive amounts of estrogen and aromatase lead to fat deposits most notoriously around your belly and chest (aka “man-boobs”).
As I’ve said, the irony in bodybuilding is that the athletes tend to do too much and get little gains in return. Also, the body perceives exercise as a stressor. Although some stress is required to trigger muscle growth, too much exercise is too much stress and too much stress means too much cortisol.
Cortisol and testosterone share an inversely proportional relationship. Therefore as cortisol goes up, testosterone takes a dip. Cortisol regulation is particularly important to bodybuilders and athletes because they’re the demographic who’s prone to pressuring themselves into doing more reps, or lifting heavier, or spending more time at the gym.
By limiting cortisol levels, bodybuilders can do more of their beloved muscle building while not having to worry about the testosterone depleting effects of stress.
Other hormones and enzymes that T-Boosters manage:
- SHBG – this compound has a strong bond with testosterone and when both are locked together, our beloved T essentially becomes useless. By limiting the numbers and/or bioactivities of SHBG, your body has more “free” testosterone to use in building muscle.
- Growth hormone – A few T boosters supplements (e.g, Isa-Test GF) specifically include ingredients that increase GH. This triggers cell reproduction and the release of insulin-like growth factors (IGF) that ultimately end in muscle growth.
- Prolactin – Testosterone production takes place within a system (HPG axis). However, this system is disrupted by prolactin. In a lot of effective testosterone boosters, you’ll find ingredients (e.g., Mucuna Pruriens) that inhibit this hormone.
Simply said, an anabolic steroid is a synthetic form of testosterone that’s engineered to dramatically enhance the hormone’s muscle building properties. Also, it’s administered via injections or tablets. However, it can also stop your body’s own production of testosterone (as well as several other nasty side effects) if you abuse it, forcing the need for testosterone replacement therapy once you do stop.
Natural testosterone boosters, on the other hand, are supplements that work with your body’s own systems. These products optimize said systems resulting in T levels higher than before you took them. Generally though, natural T boosters aren’t as potent as steroids but they are significantly safer – risk-free, in fact – and are also legal.
INGREDIENTS FOR TESTOSTERONE AND BODYBUILDING
This Ayurvedic herb is one of the most common ingredients you’ll see in men’s health supplements. This is because it doesn’t just boost testosterone, it also boosts libido and physical health.
For your hormones, Fenugreek’s effects (higher T and lower estrogen) are particularly great for anabolism.
Moreover, according to a study, supplementing with Fenugreek extract enhanced muscle recovery by a whopping 63%!
One of the most prominent natural testosterone boosters in today’s market, Tongkat Ali also impacts masculine health from a number of different angles.
For bodybuilding, one study states that Tongkat Ali can raise testosterone (37%) while also lowering cortisol (16%). Furthermore, it also stimulates DHEA while blocking SHBG and perhaps even estrogen. All these effects should contribute to better anabolism. Plus, it’s great for sex, too.
ZMA is basically three parts divided into Zinc, Magnesium, and Vitamin B6. Individually, all these nutrients are great for testosterone. Combined, however, they’re especially great for building muscle.
According to this study, ZMA has been found to increase muscle by 11.6% while increasing levels of testosterone by 30%. That’s good! However, ZMA only seems to work on athletes who’re already deficient in either Zinc, Magnesium, and/or Vitamin B6.
That being said, most people aren’t actually getting enough of these nutrients. So, if you were ever wondering whether ZMA would work for you, I believe there’s a good chance it will.
Often referred to as “Man Root”, Ginseng is a legendary adaptogen that has it’s roots planted in traditional Chinese medicine.
It can help our bodies fight the negative effects of stress and fatigue – which makes it a great addition to testosterone boosters focused on bodybuilding. Also, by reducing stress, it might assist in raising healthy levels of testosterone.
Similar to Ginseng, Rhodiola Rhosea is an adaptogenic herb. This plant’s extreme adaptogenic value makes it an awesome herb for adjusting to stress and fatigue after a heavy bout of weight lifting.
As I’ve already mentioned numerous times earlier, bodybuilders can often fall victim to their own obsession. By doing too much at the gym, they risk stressing themselves out too much at the cost of lower T. Rhodiola Rhosea can help this case by maintaining post-workout levels of testosterone and protecting muscle and T from oxidative stress.
Additionally, this study found out that Rhodiola Rhosea has anti-estrogenic properties.
Here’s yet another adaptogen. Like Tongkat Ali, Ginseng, and Rhodiola Rosea, Ashwagandha also helps battle stress. This gives it the ability to manage cortisol. Moreover, it’s also a pretty damn good testosterone booster AND it also improves strength, speed, and power. What an herb, huh?
…or more importantly, its active compound, Forskolin. To me, it’s one of the most underrated ingredients used in testosterone boosters.
According to research, Forskolin supplementation can “alter body composition while concurrently increasing bone mass and serum free testosterone levels”. In essence, that makes it both T booster and fat burner.
OTHER “BODYBUILDING” INGREDIENTS TO WATCH OUT FOR
I say “bodybuilding” because these next ingredients are typically found in natural testosterone boosters geared towards improving athletic prowess. However, despite being common, I honestly don’t think they’re that good.
This is typically found in testosterone boosters to curb the side effects of elevated estrogen that comes with higher testosterone. In theory, that sounds really good. However, not all research on DIM hold positive results which, to me, adds another ironic twist to bodybuilding supplements.
That being said, I do think DIM has its place in testosterone supplements. However, take it in moderation – high enough to lower estrogen but not too high that it lowers T. Or better yet, look for Luteolin instead. It may not be as popular but with the research behind it, I think it’s a better replacement.
Marketed for athletic performance, libido, and testosterone, Tribulus Terrestris might perhaps be the most commonly used herb in T boosters. In truth, however, this herb’s hype is better than its actual game. Don’t believe me? Here’s some science for ya’.
According to this study, the athletes who experienced the athletic improvements attributed to Tribulus Terrestris are merely caused by intensive advertising and “may only result in a temporary placebo effect.”
Furthermore, another study conducted on healthy young males states that “T. terrestris did not produce the large gains in strength or lean muscle mass that many manufacturers claim can be experienced within 5-28 days”.
So, despite heavy advertising, Tribulus doesn’t really have performance enhancing benefits. To be fair though, it’s quite the herb when it comes to sex. Plus, it’s a viable T booster for men who are low on T (i.e., men over 30).
Recap: The Best T-Boosters For Bodybuilding
|T-Booster Supplement||My Review||Website|
|#1 – TestoFuel||My Review||www.testofuel.com|
|#2 – Performance Lab SPORT T-Booster||My Review||www.performancelab.com|
|#3 – EVLtest||My Review||www.evlnutrition.com|
|#4 – Prime Male||My Review||www.primemale.com|
|#5 – Isa-Test GF||My Review||www.isatori.com|
The pressure in serious bodybuilding tempts many athletes to use injectable or oral steroids and prohormones. However, these exogenous testosterone sources also come with dangerous side effects and it’s also illegal. To you, my friends, I offer a safer alternative: NATURAL TESTOSTERONE BOOSTERS.
For the most part, these supplements are safe and designed to work differently from each other. Some boost strength, some build lean muscle, some expedite recovery, most boost testosterone – but the best of them do it all.
Having said that, I hope I answered at least some of your questions regarding testosterone and bodybuilding as well as guide you towards the T-boosting supplements that I feel are the best at naturally improving muscle growth and performance.