Hormones play an important role in almost every bodily function. Without them, something as basic as getting energy from food (and using that energy) would be impossible.
So, it shouldn’t surprise you that men need hormones even when it comes to development and reproduction. In other words, they’re responsible for making men what they should be.
Male hormones are generally referred to as androgens. Among these androgens, testosterone is given the most attention – especially when matters like aging and bodybuilding are being discussed.
Aging and testosterone are somewhat interlinked. As the former progresses, the latter declines - and this is why men fear losing their manliness as they enter their 40s (the age range in which andropause sets in).
And with this decline, a myriad of symptoms tend to manifest.Men deficient in the male hormone tend to experience problems with their mood, motivation, and libido.
Infertility becomes a likely concern as well, which is to be expected since sperm production depends on androgens (not just testosterone). And yes, there’s also the increased risk of suffering from impotence.
Stereotypical machismo won’t be possible if you’re also having problems building and maintaining muscle. Well, unfortunately, the growth hormone (GH), which also has anabolic functions, also declines with age.
Add to that the loss of bone density (which translates to increased fracture risk), and you’ll definitely begin to worry about getting older. The good thing is that there are ways to fight the effects of andropause.
Testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) may be an option for those diagnosed as having insufficient supplies of the male hormone. Do note though, that there’s still no general consensus on TRT’s safety.
While there men who seek to improve their hormone levels for the sake of regaining their manliness, there are also those who carefully keep track of these chemical messengers to make the most of their bodybuilding efforts.
As we’ve mentioned, testosterone and GHare crucial to muscle mass since these are anabolic in nature – meaning they increase the amount of protein in the muscles.
However, those truly serious about their attempts to gain a bigger and leaner physique don’t merely focus on the two. They also think about whether they have the right amounts of insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1).
GH and IGF-1 work hand in hand in ensuring that healthy cellular growth is maintained not just in the muscles, but also in almost every other part of the human body. Furthermore, the two are responsible for healing and recovery.
While some hormones are kept as high as possible when aiming for improvements in both muscle mass and strength, there are those that should be kept low. Examples of the latter include cortisol and estrogen.
These two are catabolic, meaning they can reverse the effects of testosterone, GH, and IGF-1. They facilitate muscle breakdown and even induce fat storage throughout the body’s midsection.