Testosterone increase for male endurance athletes

Declining levels of testosterone are causing problems for male endurance athletes

A brief look at the hormone testosterone demonstrates its importance to males and shows why declining levels in recent years could be causing problems for male endurance athletes.

Chemical structure of testosterone

Testosterone is directly  involved in the development of muscle bulk and strength in males.

It increases levels of growth hormone making exercise more likely to build muscle and encourages recovery from the damage caused by training.

Testosterone also plays an important role in  increasing bone density and tells the bone marrow to manufacture red blood cells. As red blood cells carry oxygen to working muscles there is an obvious problem with deficiencies in athletes competing in endurance activities.

Men with Low levels of testosterone are more likely to suffer from bone fractures and breaks and anemia.

Testosterone also plays a role in fat metabolism, helping men to burn fat more efficiently. Declining testosterone levels can cause an increase in body fat for no apparent reason.

Decreasing testosterone levels can also result in:

  • -Loss of lean muscle
  • -Decline in libido and erectile dysfunction
  • -Decline in energy levels
  • -Irritability
  • -Depression, mood swings
  •  -Testosterone levels in the low range (a blood serum score below 350 ng/dl) may increase your chances of dying of a heart attack.
  • -Low testosterone seems to predict increased risk of total mortality in cardiovascular disease as well as cancer,” said Dr. Kay-Tee Khaw, professor of clinical gerontology at the University of Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine in Britain.

Testosterone levels naturally fall as we age

 

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Most of you probably know that your individual testosterone levels fall as you age. But studies have shown that men today, have about 20% less testosterone than men the same age did two decades ago.

That’s a big drop off and over training amongst athletes involved in endurance sports seems to exacerbate the problem. Many reasons have been suggested and the link below shows 5 ways we are possibly lowering our testosterone levels  without even knowing it.

http://dailyhealthpost.com/5-ways-youre-accidentally-lowering-your-testosterone/

And unfortunately, for endurance athletes, research  seems to suggests that repeated heavy bouts of endurance exercise without adequate rest can cause a significant decrease in testosterone levels.

How to help prevent a decline in testosterone

  1.  Manage Your Weight

Weight plays a huge role in many of men’s body functions, including testosterone production. According to research presented at the Endocrine Society’s 2012 conference, overweight men tend to have lower testosterone levels.

  1.  Do Some High Intensity Exercise

Exercise, if done properly, can complement your diet plans and promote testosterone function. However, findings show that prolonged moderate endurance exercise can have a negative effect on the hormone’s levels. Instead of only focusing on slow steady runs include some high-intensity training sessions.

  1.  Include Some Strength Training

In addition to high intensity workouts, strength training may also help increase testosterone levels. However, it should be done at the right intensity. In order to do so, increase the weight and lower your number of reps. Focus on exercises that work more muscles, such as dead lifts or squats.

  1.  Up Your Zinc Consumption

Taking a zinc supplement for as little as six weeks has been found to improve testosterone levels. Zinc supplementation may also help protect men from exercise-induced testosterone decline. On the other hand, limiting dietary sources of zinc may lead to a reduction of testosterone.

Still, your diet is the best source of zinc. Along with protein-rich foods like meats and fish, other foods abundant in zinc include raw milk, raw cheese, beans, and yogurt or kefir made from raw milk.

  1.  Optimize Your Vitamin D Levels

As a steroid hormone, vitamin D is significant for helping maintain healthy sperm count. Vitamin D can also raise testosterone levels.

  1.  Address Stress

During stressful moments, your body releases high amounts of the stress hormone cortisol, which may block the effects of testosterone. Chronic stress would mean that testosterone function is blocked in the long term.

  1.  Increase Your Intake of Amino Acids (BCAA) and Protein post exercise and make sure you are adequately scheduling in recovery days.

Studies show that amino acids and protein during recovery can help raise testosterone levels, especially when consumed along with resistance training. Also allowing high and low volume training and recovery days to let the body adequately adapt to training loads.

  1. Supplement with a natural testosterone enhancer during heavy training periods

Research has suggested that combinations of specific natural testosterone enhancers can temporarily support natural testosterone production and recovery from exercise during heavy period of training.

The most researched ingredient in each supplement  appears to be D-aspartic acid with increases of up to 40%.

1. T-Matrix

2. Complete T-Booster

3. T-MAXX

 

 

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KarboLyn The Best pre run Carbohydrate drink?

image

Karbolyn

For me getting my carbohydrates in when im training or running can sometimes be a problem, dextrose leaves me with a horrible crash afterwards, maltodextrin gives me a head ache if i have too much of it, fructose is ok if  mixed with maltodextrin but again my stomach has never been the strongest and too much of any of them always leaves me feeling nauseous.

A struggle i have had is finding something that works from a fuelling point of view as i train alot in the gym, on the squash court and obviously i run. I was recently looking at Myprotein’s selection of endurance products as they are always pushing discounts and i came across something called KarboLyn. Sounded like a stupid name which is what initially caught my eye, i clicked the page and opened it up.

The info presented about the product looked good, they are selling it so it was hardly going to read badly and i have brought stuff before that looks good in principal but in reality performs average at best. But i have to say i have used it 6 times so far and on the whole the product has performed well.

The early morning long run was becoming a problem as my marathon prep milage was increasing. Heading out at 5am meant i was struggling to get enough calories in before i went out and as i approached double figures i was just running out of steam. After the Karbo-Lyn arrived i mixed 30g scoop into some water and drunk it down, bit sweet, not really sweet though, but not great. I mixed another 30g into my water bottle with some electrolytes waited 30 mins and ran out the door.

I have been performing solidly since, no bloating or nauseous feeling afterwards, my energy is much better on the whole and i am back upto 15 hilly miles. No revelation, no massive spike or buzzed up caffiene feeling, just a clean burning fuel that has been specifically designed to do exactly for purpose. It has worked post run mixed with some protein really well, the recovery has been spot on.

This is from the Myprotein site just the bare facts really.

Nutritional Information

Per 100g Per Serving *RI
Energy 1700 kJ/400 kcal 510 kJ/120 kcal 6%
Fat 0 g 0 g 0%
of which saturates 0 g 0 g 0%
Carbohydrates 100 g 30 g 12%
of which sugars 0 g 0 g 0%
Protein 0 g 0 g 0%
Salt <0.01 g <0.01 g 0%

 

What is Karbo-Lyn®?

Karbo-Lyn®is a patented carbohydrate sourced from starch and contains very unique properties. It is a homopolysaccharide carbohydrate which means it is made up of many monosaccharide’s joined together by glycosidic bonds. Karbo-Lyn®passes through the stomach very quickly and it acts like a pump, pulling water and nutrients along with it.

Benefits of Karbo-Lyn®

Karbo-Lyn®has a high osmolality and is completely sugar free. To create a fast absorption through the stomach, the molecular mass has been uniquely manipulated making it have an uptake much faster than dextrose or Maltodextrin but without the added bloating effect.

Who is Karbo-Lyn®Suitable for?

Karbo-Lyn®is ideal for anyone looking for a source of carbohydrates before or after their training or competition. It is also suitable for anyone looking for a non-sugar based carbohydrate prior to endurance or ultra-endurance based events or for recovery after resistance based exercise. Due to the fast uptake of Karbo-Lyn®, it is recommended to consume this immediately following your exercise.

We recommend consuming 50g of Karbo-Lyn®either before, after or during your exercise. However, this will depend on your specific training goals and the type of exercise you are undertaking.

Nutrition recommendation

Carbohydrate loading: If you are wanting to use Karbo-Lyn®for a carbohydrate loading phase, we recommend to consume 1 serving (50g) with a high carbohydrate diet every 2-3 hours in the day leading up to your event.

Pre-race: We recommend consuming 1 serving of Karbo-Lyn®2-3 hours prior to your race for optimal results.

Post-race: We recommend consuming 1 serving of Karbo-Lyn®immediately (<1hour) following your race. Take a following serving 2-3 hours following this alongside a high carbohydrate diet.

 

Click here to see the product I’m talking about.

http://tidd.ly/41362d83

 

 You may also be interested in this article

Top 3 natural sports drink alternatives

Periodisation for squash: how to effectively phase your leg training to ensure you have the strength, power and endurance when you need it.

squash greg

Many of us players from amateur through to county and obviously as professionals employ some sort of training plan, or do something outside of the court, to improve our ability to cope with the demands of the game. There are loads of ‘systems’ in place to provide a framework to peak when it counts but very little information on what to specifically do at different points in the season to make sure that your legs are adequately adapted to what you are trying to achieve at that point.

http://www.awin1.com/cread.php?awinmid=3279&awinaffid=280381&clickref=&p=T

This is a very basic model presented here to give an idea of how to put something together, there are lots of other components such as energy systems, upper body, core, balance, nutrition and much more detailed plans available that go into much more depth, the purpose is to demonstrate an over view of a simple format.

I’ll give you an example of how not to do it. We can can take an exercise to build strength in the quads, glutes hamstrings and lower back: the barbell squat.squat

We start with 60kg for 3 sets of 8 reps of this exercise in the off season, done on 2 days of the week, to condition and strengthen our legs and progressively work upto 80 kg for 3 sets of 10 reps by the time we are ready to start the season. We have also been increasing our on court work with sprints and ghosting sessions to sharpen our movement. As the season starts we only squat once a week because we want to be fresh for our matches. But  then we start to notice that our legs seem to feel heavier and less coordinated, we cant push out of the lunge properly, cant get down to the ball low enough and generally we seem to be fatiguing quicker than before even though we are stronger. This process of over training and fatigue can take weeks to recover from if continued for long enough.

The problem being that we have made our legs adapt to something that is not specifically related to what we require from them on court. Squash requires strength up until a point but it also requires power and endurance and they are not trained in the same way as general strength training and this is where a:

Periodised Approach to your training would have allowed you to arrive fresh and ready for your season.

In a competitive phase you shouldn’t generally be doing strength work to increase your general size and stregth of your legs, it should be maintenece of the power and power endurance you have been building up in the weeks leading upto the season.

A periodised model in its basic form looks like this:

period

It can be as complicated as this for professional athletes:

periodisation-4-638

But for the average player it is important to get some idea of how to put together something in each phase so that your legs are firing correctly and that they are ready for competition.

By definition Periodisation is ‘the systematic planning of athletic or physical training. The aim is to reach the best possible performance in the most important competition of the year. It involves progressive cycling of various aspects of a training program during a specific period.’

A Training plan would in theory look like this:

General Preparation 3-4 Weeks

All exercises perform 3 sets of 10 reps  with loads of 50-75 % of 1 rep max

Squats

Lunges

Hamstring Curls

Standing Calf Raises

Specific Prep 3-6 weeks

The exercises should change to start to mimic what you will be trying  to use during a match. Looking to start to build greater recruitment of more powerful muscle fibres.

All exercises perform 3 sets of 4-8 reps  with loads of 80-95 % of 1 rep max

Dumbbell Clean and press

Single legged dead lift

Bulgarian split squat

Step Ups

Pre Competition 3-6 weeks

In this phase we are looking to further develop power so exercise reps are between 2-5 and sets of no more than 3 and loads of 95 % and above.

Barbell Snatch

Lunge and twist

Split Lunges

Competition (early part done 2 weeks prior to start of season)

In th phase we are looking to add power endurence so often body weight or 40-50% of 1 rep max will be enough resistence and working powerfully and dynamically and for time rather than reps so 10/20/30 seconds for 1 or 2 sets is enough.

Jump squats

Split lunges

Lateral Bounds (speed skaters)

Lateral Lunge

This phase could be completed again at intervals throughout the season where breaks permit as could the other phases with much shorter periods to ‘top’ up fitnes levels as the season progresses

By manipulating the different variables to draw out different elements from the legs we should be able to arrive much fresher than if we just try to keep adding weight and becoming overly fatigued.

 

3 Squash Fitness training drills to improve your on court movement, muscular endurance, power & agility.

As we know squash requires a blend of physical capabilities that span across a spectrum of fitness attributes. Local muscle strength, power and endurance are all required whilst moving around the court at speed, acceleration and deceleration forces are acting all the time coupled with dynamic and at times isometric stength required when stiking the ball in a lunge position. Rotating at the trunk, holding steady in the lunge, then pushing dynamically off in another direction takes a coordinated and balanced approach to training because the requirements to develop each aspect of the physical model presented in the game are very different.

Power = the ability or capacity to move or travel with great speed or force.

Endurance = the ability to repeat a series of muscle contractions without fatiguing. Muscle endurance is different from cardiovascular endurance because it involves the muscle fatiguing rather than a limitation in the amount of oxygen being supplied or utilized by the muscles.

Acceleration = change in speed / time taken.

Deceleration = ability to decrease velocity developed from acceleration.

Isometric strength = an isometric contraction creates no change in the length of the muscle.

Dynamic strength = generally,strengthdisplayedduringmovement;quantitativelyexpressed in terms of limb or trunktorque at a specifiedangularvelocity,almostalwaysduringconcentricmuscleaction.

See my point?

Each element is presented here in the clip with the exception of endurance because it only lasts a minute!

See how the pros plan their training click here

Drill 1.

A horrible gut ripper the 120 drill, the 120 involves not suprisingly 120 movements done continuously and timed with perfect movement into each shot and full swing with follow through…you could add a weighted vest to make it more enjoyable

front f/h 10 times

Front b/h 10 times

f/h front to b/h front-b/h front to f/h front (called doubles) 20 times;

f/h front to f/h back 20 times

b/h front to b/h rear 20 times

 f/h front lobbing to b/h mid court boast 20 times

b/h front lob to f/h mid court boast 20 times

Completed in under 5mins; take 1min rest repeat do this 1, 2 or 3 times. The movement to the front corners is 3 steps forward and 2 steps return to the T;

Drill 2

3 Squash Fitness drills to improve your on court movement, muscular endurance, power & agility.

Any of the following or combination will promote speed, agility and quickness 3 x 10 reps of one or more of the drill pattens, place the cones on the court and follow the pattens at speed focusing and slowing down and turning powerfully.

Drill 3 the circuit complete 1, 2 or 3

Dunlop precision pro 130