Testosterone & Crossfit: 5 Factors for Top Performance

Testosterone is pretty important...but often misunderstood. Having adequate levels won't turn you into an aggressive lunatic but will help supercharge your Crossfit performance.

Crossfit places considerable demands on the body we need to keep your levels high to be supporting those gainz! Low levels can lead to decreased performance (both gym and sexual), man boobs and the skinny fat look. Hands up if you want this…..didn’t think so.

This article is more tailored to the male Crossfitter but still has some applicable advice for the female athlete. 

1. THE POSITIVE EFFECTS OF OPTIMAL TESTOSTERONE LEVELS

Having optimal levels of testosterone (Male: 230-1000 ng/dL ; Female: 28-80 ng/dL) is desirable as it contributes to:

  • Muscle growth
  • Losing fat
  • Immune function
  • Sexual health
  • Reduction in fatigue 

This hormone directly stimulates protein synthesis, as well as causing growth hormone (GH) and insulin like growth factor (IGF) release to increase muscle growth. Creating an ‘anabolic environment’ in the body is essential for increasing strength. It also contributes to decreased fat mass. 

crossfit girl chalk box wod testosterone
Optimal levels will increase performance

2. FACTORS THAT DECREASE TESTOSTERONE LEVELS

Keeping testosterone levels high can be challenging.

‘Numerous factors including stress, lack of sleep, alcohol consumption, fat mass, over-training, aging and the environment can lead to a reduction in testosterone levels.’

With the Crossfit athletes that I work with I often see them UNDEREATING. Chronically low calorie intake coupled with Crossfit training is a sure fire way to tank your testosterone levels. Now this isn’t a recommendation to be shoveling excess calories from crappy sources in post workout but eating more of the foods outlined below will help.

intermittent fasting protein salmon salt tomato testosterone
Eating right is vital for your testosterone levels

Eating the right foods at the right times will also take advantage of high GH and IGF that occur with optimal testosterone levels. So how do we optimise your testosterone levels? First of all….address the issues that will give you the most bang for your buck.

3. HOW TO OPTIMISE TESTOSTERONE LEVELS: SLEEP

We know how important sleep is for overall health, repair and regeneration. Bottom line….get enough quality sleep. I know it can be difficult with life and Netflix getting in the way but you HAVE to nail your sleep schedule.

4. FAT MASS

The more fat you carry, the more aromatase you produce, an enzyme that converts your testosterone into the female hormone estrogen. Dropping excess body fat will contribute to an increase in athletic performance, improve your power to weight ratio alongside creating a better hormonal environment in your body.

Open Score post Crossfit workout testosterone
learning how to naturally augment your testosterone levels will help you to push your limits even further

5. ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION

Serious about your health and performance….remove alcohol. Or at least limit it to minimal units per week. 

Here are some other areas to focus on that can contribute to testosterone levels.

  • Testosterone metabolism is dependent on Zinc – Take a zinc supplement and increase zinc rich foods – pumpkin seeds, Oysters, ginger root, lamb chops, split peas, brazil nuts, spices, fresh herbs, sardines, almonds, walnuts, rye, oats, tuna, anchovies and haddock.
  • B Vitamins – These support gene transcription, protein synthesis and energy production – Take a good quality B-Complex – in the active forms. Increase foods such as pulses, meats and seeds.
  • Good fats – Some cholesterol is necessary for all hormone production. Eat more avocados, nuts, seeds, coconut products, oily fish. Only need to take a fish oil supplement if the diet is really lacking in these foods. 
  • Curcumin (turmeric) and other spices help lower inflammation caused by training and the environment – Increase consumption of spices in smoothies/marinades/meals or take a supplement
  • Green tea; try drinking 5 cups a day, consider green tea extract supplement
  • Use adaptogens and superfoods such as maca, ashwanganda powder and a T booster supplement
  • Vitamin D – If you do not get a huge amount of exposure to sunlight or you work inside for the majority of the year take a Vitamin D supplement.  Read here as to why Vitamin D is sooooooo important.

If you are serious about optimising your testosterone levels then consider functional medicine testing and a consultation with a qualified nutritionist.


crossfit girl chalk box wod testosterone © BOXROX

intermittent fasting protein salmon salt tomato testosterone © Klenova

Open Score post Crossfit workout testosterone © RX'd Photography

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About The Author

I am a performance nutritionist with over 9 years experience working in elite sport. My experience ranges from working with elite footballers, CrossFit athletes and power lifters to helping the general public reach their goals through nutrition coaching. Greg Glassman put nutrition at the base of the CrossFit pyramid, this shows you how important nutrition is!

Having originally trained in Sports Therapy, I completed an MSc in Exercise and ...

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