Does lifting actually lower testosterone?

Is it a myth that lifting weights raises testosterone? A meta-analysis found no such increase over time – Testosterone is briefly raised a small amount right after a workout, but it doesn’t stay there. And if you over-train, it will probably drop lower than before.

We’ve all heard that tons of exercise is healthy, and we’re encouraged to think of marathon runners and pro athletes as pictures of health, but they actually aren’t!

Too much exercise can actually be quite hard on your body. It raises cortisol, a stress hormone. Of course, some exercise is healthy, but you can definitely overdo it. Pleasant exercise improves brain health and strengthens bones, but too much exercise consistently and significantly lowers people’s hormones, especially testosterone. This study found that elite powerlifters have markedly LOW testosterone.

Testosterone levels in athletes

Many athletes suffer the consequences of over-exercise. Something like a quarter of college athletes are suffering from bone loss, much like osteoporosis. Pro runners and cyclists have more heart attacks than others. Long term powerlifters have a virtually 100% injury rate to their muscles and joints.

It’s good to be fit and active, and no one can deny the joy of intense sports, but it’s best not to force yourself every single time you train, if you want full vitality and health. It’s also important to give yourself lots of time, food, and sleep to recover.

See our article on what lowers testosterone for more info.

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