Everyone wants to be the biggest person in the gym, this means having a rigorous, strict training and of course consuming a lot of calories for muscle growth. The only problem is that most bodybuilders when they start incorporating massive amounts of calories into their diets start to gain a lot of fat. Most professional bodybuilders do this to gain as much muscle as possible and then when the competition approaches they try to shed all the fat they have gained.
Men tend to accumulate fat in the stomach due to the abundance of lipoprotein lipase – an enzyme that is responsible for storing fat in these regions -. Women have a higher concentration of lipoprotein lipase in the thighs and buttocks, while men have higher concentrations in the abdomen.
Some bodybuilders adopt the diet of “mass eating” in order to gain more muscle. The problem is that with increased abdominal fat comes a drop in testosterone levels according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism that reports that increased visceral adipose tissue (a deeper layer of tissue adipose (fat) that cushions the abdominal organs) in the waist area is associated with a decrease in the bioavailability of testosterone levels.
The study examined 783 men, aged 20-29 years. Serum testosterone, free testosterone, and estradiol were examined in relation to body fat mass. Study results indicate that men with higher central (stomach) adiposity tend to have lower testosterone, free testosterone, and DHT levels; additionally there was an increase in estrogens. It is also of interest that weight loss causes an increase in testosterone in overweight men by (5.6%).
Obesity is clearly associated with lower levels of testosterone and free testosterone. In another study, blood samples from men who were of normal weight and others who were obese were analyzed to determine hormone levels as well as the distribution of body fat. Obese men had ~ 30-40% lower testosterone levels than normal-weight men; Most importantly, the degree of testosterone suppression was related to leptin, but not to estrogen levels or other hormonal variables.
Leptin is a protein hormone that plays a key role in regulating energy intake and energy expenditure, including regulating appetite and metabolism. Besides regulating appetite and metabolism, it also regulates testosterone levels. Leptin is released by fat cells in amounts reflected by the body’s fat stores.
The results of the past study suggest that excess body fat that increases leptin levels may lead to reduced testosterone levels by inhibiting the production of LH (protein that regulates testosterone secretion ) in the brain.
All bodybuilders need to increase calories during bulking season to gain muscle mass, but this does not give us the green light to eat everything we see in a supermarket and get obese …
1. Nielsen TL, Hagen C, Wraae K, Brixen K, Hyltoft Petersen P, Haug E, Larsen R, Andersen M. Visceral and Subcutaneous Adipose Tissue Assessed by Magnetic Resonance Imagine in Relation to Circulating Androgens, SHBG, and LH in Young Men. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2009 Apr 10
2. Giagulli VA, Kaufman JM, Vermeulen A 1994 Pathogenesis of the decreased androgen levels in obese men. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 79: 997-1000.
3. Niskanen L, Laaksonen DE, Punnonen K, Mustajoki P, Kaukua J, Rissanen A 2004 Changes in sex hormone-binding globulin and testosterone during weight loss and weight maintenance in abdominally obese men with the metabolic syndrome. Diabetes Obes Metab. 6: 208-215.
4. Bhasin S, Cunningham GR, Hayes FJ, Matsumoto AM, Snyder PJ, Swerdloff RS, Montori VM 2006 Testosterone therapy in adult men with androgen deficiency syndromes: an endocrine society clinical practice guideline. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 91: 1995-2012.