EP 196: What is Sports Psychology With Sean O’Connor

EP 196: What is Sports Psychology With Sean O’Connor

What is Sports Psychology With Sean O’Connor

Sports psychology is a practical skill that helps address athletes’ optimal performance and well-being. How can this be used? And what do you know about sports psychology? 

Traumas and repressed emotions can affect us in the long run. Some of us can handle these emotions well, while others displace them, creating more trauma, stress, fear, anger, resentment, depression, and anxiety. How can people heal from this? Is there a way to work through these feelings? 

In this episode, we would like to introduce you to Sean O’Connor. Sean is a licensed mental health counselor (LMHC) at Peaceful Living Mental Health Counseling in Scarsdale, NY. He specializes in sports psychology and trauma-informed counseling to help adults and athletes overcome anger, depression, anxiety, PTSD, and stress. 

To treat his patients, he uses a combination of EMDR therapy, mindfulness, meditative science, polyvagal theory for nervous system regulation, and neurofeedback when working with clients. Sean loves working with athletes and survivors of past trauma to help them heal from the past, love the present, and have hope for the future.

Questions for Our Guest

The questions below are some we’d like to tackle. We often go off-topic, so we don’t expect to hit them all. If you have any ideas, please let us know.

Looking forward to our conversation!

These are the questions you had in Calendly. We’ll go off your questions and wherever else our conversation goes.

  1. Can you give us a little background about yourself?

2. How did you get into Sports Psychology & what is sports psychology?

3. How do Athletes cultivate their identity? 

4. What does it take to improve your mental health?

  • What is the simplicity of happy living?
  • What are some common stigmas in mental health?

5. How does holistic health play a role in mental health?

6. What is the Polyvagal theory?

7. What is the problem with the age of information? 

8. Martial arts

ENDING QUESTIONS

Before we end the show, we have one last question we like to ask all our guests. If you had the opportunity to have a Cup of coffee with anybody one last time, who would it be & why? 

Connect with Sean through his Instagram @peacefullivingcounseling Or visit their website at https://www.peacefullivingmentalhealthcounseling.com/. 

Do you want to know more about sports psychology? Click here for more 👇👇👇

TIMESTAMPS:

00:00 Introduction
02:11 About Sean O’Connor
08:41 What is the language of an Athlete
12:13 The most frequent problems that athletes face
15:35 What transpires when an athlete leaves their sport
17:37 How to guide struggling athletes
22:34 What are the traits of an athlete
25:27 How to overcome extreme pressure and performance anxiety
30:38 How to communicate to a person who is tense and fearful
36:02 How important is physical health to mental health
40:16 How to recognize danger and when it exists
43:25 How our emotions make our consciousness
48:18 The negative impacts of the modern age of information
52:31 What makes EMDR more efficient
58:43 How martial arts enhance both mental and physical health
01:08:03 How martial arts foster self-control
01:11:45 The significance of a warm community
01:19:48 What separates an elite athlete from the rest
01:22:13 Wrapping up the show

Savvy Tips for Saving Money and Staying Healthy

Savvy Tips for Saving Money and Staying Healthy

Savvy Tips for Saving Money and Staying Healthy

We often hear people as tips for saving money and staying healthy only to be met with excuses.

“It costs too much to eat healthily.”

“I don’t have the time or money for regular exercise.”

“Even if I change how I eat and move, it probably won’t make that big of a difference in my life.”

These are common statements we tell ourselves when facing the prospect of changing our lifestyle. After all, fast food is the cheapest option, and working out would mean less time for your work and personal life, right? And when you’re a nurse or medical professional, free time is very precious — why complicate matters when all you want to do is recharge?

Here’s the thing: When you make a plan, you can actually save money and eat nutritious foods. You can also figure out a fitness routine that accommodates your specific schedule. And when you do, your physical, mental, and emotional health will benefit. In other words, it’s entirely practical to live healthier and happier while improving your financial standing. 

Plan your meals    

Many people perceive meal planning to be incompatible with their lifestyles because of the time it takes to strategize for the week. But the truth is it can save you significant time (and money) once you get in a rhythm.

Research nutritious foods that interest you, and list the ingredients you need to prepare them. Then, go to the grocery store and buy only the items on the list. Once you have your ingredients, use a meal planning template to prepare your foods for the week. The entire process should only take a few hours, and you’ll have healthy meals and snacks to grab from the fridge during busy workdays.

Eat greener

Some experts believe that eating less meat can improve heart health. And it’s no secret that buying less meat can help anyone save money. Fortunately, there are plant-based proteins like legumes, nuts, grains, and seeds to provide you with energy throughout the day. When you do choose meat, opt to have it once a day on a salad or chopped in a hot dish. 

Edit your living environment

If you’re like most people, you spend a lot of time at home. Even if you’re only there for a few hours out of the day, it’s essential that it’s a restful time. You can make simple changes to your home environment that support a healthy lifestyle.

For example, creating a cleaning routine, adding plants, and replacing your lighting can significantly reduce stress and boost energy. Also, keeping healthy foods in your fridge and using everyday items for exercise can help you stay fit and healthy.

Seek sunshine 

Exposure to sunshine comes with well-documented benefits. Look for more opportunities to do things outdoors, whether it’s going for a leisurely walk, doing a HIIT workout in the backyard, or even sitting on the patio while reading a book. The sun is an excellent source of vitamin D, and you can quickly yield a plethora of physical, mental, and emotional health benefits by spending a little more time outside.

Take extra steps to live healthier

It’s hard to exercise consistently when you’re always busy. But you can still find ways to fit in a bit of exercise no matter how much you’re working. Take the stairs, go for a walk on your lunch break, or park a bit further from the building. You might be surprised by how much these practical acts can positively impact your overall health and well-being.

Stop bad habits

Sometimes, we allow bad habits to harm our health and finances. For example, smoking cigarettes is the leading culprit of lung cancer, which is the most deadly cancer in the U.S. When you consider that the average pack of cigarettes costs nearly $7, it’s easy to see how much money they can waste. Consider any harmful habits you can kick for a better, more fulfilling life.

Meanwhile, if you’re trying to cut down on sugar, one of the first places to start is by stopping or reducing your intake of sugary drinks. You might be surprised how much sugar is hiding in your morning coffee or afternoon soda. Switching to unsweetened iced tea, water, or seltzer water can help you slash your sugar intake and improve your overall health.

Another unhealthy habit that’s easy to break is mindless snacking. When we eat mindlessly, we tend to eat more than we need and make poor food choices. If you find yourself snacking out of boredom, try occupying yourself with another activity. Taking a walk, reading a book, or calling a friend are all great ways to fight off temptation and make better choices for your health.

Finally, if you’re trying to improve your sleep habits, one of the best things you can do is turn off electronics an hour before bedtime. The blue light emitted by screens can disrupt our natural sleep patterns, making it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep through the night. So instead of scrolling through social media before bed, try reading a book or taking a relaxing bath. You’ll sleep better and wake up feeling refreshed and ready to tackle the day ahead.

Check-in with the doc

As a nurse, you probably know that too many people cancel doctor’s visits or neglect to fill a prescription because they think it can save them money. But in reality, ignoring health concerns can cost you significantly in the long run. 

Getting the care you need can help you avoid exorbitant medical bills down the road, not to mention help you feel better in the short term. Look into your insurance options to determine how to keep up with your checkups and maintain your health.

Choose water

If you want to save money and get healthier, drink a lot of water. Soda, juice, sweet coffee drinks, and other sugary beverages are more expensive and can lead to obesity and countless other health conditions. Keep more money in your pocket and give your body what it needs by choosing water throughout the day!

In addition to saving money, you’ll also be contributing to your health. A can of soda typically contains around 39 grams of sugar, which is well over the recommended daily limit for adults. Drinking just one can of soda per day leads to weight gain, increased risk of type 2 diabetes, and other serious health problems. In contrast, water is a calorie-free way to stay hydrated and promote a healthy weight. It also helps to flush toxins from the body and aids in digestion. For these reasons, choosing water over soda is one of the simplest and most effective ways to improve your health.

Pay attention to your mental health

Finally, remember to take your mental health seriously. Psychological issues can drastically lower your quality of life and negatively impact your finances. Some conditions make it challenging for individuals to maintain work performance, and some increase the risk of various chronic health issues. Poor mental health can also make you more susceptible to substance abuse.

Thankfully, the world is becoming more aware of the importance of mental health and happiness. If possible, get counseling, therapy, or any other treatments necessary to maintain your mental well-being. And take practical steps to improve your lifestyle each day.

No, getting fit and healthy doesn’t mean you have to drain your bank account! Following the tips on saving money and staying healthy above can quickly put you on track for an all-around more nutritious, more fulfilling life. But keep researching other ideas and strategies for boosting your physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Your body, mind, and wallet will thank you!

For more great content like this, check out the other articles and blog posts offered on Cup of Nurses.

Post solely for the use of cupofnurses.com By Roxanne Brent

Follow her at: https://singleparent.info/

EP 183: How to Optimize Your Body with Aidan Muir

EP 183: How to Optimize Your Body with Aidan Muir

How to Optimize Your Body with Aidan Muir

Optimize your body through nutrition and you will live longer and healthier. Our bodies are naturally amazing; we heal even if we experience trauma, injuries, or wounds. We can go through some of the most grueling physical activities and can still recover within a few days. But to achieve all that, it would be best to take care of our bodies the best way we can. 

Athletes, in particular, are almost superhuman. They go through intense physical training, and stress, and experience brutal injuries. But how do they stay healthy? Are their bodies different from ours? Do they recover differently than us? 

Nurses also experience stress and physical exhaustion. We may not be athletes, but our bodies also go through all stress and trauma. Nutrition plays a big role in keeping up with our work. It is why it is essential for us to stay fit and eat healthily.

Our Guest

In this episode, we would like to introduce you to Aiden Muir. Aidan is a dietitian with a role split relatively evenly between seeing clients and creating content. He has a broad range of areas of interest, but he mainly sees clients in sports nutrition (particularly strength athletes), weight loss, and gastrointestinal disorders.

We talk about gut health, how to build muscle, and how to optimize your body while working nights. 

QUESTIONS FOR GUEST

The questions below are some we’d like to tackle. We often go off-topic, so we don’t expect to hit them all. If you have any ideas, please let us know.

Looking forward to our conversation!

These are the questions you had in Calendly. We’ll go off your questions and wherever else our conversation goes.

  1. Can you give us a background about yourself?
    1. How did you get involved and find a passion for sports nutrition, weight loss, and gastrointestinal disorders?
  2. As a nutritionist, what kind of diet do you follow, and is there a specific reason(s) for it?
  3. How do you develop a good relationship with food?
  4. Are there different nutritional requirements for men and women?
    1. When it comes to fat loss, is it any different?
    2. When it comes to building muscle, is it any different?
    3. How do you find your metabolic rate? Is there a way to get a rough estimate without having to o through tests?
  5. Should people be eating at night?
    1. A good portion of our audience works the night shift. Should people eat throughout the night while working? Or should the day be limited to a particular hour?
      1. Does our body absorb food differently at night, or does it have different nutritional requirements?
    2. What foods do you recommend for someone who struggles not to eat a night?
      1. What foods, in general, do you recommend, and what should people avoid eating while working nights? 
  6. Do you think intermittent fasting is a good idea for someone that works nights?
    1. What is your general perspective on Intermittent fasting?
  7. When it comes to building muscle, what are some of the critical concepts of hypertrophy and nutrition?
    1. Do you believe in body recomposition, and what is the proper approach?
      1. Specifically, as someone that trains marital arts 4-5 times a week and weightlifters 3-4 times a week, how could I maximize my nutrition to not lose weight, gain muscle and lean out?
  8. Creatine, how much do you need to get a performance boost, and how consistently do you need to take it?
    1. Do you recommend any sports supplements?
  9. Gut health is a big trending topic; we know that specific hormones are derived from the gut, what is the key to a happy, healthy gut?
  10. There is a big push for everything plant-based. What is your opinion on meat? 
    1. Some studies show meat protein’s superiority over plant-based proteins. Is there a difference? 
    2. I’ve read studies stating that meat proteins are more bioavailable, digestible, and have higher anabolic potential than plant-based proteins.

ENDING QUESTIONS

Before we end the show, we have one last question we like to ask all our guests. If you had the opportunity to have a Cup of coffee with anybody one last time, who would it be & why? 

Follow Aidan on Instagram for more tips and tricks so you can optimize your body at @aidan_the_dietitian and for online consultations @idealnutrition__.

You can also listen to his Podcast at The Ideal Nutrition Podcast  or visit his website at https://www.idealnutrition.com.au/ for more information.

Here’s why nutrition matters, click here and watch the full episode 👇

TIME STAMPS: 

00:00 Introduction
01:45 How did you get involved and find a passion for sports nutrition?
04:03 What types of diets have you experimented with?
04:31 How much protein can your body tolerate?
06:25 How to develop a proper relationship with food?
08:49 How do beliefs play a role in nutrition?
11:25 Difference in Marco nutrition between Males and Females
15:08 Nutrition for night shift workers
17:21 What snacks should you be consuming?
18:32 Outcomes of Intermittent fasting?
21:24 Muscle building and intermittent fasting
25:19 Muscular hypertrophy and body recomp
28:28 How to figure out your metabolic needs?
34:18 What should be on your plate for health and vitality?
37:10 Key to a healthy gut microbe
40:11 Supplement recommendations
42:04 What is creatine?
47:07 How long do results last from creatine?
48:47 Nutrition Do’s & Dont’s
52:47 Wrapping up the episode

 

 

Muscle Growth and Hypertrophy

Muscle Growth and Hypertrophy

Muscle Growth and Hypertrophy

Muscle growth and hypertrophy are essential when you want to stay fit. Everyone has muscles, but many want them to be a bit bigger. Did you know there are over 600 muscles in your body? Muscles are responsible for actions like movement, digestion, circulation, and respiration. There are different muscles for each job in the body. 

Injuries, diseases, and various disorders affect the way your muscles function. These issues can be muscle pain spasms or more severe like paralysis and cardiomyopathy. 

Living a healthy lifestyle through good nutrition and adequate exercise prevents early deterioration of muscle and function and improves endurance, size, and strength.

Muscles

Muscles’ function is to contract and relax. It doesn’t matter if that muscle is voluntary or involuntary. It is going to contract in one-way shape or another. 

The somatic nervous system is responsible for the voluntary movement of skeletal muscle, while the autonomic nervous system is responsible for involuntary action like that of smooth muscle [1].

3 Different Types of Muscle Tissue

There are three different types of muscle tissues. Each type of muscle also functions differently within different areas of the body. These are: 

  • Skeletal: As part of the musculoskeletal system, these muscles work with your bones, tendons, and ligaments. Tendons attach skeletal muscles to bones all over your body. Together, they support the weight of your body and help you move. You control these voluntary muscles. Some muscle fibers contract quickly and use short bursts of energy (fast-twitch muscles). Others move slowly, such as your back muscles that help with posture.
  • Cardiac: These muscles line the heart walls. They help your heart pump blood that travels through your cardiovascular system. You don’t control cardiac muscles. The heart tells them when to contract.
  • Smooth: These muscles line the insides of organs such as the bladder, stomach, and intestines. Smooth muscles play an essential role in many-body systems. These include the female reproductive system, male reproductive system, urinary system, and respiratory system. Different types of muscles work without you having to think about them. They do essential jobs like moving waste through your intestines and helping your lungs expand when you breathe.

Skeletal Muscle

Skeletal muscles consist of flexible muscle fibers that range from less than half an inch to just over three inches in diameter. These fibers usually span the length of the muscle. The fibers contract or tightens, allowing the muscles to move bones so you can perform lots of different movements.

Skeletal Muscles Structure

Each muscle can contain thousands of fibers. Different types of sheaths, or coverings, surround the fibers:

  • Epimysium: The outermost layer of tissue surrounding the entire muscle.
  • Perimysium: The middle layer surrounding bundles of muscle fibers.
  • Endomysium: The innermost layer surrounding individual muscle fibers.

Actin and myosin are both proteins that are found in every type of muscle tissue. Thick myosin filaments and thin actin filaments work together to generate muscle contractions and movement. 

Myosin is a type of molecular motor that converts chemical energy released from ATP into mechanical energy. 

This mechanical energy is then used to pull the actin filaments along, causing muscle fibers to contract and, thus, generate movement.

What does skeletal muscle look like?

Skeletal muscle fibers are red and white. They look striated, or striped, so they’re often called striated muscles. Cardiac muscles are also striated, but smooth muscles aren’t.

How healthy is skeletal muscle?

Although skeletal muscles typically make up roughly 35% of your body weight, this can vary from person to person. Men have about 36% more skeletal muscle mass than women. People who are tall or overweight also tend to have higher muscle mass. Muscle mass decreases with age in both men and women.

Hypertrophy

In simple terms, hypertrophy just means “to make bigger.” It is the opposite of atrophy which is to make smaller. When we talk about hypertrophy in muscles, we mean muscle growth. Muscle growth and hypertrophy is the primary goal of why people work out and train. 

When you talk about muscular hypertrophy, it is different from just gaining strength. Although with hypertrophy comes more strength, it is a different concept and different mode of work than strength training [2].

  • Hypertrophy is done to increase the size of a muscle
  • Strengthening is done to increase the ability to produce force

2 Different Types of Hypertrophy

1. Myofibrillar hypertrophy

  • This type of muscular hypertrophy involves increasing the number of protein filament bundles known as myofibrils. Myofibrils help the muscle contract and relax. Increasing myofibrils boost muscular strength. With myofibril hypertrophy, the muscle also becomes denser [3].
  • Growth of muscle contraction parts.

2. Sarcoplasmic hypertrophy

  • You can also increase the volume of fluid within the muscle. This is called sarcoplasmic hypertrophy. The fluid provides the energy the muscle needs during weight training. Similar to how adding water to a balloon makes the balloon grow, more fluid in the muscle makes it look bigger [4].
  • Increased muscle glycogen storage.

How to Build Muscle?

There are many ways to muscle growth and hypertrophy and strengthen muscle, but we want to focus on how to maximize hypertrophy. 

1. Diet and Sleep 

You need proper fuel and rest to build muscle. There has always been a debate between carbs, proteins, and fats.  With so many diets out there, you should not solely rely on one of them. 

The main thing to always keep in mind when it comes to the human diet is that we need all the macronutrients. It would help if you ate carbs, proteins, and fats. Neglecting any one of those will directly impact not only your muscle growth but your overall health.

Proteins get broken down into amino acids that are the building blocks of all our cells. Carbs are your body’s primary source of fuel. Fats are required for hormone function. Many studies show the benefit of eating a higher amount of protein when trying to build muscle. 

Research indicates that achieving muscle hypertrophy requires balancing muscle protein synthesis and muscle protein breakdown. Additionally, consuming protein within 24 hours of weight training can provide a positive net balance. 

This net balance supports muscle growth. Follow your workouts with higher protein meals or shakes to give the body the nutrients to achieve maximum hypertrophy.

Carbs are beneficial for:

  • Carbs prevent muscle weakness
  • It can prevent muscle degradation
  • Carbs help muscles recover from exercise

Recommended Protein Intake for Muscle Growth and Hypertrophy

  • Individuals in Energy Balance
  • Consume ~0.4 g/kg body mass (i.e., 0.24 plus 0.06 with protein added to account for the influence of other macronutrients in meals and protein quality), to maximally stimulate muscle protein synthesis (MPS) following a period of rest or exhaustive resistance exercise.
  • Spacing protein-containing meals ~3–5 h throughout the day maximizes MPS rates over the course of a 12 h (i.e., waking) period.
  • Practice pre-sleep protein ingestion (1–3 h prior to sleep) to offset declines in MPS that would occur during an overnight fasting period.
  • To maximize muscle protein accretion with resistance exercise, daily protein intakes should be ~1.6 g/kg/day and up to 2.2 g/kg/day. This intake can be achieved by ingesting 3 meals, each containing ~0.53 g/kg protein, or 4 meals containing ~0.4g/kg protein.
  • Individuals in Energy Restriction
  • Daily protein requirements are greater than they are during periods of energy balance to promote the maintenance or increase in lean body mass.
  • Resistance exercise should be performed during energy restriction to promote the retention of lean body mass if desired.
  • For athletes cutting weight over an extended period, high-quality protein sources such as whey and casein, or a blend of each, should be chosen to optimize appetite control and ensure dietary compliance.
  • Protein intakes of ~2.3–3.1 g/kg/day have been advocated to promote leaner body mass retention during weight loss. Exercise-naive adults who have a more significant body fat percentage should aim to achieve the lower end of this range. However, leaner individuals with resistance-training experience who are more vulnerable to losing lean body mass during energy restriction should aim for the higher end of this range [5].

2. Exercise

With exercise, muscle growth and hypertrophy are induced. What causes it is “as calcium is released in higher quantities with each contraction induced by the neuron, calcium binds to calmodulin, which activates calmodulin kinases (CaMKs), and in turn, activates Akt, which activates protein synthesis via mTOR and the inhibition of glycogen synthase pathways.”

Muscle growth is achieved when a combination of things occurs: muscle damage and repair, mechanical tension through stretch and force, and the build-up of metabolites like lactate, hydrogen ions, creatine, and others. 

Metabolite accumulation can occur as lactate, hydrogen ions (lowering pH), and phosphate molecules accumulate within the cell. The collection of these, and likely others (like creatine), metabolites in the cell shows an increased expression of Insulin Growth Factor-1 (IGF-1).

This increases the proliferation of satellite cells and increases protein synthesis via the Akt pathway. Also, the increase in growth hormone (GH) further increases the release of IGF and the release of Interleukin-6 (IL-6) for different effects on satellite cell recruitment.

How Muscles Work During Exercise

To be able to return for another bout of exercise, the trauma to the muscle leads the cell to release calcium (likely due to damage to the sarcoplasmic reticulum) into the surrounding extracellular area; this release of calcium leads to the activation of an immune response.

As soon as one hour after this event, neutrophils go through phagocytosis and clean up the debris of dislodged and broken organelle proteins caused by the stress put on the myocyte. 

24-48 hours after myocyte damage, macrophages are the dominant immune cells finishing phagocytosis and releasing cytokines and growth factors to activate other immune clean-up cells and the repair process.

These cytokines, Interleukin-1, 6, and tumor necrosis factor (TNF), are the regulators of inflammatory response and communicate more or less the need for further necrosis and inflammation between immune cells. 

Growth factors such as growth hormone (HGH), insulin-like growth factor (IGF), fibroblast growth factor (FGF), and hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) are released to begin the repair process.

Main Concepts and Strategies When Exercising

To accomplish muscle growth and hypertrophy you have to induce some kind of physical activity. The main concepts and strategies to think about when creating a program or just in exercise are:

1. Engage in strength training regularly.

You can’t just work a muscle once and expect it to grow. It needs to be stressed repeatedly over time. Resistance training at least three times per week can provide the tension necessary for the muscle to adapt and grow. Constantly doing the same exercise over again is an excellent place to start. Over time repeating the same workout does lead to fewer results, so it is essential to switch up the routine.  

2. Increase resistance over time.

Starting with lighter weights gives the muscle time to adjust to a new weight training program. But once that weight becomes easy to lift, it needs to be increased if the goal is hypertrophy. The general rule is to increase your weight by about 5-10% to prevent injury.

3. Aim to overload the muscle or muscle group.

If you walk out of your weight training sessions feeling as if you could go through the sets and reps again, you’re not overloading your muscle enough. While you don’t want to go to the point of pain, growing muscle requires a certain level of overload. During your workout, aim to push your muscle as much as possible while still being safe.

4. Lift heavy for higher reps.

A hypertrophy workout involves lifting fairly heavy weights. You also want to shoot for higher reps than if your goal was strength. Again, you have to overload the muscles to a certain extent if you want them to grow [6].

5. Sets and repetitions.

Start muscle growth and hypertrophy with two to three sets of ten to 15 reps, completing repetitions at a manageable but challenging weight. So if you are doing three sets of 12 repetitions, the weight you use should be heavy enough that you cannot do more than 12 reps, but not so heavy that you cannot get to 12. If you know your one-rep max and have the basics of working out down, you should be looking to lift between 65%-75% of your 1RM for eight to 12 reps for three to six sets.

6. Reduce your rest periods.

The rest time between sets changes based on whether the goal is to increase muscle size or strength. The recommended rest period is generally between two and five minutes for strength increases. This period is shortened to 30 to 90 seconds to increase muscle size.

7. Allow adequate time for muscle recovery.

Getting enough recovery time is critical to building bigger muscles. It is during this recovery that muscle damage is repaired. Therefore, if you don’t allow enough time for this repair to occur, not only will muscles not reach their maximum size, but you also risk injuring them. Allow 24 to 48 hours before working for the same muscle group again [7]

Muscle Soreness

Many people have sore muscles after working out. The soreness results from tiny tears (microtears) occurring when you put stress on a muscle. Usually, muscle soreness sets in a day or two after vigorous exercise. This condition is why providers call this condition delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS).

The muscle tissue becomes inflamed as the muscles repair themselves and the tiny tears heal. Your muscles recover within a few days, and the inflammation goes away. With continued exercise, the muscle tissue tears and rebuilds again and again.

To watch the full episode on Muscle Growth and Hypertrophy, click here for more 👇

TIME STAMPS:

00:00 Intro
00:49 Plugs
02:11 Episode Introduction
06:05 Different types of muscle tissue
07:20 The skeletal muscle structure
11:48 What is hypertrophy?
15:55 How to build muscles and maximize hypertrophy?
18:43 Building muscles: Carbohydrates
20:33 Building muscles: Protein
24:42 Protein recommendations for building muscles
29:32 A Scientific explanation of how hypertrophy works
34:06 Things you can do to maximize hypertrophy.

Men Talk: The Decline of Serum Testosterone Levels

Men Talk: The Decline of Serum Testosterone Levels

The Decline of Serum Testosterone Levels 

In this episode, we will talk about the decline of serum testosterone levels among young Adult Men in the USA. Testosterone is a sex hormone that plays a vital role in the body. It regulates the sex drive, bone mass, and fat distribution.

In addition to that, testosterone is responsible for muscle mass and strength. It is also in charge of sperm production and red blood cells. And small circulating testosterone is converted by the body to estradiol, a form of estrogen.

Mammals have >95% of T fused by Leydig’s cells of the testes and are regulated through the hypothalamic-pituitary-testicular (HPT) axis.

The adrenal glands also produce testosterone but in small amounts. However, the amount produced depends on gender. So, it means different areas have different amounts.

A Decline of Serum Testosterone Levels in Men

A study from 1999 to 2016 showed that the testosterone levels in young adult men and adolescent males with an average body mass index resulted in a decline, as presented in the 2020 American Urological Association Virtual Experience

The reason for this decline in testosterone level is attributed to age. It means that the decrease in these levels is time-dependent. However, the overall reduction in testosterone levels is caused by multiple etiologies. 

Researchers used data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES) dating from 1999 to 2016 to analyze serum testosterone level changes in 40-45 AYA males. 

This study found a few factors affecting the decline of serum testosterone levels. These are as follows:

  • Age
  • Race
  • BMI
  • Comorbidity status
  • Alcohol intake
  • Smoking
  • Physical activity levels

Here are acceptable testosterone levels for men by age group

  • Early Teens: Between 12 to 13 years old, a person should have 7-800 ng/dL. But by 15 to 16 years old, the ng/dL should be 100-1,200.
  • Late Teens: Anyone between 17 to 18 years old have normal testosterone levels between 300 and 1,200 ng/dL.
  • Adults: An adult (19 years and older) should have anywhere between 240 and 950 ng/dL.

Mean Total Testosterone Decrease: 

  • 1999-2000 (605.39 ng/dL)
  • 2003-2004 (567.44 ng/dL)
  • 2011-2012 (424.96 ng/dL)
  • 2013-2014 (431.76 ng/dL)
  • 2015-2016 (451.22 ng/dL)

An increased BMI is associated with decreased total testosterone levels (P < .0001), with the mean BMI increasing from 25.83 in 1999-2000 to 27.96 in 2015-2016 (P = 0.0006). 

It was noted that even men with an average BMI of 18.5-24.9 had declining total testosterone levels of P < .05 during the same time frames.

Limitations of the Study

The study was a cross-sectional study design, a type of observational study. It is self-reported activity leading to potential bias and testosterone levels are only measured once. However, there were no results given on the participant’s symptoms. It is also the most extensive study of its kind.

Potential Causes Of Decline of Serum Testosterone

  • Increased Obesity/BMI
  • Diet/phytoestrogens 
  • Declined physical activity
  • Fat percentage
  • Marijuana use 
  • Environmental toxins

Increased Obesity/BMI

People with moderate obesity have decreased total testosterone. This decrease could be due to insulin resistance that is associated with reductions in sex hormone-binding globulin. Severe obesity connects with reductions in free testosterone levels.
 
Researchers believe it is due to a suppressed hypothalamic-pituitary-testicular axis. Obesity also affects iron metabolism and overactivity. It can further contribute to low circulating total T levels.

Diet

A small study conducted in 2016 investigated the dietary patterns associated with serum total T levels and their predictive effect on hypogonadism (low sex drive) and body composition.

Anthropometry, blood biochemistry, and food frequency questionnaires were collected for 125 adult men [1].

People whose diet is mainly composed of bread, pastries, and dairy products and those who rarely eat homemade food or dark green vegetables are most likely at risk for unhealthy body composition.

When the body composition suffers, it can increase visceral fat and decrease skeletal muscle mass. This result can also lead to lower serum total T levels.

How do endocrine disruptors affect the body?

When absorbed in the body, an endocrine disruptor can decrease or increase normal hormone levels, mimic the body’s natural hormones, or alter the natural production of hormones.

Examples: BPA, PFAS, Phytoestrogens, Phthalates, Triclosan &, etc.

Stress Levels Contributes to Decline of Serum Testosterone Levels

Stress can raise your cortisol, which is a hormone that can lower your testosterone once elevated. Reducing stress also reduces testosterone production. So if you want to reduce stress, you must get enough sleep and live a more balanced lifestyle. Exercising also helps and so does proper nutrition in your diet. 

Doing Physical Activity

A 2016 study of men with obesity found that regular exercise increased T levels than even losing weight. 41 overweight and obese men completed a 12-week lifestyle modification program (aerobic exercise training and calorie restriction).

They measured serum testosterone levels, the number of steps, and the total energy intake [2]. The best exercises to increase T levels are resistance and high-intensity interval training (HIIT). 

One study in men found that interval training helps in boosting T levels. The training consists of 90 seconds of intense treadmill running interspersed with 90 seconds recovery periods.

Results show a significant increase in T levels compared to running on the treadmill for 45 minutes straight [3]. So, to rise the T levels in your body, you must do intense exercises for half an hour or so. Running on the treadmill helps but it might slow down your T-level production. 

Doing cardio has no evidence that it can impact your T-levels, no matter the gender. However, too much cardio may lower your T-levels. 

Can Marijuana Cause a Decline of Serum Testosterone Levels?

A study from 2020 using National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) data from 2011-2016 had some interesting outcomes. They have studied men who are regular marijuana users and how it had impacted their testosterone levels.

This study had identified all men 18 years old and above who answered the substance use questionnaire and underwent laboratory testing for T levels.

In addition to that, regular THC users were defined as those who use THC at least once per month, every month for at least a year. Does this mean marijuana helps increase the T levels? 

Among 5,146 men who met inclusion, 3,027 endorsed using THC at least once in their lives (ever-user). Nearly half of the THC ever-users (49.3%) were regular THC users.

THC use is associated with small increases in testosterone. This means that the rise in T appears to decline as THC use increases. However, T is still higher with any amount of regular use when compared to T in non-users.

Furthermore, this increase was represented by an inverse U-shaped trend with Regular THC users using two-three times per month. It demonstrates the most significant increase in T (+ 66.77 ng/dL) over non-users [4].

Men who smoke it regularly are twice as likely to have sperm with abnormal shape and size. According to one study, males who smoke marijuana at least once a week experienced a reduced sperm count.

Conclusion: 

What you believe you believe is what you become. If you think you’ll lose intelligence by basking in the sun, you probably will. The hippocampus is 90% affected by what you believe and your confidence, in my case, at least.

If you believe that you’re smarter than Einstein, your neurons will fire corresponding signals, and you’ll be seriously reading and studying. It’s all about self-discipline and determination. 

To watch the full episode of Ep. 94, check out our latest by clicking here 👇

TIME STAMPS:

00:00 Intro
00:52 Plugs
02:11 Episode Introduction
04:02 What is testosterone?
06:00 The fun and exciting time of puberty
07:47 The Decline of Serum Testosterone Levels
11:01 The acceptable testosterone levels for men by age group
13:17 Testosterone decreased by 150 points
15:34 Potential cause of testosterone decrease
15:57 1. Obesity
18:39 2. Diet
20:48 3. Environmental Toxins
22:21 4. Stress
23:19 5. Physical Activity
25:26 6. Marijuana use
29:13 Conclusion
31:54 Wrapping up the episode