While I work with a lot of guys who seek me out for help with things like low sex drive, and fatigue, and weight gain, you’d be surprised that a lot of women are looking for help too.
While the fundamental approach is the same- reducing the impact of the various types of stress that screw up the balance between stress hormone and sex hormones, the specific changes can be a little different.
Brief and intense strength training (assuming you are cleared by your doctor to do it) is the cornerstone of a program to fix low testosterone levels naturally, and improve symptoms like fatigue, fat gain, and low sex drive.
My buddy Mike and I rode some steep hill intervals in Sedalia, Colorado this past Sunday. While we happen to love riding mountain bikes, it takes a little work to love riding up steep hills. You kind of need to convince yourself that pushing hard is fun.
But the truth is, this type of intensity is important for guys as they get older. Most of us rarely do anything that’s physically intense anymore. But letting that red-line stuff go is what starts the drop in testosterone that a lot of guys experience as they move into their 40s.
You might not realize it, but stress in your gut can cause cause fatigue and weight gain. It can even lead to lost sex drive. How is that possible?
Easy. Stress in the gut can cause cortisol to rise. Cortisol is basically a stress hormone. When cortisol is up, and when stress is up, testosterone can drop, especially over the long term. So guys with chronic stomach problems tend to experience the symptoms of lower testosterone in men- fatigue, weight gain and loss of sex drive.
I’m reading this book called “How Bad Do You Want It?” by Matt Fitzgerald right now. While the author is writing about endurance sports, the premise applies to anything: The perception of your effort during a task determines how you perform. So if you think something will be difficult, it will be. If you think getting stronger will be hard, it will be. If you think losing fat will be hard, it will be. If you think getting back to feeling like the old you is impossible, it will be. But what about the flip side? Believing you can get shit done is the first step.
Just remember this – guys over 40 need something to get away from the stress. The stress drives healthy hormones, the hobbies bring it back up. For me, it’s racing off-road triathlon (even if I’m not great at it). For you it can be whatever you want. But it does matter.
That’s me in the picture, running as fast as I ever have. You see, when I go in to these races, my main goal is to beat my time from the year before. And I knew it was going to be close that year.
That’s me yesterday, taking a break from riding my mountain bike in the 100 degree weather that we had in Denver this past weekend. The question is, “Why?”
For me mountain biking, and off-road triathlon are hobbies, and in the interest of full disclosure, I am not particularly good at either one. But I don’t care.
As a 47-year-old guy, I know that too much of a good thing is a bad thing. One common misconception I hear often is the idea that lots of endurance training is good for you. For guys over 40, this isn’t necessarily true.
Prolonged endurance training, like long bike rides, will tend to raise cortisol levels. This can lower sex hormone levels in both men and women.
Men over 40 should swim. It’s a great way to cross-train your upper body, build muscular endurance in the shoulders and challenge your heart in a different way. Something about being in the water also has a stress relieving effect. It can reduce cortisol levels, help fight fatigue, and improve mood too.
The best news? It’s ok to suck at swimming, because the lack of efficiency actually makes it a better workout. But you need to swim outside – it’s a million times better than swimming indoors. Give it a try!
Arm Training is still relevant. Exercises to build bigger arms can indeed build better health for men over 40.
After I realized that chronic “functional” training was screwing up my hormones (cortisol too high, testosterone borderline low) I dialed things back. While the functional zealots will scream that arm training isn’t functional (a term almost never defined BTW), I call bullshit. You use your arms every day- doing real life things, like lifting very heavy tomato plants, controlling a mountain down a steep slope, carrying a whiny toddler who refuses to walk, or staying in the top position of a push-up for a long time .
Guys over 40, there are 3 main types of stress that can screw your health up big time. This can be the underlying reason why you feel fatigued, irritable, and fat. Do you know what they are?