FEATURED ARTICLE: Testosterone Boosters for Bodybuilding.
Natural testosterone boosting supplements are everywhere, there are literally thousands of them on the market.
The claims many of them make are questionable at best. And that’s us being charitable, many would call them a downright pack of lies.
In this article we aim to help you by answering the following questions about bodybuilding test boosters;
- What are ‘normal’ testosterone levels?
- Do these products actually work?
- If so – who do they work for?
- They should work for me, which one should I buy?
- How do I tell good from bad?
Testosterone and Bodybuilding
As you are reading this on Evolution of Bodybuilding, you probably already know your stuff about the relationship between testosterone and bodybuilding.
Testosterone is key to muscle building, protein synthesis, and bone density. It also inhibits the release of cortisol, the stress hormone which breaks muscle down. Meaning high T equals maximum gains in strength and muscle mass, with faster recovery times.
Take anabolic-androgenic steroids and you’ll spike that testosterone through the roof. Work hard in the gym and you will pile on the muscle. But that is the trouble … we are not talking about small increases turning into big gains, we are talking about massive increases in T levels turning into massive gains.
Putting the scare stories and media BS about steroids aside, as articles like this one on Testosterone Resource point out, there are genuine health risks relating to steroids demonstrated through objective academic studies.
You risk damaging heart, kidneys, and liver; increasing blood pressure and LDL cholesterol. Not to mention the increased risk of developing tumors, steroids are classified as a probable carcinogenic by the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer. We’ll leave the impact on fertility for another day.
Yes, they work but it’s not a free ride.
OK, so we know that testosterone levels are important for bodybuilding – what is the official definition of normal testosterone levels?.
Part of the problem is that there is no ‘official’ at all. Talk to one physician and they will tell you one thing whilst the doctor in the room next door might tell you something else.
The standard 300-1,000 ng.dL is the benchmark used by most clinicians.
Anything jump out at you about those numbers? Anything like … the ‘normal’ guy with 1000 ng.dL has OVER THREE TIMES the test levels of his ‘normal’ buddy on 300 ng.dL.
And this is the issue for bodybuilders struggling to pack on the muscle in the gym. Their doctor might consider them to be in the normal range, but they have a fraction of the testosterone of other normal guys.
Take a look at the statistics below, they are from a large scale study on testosterone levels done on over 2000 males in the US.
The numbers show that the dreaded ‘Testosterone Levels Plunge With Age’ chart you see everywhere on Test Booster websites is BS. It doesn’t drop off the side of a cliff as you get older, there’s a slow and steady decline;
What it does show again though, is the wide variation between the top and bottom.
If your medical plan allows you to get your test levels measured then you should do it, it’s important to properly establish what your levels are if you are looking at boosting them.
Do Test Boosters Actually Work?
As always, there’s no straight forward answer, it depends very much on where your test levels are on the graph above.
Are you the guy above sitting at the top of the testosterone chart with your 1000 ng.dL, admiring the heavy artillery on your bicep, your broad shoulders and chiseled jaw in the mirror?
If the answer is ‘Yes‘ then there’s no point in you buying a testosterone booster, it won’t do anything for you. You are dismissed, hit the gym.
The academic research cited by the manufacturers of test boosters wasn’t conducted on guys with high test levels. It was done on older men or guys with established low test levels.
There is no credible body of research which demonstrates that natural testosterone boosting ingredients can accelerate testosterone production over and above levels present in men who already have high testosterone levels.
However … are you one of the 50% with test levels below the mean average? In that case, the news is different.
For you a test boosting product can work and can work well.
The research into the ingredients has been done on guys just like you. It’s worth reading into, you can see the dosages the academics used, the effects and side-effects that they observed.
If you are reading research on test boosting ingredients you should look for the following telling pointers which indicate how much credibility to give to each study;
- How many participants took part in the study and over what time period?
- Was the study conducted by an impartial body like a university or sponsored by a company?
- How were the effects measured? Did they draw blood samples or use subjective measures like ‘they bench pressed more weight 30 days later’?
- Did they use an isolated, standardized version of an ingredient or just pull some random test boosting product off the shelf?
If you’ve never read some of these academic papers, you’d surprised how often you’ll see badly done, flawed studies involving tiny numbers of participants used to justify the inclusion of a certain ingredient.
Pick a test booster that’s based on proper research.
Which one should I buy?
Now we come to the crunch. Which one to buy?
Ultimately there are many on the market but one which you will see recommended a lot is a new style of product which was launched at the start of 2019 – Centrapeak. It is a bodybuilding testosterone booster which ticks all the boxes, but it’s got an extra dimension. It does more than just boost test.
And this is important – testosterone is only half the battle. Even guys on steroids have to hit the gym hard to take advantage of those elevated test levels, the muscle mass doesn’t pile on itself.
Centrapeak contains ingredients which have strong clinical backgrounds and have shown in many trials to be effective. But crucially they are not just effective at boosting testosterone, they are also effective at improving mood, reducing stress, and increasing energy.
So you end up with a winning combination of rising test levels and increased motivation to eat well and hit the gym.
It’s the full package targeting both body and mind, which is why they call it a ‘Male Vitality Booster’ rather than just a test booster.
Downside: It’s only available in the USA and Canada, but for readers who live elsewhere we’ve included a test boosting buyers guide below which should help you separate the good from the bad.
You can find out more about the product here -> https://www.centrapeak.com
Test Booster Buying Guide
The following short buying guide should help you separate the duds from the smash hits. Look for the following when buying a bodybuilding test booster;
Fully disclosed, no proprietary blends
It’s remarkable how many manufacturers still do this and get away with it. They use an FDA loophole which says that if ingredients are part of a ‘proprietary blend’ then the manufacturer doesn’t have to detail how much of each ingredient is in the formula.
So they give it a fancy sounding faux-scientific name – ‘Test Evolution Matrix 485x’ – and tell you the reason they don’t explain the dosages is because it’s Top Secret. Hundreds of labcoat wearing boffins have worked tirelessly in a laboratory for years to produce this scientific masterpiece. Yeah, right.
This is, of course, complete nonsense. The expensive ingredients will be there in tiny trace doses, whilst the cheap ‘filler’ ingredients will be there in massive amounts. They are doing it to cut costs and make money. Pure and simple. Avoid.
Safe but effective dosages
Even those with a fully disclosed formula include ineffective doses, and that includes some of the bigger sellers in the marketplace. You’ll see huge dosages of some ingredients, tiny dosages of others.
So how can you tell what a safe level is when there’s no RDA for a specific ingredient? The answer here is in the studies and clinical trials. Look for the dosages that were used in clinical trials, especially over a long period by large numbers of participants. Are the same dosages used in the supplement?
Be wary of manufacturers that cite research into an ingredient as proof of efficacy, and then use a totally different dose in their supplement. More is not always better.
Study the Form
This is a hard one because you need some knowledge of nutrition to make an informed choice. What is important is that the manufacturer shows you which form they’ve used on the label and website.
Let’s take Magnesium as an example. It might say on the label ‘200mg Magnesium’. But they neglect to state what form that Magnesium is in. It’s important. Magnesium Oxide has a very poor absorption rate of only 4%, while Magnesium Citrate has a 16% absorption rate.
So 200mg of Magnesium Oxide will be half as useful to you as 100mg of Magnesium Citrate.
If it seems too good to be true, it normally is. Be very wary of websites asking you hand over your credit card details and ‘only pay for shipping’. You’ll find large amounts coming off that card at regular intervals, and some cunning small print that means you can’t stop it.
Other offers to beware of are recurring subscription deals that turn out to be very hard to cancel or deals where they are giving away loads of free boxes.
The bottom line is that high-quality products with high-quality ingredients in proper doses are not cheap to make. You will need to pay a proper price for the good stuff. If you think you’ve found an amazing ‘deal’ somewhere, it might turn out not quite as amazing as you first thought.