Welcome to the Last Month of the 12-Week Advanced Strength Program. This month we’re only performing two exercises per workout. Why? Cuz it’s gonna hurt. Here is what the schedule looks like:
- Bench Press
In response to my “Three Intense Bodyweight Workouts for Females,” article, Neena Longia wrote: “I’d like to say that the article was great, but I’d like to suggest that you explain more in depth what high levels of testosterone really does to a females body, because I can guarantee that most women don’t know that they carry both estrogen and testosterone, but the testosterone is in a small amount compared to the estrogen, and how women in some ways do benefit from some testosterone, just as a side note letting the readers know that testosterone isn’t bad for women!”
Here is my response:
An Introduction to Testosterone
Testosterone is a steroid hormone produced in both men and women that plays a vital role in the maintenance of health, well-being, and sexual function. The hormone also boosts one’s appetite, fuels the immune system and helps build lean muscle mass.
Women produce about one-tenth the testosterone of the amount naturally found in men. Normal testosterone levels will help women look, feel, and perform better from day to day. The hormone has been linked to helping treatment with Osteoporosis (weak bones). Fibrocystic Breast Disease, and Breast Cancer.
Despite the gender differences, testosterone is required in both men and women for the same reasons: to generate more energy, reduce body fat, increase lean muscle mass, maintain healthy libido, and to improve mood.
Many women find it frustrating that men often can control their weight more easily and even lose more weight when following the same weight loss program. This has to do with the amount of muscle mass found in men. Extra muscle helps men burn up to 30 percent more calories than women, and can even help increase the level of testosterone found naturally in men.
The research on testosterone for women is very mixed. Studies have found that improving testosterone deficiencies by using some sort of supplement can boost mood and sexual health, but other studies have also found that high levels of testosterone can triple heart risks for older women.
In a study conducted by Dr. Karen Miller, an endocrinologist and assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School in Boston, 51 premenopausal women with below-normal or undetectable levels of testosterone were randomly assigned to either a placebo or Proctor & Gamble’s testosterone patch, Intrinsa, which has not yet received U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval for use by American women. During the one-year trial, women on the testosterone patch showed improvements in mood, sexual function and quality of life.
The findings in this study are very important in understanding the role testosterone plays in women, however Dr. Miller also stated that the study did not deal with women with normal testosterone levels. She stated that supplemental testosterone in women with normal levels may have unwanted side effects such as increased facial and body hair.
Dr. Anne R. Cappola, an assistant professor of medicine and epidemiology at the University of Pennsylvania, conducted a study, which found that high testosterone levels in older women are a predictor of cardiovascular disease. In this study, Cappola and colleagues measured testosterone levels in 344 women, aged 65 to 98 years. They found that women who had the highest testosterone levels were three times more likely to have heart disease compared with women who had lower testosterone levels. However, they also found that women with the lowest testosterone levels were also at a higher risk of heart disease compared with women who had testosterone levels in the midrange.
Last December, the FDA voted against the approval of Intrinsa for women with lower than normal testosterone levels, citing insufficient long-term safety data. To me, it is clear that normal testosterone levels are a vital component to long-term health.
Checking Testosterone Levels
My suggestion is that you get a blood test done to determine if your testosterone levels are normal. For men, a normal testosterone level is 350 – 1200 ng/dl (nanograms per deciliter). For women, a healthy number could be 35 ng/dl to 120 ng/dl. However, it is best to speak to your physician about these numbers. When you get your blood test done, you will see a range right next to your number, which will tell you if you fall within the healthy range.
If you are unable to get a blood test done anytime soon, then there are certain symptoms associated with a low testosterone count. These include feeling tired for no reason, loss of interest in sex, uncontrollable fat gain, and mood swings.
This is great feedback from Neena, and the kind of feedback I urge all of you to send to me. There are many modes of communication, including posting to comments, sending me a facebook message, or simply sending an email to email@example.com.
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