What was Wrong with Me?
A couple of years ago, it felt like something was missing in my life. I was frail, had little energy, vacillated from anger to depression, and overall, just didn’t feel whole. Taking on the gym changed all that.
Weight lifting and building muscle got rid of my depression!
The only problem was that, I went from one extreme to another: from no lifting to practically living at the gym two hours a day, 6 days a week. After the initial gains from all my effort, I hit a plateau. It was great at first. I gained some muscle weight, but still had anger issues. I didn’t sink into depression, but still wrestled with stress and feelings of anxiety.
The feeling of being down and out had me searching for answers, and this is what I found: My testosterone levels were out of balance as evidenced by mood swings, anxiety and even anger. But why? I was lifting weights and drinking whey protein shakes. What was going on?
The Stealth Attack on Male Identity and Masculinity
It turns out the protein drinks I was consuming—as with many bodybuilding protein powders—contained soy!
Okay. So. Soy’s a great protein, right? NO!
Wow! Soy is polluted with estrogen hormones. What?! Soy causes reduced levels of testosterone and can increase cortisol. When you’re low on testosterone, cortisol levels rise, which can cause depression and anxiety, plus higher estrogen levels in the male body can cause significant hormonal imbalance.
If You’re a Man, You Need to Know This
Today’s diets have resulted in significantly lower testosterone levels compared to earlier generations. One of the key dietary factors impacting testosterone, that was absent 50 years ago, is soy. If you’re a male, chances are you’re low in testosterone if you consume a typical American diet, high in packaged and processed foods.
The good news is that you can fix your male hormone levels. If you don’t want to be obese and you want to get that lean body that you desire, then you need to make sure your testosterone levels are on point.
Even if you feel and look healthy, with no adverse symptoms, it’s a good idea to have your testosterone levels checked. For bodybuilders and anyone doing strength and resistance training, testosterone can make the difference in your muscle gain.
Men, check your diet, and check your testosterone.
Feminine Hormones in Bodybuilding Products?!?
Open a copy of Men’s Fitness or Vegetarian Times and you’ll notice flowery, full-page advertisements that promote protein powder and energy bars. They make convincing claims on being beneficial for your health. What they don’t tell you is that they contain soy, often as the primary ingredient, and soy, drains your testosterone and replaces it with estrogen. Extensive illegitimate marketing campaigns have promoted soy as a way to create the macho man with perfect abs. The result is that many men in today’s society have low T.
What I found jaw-dropping is that the top ten most profitable protein powder supplements on Bodybuilding.com contain soy Lecithin or other variants stemming from the soybean. The funny thing is that they have articles openly exposing soy as a testosterone killer. Fortunately there are companies that provide protein supplements that are soy-free, however they’re not as easily accessible.
Naked Whey is a quality soy-free whey powder. If you want to preserve your male hormone, then get rid of your soy-rich protein and replace it with these supplements.
To save your masculinity, avoid soy protein bars and supplements containing soy protein, soy isolate or soy Lecithin.
Warning! You May Develop Breasts
Jim Thornton from Men’s Health tells us an unbelievable story in this article about how a retired U.S. Army intelligence officer gained painful, gum-ball sized breasts by consuming soy products. Out of all people, you wouldn’t expect a trained soldier to develop breasts, would you? When you think of soldiers, you think of very lean, high-testosterone machines. Most soldiers maintain their healthy physique after their service. So how is it that even the most fit individuals could suffer from this condition? Let’s find out.
Price, even though he was in good shape, had breasts that stood out in stark comparison to his body. It was so embarrassing for him that taking his shirt off was too much to handle. Feeling “feminized” was one of the words used to describe what he was feeling. Being depressed and going through mood swings (just like I did!) were some of the challenges he had to face. After seeing an increase in estrogen levels, the doctors concluded that he had gynecomastia—an abnormal enlargement of the mammary glands in men. It took four doctors to find out what was the cause of all of his symptoms.
What was the cause? He was drinking at least 3 quarts a day of soy milk! Having a high intake of soy caused all of his symptoms, according to Jack E. Lewi, M.D (the doctor that researched this case). After a swift change in diet, the swelling subsided and his estrogen levels decreased substantially. Price started to finally feel like his old, masculine self.
Let this be a lesson for the rest of us. If you’re a man and you don’t want to have enlarged breasts, feel effeminate or have a low sex drive, then you need to avoid soy like it’s the plague.
Getting it Together!
Here’s how I turned it around. When I discovered that soy protein shakes were wreaking havoc on my system I pitched those powders, found good, soy-free replacements, and started reading labels before buying packaged foods. Boy was that a wake-up call!
I also researched workout routines. I observed and consulted with some of the guys who looked the way I wanted to look, yet spent half the time at the gym, to find out what they were doing that was clearly working for them.
Here’s the biggest difference: they were doing HIIT. The fittest guys were incorporating High Intensity Interval Training in their weight and resistance circuits as well as in cardio session via sprints. I talk about this more, in The Masculine Hormone article.
Testosterone Boosts Self Confidence
Once I got rid of soy and started doing HIIT, my testosterone levels increased by 150 points. Every week my levels rise substantially. Now they’re sitting in the 600-622 point range and let me tell you, it feels amazing!
According to this article, the average level of testosterone for men is 270 to 1070 ng/dL. The problem is the age of men aren’t taken into account. A man that’s 18 with a level of 370 is considered within the “normal” range. However, 370 is an average testosterone level among 80 year old men. They’re categorizing the testosterone levels in men of ALL ages into one group.
Having a Testosterone Level of 300-500 is Normal, But Not Normal for Your Age (If You’re 18-40)
For an average man between the ages of 18-40, your overall testosterone levels should be between 600-700 ng/dL. Men that are very fit average out between 700-1070 ng/dL.
When you grow older, your testosterone levels decrease. By paying attention to your levels, you’ll be able to increase your vitality and maintain your youthful energy.
As my testosterone levels increased, depression and anxiety decreased. BAM! The combination of increased testosterone and muscular physique… feeling strong and comfortable in my skin, and really boosted my self confidence in social situations.
Bodybuilding through soy-free, high intensity interval training has both physical and psychological benefits essential to living your Best Fit Life!
If you’ve had any of these issues, let us know. Your story could help someone else, and we love to cheer you on!
BestFitLife.com, The Masculine Hormone
BestFitLife.com, Build Muscle, Torch Fat, Save Time
The Whole Soy Story: The Dark Side of America’s Favorite Health Food