Being Shredded Year-Round Will Destroy Your Testosterone

I was recently told on YouTube that my “body fat is a bit high.”

I laughed my ass off.

My current body fat fluctuates between 9 and 11%…

As Chris Jones would call it, I’m “hoe ready.” If you stand me next to the average person, I look like an athlete compared to their skinny fat or obese bodies.

But for some reason, people think you need to be down around 6% body fat to be considered lean. This is completely false.

My typical body fat stays between 9 to 12% year round.

If you have a large amount of muscle, people will still know you lift even as high as 15% body fat, and you’ll still look good. Much higher and you start to look fat, bloated, and unattractive.

There is a very good reason why I do not cut down super lean anymore.

As Victor Pride has explained in the past, staying under 10% body fat for an extended period of time as a natural lifter is terrible for your testosterone levels.

I can back up that statement because I’ve lived it. I’ve been there, and suffered the consequences.

The people you see on YouTube who stay extremely lean year round are most likely taking some form of supplemental hormone, whether that’s simply testosterone replacement therapy or actual steroids.

I want to make it very clear that I have no problem with those who do so, but you must be aware of this practice and realize that there is a price to being shredded.

When I first started lifting, I was 168 lbs at my heaviest… and no that wasn’t from muscle (I’m 5’8″ by the way).

My face looked like it had been stung by bees. I carried fat all over my body. It was bad. And I hated it.

My very first goal was to get lean. I cut all the way down to 135 lbs, which placed me right around 7% body fat. As you may expect, I was super small even though you could see tons of definition, striations, and vascularity.

I basically looked like a bantamweight MMA fighter.

I stayed at this leanness for at least a six month period while I slowly began gaining muscle mass. However, I still remained under 10% body fat for nearly a two year period…

The Price of Being Shredded As A Natural

Around two and a half years into training, I had my blood taken as part of a physical exam and out of curiosity I requested to have my testosterone levels checked.

I wasn’t pleased.

Testosterone Bloodwork

At 26 years old, I am not satisfied with a total testosterone level of 669 ng/dL, and I am especially unhappy with a free testosterone level of 9.5 pg/mL. My goal is to naturally raise these levels to 1000+ and 20+, respectively. I will be getting my blood work done again at my next physical to see how much progress I have made.

Victor Pride has an excellent article which explains why most men today have low testosterone levels, but one of the biggest factors behind my levels being as low as they were was my lack of body fat.

You must maintain a body fat level of 10% or more (without going overboard) in order to maintain a healthy hormonal balance.

If you cut down too low, you tank your hormones and everything suffers… your training, your recovery, your mental state, and your sexual health.

I haven’t had my blood work done since then, but I’ve been taking steps to naturally raise my testosterone levels:

  • Avoiding heating my food in plastic containers.
  • Avoiding processed foods as much as possible.
  • Maintaining a periodic training routine involving heavy weights vs. high volume.
  • Not overtaxing my body from excessive HIIT cardio.
  • Eating more fat, as well as garlic, onions, and ginger.
  • Getting more quality sleep.
  • Taking a zinc supplement and magnesium oil.
  • Having more frequent sex while supplementing horny goat weed.

At this moment, I believe I have managed to raise my testosterone levels considering my overall sense of well-being has improved, and I am no longer feeling as much day-to-day fatigue.

I’ll let you know once I get my blood work redone at my next physical.

Bodybuilding Is A Marathon, Not A Sprint

Too many people are impatient with their bodies and do things that are reckless in order to achieve quick results.

When I first started, I had no clue that remaining at low levels of body fat was reckless towards my hormones.

Since learning this, I have maintained a healthier range of between 9 and 12% body fat for the most part. My current body weight is back up to around 150 lbs, give or take a few depending on how much water I’m holding on a particular day.

Ostarine Physique Update

My current physique at 151.2 lbs.

As I continue to add more lean mass, I’m approaching things a bit more responsibly. Unless I go on testosterone replacement therapy (TRT), I don’t intend to lean out to really low levels anymore.

Remember, bodybuilding is a marathon, not a sprint.

If you try to lose fat too quickly, or stay super shredded for too long, you’ll destroy your testosterone. If you try to gain muscle too quickly, you’ll simply end up gaining more fat than muscle.

Have a little patience.

Everything in life is about finding a happy medium, finding balance.

Along that vein, my next responsibility is to order RED-PCT from Red Supplements.

If you haven’t been following my YouTube channel, I’ve been taking OSTA-RED for the past 47 days. This morning was the final dose of my first cycle. OSTA-RED is a selective androgen receptor modulator (SARM).

Some people may say that’s reckless… however, I disagree. I researched SARMs before I decided to test out OSTA-RED, and I trust Victor & Chris.

I haven’t experienced any negative side effects while taking OSTA-RED, but as I said before, everything has a price.

Taking a SARM like ostarine has the possibility of lowering your testosterone levels, even though it will help you make lean gains and add to your strength in the gym.

As such, taking a post-cycle therapy product like RED-PCT is a good idea. I’ll be ordering a bottle soon.

Stay tuned for my next article, which will be a full review of OSTA-RED.

You have your whole life ahead of you. Train like it,

Nick Hagood
Masculinity Rising


  1. Lloyd June 22, 2016
    • Nick Hagood June 25, 2016

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