Ask The Trainer #89 – Does Caffeine Reduce Testosterone Levels?

Ask The Trainer #89 - Does Caffeine Reduce Testosterone Levels?

QUESTION: 

Hi Chad. Thanks for all the great information you’ve been offering in your articles. I know you receive a lot of questions, but I have 1 more to add to the pile. An article the other day that suggested that caffeine will reduce testosterone levels. I know the pre-workout I use has a considerable dose of caffeine in it, so I was wondering if that could be counter-productive to my muscle building progress? If so, I was considering switching to some other kind of pre-workout supplement that doesn’t contain caffeine or stimulants. I would appreciate any advice you might be able to offer. Thank you in advance!

Gary


ANSWER: 

Hi, Gary. First off, thank you for the kind words regarding the newsletter! That’s a very interesting, but great question! Caffeine could be advantageous, or it could be counter-productive depending on just how much caffeine you consume in a day. There is a huge chasm between caffeine users and abusers.

I’ll be the first to admit, I LOVE my morning coffee! I need my 2 cups first thing in the morning just to get my butt moving so I can get ready for work. I also use a pre-workout with a hefty dose of caffeine before I train later in the day. Most pre-workout formulas contain 200-300 mg of caffeine per serving. I work out early in the evening, so there’s a pretty good time gap between when I have my morning coffee at 5:00 AM and when I take my pre-workout formula at 4:30 PM.

There have been atypical points in my life where I found myself guzzling caffeinated beverages almost every hour of the day to stay awake at work after being up all night taking care of a sick dog or a family member with a medical emergency who ended up in the hospital. I guaranty that during those particular times of my life, my cortisol levels were through the roof, and my testosterone levels were in the tank! Besides that, I was putting my fate in the hands of the “Heart Attack Gods” by consuming that much caffeine! But enough about me. Let’s answer your brilliant question.

One study I read showed that a moderate dose of caffeine (the average amount in a pre-workout formula), actually increased testosterone levels by 12-19%. In contrast, I read another study that demonstrated when subjects ingested 800 mg of caffeine prior to training, they experienced a whopping 44% increase in serum cortisol levels.

Chad Shaw

If you’ve been reading my articles for any length of time, you’ll understand that elevated cortisol levels WILL wreak havoc on your testosterone levels. Now you’re probably wondering how anyone could take in 800 mg of caffeine in one shot, but you’d be surprised!

For example, I know one guy who takes 2 servings of a pre-workout formula with 300 mg per serving, mixed with a Rock Star energy drink that has 240 mg of caffeine! Not to mention the countless other people I’ve come across who’ve devised similar mega caffeine cocktails they take before a workout. Believe me, these kinds of people are out there. Unfortunately for them, this is having a very negative effect on their hormones, not to mention putting themselves at higher risk for a major cardiac debacle!

Of course, it’s important that each individual regulates their caffeine consumption based on their personal tolerance. Some people are absolutely intolerant to caffeine. They drink just 1 diet Pepsi and they’re having heart palpitations.


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The vast majority of research I’ve stumbled upon seems to suggest that a reasonable amount of caffeine prior to training can have positive effects. For example delayed fatigue, increased endurance, improved power output, and, yes, a slight boost in testosterone levels.

On the other hand, excessive doses of caffeine on a routine basis may result in a plethora of unsavory issues. These include low testosterone, high blood pressure, headaches, heart palpitations, adrenal fatigue, and cardiac arrest.

In other words, if a little is good that does NOT mean more will be better. In fact, more could potentially be hazardous to your health!

I wish you all the best with your health and fitness goals!

Prove ‘Em Wrong,
Chad Shaw

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