I’ve been feeling low since Saturday. Of course, before today, I attributed it to Rusty Moore’s hellish (but amazing) Rapid Fat Loss Diet Plan. But yesterday I ate things I actually like and today was still bad. I almost skipped gym (though I didn’t). That’s saying something! I kept procrastinating.
Turns out, my extreme calorie deficit of the last 2 weeks is catching up with me.
Fasting, dieting and testosterone – the link between the 3
So when someone says testosterone, the first thing that comes to mind is “muscle building hormone” or “the stuff that athletes inject in their body”. In truth, testosterone is so much more than that; a hormone as important in women as it is in men.
You see, in both men and women, testosterone plays an important role in health and well-being. Contrary to popular beliefs, it doesn’t just maintain libido. Unfortunately, when you’re trying to lose weight, a long term calorie deficit CAN lower your testosterone levels. Obviously, that’s not a good thing.
Don’t get me wrong! Short-term fasting, like I normally do (with Leangains) or Brad Pilon’s Eat Stop Eat, does not negatively affect a person’s testosterone level. A diet has to be fairly extreme to achieve that (together with hard training).
And most people, when they try to lose weight, they merely aim to create some kind of mild calorie deficit everyday. So the question of testosterone levels plummeting doesn’t really arise.
Sometimes people get fanatical about weight loss. For example, ME! Fasting for 48 hours before an event, Rusty Moore’s Rapid Fat Loss Diet Plan, working out with weights at the gym and doing cardio. Things can get a little military-ish. And that’s detrimental testosterone-level wise.
The great thing though: A slight re-feed can rapidly restore those testosterone levels after a prolonged period of hard-dieting. So all in all, extreme dieting can decrease your testosterone, but it also causes a nice rebound afterwards.
Yes, that’s a real thing! It’s not about having a weak resolve or a weak mind. It’s about dieting strategically for optimized results. Cheat meals don’t spell diet disaster. In fact, a well-structured cheat meal can help you surmount weight-loss plateaus! (gaining body fat is correlated with lower testosterone levels)
1. If you’re going to cheat, do it properly
So if you’re going to have a cheat meal, don’t half-ass it! Don’t count the calories. Don’t try and keep it under 1000 kcal or whatever number you decide on. It ruins the point. It won’t create that rebound.
2. Plan your cheat meals
This is important! Always plan your cheat meals. Once a week. Once every two weeks. Also, plan what you want to have as cheat meal. If your idea of a cheat meal is a pint of Ben and Jerry’s with a spoon, rethink your weekly reward. Be realistic! Even though you’re allowed to break from your day-to-day diet, don’t use a cheat meal as an excuse to overindulge.
3. Think, think, think
Eat a cheat meal that is still well balanced and higher in both calories and carbohydrates than your normal meal. My cheat meals are usually a cheeseburger with fries, pizza, a cheesy pasta dish with a protein source or a filet mignon with baked potato.
Coming back to me
So I’ve been feeling low lately and I figured, I’m due for a re-feed. Also, I want to do a 3-day fruit detox diet starting tomorrow right before my trip to Istanbul. I have my reason for this (which I’ll talk about tomorrow). Yeah anyway, today was the perfect day for a cheat meal and calorie overload. I had a cheeseburger and fries with a coke ZERO.
Meal of the day
1. Day 2: Shoulders, biceps, triceps
2. 10 minutes steady rate cardio at speed 9.0 followed by HIIT for 20 minutes at speeds 5.7 and 11.0-13.0.