A logical theory suggests that when you “cut” or lose fat, your testosterone will increase. This is based on the logic that having more body fat reduces T. This is because the higher your body fat %, the higher the conversion of testosterone-to-estrogen becomes. Then with excess estrogen, your testosterone is sure to plummet.
This is all correct, however, the expectation of increased signs of testosterone can be surprisingly different. Many, including myself, have experienced significantly lowered libido during a cut.
Just by a quick Google search you can see many people are experiencing exactly this.
I will share my experience on this common situation (but excuse me for later talking about erections etc!).
How I was feeling day to day
My energy/wellbeing was normal, my strength levels and muscle gains in the gym were normal; yet my libido had possibly never been lower and I would never get random erections throughout the day. The obvious conclusion would be that my calories or my fat intake was too low. If your calories are too low, then your body will secrete cortisol, in turn reducing T. Also if your fat consumption was low, then T would consequently be low as fats are what administer testosterone production. My body fat was around 8%.
1. I knew my calories weren’t too low
Athough I was on pretty low calories, I wasn’t losing more than 2lbs a week, and my weight loss was gradual so I knew they weren’t too low. If I had experienced rapid weight loss, my energy levels were low and I was constantly hungry, then these would be sure signs of under-eating and calories being too low.
2. Increasing Fat consumption wasn’t the answer
I was getting some fats in my diet, but I questioned whether it was enough. So I began eating high fat foods but keeping my calorie deficit in tact. And, I noticed nothing. This surprised me and was the point when I had to seriously start thinking what was causing my decreased libido.
Did Estrogen Play a Part in This?
I thought back to the lowered conversion of testosterone-to-estrogen during the process of losing body fat, and I thought; what if my estrogen was too low? Could too little estrogen give me symptoms of low testosterone. After a little research online I learned that estrogen can effect a man’s libido, and when there is too little estrogen, a man’s sex drive can take a dive.
Alcohol: Estrogen Example
This made sense. It is well known that alcohol decreases testosterone, however, it’s common for men to feel “horny” during alcohol consumption and even the morning after. Thus explaining the horny feeling coming from the spiked estrogen levels and the low testosterone is clearly evident when men experience impotence or delayed orgasms during drunk sex.
Soya, My Solution!
So, I began incorporating more estrogen-rich foods into my diet the leaner I got from my cut. I did this mainly via soya-based foods. Everything soon returned. Literally hours after one big serving of spaghetti bolognese with soy, random erections and my libido were both back within a few hours!
Chamomile Tea Experience
I also remembered when I drank chamomile tea, which by the way is a powerful anti-estrogen. After drinking it I had increased drive to get things done, plenty of energy and clarity of thought – all things I experience when my T increases. However, whilst chamomile tea was in my system I never noticed a random erection or “morning wood” – which I could never figure this out.
In contrast, I have also rubbed lavender cream on my temples to relax (lavender being a strong estrogenic compound); but the opposite would happen despite hearing that estrogen would lower testosterone. Now, this all makes sense as we know that estrogen plays a critical role in a man’s libido.
Ultimately, I came to the conclusion that my testosterone may not have been low, but the fact I had low estrogen gave me some of the symptoms of low T. I would guess my testosterone wasn’t initially low as my energy was pretty high along with my general motivation. When I consciously increased my estrogen levels, I may have been slightly lowering my T but actually experiencing more high test symptoms – interesting!