Testosterone and Weight Gain 101

Blog Image: Testosterone and Weight Gain 101

Are you a man who struggles with weight gain, stubborn weight loss, or fat that won’t seem to budge from the midsection? Have you lessened your alcohol intake but still see your “beer belly” growing? Maybe you’ve always had a six-pack, but suddenly you find yourself using your stomach as an armrest? Is going to the gym nowadays not showing you the same results it used to? It’s important to remember that the man you were and the body you had 10 years ago is not the same as the one you have now. Understanding your unique hormones and how imbalances can play a role is the key to getting to the root and taking steps to lose weight more effortlessly and long term. 

Hormones (chemical messengers within your body). Probably not one of your usual conversation topics with the guys while watching a football game, we get it. Whether or not you talk about them, though, they are there and are acting within your body. Did you know that men and women both make the same hormones? Where men and women differ is in the amounts and times that they are produced. The primary male sex hormone is testosterone while the primary female sex hormones are estrogen and progesterone. Men and women still both produce each others primary sex hormones, but in smaller amounts. 

As far as when hormones are produced: women run on a month-long hormone cycle. Men, however, operate on a shorter 24-hour cycle, producing testosterone while they sleep and waking with highest levels in the morning. These high levels in the morning put men at an advantage for higher intensity workouts, DIY projects, and tasks that require sustained energy and focus. Throughout the day, testosterone starts to subside until it levels out at night. 

Blog Image: Testosterone and Weight Gain 101

Testosterone is an anabolic hormone that is responsible for building and maintaining numerous physical functions. When testosterone levels drop, men can begin to feel it in their bones and muscles (stiffness and soreness), lack of strength and stamina, lowered metabolism (usually manifesting as the “spare tire” around the middle). This excess body fat can actually lead to an increase in levels of estrogen. This, over time, can lead to low sex drive and erectile dysfunction.

So what’s the correlation between low testosterone, fat storage, and weight gain? 

Did you know that fat cells actually secrete chemicals, send signals, and influence other parts of your body? In fact, fat cells produce aromatase, an enzyme that converts testosterone to estrogen. When this happens, an imbalance of testosterone and estrogen can be the catalyst for increased body fat and fat storage. Men will often see this as visceral fat in the abdomen area. Visceral fat is among the most inflammatory and dangerous kinds of fat when stored in excess. The more overweight the man, the more estrogen he will churn out in his fat cells. This creates a surplus and imbalance in relation to waning testosterone levels. And with it a raft of estrogen-related symptoms like moodiness, depression, and a female pattern of weight distribution in the hips, thighs, and breast tissue.

In addition to the symptoms and effects listed above, a lack of adequate testosterone also leads to a loss of lean muscle mass (alongside a corresponding increase in body fat). As less and less testosterone circulates in the cells, estrogen levels begin to rise in relation, and the cycle of more weight, more fat, and less testosterone continues. Studies have shown that one in four men over the age of 30 have low testosterone. But most are unaware of it! This makes it so important that men learn to actively recognize symptoms that can indicate a hormonal imbalance. Do your muscles hurt more quickly than usual? Do you feel less like exercising than usual? Have you noticed recent shifts in your mood and libido? If you’ve answered yes to any of these without a solid explanation, then it may be that your testosterone, estrogen and stress hormone levels need some TLC.

Hormone care - it may sound tedious and daunting at first glance, but the truth is that uncovering hormonal imbalances has never been easier. You can test all of these hormones non-invasively through saliva right in the comfort of your home. Metabolic Research Center offers hormone imbalance testing and rebalancing in over 100 locations nationwide and have helped thousands of individuals find relief and rebalance. By getting to the root of your imbalances, you can begin the process of rebalancing, losing unwanted fat, and restoring your vitality and vigor.!

Ways To Boost Low Testosterone and Promote Weight Loss

Add in more Omega 3’s. The essential fatty acids found in fatty fish like salmon and flaxseed have amazing anti-inflammatory properties and can help decrease the activity of aromatase and lower the production of estrogen.

Reduce sugar. Eating excessive amounts of sugar and carbohydrates can lead to insulin resistance, driving down testosterone and driving up belly fat. Reducing your sugar intake starts at home. Start small by swapping processed sugars and carbs found in packaged foods, baked treats, and bagels for whole food variations like fruit, sweet potatoes, quinoa, and whole grains.

Consume less alcohol. Alcohol can not only decrease testosterone in men but it can also increase estrogen - a double whammy when it comes to weight gain. Rather than reach for a drink as a way to wind down, experiment with a sparkling water mixed with infused fresh fruit and/or a sweat session (strength training, a run, a hike etc). Save your alcoholic drinks for special occasions, choose clear spirits, skip sugary mixers and beer, and/or have a glass of water between each drink. 

Get more Vitamin D. Low Vitamin D3 levels have been associated with low testosterone. Fortunately, getting Vitamin D is free! Aim to get 20 mins of sunlight daily, taking off your shirt as a bonus to absorb it more directly into the skin. 

Lift weights. Strength training is very effective at raising testosterone levels. Try to incorporate it into your daily routine 2-3 days a week. Try to couple strength training with 1-2 days of restorative movement like walking, hiking, or yoga and some form of HIIT training or aerobic exercise 2-3 days per week when you can. Remember, progress and presence over perfection. Nothing needs to happen all at once and it’s okay to gradually adopt these activities as they best fit into your lifestyle and daily routine.

Get plenty of sleep. Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep each night in order to improve insulin sensitivity and increase testosterone. Poor sleep also impacts your hunger hormones and can lead to ramped up appetite and intense sugar and carb cravings. So, go ahead and get those ZZZ’s. Wearing blue light blocking glasses and having a calm down routine can also help ease the brain and body into sleep more quickly.

Manage stress. When stress is high, cortisol is high. Cortisol is a stress hormone (also produced by both men and women). When produced in excess, the body can go into “fight or flight” mode, storing excess fat “in case of emergency.” At the same time cortisol levels rise, testosterone levels can lower. As stress levels fluctuate throughout the day, so do cortisol levels. 

Blog Image: Testosterone and Weight Gain 101

*The information provided within this article is not to replace a relationship with your Medical Professional. The laboratory services offered are for informational purposes only. It is not the intention of Metabolic Research Center to provide medical advice but rather to provide you with information to better understand your health. Seek the advice of a trained health professional for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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