T Nation

Significance of Taking Temperature?

Hey guys,

I have a quick question for you…and I think I know the answer but not sure…I notice on the physique clinics everybody takes their temperature every morning…what is the significance of this? Also how do you determine whats going on by looking at your day to day temperatures?


CT says that it is a barometer for your metabolic rate. Temp goes down, metabolism has decreased. Temp goes up, metabolism increased.

Ok so when dieting, what does one do if it drops? and what does one do if it goes up?

IMO stick to your diet and training and don’t worry about your temp unless you’re sick.

It is an excellent indication of thyroid activity when there are no complicating factors such as you having a fever. This is why it is used as a quick, cheap measure.

If the temp drops, it mean you have cut your metabolic rate by restricting calories too much. Bumping them up a bit and perhaps even eating a little more carbohydrate will usually take care of the problem.

If you are adjusting your diet downwards or upwards, don’t be too drastic. You may also consider cycling calories up and down within a few hundred to several hundred kcal per day to prevent the metabolic downregulation. These calorie levels should be based on the calorie level at which your temperate drops with at least some of the days having intake above that level.

In general finding a constant intake that allows you to keep temperature up will allow your body to run better and you can watch your skinfolds to see if the results are inline with expectation.

Regardless of the diet you may be on, it is essential that a vast majority (90-95%) of your caloric intake comes from real food (and yes high quality supplements like Metabolic Drive and fish oil are part of this category when consumed in meals that provide a nutrient distribution similar to whole unprocessed foods), otherwise you have other factors that get in the way of your body’s chemistry especially with respect to signaling of the thyroid.

It is much easier to tell people to watch their morning temperature and have intake adjusted based on that than to do more expensive and invasive tests. A higher temperature may be due to sickness or an elevated metabolic rate due to exercise recovery and sufficient nutrients.

Simply checking to see how the person feels can usually rule out sickness, making this an extremely effective and cheap indirect method to get the same conclusion as supported by laboratory test results. That said, this is not a replacement for a full blood panel in diagnosing illness. It applies only to otherwise healthy individuals.

how much of a difference should I see in temperature before I adjust my calories…I mean how much of a drop indicates my MR slowing down?


Good thread, I am also interested in more information regarding the subject.

Assuming all else is equal, a degree would indicate a drop.


to quote CT (above link): “Well 96.7 might or might not be cold… we all have our own temp. What’s important is to get your own baseline and judge everything from there.”

on page 3 of the thread (CT again):

“An decrease of 1 degrees = a 10% drop in metabolic rate and a gain of 1 degree indicates a 10% increase in metabolic rate. If it ever goes up we’ll have to adjust your calories upwards.”

Remember it is key to get that good baseline.
In the same thread, CT recommends that you take your heart rate for 1 minute upon waking up but before arising and doing anything. Promptly after you take temp and then weight, then piss. No morning sex or anything of the like prior to measurement or you will really throw off the readings.

Just because it isn’t being published in a scientific journal does not mean you cannot reach a level of monitoring that is much more precise and controlled.

An increase in the resting heart rate indicates that your body is recovering from previous stress whether a workout or any other stressor in your life.

Heart rate can also be used to monitor recovery between sets of exercise. Some elite athletes use heart rate monitors not to make sure they are training in an optimal heart zone, but rather to watch when it falls below a certain number and then immediately commence the next set.

This combined with a drop off in performance of around 5-7% (a couple reps) is an excellent way to optimize the workload of a workout assuming your reps are in good form and the tempo parameters you are targeting are followed.

Interesting, thanks man.

Assuming it has dropped and STAYS dropped, upping calories and particularly carbs for a week is a very good idea.

By the way, for women this is much more complicated. Temperature drops significantly for several days before ovulation, then rises significantly following.