T Nation

Where does the T go?

OK, this is probably a stupid question, but I realized the other day that I just don’t know the answer. So, where does testosterone go? Does a heavy workout actually consume some T? If I naturally have a couch potato T-level of, say, 350, will starting heavy workouts tend to consume the T and drop the level down some, say to 275 while building muscle? Or does T act as a catalyst in anabolism and doesn’t actually get consumed? If the T is not consumed, does it decay and break down? What happens to old T? Just curious.

Im not exactly sure either, but I do know my T levels have INCREASED since I started lifting hardcore, etc, so I doubt it is consumed. I know they have increased by typical “symptoms” ie increased sex drive, etc. I have also read various places lifting increases T levels.

I’m not really up on this either but it is an interesting topic and I’m sure Jason N. and some of the others can provide an in depth discussion. However, I believe during weight lifting, the neuromuscular contractions trigger a signal for free T circulating in the blood to dock at androgen receptors causing the transcription of the genes that trigger strength, hypertrophy, and composition changes. This “docking” of free T with the androgen receptors causes a temperary LOWERING of free T levels which in turn causes the HPTA to sense this lower level of T (since T was consumed during training) and the HPTA calls for more T to be produced to replace that used and in reacting to the temperary shortage, the body overshoots the shortage, thereby casuing T to eventually rise to higher than original levels. Just my take on it. If not training, the body sees less use for T and levels drop. When training, the body sees the demand for T and increases production. But the increased production occurs after training, as a reaction to T consumed in training.

Couch potatoes have higher T levels than athletes but a lot of this is probably due to overtraining in the athletes. I don’t believe T gets “consumed” or anything like that but it only lasts so long in the blood and at the receptor sites and is periodically being released by the body. Some types of exercise have shown higher levels of testosterone release so it would make sense that levels would be higher during your workout provided you don’t overdo it. A lot of the basis of the “get in and out of the gym within an hour” recommendation is because after this time T levels start to decline.

So in summary it sounds like the T is actually “consumed”, since it binds to the androgen receptors when it’s needed. But after a delay time, the HPTA acts to restore the T-levels. Very interesting. Thanks much.

Binding to the androgen receptor is reversible and doesn’t consume the steroid – it is available for use again after leaving the receptor binding site. What consumes it is enzymatic metabolism.

The drop after exercise may be due to sulfation of the steroid, which is also reversible. It may not be an actual loss
at all, just a temporary shift to another form. At least this was argued in a paper a few years back – I do not know if it is correct.