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Question
Posted by: Lady cyclist | 2010/02/19

Low testosterone?

hi, i am woman aged 27 and have been training intensly for mountain biking for almost a year now. I have seen a biokineticist and am on a great program, however if i look at my female friends doing similar they are much more muscular and stronger than me. i cant loose bodyf at but am training so hard if i do more i will prob over train. could this be due to low testosterone levels and how can I increase my levels? i am getting so frustrated, i count calories, take meal replacements and have basically perfected my diet. please help i am on the verge of throwing in the towel, why go to all the effort of hours in the gym and in the saddle and i dont look like a cyclist? Please help

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageFitnessDoc

hi there

Possibly, but testosterone levels are very low in women anyway (maybe the big difference between men and women). There is a school of thought that says that the most athletic, muscular women, who tend to succeed at sport, are those at the upper end of the normal range for testosterone. Never been proven, but it makes theoretical sense.

There's likely to be a host of other factors causing this as well, however. Growth hormone, insulin sensitivity, and numerous other hormones and genetic factors give us our ability to respond to training. And it sounds as though you're someone is just naturally ectomorphic, having that smaller build and physical appearance.

Look at the Tour de France, and you'll see the range of people who can still succeed at a sport, despite differences. Some are much more muscular than others, greater definition, larger quads, skinnier calves, short or tall, and so on. How you look rarely impacts on how you perform (running is the exception - all long distance runners are skinny with tiny calves, it's non-negotiable!)

So while it may sound meaningless, you really shouldn't be worrying about your appearance, but rather your performance. We're all endowed with a set of genetic characteristics over which we have little control. Influence, perhaps, but not control to change.

Good luck

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Our users say:
Posted by: fitnessdoc | 2010/02/23

hi there

Possibly, but testosterone levels are very low in women anyway (maybe the big difference between men and women). There is a school of thought that says that the most athletic, muscular women, who tend to succeed at sport, are those at the upper end of the normal range for testosterone. Never been proven, but it makes theoretical sense.

There's likely to be a host of other factors causing this as well, however. Growth hormone, insulin sensitivity, and numerous other hormones and genetic factors give us our ability to respond to training. And it sounds as though you're someone is just naturally ectomorphic, having that smaller build and physical appearance.

Look at the Tour de France, and you'll see the range of people who can still succeed at a sport, despite differences. Some are much more muscular than others, greater definition, larger quads, skinnier calves, short or tall, and so on. How you look rarely impacts on how you perform (running is the exception - all long distance runners are skinny with tiny calves, it's non-negotiable!)

So while it may sound meaningless, you really shouldn't be worrying about your appearance, but rather your performance. We're all endowed with a set of genetic characteristics over which we have little control. Influence, perhaps, but not control to change.

Good luck

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