“The most dangerous thing about power is to employ it where it is not applicable.” – David Halberstam

A “natural” testosterone decline in men over 40, of about 1 -1.5% per year?  This is what conventional wisdom tells us, and is for sure what Big Pharma would love for us to believe.  And, in fact, this is probably correct, and an expected consequence of the “natural” Standard American Diet (SAD) we’ve been force-fed over the last 60-odd years.

The thing is, this “natural” decline in testosterone is completely avoidable, given proper diet and exercise intervention.

Landmark Australian research (“The Healthy Man Study”, published in Clinical Endocrinology; excellent write-up, here) found “no [testosterone] decrease associated with age” among men over 40 who report maintaining very good or excellent health.  Once again, science has validated the wisdom of Physical Culturalists who have steadfastly maintained that testosterone decline is unknown to those who live according to the dictates of solid health.

So let’s quickly connect the dots, here: (1) the “natural” decline in testosterone in men over 40 has everything to do with the “natural” onset of diseases of modernity (obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, etc.) that ramp-up right about the same time.  (2) the cause of these diseases can be traced back to (a) chronic, systemic inflammation (b) nutrient deficiency, and (c) inadequate muscle mass and metabolic conditioning.  (3) the problems described in #2 can be eliminated via smartly-programmed exercise prescriptions and consumption of a sugar, grain and legume-free (i.e., nutrient dense) diet.

An anecdotal aside: I’ve spent 35+ years immersed in Physical Culture, and I can tell you that I’ve been around countless “old geezers” who could easily pass for 20 to 30 years younger than their actual age.  And not just 20 to 30 years younger, but a jacked version of that 20 to 30-year younger age.   Incidentally, these same guys walked the Physical Culture walk — including, consuming a nutrient dense, and essentially “Paleo”, diet.   Look at the standard bodybuilding grub of the pre-steroid age (50s, early 60s) and you’ll see a diet that was, as you might guess, sugar, grain, legume and (pre contest prep) dairy free.  Heavy exogenous doses of steroids (beginning, roughly, in the mid 60s) allowed for a more free-wheeling diet.  The irony here, of course, being that neither the heavy T protocols nor the “new” bodybuilding diet were, in any sense of the word, “healthy”.  Hell, I’m pushing 50 myself, and if I’m showing any signs of decreased T, it’s sure as hell keeping itself well concealed.  But I digress…

At Efficient Exercise, we take the approach of ensuring that the underpinnings of good health are established before referring a client out for further evaluation.  To be sure, some folks indeed do require additional hormonal intervention even after a solid fitness and diet deckplate has been established.  Putting the proverbial cart before the horse, though, severely weakens the effectiveness of these hormonal interventions and, to mix metaphors here (something I’m skilled at doing 😉  ) winds up resembling something akin to a dog chasing its tail.  Dr. Ruthie Harper (herself an avid EE client, and who also served on the bloodwork and hormone optimization panel at Paleo f(x) ) can do fabulous work in the sorting and treatment of hormonal discrepancies and, given the right beginning palette, produce interventions that border on the miraculous.

So, if you think you might have low testosterone, your best course of action is to get your diet and fitness house in order first.  Then, if things are still “sputtering” along, seek the advice of a solid professional.   If you’re lucky enough to live in the epicenter of Physical Culture – Austin, Texas –  Dr. Ruthie Harper is a great resource.


In health, fitness, and Ancestral Wellness –





  1. Dr Sebring’s informal study of Hill Country farmers and ranchers indicates active ranchers well into their seventies exhibit hormone profiles akin to young men – due to diet, plenty of grass fed beef, and robust living. Farmers, on the other hand, exhibit decline akin to our sedentary population.

    Key to maintaining healthy test and HGH levels is activity. That activity signals DNA for healthy protein turnover (hormones, enzymes, myriad other activities) – to the extent that merely working a set of curls unleashes upwards of 850 different mRNA responses. In that respect, emphasis on testosterone and HGH are over rated vis-a-vis a far bigger picture.

    Two factors seem most salient to reduced HGH & test levels: inactivity and vasectomies.

    Before jumping into hrt, first combine exercise & a nutrient dense diet. If levels are still low, a couple of weeks of hcg + dhea therapy ought to be tried to get the Leydig cells functioning again. If all else fails, hrt seems appropriate.

    • Agreed. And for those interested, Dr. Lane Sebring is another Austin-area MD who has been practicing “Paleo”, wholistic healing for a very long time. A great guy, and a fantastic resource.

  2. The ‘natural’ decline in testosterone is just like the ‘natural’ and inevitable loss of muscle mass as we age. It’s more a reflection of how ‘unhealthy’ and ‘weak’ have become normal. I intend to continue getting stronger until I’m dead.

  3. Yeah I sure see a lot of hype about low testosterone and businesses trying to sell us products to boost our testosterone resulting in super human bodybuilders in old guy’s. I wish it were true but I think these older guy’s pitching these products are spending hours in the gym everyday and just hyping these products.

    • The truth is the average testosterone level of an adult american male in the 1940’s was 750. Now it is 300. It is real. The new sick is now normal. This is the battle that absolutely needs to be fought. Most are unaware. The young men today do not even know what testosterone is.


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