First, sunning your genitals. Now more cold exposure.

Jan 2, 2022

Effects of Physical Exercise and Cold Stimulation on Serum Testosterone Level in men (Sakamoto et al., 1990)

The cold protocol was basically putting your wrists in ice water for one minute on, 2 minutes break, and another minute. This is similar to some brown adipose tissue activating protocols which consist simply of dipping your feet in ice water.

For reference, more intense protocols have you going shirtless in front of a fan blowing cold air or taking outright ice baths. You don’t have to do that.

In this study, the exercise was 20 minutes of cycling at 90 watts. Depending on your level of physical fitness, not quite enough to break a sweat.

It was either: measure testosterone -> cycling -> cold exposure -> measure testosterone (T);

Or: measure testosterone -> cold exposure -> cycling -> measure testosterone.

Simple. Clever. Results:

Exercise increased T by about 20%. Post-exercise cold therapy took it down lower than baseline. Interestingly, cold therapy knocked T down by about 10% but post-cold cycling drove it up higher than baseline.

1 - I don’t recommend pre-exercise cold exposure unless it’s very mild as it was here. Otherwise, “warming up” seems like a better idea for injury prevention.

2 - Even if you did this every day, it’s a drop of water in the pool. Consider the great 600 mg experiment:

The effects of supraphysiologic doses of testosterone on muscle size and strength in normal men (Bhasin et al., 1996)

10 weeks of nothing vs. exercise vs. T vs. T + exercise

T alone increased muscle (technically, "fat free mass" but whatevs) by about 3 kg. Exercise alone increased it by ~2 kg. Exercise + T increased it by 6 kg.

For reference, compared to the cold therapy study which increased T by 10-20%, 600 mg T increased T by… 

WAY more (~500-1000%?) and it’s not even close.

If you want changes in body composition (gainz), pre-exercise cold exposure isn't the way. You can do it for other reasons, sure. To see meaningful changes in muscle mass induced by T, we’re talking about orders of magnitude, not 10 or 20% (maybe if you were hypogonadal to begin with, otherwise a drop in the pool).

That’s all for now!

Has anyone experimented with this for hormonal manipulation or any other reason? Pre vs. post-workout? Leave a comment!

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