Is Being a Lumberjack More Manly Than a Football Player? It’s All in the Testosterone!

Posted by Dr. Michael White, Updated on September 17th, 2023
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Recent research conducted by anthropologists at the University of California suggest that lumberjacks are more "manly" than football players. Their conclusion is based on testosterone levels.

The researchers were studying a group of "forager-farmers" in central Bolivia in regards to their physical activity. Their study led to results suggesting that physically demanding tasks, such as chopping wood, gardening and manual food production, result in higher testosterone levels in men compared to men playing competitive sports, such as football.

To be more scientific, the increase in testosterone for football players was only 30.1% as compared to 48.6% in the men chopping wood for their farm.

The reason for the difference has to do with food availability, or the amount of energy extracted from food. If a man skips just one meal, his testosterone can drop temporarily by 10%. Even fasting for just a few days can have a disastrous effect on men's testosterone levels, according to the researchers.

If a man has other external stressors, including parasites, injuries, environmental toxins, etc., this will impact his testosterone levels as well. In order for a man to have high testosterone levels, he needs lots of food to maintain muscle mass and a robust immune system.

When comparing the two different lifestyles, typical American and the "forager-farmers" in Bolivia, Trumble stated, "I can go to the grocery store and gather 20,000 calories in ten minutes without breaking a sweat. I don't have to worry about a deficit. But the Tsimane ["forager-farmers"] have to use a lot more food energy to get the calories it needs."

The good news is that these results covered a wide age range of men, from 16 to 80 years old. So even if you're 80, chopping some wood and clearing your yard for gardening can have amazing effects on your testosterone levels!

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