Everyone knows that testosterone is the cornerstone of muscle building, but not everyone knows how to increase their testosterone levels.
Fear not, in this post, not only will we be discussing the secrets to maximising your natural test levels, but also some of the less know benefits of testosterone, and problems associated with low testosterone.
Why Do You Need Testosterone?
Muscle building aside, testosterone is one of the most important hormones if you want to live a healthy optimised lifestyle as well as looking attractive.
Higher levels of the hormone is associated with reduced fat, higher energy, sex drive as well as elevated mood and confidence. All of these will help you live a healthy and attractive life.
Additionally, if you’ve been trying to grow a beard, or currently have one, you should know that beard growth is boosted by testosterone(1). This means that following all of the tips in this article can help you to fix that patchy beard.
As well as helping you look and feel great, healthy testosterone levels help to avoid health problems such as erectile dysfunction, diabetes, depression, cardiovascular disease, arthritis and much more.
The testosterone decline seen in men 30+ is not only associated with the health problems discussed, but may also be linked with the cognitive decline that occurs in men as they age(2).
Who should optimise their testosterone levels?
The health benefits of boosting the hormone levels will be felt greatest by men, in particular, men with declining testosterone. Optimising test levels should be something that all men 30+ should be doing.
However, women should also be optimising their levels in order to fight off lethargy, depression and low libido.
How to boost testosterone naturally
Lift Weights – As well as having a bucket load of other benefits, lifting weights and exercising in general is the best way to fire up your testosterone levels naturally(3).
If you want to make sure your workouts are effectively boosting your testosterone, focus on heavy compound lifts, with longer rest periods.
Reduce Stress – Again, this is something which also has a host of other benefits and you should be doing anyway. However, relieving stress is often easier said than done.
The stress hormone known as cortisol directly inhibits your testosterone levels(4), as well as being responsible for anxiety, sleep problems, weight gain, and memory/concentration impairments.
If you struggle with chronic stress and want to deal with it, start by taking walks to help calm you down. You should also be practising meditation to help control your thoughts and emotions. Finally, practising gratitude and journaling your positive thoughts are a great way to deal with stress
Get enough Vitamin D – A lack of Vitamin D happens to be all too common in this age of technology where most people don’t spend enough time in the sun.
As well as causing depression, fatigue and causing you to become ill more frequently, a vitamin D deficiency leads to low testosterone levels(5).
In order to boost your Vitamin D, the main way is to expose your skin to sunlight as it’s difficult to get enough Vitamin D from your diet. Make sure you do this frequently, and with skin protection.
Optimise your diet – A healthy diet and diet that’s optimised for testosterone can be two different things.
The main difference being that diets high in (healthy) fats are great for testosterone(6) but if you’re trying to lose weight, it might be something you want to avoid because of the high calorie density.
If you want to optimise your diet for testosterone, make sure that you’re eating a high fat diet, with most of your fats from healthy sources such as fish and extra virgin olive oil. You should also be avoiding oils such as canola and soybean oil(7).
Having too little fats in your diet can reduce your testosterone levels, so it is important to get in as much as you can, depending on your weight loss/gain needs.
Finally, it’s important to minimise your sugar consumption as consuming sugars can wreak havoc on your hormone levels, as well as being one of the easiest ways to gain unwanted weight.
Avoid alcohol – If you think this is going to be hard to do, then don’t worry. We’re not saying that you need to be completely sober.
But since alcohol directly reduces your testosterone levels(8), it’s important to cut down on alcohol frequency as much as you can.
(1) Chieffi M. Effect of testosterone administration on the beard growth of elderly males. Journal of gerontology. 1949 Jul 1;4(3):200-4.
(2) Beauchet O. Testosterone and cognitive function: current clinical evidence of a relationship. European Journal of Endocrinology. 2006 Dec 1;155(6):773-81.
(3) Loebel CC, Kraemer WJ. Testosterone and resistance exercise in men. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research. 1998 Feb 1;12(1):57-63.
(4) Hloogeveen AR, Zonderland ML. Relationships between testosterone, cortisol and performance in professional cyclists. International journal of sports medicine. 1996 Aug;17(06):423-8.
(5) Pilz S, Frisch S, Koertke H, Kuhn J, Dreier J, Obermayer-Pietsch B, Wehr E, Zittermann A. Effect of vitamin D supplementation on testosterone levels in men. Hormone and Metabolic Research. 2011 Mar;43(03):223-5.
(6) Hämäläinen EK, Adlercreutz H, Puska P, Pietinen P. Decrease of serum total and free testosterone during a low-fat high-fibre diet. Journal of steroid biochemistry. 1983 Mar 1;18(3):369-70.
(7) Okuyama H, Ohara N, Tatematsu K, Fuma S, Nonogaki T, Yamada K, Ichikawa Y, Miyazawa D, Yasui Y, Honma S. Testosterone-lowering activity of canola and hydrogenated soybean oil in the stroke-prone spontaneously hypertensive rat. The Journal of toxicological sciences. 2010 Oct 1;35(5):743-7.
(8) Badr FM, Bartke A, Dalterio S, Bulger W. Suppression of testosterone production by ethyl alcohol. Possible mode of action. Steroids. 1977 Nov 1;30(5):647-55.