For men and especially men that are on the quest to improve their physique by gaining muscle and losing bodyfat, healthy testosterone levels are extremely important. Testosterone is the main male sexual hormone responsible for, well basically making you a man. As we age, it’s inevitable that your testosterone levels will decrease, especially in your 40’s though it starts in your 30’s and sometimes even in your late 20’s.
The pituitary gland, which is a small gland at the base of the brain, controls production of testosterone by the testes. From there, testosterone moves through your blood and does it’s work.
Your testosterone levels change from hour to hour and tends to be the highest in the morning and lowest at night.
Since your testosterone decreases with age, this is the prime reason that it becomes more and more difficult to build lean muscle and/or lose bodyfat as we get older. Luckily, there are natural ways to increase your testosterone which can not only help you keep pushing on your fitness quest in your 30’s and beyond, but make you more healthy overall.
- Reduce your stress levels – It can be tough sometimes to manage your stress levels, but if you want to maximize your testosterone production, you need to do it. The less stress the better. Stress raises your cortisol levels, a hormone released in times of stress that literally blocks the effects of testosterone. Just let the little things go!
- Lose weight – If you are overweight, getting close to your ideal weight can help increase testosterone production since overweight men are more likely to have lower testosterone levels.
- Get more sleep – Lack of not just sleep, but quality sleep can dramatically reduce your testosterone levels. The more sleep you get, the higher your morning testosterone levels will be. Not only that, but sleep is essential for muscle repair, mood and so much more!
- Eat More Fat – Eating fat is always associated with…well being fat! Not true! Just like there are good carbs and bad carbs, there are good fats and bad fats plus your body needs fat. Fat is actually one of the most critical parts in maintaining and boosting your testosterone levels. Specifically, foods with saturated fats and monosaturated fats help increase testosterone production. Foods like peanut butter, avocados and olive oil contain a healthy dose of monosaturated fat. Red meat, eggs (yolks), coconut oil and cheese are a great source of saturated fat.
- Eat more food containing cholesterol – Like other steroidal hormones, testosterone is derived from cholesterol. If you have low cholesterol, specifically HDL cholesterol (the good cholesterol), you will not be optimizing your testosterone levels. Research have demonstrated a link between HDL cholesterol and free testosterone levels. Good sources of cholesterol for increased testosterone production include egg yolks, red meat and seafood such as shrimp and lobster.
- Lower or eliminate sugar from your diet – This is a toughie for some, but testosterone levels decrease after you eat sugar. It’s that simple. There are many more health benefits to lowering your sugar intake, but lowering your testosterone is reason enough to stop all by itself!
- Take testosterone boosters (Supplements) – A controversial subject as many people do not believe you cannot naturally boost your testosterone with a supplement, but there are key vitamins and minerals that have proven to boost testosterone in subjects. These include Zinc, Magnesium, Vitamin D, Selenium just to name a few. A good ZMA supplement and multivitamin should help you with this. They also make testosterone booster supplements that can naturally help boost your testosterone.
- Specific weight training – Weight training, depending on how you do it, can both increase or decrease your testosterone. To increase your testosterone with weight training, you want to stimulate as much body mass as you can with exercises like the big 3 (bench, squats and dead lifts). These exercise work large portions of your body. Do heavy weights with moderate reps (say 10 or 12).
- Don’t workout for hours on end – If you are endurance training for hours doing cardio, or hitting the weights for a couple hours with lots of rest between sets, you are not maximizing your t-levels. Research shows that on average, workouts lasting longer than an hour can raise your cortisol levels, which can decrease testosterone levels. Try to keep your workouts to an hour or less. If you can’t fit it all in, simply lower the rest between sets to a minute or less and I am sure you can still get your full workout in and save a little time doing it.
Whether you are struggling with low testosterone, starting to creep up in age or simply just want to help optimize your testosterone levels, these simple tips will help you increase your testosterone and turn your body into a lean, mean muscle building machine.