What Is Testosterone
Testosterone is a steroid hormone found in men and women. For men, testosterone is produced in the testicles. For women, it is produced in the ovaries (though in minuscule amounts due to it being mainly a male hormone). Testosterone is responsible for the development of male sexual traits, as well as the production of mature sperm. However, testosterone seems to also have other effects on the body as well. The media advertises high testosterone to rapidly build muscle, lose fat, and improve your mood, sex drive, and energy levels. For the most part, they are right. According to a study done at the Charles R. Drew University Of Medicine and Science, subjects took weekly injections of testosterone for 20 weeks. It resulted in a great deal of fat loss and muscle gain.
What Research Says
Now with this research and you seeing supplement companies going on about their how their testosterone boosters will make you be and feel like “the man”, you probably want to go out to your local supplement store buy as many boxes as you can afford. Slow your roll before you open your wallet and tell the cashier “shut up and take my money”. The subjects did show an increase in muscle mass and fat loss, but that was due to steroid injections along with the testosterone injections increasing testosterone levels exponentially. McMaster University did a study where the subjects did 12 weeks of resistance training. Anabolic hormones increased within normal levels (testosterone, growth hormone and IGF-1), however, they had no effect muscle size.
Normal levels of testosterone in men range from 300 – 1000 nanograms per deciliter (ng/dl). This goes to show you that testosterone levels don’t play a role in increased muscle mass unless there’s a significant increase beyond normal levels. However, high testosterone levels are linked to leanness and fat-free mass. High testosterone is shown to inhibit fat mass while low testosterone is shown to increase the risk of erectile dysfunction and body fat. In case I haven’t said it before, I do not approve the use of drugs, so let’s take a look at ways at how to naturally raise testosterone levels and start burning that annoying body fat.
Ways To Naturally Increase Testosterone
Not surprisingly, working out is a great way to increase testosterone levels. More specifically, lifting weights and high-intensity cardio improves testosterone levels. Pennsylvania State University did a study where twenty-eight Olympic-style weightlifters performed moderate to high-intensity loads with low reps, which resulted in an increase in serum testosterone pre and post workout. On the cardio side, The University of North Carolina did a comparison between high-intensity interval exercise and steady-state endurance exercise. Wondering what the results were? Well if you said that the high-intensity interval exercise produced more free testosterone than the steady-state endurance exercise, you would be correct. It’s important to find a workout plan that incorporates these lifts as well a good high-intensity interval cardio regiment. Later, I will share with you the programs that I’ve used and currently use that are working very well for me.
Eat Healthy Fats
Having a diet that’s rich in healthy fats not only gives you higher testosterone levels, but they are also important for our entire well-being. Healthy fats help us absorb nutrients, give our cells structure, regulate hormones, and support brain and heart function. Foods high in healthy fats are avocados, eggs, coconut oil, olive oil, and dairy.
Eat Enough Calories and Carbs
Believe it or not, your testosterone levels are also affected by the number of carbs. You see, study shows that combining low carb intake with daily exercise increases cortisol levels, and thus decreasing testosterone levels. Cortisol, as we already know, is the stress hormone. Anything that increases stress levels also decreases the “almighty” T levels. It’s important to get enough carbs in your diet, especially if you’re physically active. Not only does a high carb diet give you more energy to push hard in the gym, it raises insulin levels, and insulin reduces cortisol levels.
Calorie restriction also raises cortisol levels. Now don’t take that to mean that you can start eating like crazy. If you’re looking to lose fat, then you need to restrict your calories. However, you need to make sure that you don’t stay in that deficit for too long. After every 8 to 10 weeks, take the time to increase your calorie intake until you reach your TDEE, then return to your calorie deficit. To properly calculate your calorie intake, as well as your macronutrient intake (fat, carbs, and protein), click here.
If you’re a millennial, chances are you are working pretty much 24/7 and stressing ourselves out about almost everything. I know I can be guilty of this too at times. However, it’s important for us time find time to relax and just chill out. When we are stress, our bodies create the hormone cortisol which, due to its catabolic properties, breaks down muscle tissue and put a hamper on testosterone levels, which will lead to increased body fat. Great ways to reduce stress are to take some time for yourself and do some breathing exercises, avoid overtraining your body, eat more healthy carbs, and learn to appreciate life by being grateful and happy with where you are and what you have.
Get Plenty Of Sleep
I always had a bedtime as a kid. At the time, I didn’t care for it. So when I grew up, I started staying up as late as I could. I even stayed up until dawn sometimes. However, as an adult, all I want to do in the morning is stay in my bed. It’s funny how we appreciate the things now that we took for granted as kids. A study shows that get insufficient amounts of sleep lowers testosterone levels, which in turn makes it losing weight difficult. How much sleep one needs varies for each individual, but I think anywhere from 7 – 8 hours is a good general rule to follow.
Get Enough Micronutrients
Micronutrients such as magnesium, zinc and vitamin D are key players in testosterone production. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to get the amount you need from food alone, so I recommend adding a multivitamin to the mix. Also, increase your intake of vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage. They contain indole-3-carbinol, an inducer of oxidative metabolism, which is shown to decrease harmful estrogen levels as well as reduce the risk of cancer.
Make More “Whoopee”
My fellow men, you’ll love this. According to a study by Georgia State University, having sex raises T levels as well. Unfortunately, this doesn’t apply to me yet…but for everyone else, go grab the leading ladies in your lives and get extra frisky in the sheets…or where ever you prefer, I don’t judge. Just don’t forget to be romantic.
Testosterone is a very important component in our health and fitness goals. In raising and maintaining testosterone levels, we achieve an awesome physique, an awesome well-being and a positive outlook on life. Have you tried any of the methods above to naturally increase your testosterone levels? What about another method? Drop a comment below and let me know.