There was a time not so long ago, when maintaining strong testosterone levels felt a slightly niche concern. Like something that only really mattered to elite athletes. Or guys wearing posing pouches and more baby oil than your average maternity ward.
Since developing a greater understanding of the hormone and its various roles in the body however, all that’s changed. There’s now agreement that high natural T can benefit everyone. Not just by improving our strength, stamina, physique and performance, but also just keeping us healthy.
Heart disease, diabetes, depression, multiple sclerosis and lung problems are just a few conditions researchers believe healthy testosterone may guard against or help battle. So for most of us, it’s worth the effort to maximize male hormone. After all, who wouldn’t want to look and feel better while living longer?
The problem for many though is figuring out exactly where to start. It’s great that the healthy T train is rolling now, but if we’re not already aboard, it can be tough to know how to jump on.
How often should we go to the gym? Will we need special exercise equipment? Is there a specific diet? What about taking supplements? Legwarmers, are they still a thing? Should we buy them?
Well first thing to do is relax. There are a number of simple steps you can take which will start T on the right track. A lot of them will be things you already do. It’s just a question of increasing some and maybe scaling a couple back.
Anyone hoping for a neat life hack, allowing them to raise T while sidestepping exercise, should keep on hoping.
The truth is when it comes to staying reliably healthy, working out is the best natural tool we’ve got. Any kind of regular aerobic activity will benefit us really, including by promoting testosterone. So if you’re completely new to training, best to ease yourself in to it. Start by gauging your fitness level, initially just doing what you’re comfortable and slowly building from there.
Once we’re a little more experienced however, there are things we can do to specifically target higher T.
Resistance training is particularly effective. For example various types weight-lifting, squat thrusts, lunges, push-ups and sit-ups etc. Studies show the most direct way to stimulate male hormone is through High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). Essentially short bursts of powerful exercise rather than long drawn out cardio like running.
Remember to rest regularly though. Not just beginners either. Once we’re in a good physical rhythm and noticing positive changes, it can be tempting to get greedy. Without sensible recovery days however, there’s a risk of overtraining. This can lead to physical injury or burnout, which triggers a spike in the stress hormone, cortisol, obliterating T.
Not exactly news this, but raising testosterone naturally requires a steady supply of fuel, which comes from what we eat.
Much like cars, there’s a right kind of fuel and the wrong kind. So this isn’t going on a diet so much – depriving ourselves can actually inhibit T – more ensuring a constant source of the right stuff. Remember: more testosterone, greater muscle mass and muscle mass equals less fat. Upping T helps our body correct itself.
The best way to support testosterone is getting plenty of lean protein. Meaning high protein foods with less saturated fats piggybacking on them. Preferably things like venison, chicken breast and Brazil nuts. It all goes towards raising energy and building muscle.
For peak T our diets will need a certain amount of fat. Mainly unsaturated i.e. polyunsaturated and monounsaturated varieties. Omega 3 fish oil, a key nutrient in salmon, is an example of polyunsaturated fat. This helps to control inflammation in the body, benefits cholesterol and supports brain health. Monounsaturated fat, found in olive oil amongst other things, assists in balancing blood sugars and insulin. It also improves cholesterol. Improving isn’t the same as lowering incidentally.
Healthy amounts of cholesterol are a foundation for T building, so eating good sources like eggs is advisable.
Of course it’s also handy to know what to avoid. Pitfalls are best classed as fried or processed meals, high in trans-fats, sugar packed snacks, or foods aiding female hormone levels.
All of these mean T struggles to hit its heights, but estrogen boosting foods are crafty. Unlike the other two, these choices – like soy or dairy products for instance – appear healthy. In lots of ways they are in fact, but with male and female hormones on opposite ends of a balance, anything helping estrogen is hurting testosterone.
Sleep on it
We’ve talked about getting active in the right way, but being inactive properly is equally important. Arguably it’s trickier. Really good quality sleep is crucial for healthy T, but that’s not always the easiest thing to guarantee.
Circadian rhythms are the key. Basically they’re your inbuilt body clock governing when we should be gearing up or slowing down. As you can imagine, our testosterone is guided by this schedule.
For instance, T is typically highest in the morning when we wake, slowly lowering in the evening. This is why enough downtime is so valuable to restock effectively. Repeatedly studies show men who don’t get enough restful sleep have poorer testosterone.
One 2010 study from the Singapore University involving 531 men set out to find a connection between Zs and T. Sure enough those who slept longer were hormonally stronger. Subjects who slept for 8 hours had on average 60% higher T than those surviving on just 4 hours.
That’s a 15% testosterone boost for every extra hour of sleep.
It’s not just about length of sleep however, it’s also about quality. When our systems enter REM sleep, the deepest, most restorative state, that’s when it really goes to work. Messages are sent from the brain to the testicles and work starts on tomorrows T. Undisturbed sleep then is best way to ensure the boys put in a great night shift
There are lots of ways you can do this. Sticking roughly to a sleep schedule is one, so your body comes to recognize its pattern. Staying active throughout day obviously. Also sleeping in complete darkness, avoiding lights our brain may interpret as daylight, No mobile devices an hour before bed will help too. As will regulating your temperature at night, making sure to keep cool in bed.
Save sweating for the gym
So far all we’ve covered is being careful not to put ourselves under too much stress when exercising. But intense physical stress isn’t the only obstacle; mental, emotional and environmental pressure can be just as bad.
Not just in terms of things like high blood pressure, but also specifically for male hormone. Long term tension owing to work, family, finances, relationships etc. will eventually cause a sustained rise in cortisol, our main stress hormone.
Like estrogen, cortisol has an either/or relationship with T. So when one is dominating, you can forget about the other being at its best.
Cortisol can trouble testosterone in a number of ways besides being in direct opposition to it. Evidently stress hormones play a big role in our inability to sleep well. Flight doesn’t really gel with nighty-night and we just heard how lack of rest affects male hormone. Stressful times also raise the chance of comfort eating, potentially leading to weight gain and obesity putting strain on T.
Clearly everyone’s problems are personal to them, so there’s no one size fits all solution. But if we are able to reduce stress in our lives we will quickly see and feel the benefits. Try switching off from work after a fixed time every night and making plenty of time for relaxing activities you enjoy. Even meditation can help.
It’s worth pointing out healthy testosterone is associated with a rise confidence. So improving it may result in a positive loop. Feeling more able to deal with challenges, so less stressed, allowing a healthier T flow and so on.
Supplement your efforts
If you’re still holding out for some sort of cheat, suggesting natural supplements is as close as you’ll get. Not to be confused with any dodgy Lance Armstrong business, these aren’t cheating because won’t do the work for you. But they can offer a safe, organic helping hand.
We’ve already touched on fuelling testosterone through nutrition. But there are situations where that’s difficult.
Like in the case of vitamin D. Drawn largely from the sun and brilliant for testosterone in high enough amounts, but what do we do if we can’t rely on the weather? Or zinc. Essential for the creation of T and present in foods yet not easily absorbed in the right quantities to make a difference. Then there’s ingredients that are useful, although might not end up on our plate that often. Things like ashwagandha for example.
All of these are good reasons to combine a trustworthy, effective natural supplement with our new good habits.
The biggest challenge here is finding the right one for you. Preferably you’re looking for something safe, so approved by all the official regulatory bodies. Also a professional and well-designed product, which can up its claims with clinical research. Our favourites are the more holistic options. One that not only helps testosterone, but energy levels, mental sharpness and sexual function, to make sure we feel back to our peak all-round.
Okay that reads like a lot, but when you actually think about, it we’re not actually suggesting anything that radical.
Most of us are reasonably active anyway, it’s just about channelling that energy. We all eat, so why not refine our diet a little? Beyond that, all we’re asking is you make more time for fun and spend a few extra hours in bed. Win/win. Trust us the only really big changes happening will be your results.
Want to give all your hard work a helping hand? Stock up now!
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Lado-Abeal J et al. Differences between men and women as regards the effects of protein-energy malnutrition on the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis. Universitario de Santiago de Compostela (CHUS), Spain. 1999 (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10355847)
Hämäläinen E et al. Diet and serum sex hormones in healthy men. Department of Clinical Chemistry, National Public Health Institute, Helsinki, Finland 1984 (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6538617)
Goh VH et al. Sleep, sex steroid hormones, sexual activities, and aging in Asian men. National University Hospital, Singapore. 2009 (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19684340)
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