If you are interested in developing a better more aesthetic and muscular physique then you should know by now that Testosterone (or the big T as some refer to it) is the one hormone that runs in your body which is responsible for muscle hypotrophy (muscle development),
improved bone density, improved energy levels (low testosterone levels are correlated with fatigue), improved stamina and overall strength.
Thus, increasing your testosterone production is of vital importance if you truly desire to improve your muscle growth and promote a more impressive figure.
This is the main reason why there are individuals who inject themselves with augmenting chemicals such as anabolic steroids. Anabolic steroids drive testosterone levels to go up and thus lead towards extreme muscle development.
Now, I presume that there is no need for me explain to you how dangerous anabolic steroids are for your general health – they harm your heart (your body is not genetically designed to withhold such a load of intensity), develop tumors around various organs as well as lead to depression if you decide to stop consuming anabolic steroids.
I am sure you have done your homework.
There is no need to panic! Anabolic steroids are not the only means of increasing testosterone levels. There are natural and proven techniques of doing so, which is why I have decided to share with you my 11 easy ways to increase testosterone naturally.
I have previously mentioned this in my articles. Body fat storage is closely correlated with low testosterone levels. This is the main reason why bulking, which can lead to increased body fat percentage, is not a good path to take as it will not only lead to serious stretch marks, but will lead to a decreased levels of testosterone as well as increase your chances of developing type 2 diabetes, increased cholesterol and many other health problems.
What this means is that you really need to work on your diet and make sure that you are consuming only foods that are rich in good macronutrients (complex carbohydrates, good fats (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats) as well as lean protein (eggs, turkey breast, chicken breast,etc)) and micronutrients.
There are also foods that will directly help you improve your fat-burning. I recently wrote an article sharing the 30 best fat-burning foods. Go ahead and check it out and implement some of those foods in your diet to make sure that you are keeping those fat levels as low as possible.
Make sure that you are aiming for foods that are with a low glycemic index (they are high in fiber). Foods that are with a high glycemic index lead to spikes in your blood sugar and ultimately to elevated body fat storages. I have also listed a bunch of foods with a low glycemic index in the pointed article above.
Try to escape “easy calories”. A lot of people that are trying to gain muscle go on a so-called bulking diet. Most of those diets consist of easy calories – foods that are a source of easy calories are the ones with a high glycemic index, high saturated and trans fat content, and high in sugar. People use these foods to make sure that they cover their daily caloric intake. Try to make sure you avoid those types of food as they will lead increased body fat percentage and consequently lowered testosterone levels.
Remember, your body requires a fixed set of calories to maintain performance and muscle growth. By eating more than your body needs will not lead to more muscle or to faster muscle hypotrophy. It will only lead to a higher body fat percentage. You need to make sure that your hormone levels (testosterone, HGH and insulin) are running well in your organism as they are primarily responsible for your body’s ability to develop muscle mass.
Hint: it is possible to lose fat and gain muscle at the same time, but that is another topic worth discussing!
When you are under a lot of stress your body releases high levels of the stress hormone referred to as cortisol. This hormone is known for blocking the effect of testosterone – from a biological standpoint testosterone is associated with behaviors such as mating, competing and aggression. These behaviors lower your chances of survival in an emergency situation (a stressful situation which is why cortisol is released).
Furthermore, increased levels of cortisol can lead to catabolism in the body (breaking down muscle tissue) and elevated body fat storages. Again, from biological standpoint this is because in an emergency situation your body tries to spend as little as energy as it possibly can (the more muscle you have the more energy your body requires) and to maintain high levels of back-up energy (body fat). This primal instinct of the body is also the main reason why it is so hard to lower your body fat percentage to a single digit, especially without losing vital muscle mass.
In our modern world stress is perceived as inevitable. To the point where we even accept it as a normal part of our lives. And most of us believe that it is impossible to lower stress.
I am not expert in the field of stress. However, I personally believe that the best way to decrease stress levels is by focusing on doing things that you love. Give yourself some time to rest, be lazy (sometimes it’s good for you), spend more time with friends and family, focus on changing you perspective to a more positive one (whenever something bad happens don’t stress about the problem itself, but rather about how can you fix it and that there is always a way of fixing it), focus on your hobbies ( I love playing video games and that is what I do).
I would also recommend consulting yourself with an expert who will provide you with valid techniques that will truly help you lower stress levels. And most importantly, do not focus your attention to medicinal drugs to lower stress – they will help you in the short-term but in the long-term will do you more harm than good.
Remember that training is a form of stress. The more time you spend in the gym the higher the levels of cortisol will be. This is why you need to make sure that you do not spend more than 40-60 minutes in the gym. The faster you get out of there the lower your cortisol levels will be.
There are also a couple of scientifically proven supplementation products that will help you suppress cortisol levels and help you maintain lower levels of stress in general. I will not go into too much detail about the products, you can check them out for yourselves, but I will list them for you:
- Phosphatidylserine – naturally occurring phospholipid complex that is in nearly all the cells of the human body;
- Ashwagandha – an indian herb referred to as “adaptogen”, a term coined by a Russian scientist to describe a compound that aids the body adapt to stress related stimuli;
- Multivitamin – micronutrient defficiencies is prevalent, even in developed countries. Vitamin C is probably one of the best micronutrients that can help you balance high cortisol levels. A couple of tests have proven that a deficiency in vitamin C will quickly increase the individual’s cortisol levels. Zinc and magnesium are also linked with cortisol maintenance;
- Antioxidant Blends – it has been researched over and over again that for the majority of athletes that were treated with antioxidant supplementation (vitamin C is an antioxidant as well) showed lowered indexes of cortisol in their bodies.
The mineral Zinc is extremely important for testosterone production. Research has shown that restricting dietary sources of zinc leads to a noticeable decrease in testosterone, while zinc supplementation increased it.
In a study by the Department of Internal Medicine, Wayne State University School of Medicine, USA, it was found that there is a relationship between cellular zinc and serum testosterone. The study was run across 40 different men at the age of 20 and 80. Their levels of testosterone were measure before and after being introduced to a restriction of dietary zinc intake. After looking at the results the study concluded that dietary zinc restriction was associated with a significant decrease in serum testosterone concentration after 20 weeks of zinc restriction.
Your diet is the best source of zinc – rich foods like meats, primarily beef, and fish, other good dietary sources include cheese, beans, milk, yogurt. Oysters are known to be the richest source of zinc as in raw form 100g of oysters deliver approximately 100mg of zinc (which is a dangerously high level of zinc). When cooked they provide the body with about 33mg which is almost your necessary daily intake.
It can be complicated for vegans and vegetarians to provide their bodies with adequate levels of zinc. This is why you can use supplement products that are rich in zinc and consume them instead.
The recommended consumption of zinc for men and women at an age greater than 19 was 40mg. If you are consuming more than that you are running the risk of zinc poisoning which can lead to nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, and many other negative side effects.
Vitamin D, not an actual vitamin but a steroid hormone, is essential for the healthy development of nucleus of the sperm cell and helps maintain quality and sperm count. Vitamin D is also responsible for increased levels of testosterone, which may boost libido. In a study, overweight men were given vitamin D supplements and had a significant increase in testosterone levels after about a year.
Interestingly, vitamin D is also correlated with treating cancer cells as it connects to the vitamin D receptor of the mutated cell and sends valuable data to the nucleus of the mutated cell so that it can repair itself. If the cell cannot be repaired vitamin D tells the cell how to destroy itself.
Approximately 90 percent of this hormone is created when the body’s skin is exposed to UVB light (sunlight). There are, of course, where UVB supply is impossible or extremely low. In such as case scenario I would recommend visiting a safe tanning bed (with electronic ballasts rather than magnetic ballasts, to avoid unnecessary exposure to EMF field). It is important to make sure that you do not overexpose yourself to these tanning beds as it can lead to serious problems.
An alternative would be supplementing your body with vitamin D3, which can be taken orally. In various assessments, individuals who received vitamin D had statistically significant increases in testosterone. Total testosterone levels rose by 3nmol/liter to 13.4 nmol/liter after 12 months of vitamin D supplementation.
Your body’s ability to produce testosterone depends heavily on your dietary fat intake. Keep in mind that when I speak about consuming fats I am emphasizing on healthy fats such as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.
Saturated fats, even though perceived as unhealthy, are also incredibly important, they need to be taken in moderation. Trans fats, however, play no role in testosterone production and carry an enormous amount of health disadvantages.
Fat contains cholesterol, which is converted to steroidal hormones by your body. A diet where less than 20 percent of the calories come from lipids (fats) will limit your body’s testosterone production.
In a study researchers tested several nutritional factors to analyze how they correlated with pre-exercise testosterone levels. What they concluded was that diets high in saturated fat and monounsaturated fats, significantly increased testosterone levels. Researchers also saw that the higher the dietary fat intake, the higher the testosterone.
This, of course, does not mean that you have to overindulge in fats as this will lead to an increased stored body fat – lowered testosterone.
You need to make sure that approximately 20-25% of your daily calories are coming from healthy fats. Keep in mind that in 1g of fat there is 9 calories – if your daily caloric intake is 2600 then that means that 1/4 of it needs to come from lipids (650 calories), which is approximately 70 grams of fat. Any calories that are coming from fats in excess then you will start gaining too much body fat.
Healthy fats are also beneficial for you as they enhance your body’s absorption and storage of vitamins as well as improved protein synthesis.
Good sources of healthy fats are:
- Olive oil – can be used as a substitute to other cooking oils like sunflower seed oil as it much higher in monounsaturated fats.
- Coconut oil – a source of medium-chained fatty acids which are treated by the body as carbohydrates (a primary source of energy) and deliver the same benefits as fats.
- Cashews – high in fiber and a good source of important for testosterone levels micronutrients that will help you elevate and maintain your T levels. They also make a great snack between meals to help you full and satiated;
- Walnuts – have been regarded as a great source of saturated fats as well as a powerful source of omega-3,6 fatty acids that will help you maintain a healthy heart and healthy joints;
- Pistachios – Really good source of monounsaturated fats and saturated fats as well as high in fiber helping you control your blood sugar;
- Almonds – Extremely powerful source of monounsaturated fats which is why they have been regarded as one of best forms of nuts to be consumed when striving for muscle growth;
- Flaxseed – flaxseed is also a really good source of zinc;
- Sunflower seeds – sunflower seeds have a really good amount of polyunsaturated fats (which are related to lowering testosterone) but they are also a really good source of monounsaturated fats and make a great snack to have in between meals;
- Avocado – a really powerful source of monounsaturated fatty acids and saturated fats with zero cholesterol. Furthermore, the avocado’s fatty acid content makes it a powerful tool that will help you maintain a healthy heart and lower your bad cholesterol and increase your good cholesterol;
- Fatty fish – a really powerful source of omega-3,6,9 fatty acids that help you maintain a healthy heart as well an increased metabolic rate;
- Dark Chocolate – also a source of theobromine has a similar function as caffeine and will help you increase performance during your training;
- Egg yolk – a rich source of saturated fats and monounsaturated fats as well as powerful micronutrients that boost testosterone levels (zinc, vitamin B6 and vitamin D);
- Meat (a powerful source of saturated fats) – must not be taken in excess.
These foods are also with a low glycemic index, which will benefit you with a low blood sugar and low insulin levels – resulting in lower body fat and thus higher testosterone levels.
Research suggests that BCAAs result in heightened testosterone production. While BCAAs are available in supplement for, you’ll find the highest concentration of BCAAs in dairy products – especially in cheeses and whey protein.
Even after supplying your body with leucine (a branch chain amino acid) from natural food supply, it’s often wasted or used as a building block instead of an anabolic agent. To create an anabolic environment you need to boost BCAA consumption way beyond maintenance levels.
Testosterone levels are hindered after you eat sugar. This is caused because sugar, especially from a high glycemic index, leads to a high insulin level (when your body has blood sugar spikes it releases insulin to lower the blood sugar). When there are higher levels of insulin the body testosterone levels are lower. Insulin cannot co-exist with HGH (another muscle growth hormone).
According to USDA estimates, the average US citizen consumes 12 teaspoons of sugar every day – this equates to about two tons of sugar during the lifetime of the individual.
The reason why we, as humans, love sugar is obvious – it is correlated with the release of dopamine in the body (the feel-good hormone), which is responsible for the joyful feelings we get after sex or after consuming a block of chocolate. The problem is that our bodies can become addicted to the release of dopamine and request more and more of it, which can lead to an over-excessive consumption of sugars. This is also why people who suffer from depression or have went through a stressful moment in their life prefer to spend their time doing things that are responsible for the release of dopamine (drinking alcohol, eating sugary treats, etc).
If you are a sugar addict and find it hard to eliminate sugar from your diet then what you can do is try your best to consume foods that are with a low glycemic index, but still contain sugar. Fruits are a good source of sugar and they are with a low glycemic index due to their dietary fiber content. Honey, which is literally sugar, is with a low glycemic index, which is the main reason why people who suffer from diabetes can still consume honey. Foods that are with a low glycemic index will ultimately lead to an elevated testosterone production.
Let’s not forge that sugar consumption is also interconnected to fat gains – more fat storage = less testosterone.
Short and intense exercises have been shown to boost testosterone levels as well as preventing its decline. Prolonged moderate exercise has been shown to have a negative effect on testosterone production.
This is not only associated with cardio. The same goes for your resistance training – the higher the intensity of your workout the higher your testosterone levels will be during your resting.
On a biological level this is quite understandable – your body is in an intense situation which your body perceives as dangerous (running for your life), as a result your body will release higher levels of testosterone so you can be faster and stronger next time a similar high intensity situation crosses your path.
High intensity training has been shown to increase satiety hormones including insulin, leptin, adiponectin, glucagon-like-peptide-1 (GLP-1), colecystokinin (CKK) and melanocortins, all of which are related to healthy testosterone production and preventing age-related testosterone decline.
When applying higher intensity to your resistance training that would mean activating more muscle simultaneously. More multi-join or compound exercises (squats, deadlifts, benchpresses, lunges,etc) will really help you boost the intensity of your workout. The more isolated your exercises are the lower the intensity will be.
Quite recently, Ali Kuoppala from Anabolicmen.com reported that by increasing his intensity in his resistance training he managed to increase his testosterone levels with approximately 40 percent!
In other words, high intensity has a serious impact on your ‘T’ levels, especially when applied to your resistance training.
The point in time when your body is repair itself is when you are asleep. That is also when your body produces the most HGH and Testosterone.
Not to mention that it is also the one part of the day where your cognitive function is inactive, not literally.
You are not coming into contact with other people, you are not dealing with problems, you are not stressing. This means that your cortisol levels are at its lowest point.
I am not saying that you are suppose to completely eliminate alcohol from your plans. I know ho wimportant partying is for you guys, but lowering your alcohol consumption will genuinely lead to an increased testosteron production.
Chronically high consumptions of alcohol can significantly increase estrogen levels. This is because it boosts the activity of the aromatase enzyme, which converts the male sex hormone (testosterone) into the female sex hormone (estrogen). This will also lead to other negative effects on your body such as increased fat tissue around the chest area as well as increase the chances of cancer.
Furthermore, alcohol is known to stimulate the brain to release beta-opioid endorphins. This type of enzyme is the main reason why you feel so relaxed fater a few cold beers. Sadly enough, they are also notorious for their negative effect on testosterone synthesis.
Alcohol consumption is linked to cause oxidative damage in the testicular leyidg cells, which leads to local recution of testosterone in your testies, and also he destruction of some testosterone molecules that are already in circulation.
Various studies have found that heavy alcohol consumption can significantly reduce testosterone levels. Men who suffer from alcoholism are shown to have much lower levels of testosterone and higher estrogen levelswhen compared to men who do not consume alcohol.
Not a lot of people seem to believe that overtraining exists. I have heard people telling me that if you are training 7 days from the week then you are not working your muscles hard enough and missing out on those muscle gains.
The truth, of course, is that overtraining does exist and I would expect that by this time it has become common sense for everybody who is exercising regularly that overtraining is not a myth but a legitimate medical term.
To paint a better picture for you, overtraining is the threshold of strength and endurance your body currently has. There are some people that believe that this barrier does not exist and that by pushing hard your body will grow like crazy!
The truth being is that you are not allowing your body enough time to recuperate from the intense workout you had a day or two ago.
This in turn increases your cortisol levels (which as explained above has a negative effect on your testosterone levels) resulting in loss of muscle and fat tissue development.
How do you know if you are overtraining ?
Overtraining is a pretty complicated matter. The problem is that it does not occur in the muscles first but it hits your endocrine system and nervous system, making it quite hard to detect.
It’s the endocrine system and nervous system that go out of whack first, and sometimes that’s hard to understand.
As funny as it may sound I find it that if I do not have my glorious “morning wood” then there is something whack going on with my cortisol and testosterone levels. Considering that everything is up to date the only logical conclusion would be that I have been overtraining.
If you are, well you know, a lady, then things are a bit harder, no pun intended.
Even if you do not use my magnificent testosterone and cortisol measuring tool (again no pun intended) I can honestly tell you that if you are training about 7-10 hours a week and are giving yourself about 20-30 seconds rest between sets and are training with 15-20 reps with about 5-6 sets, you are overtraining yourself!
So the question in hand is – How do we avoid overtraining ?
It’s pretty simple actually, give your muscles enough time to rest between your workout days. It is important to remember that it takes your muscles about 48 hours to be fully rested. That’s also the period when protein turnover occurs in your muscles.
There are of course organism differences which means that everybody has a different overtraining threshold. You need to find out for yourself what is the best resting time that you can give your muscles so that you can avoid overtraining and at the same time avoid losing muscle growth potential.
Give your muscles enough time to rest between sets as well. I would recommend giving them about 60-80 seconds. Anything below 60 is too low and anything above 80 is too high.
Maintaining good levels of testosterone is absolutely vital if you want to develop a more muscular and aesthetically pleasing body.
Testosterone production will also aid you with your strength and speed, so if you are aiming and pushing, pulling and lifting any heavy objects as a strongman competitor, then increasing your testosterone would be of top priority.
The best part of course is that by following these easy 11 steps you can naturally increase you T levels without harming your internal and external health.
Thank you very much for taking the time to read my article, I hope I managed to assist you in some way.
Have a great and testosterone filled day!