If you’re like most people, you probably already know that the majority of your fitness efforts are going to come from two sources:
It’s often said that about 80% of your results will come from your diet. That squares with my experience. Only about 20% of your results actually come from your exercise program. It’s worthwhile to keep these 2 pillars in mind as we move forward.
When most guys start an exercise or nutrition program what they find is that after a few months, they begin to stall. When they stall they become desperate and they go back to the drawing board, so to speak, and they do one of several things.
- Make changes to the whole workout program
- Increase protein consumption, because after all, protein equals muscle and if you want to increase muscle it makes sense to go heavy on this stuff
- Some of us do is start using testosterone boosters or certain illegal substances
Not All Supplements Work
Here’s the truth about the supplements. Far and away the vast majority of research suggests that they simply don’t raise testosterone in the way that the manufacturers claim. A number of supplements that you probably come across include, fenugreek, stinging nettle, saw Palmetto, and my favorite, D-aspartic acid.
Please don’t misunderstand me. I’m not saying that these have no value. What I am saying though is that to date there is very little evidence that these supplements in and of themselves raise testosterone in otherwise healthy males.
Before you go out and buy more of these supplements, if you’re already doing it, I’d encourage you to find at least one well-designed research trial that shows that the supplement is actually doing what the manufacturers claim.
Unfortunately, some individuals turn to illegal, shady means to boost their testosterone levels. Anabolic steroids are more widely used than most people think because users will resort to any measures to get the physique they want, even if that means risking “life-and-limb”, and I mean that literally.
Let’s cut to the chase and get to the best ways of naturally increasing testosterone.
5 Natural Ways You Could Try…
- Eat smarter
- Train smarter
- Get plenty of rest,
- Get in plenty of sun for Vitamin D
- Increase fat intake.
Let’s start out with number 5; increase fat intake: What I mean here is you want to eat increased amounts of monounsaturated fats in the form of olive oil and avocados. You also want to increase the amount of polyunsaturated fats that you take in such as Omega-3 fatty acids.
Polyunsaturated fats in and of themselves do not increase testosterone to any appreciable degree, but what they do do is they reduce levels of inflammations, that you can exercise harder, and so that other inflammatory factors won’t interfere with the production of testosterone.
Finally saturated fat or fat from animal sources is also an excellent source for cholesterol. Remember that cholesterol is the backbone on which testosterone is built, so if you don’t have enough cholesterol you simply don’t have enough of the precursors to make testosterone.
Number 4; get out in the sun more often, or vitamin D supplementation: It’s been shown that low Vitamin D levels are actually relative to low testosterone levels, and that simply supplementing or getting at least 20 to 30 minutes of sunlight is all that was needed to restore testosterone levels to normal.
For most of us in order to get adequate Vitamin D we need about 30 to 60 minutes of sun, and that’s direct sun exposure on our skin, because remember as you probably already know, one of the main sources of Vitamin D is through UV radiation through our skin.
Supplementing with Vitamin D should be done carefully. In order to optimize testosterone levels you want levels to be somewhere between 40 and 60 nanograms per milliliter. That translates to roughly 1000 to 2000 international units of Vitamin D supplements. Again, the best way to be absolutely sure you’re getting enough is to have your levels checked.
No 3; get in plenty of rest: Various research has shown that we need an average of about 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night to optimize our hormones. Anything less or anything more than that is likely to lead to increases in cortisol.
Cortisol, you may know, as a hormone that actually interferes with the production of testosterone. In fact it’s inversely related to testosterone in that when cortisol levels go up testosterone levels come down.
It’s also known that sleep deprivation increases inflammation and inflammatory markers known as cytokines. That’s not a good thing because when inflammation is up in the form of inflammatory cytokines, then testosterone production tends to be blunted. You don’t want to put yourself in a pro-inflammatory state by depriving yourself of sleep.
No 2; train smarter: Training smarter means lifting heavy, and we’re talking about the compound lifts like squats, bench presses, dead lifts, or overhead press, presses in which you hit the main groups of muscle at least one time per week.
Another key component of training smarter for testosterone is the sprint. Research has shown that short 10 second-flat-out sprints is the amount of effort it takes to optimize testosterone. In fact, a number of studies have looked at different protocols or different intensities of exercises and it turns out that short intense bouts of sprinting leads the pack in terms of optimizing testosterone.
When you’re lifting weights you want to be sure you’re following a linear progressive program.
In other words, you want to be sure that you’re increasing the weight on the bar every week, but you’re doing so in such a way that you’re allowing yourself adequate rest between sessions as well as adequate rest over the long run. Over training is, to my mind, one of the most common things guys do to prevent their testosterone for reaching optimal levels.
No 1; eat smarter: I always advocate intermittent fasting. Again, if you want to learn more about intermittent fasting there’s plenty of good resources.
Basically, when you’re eating smarter you’re combining a nutritional strategy with an exercise strategy.
One way of optimizing hormones is to lift toward the end of a brief intermittent fast. In other words, after fasting for about 12 to 18 hours you want to lift heavy, and that would be the ideal time in order to optimize testosterone.
When you eat, when you are not fasting, the diets that generally work best are those that are high fat, adequate protein and low carb. There are a number of diets that fall into that description, but that’s generally what you want to be going after. You may have to modify that according to your particular needs. For example, if you’re interested in losing fat, then you may want to decrease your fat intake, but I want to reiterate or emphasize that eating more fat does not make you fat.
In fact, there’s more research that suggests that your intake of carbohydrate has more to do with dis-regulation of your blood lipids then does eating fat.
The other thing that I think is worth pointing out is that too much protein can actually decrease testosterone. In fact, any time you eat a meal that is more than 300 kilocalories you’re actually suppressing the production of testosterone.
Don’t get too caught up in exact macronutrient ratios. Just remember that when you do eat you want to make wise choices and not worry so much about exact macronutrient compositions. Too much protein is not a good thing, because excess protein gets converted to glucose and glucose, of course, gets in the way of optimizing testosterone.
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