You already know how important testosterone is to your physique, how you feel and your libido. Just to remind you, if you want to be a lean, mean, alpha, you need testosterone. Up until now, we’ve focused on what to do to raise your T-levels.
As we mentioned before, your own testosterone production can be optimized by training the right way, eating the right way, supplementing with the right supplements and overall changing your lifestyle with a healthier one.
Despite reading and implementing all this great information, you may still be sabotaging your T-levels by doing some things wrong so to stop you wasting your time and energy and undoing a lot of your good work, hare are our five top DON’TS for ensuring your T-levels are always on the up and up!
Don’t neglect dietary fats
Fats are the building blocks of hormones – including testosterone and cholesterol, a kind of fat, is also really important. Low fat diets are notorious for lowering your testosterone levels so don’t fall into the trap of thinking low fat diets are good.
You should be consuming around one gram of fat per pound of bodyweight and your fat intake should be one third saturated, one third monounsaturated and one third polyunsaturated.
If you think this is too much fat and you’ll gain weight, you are probably chowing down on way to much carbohydrate so make some changes so you can eat enough hormone-making fat without gaining weight. Skip the bread, rise, pasta and potatoes rather than cutting down your fat intake.
And stop throwing out your egg yolks if you care about your T-levels. They contain essential vitamins as well as cholesterol which are strongly linked to increasing your testosterone production. Again, if you are skipping the yolks for weight management reasons, you’d be way better off eating less toast and juice with your eggs.
Don’t do excessive cardio
Lots of steady state cardio is a great way to see your T-levels plummet. Long sessions of jogging or bike riding – any cardio really – can cause a significant rise in cortisol; cortisol being a stress hormone which reduces testosterone production.
The main reason most people do lots of cardio is for weight management. Once you go over around 20 to 30 minutes three times a week, any additional cardiovascular health benefits are negligible so unless you are actually training for an endurance event, more cardio is pointless.
Rather than try and run off your gut, eat a little less carbs, superset your workouts and do some sprints, barbell complexes, kettlebell swings or heavy bag work – real man’s cardio. Leave the jogging to those skinny, weak-a*s endurance types!
Don’t train longer than 90 minutes
You can train long or you can train hard but you can’t train long and hard. Of course, lots of powerlifters spend two or three hours at a time training and even Arnie, the patron saint of bodybuilding, trained for two hours per session but these marathon workouts were punctuated by very leisurely breaks, food was often consumed and many were taking supplemental testosterone which pretty much rewrites the rule books.
Long workouts, like excessive cardio, causes an increase in catabolic hormones and a decrease in anabolic hormones. In simple terms, that means your body is primed for breaking down and not building up.
Keep the intensity level of your workouts high and your workouts to 60 to 90 minutes in length. Work hard and then, when you are done, get the hell out of the gym and eat a good-sized protein and carb-rich meal. Extra sets above and beyond your ability to recover simply delay the rebuilding process.
Don’t skip compound exercises
These man makers have been shown to elevate your testosterone levels in the hours after your workout; especially if you lift heavy, use low reps and do multiple sets. Build your workouts around the big three of squats, deadlifts and bench presses and add in some overhead pressing, heavy chins and rows and power cleans if you are so inclined. Spread these exercises across your workout week, add in some assistance exercises like curls and calf raises and you have the perfect recipe for training to increase your testosterone levels.
Don’t spend lots of time on isolation exercises like triceps kickbacks, side lateral raises and dumbbell flyes. While there is nothing especially wrong with these exercises, they do not trigger the same anabolic hormonal response. Think 80% big lifts, 20% isolation and you’ll be on your way to strength and size – guaranteed.
Don’t overeat soy
Soy is a cheap and readily available source of protein and because it comes from beans, it’s considered to be very ethical and ideal for vegetarians. A couple of portions of soy milk or tofu a week is no big deal but guys, if you want to maximize your T-levels, don’t break the three-serving rule.
Soy is strongly linked to increased estrogen levels – particularly in men. So, while it’s great for the gals, guys with an eye on their T-levels should go easy on soy.
Estrogen is testosterone’s evil twin and if your estrogen levels rise, your T-levels go down – it’s like a hormonal teeter-totter. Estrogen does everything that testosterone does not – it promotes fat storage, has no noted anabolic effect and is not linked to a higher male sex drive or increased strength.
The bottom line is; if you care about your T-levels, don’t consume too much soy. A couple of frozen soy desserts a week is fine; Soy protein powder twice a day is not.
So there you go – not only do you know how to maximize your T-levels, you also know what do to avoid inadvertently sending them crashing back down. Being awesome isn’t easy and requires a lot of work on your part but the rewards make it worth it the effort – you’ll be stronger, leaner and more of a badass than 99% of the population.