The function of testosterone in the human body includes more than promoting muscle growth. This valuable hormone is responsible for stimulating sperm production and sex drive and building bone mass. Therefore, a lack of testosterone is not only a serious obstacle on your road to great muscles – if left untreated, low testosterone levels can have grave long-term negative effects on your health, ranging from osteoporosis and diabetes to an increased risk of death from heart disease. In addition, low T can lead to weight problems, mood disorders and impaired cognitive functioning.
Typically, testosterone production decreases as men age. But today, a great deal of men are suffering from very low levels of testosterone throughout their whole lives, making it a general trend among the population. In fact, men’s testosterone levels are now 25% lower than two decades ago. And when levels fall below 300-1000 ng/dL, which is the normal range established by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, medical treatment is required.
This has led to a surge of commercial products that claim to promote testosterone production which unfortunately fail to address the root cause of the issue and provide merely a short-term symptom relief. On the other hand, if you want to end your struggle with low T once and for all, there are many thing you can do to stimulate greater testosterone production on a natural and sustainable way, such as making smarter food choices and restricting your alcohol consumption. Don’t know where to begin? Read the rest of this article to find the answers you’ve been looking for.
#1. Embrace saturated fats
For decades now doctors and dietitians around the world have urged you to eliminate saturated fats from your diet because these evil fats are guaranteed to kill you before you turn 60. If you want to better your testosterone levels, you should immediately forget about this unbalanced piece of advice.
Research has shown that a higher intake of saturated and monounsaturated fats leads to higher testosterone levels, compared to a higher intake of polyunsaturated fats which leads to lower testosterone levels. This hardly comes as a surprise, since cholesterol is the building block for all of your hormones, including sex ones. However, this fact doesn’t justify going overboard on saturated fats – it’s really a no-brainer that too much of anything can be bad for you. Instead of running away from saturated fats, include an adequate amount of good, healthy sources of them in your diet such as butter, coconut oil or red pal oil.
#2. Eliminate late night snacks
No matter how difficult your case of late night munchies is, practice self-discipline and avoid consuming a bunch of carbs of simple sugars before going to bed. On one hand, sugar stimulates serotonin production, which is the reason why chocolate cake makes us happy (and also the reason why some people refer to sugar as an addictive substance), but on the other, it also raises your blood levels of insulin and interrupts the work of sleep hormones such as melatonin. Insulin spikes delay melatonin production, which in turn impairs testosterone and growth hormone production during the night. And we all know that muscle growth happens when you rest and is practically impossible without the combined effect of these two mighty hormones. To avoid messing up your testosterone production, try to avoid late night sugary snacks at all costs, or at least replace them with low-carb fruits.
#3. Lose weight
If the numbers on your scale are far from what they should be, we’re pretty sure you already have a long list of great reasons to lose the excess weight. But let’s give you an additional one: weight problems are a major reason for low testosterone production.
More often than not, being overweight is linked to poor insulin sensitivity, which means that your body can’t metabolize carbs very efficiently, causing your blood levels of insulin to be chronically elevated. In the long run, poor insulin sensitivity is a key contributing factor to diabetes, heart disease and cancer. In addition, chronically elevated levels of insulin lead to a hyper-production of androstenedione, a hormone that’s five times weaker than testosterone but competes with it in the body. In cases of androstenedione over-production, testosterone gets blocked by its weaker cousin and the end result are low T levels. Therefore, the best way for overweight people to boost their testosterone levels is by losing weight and increasing their insulin sensitivity, which of course, will also help them prevent serious illness and improve their overall well-being.
#4. Go easy on the booze
Enjoying an occasional drink isn’t enough to cause any dramatic reductions in testosterone, however the higher the dose and the frequency of drinking are, the greater damage the damage to your precious T levels. First of all, high alcohol intake leads to greater weight gain around the abdomen, which is the most dangerous type of fat your body can store. Among other things, belly fat stimulates the activity of an enzyme called aromatase, which converts testosterone to estrogen. In addition, the hops in beer are so estrogenic that they are being studied as a treatment for menopause symptoms. The best way to optimize your testosterone levels and get some real results from your muscle building efforts is by completely avoiding alcohol. However, if you can’t do that, try cutting your intake by 50% and opt for red wine or spirits.
#5. Include more compound exercises
The way you train has an equal impact on testosterone levels as the way you eat. Multiple researches have shown that high-intensity weight training beats all other routines when it comes to naturally maximizing your testosterone levels through exercise, and compound exercises such as squats, bench presses, deadlifts and Olympic lifts are the best choice you can make. Instead of training different body parts on different days of the week, hit your whole body with compound movements or combine lower and upper body exercises into the same training day. To further boost the effect of the training, consume whey protein isolate (40g for men, 30g for women) after each session to ensure optimal muscle protein synthesis.
Additionally, workouts lasting longer than one hour will cause your cortisol levels to rise, resulting with a decreased testosterone production.
At the end of it all, there is more than one approach to sparking up your T levels. However, instead of wasting your nerves and money on expensive gels and pills, you can reach this goal on a much simpler, more natural and more efficient way by slightly changing your eating, drinking and training patterns. The cost is incredibly small when compared to the gains you’ll get, so give these tips a try and get ready to start building muscle like a pro.