Testosterone is the most important hormone when it comes to strength building, athletics and pretty much everything that puts a physical strain on your body. Whether your sport is football, basketball, baseball, tennis, Olympic lifting or you’re just hitting the gym to build some muscle, lose weight and become overall fitter, low T levels will definitely halt your results.
Be aware! The following advice only applies for people with slightly lowered testosterone levels. If your T-levels are normal to high, it means you’re already doing everything you’re supposed to be doing and you wouldn’t benefit from naturally higher levels of testosterone.
Also, if your T-levels are way down, you ought to visit your doctor who will most likely prescribe a testosterone treatment. So, who might benefit from the following advice? Anyone who has been struggling with constant fatigue, loss of energy, low sexual drive, difficulty concentrating or stuck in a strength plateau can try out these 6 tips to naturally increase testosterone levels.
1. Proper Sleeping Habits
If you're not sleeping well, you're not recovering well. It's that simple. Even if you spend a lot of time in bed, that doesn't mean all that much if you're waking up constantly and taking a while to fall asleep. So what tips are there for sleeping? Here are the big things to focus on:
- Take 15-30 minutes before bed to focus on just relaxation. Breathe deeply and slowly into your diaphragm, NOT your chest. Meditation and prayer would also be suitable during this time.
- Avoid blue light at least one hour before bed. You could use the application "Flux" on your computer, or just wear orange tinted sunglasses.
- Keep your circadian rhythms in check. Try to go to bed around the same time every night and wake up at the same time everyday. This sucks on the weekends, but if you try it for even one weekend then it might get you out of a sleep deprived slump.
- Lastly, make sure you get as much daylight exposure as possible while you're awake.
2. Vitamins & Micronutrients
With IIFYM being all the rage these days, people have forgotten the importance of nutrition. You need to eat real food to thrive! And there are a few vitamins that really help boost testosterone levels, such as…
- Vitamin D3
- Vitamin B6
- Vitamin B12
Here's the problem though – most vitamin recommendations are from the U.S. Food & Drug Administration. And when it comes to some vitamins, they're not exactly accurate. Therefore, it would make sense to shoot for more than 100% of the recommended daily intake, just to be on the safe side.
3. Intense Exercise
Intense exercise will do your testosterone a world of good. In this context we’re mainly referring to heavy weightlifting and High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) cardio. These are the types of exercise that will REALLY kick your testosterone into high gear. A heavy set of five on overhead press, sprinting until you can hardly breathe…if those don't boost your testosterone, NOTHING will!
Of course that doesn't mean go out there and do something insane like heavy lifting in the morning and HIIT in the evening six days of the week. Only those from the elite reaches of the gene pool can handle a routine like that. Doing just three intense workouts a week can make a difference in your testosterone. Ideally, if your schedule can accommodate, you'd want to do 4-5 intense workouts each week.
4. Reduce Stress
Chill! Just chill out. If you work a job that requires 60+ hours a week on regular basis or one with an awful commute, chances are you're more stressed than most of your peers.
There's a million different ways to reduce stress, but here's just a few:
- Pick up a musical instrument
- Enroll in yoga classes
- Go back to Church
- Get a significant other
- Dump your significant other (quick 180, right? It's true though – don't let a toxic relationship hold you back).
- Read a book
Marvin Gaye was on to something with that one hit wonder. When you get that low-testosterone feeling, you know exactly what you need. Some people claim being chaste for a week can spike your testosterone levels, but any reputable studies debunk this. So feel free to get it on! Three times a week should be plenty of stimulation (as long as your partner agrees!).
6. Consume Healthy Fats
You need to get fat...into your daily diet, that is. Dietary fat is more important than carbs or protein for testosterone levels. It’s usually recommended to have 20-30% of your daily caloric intake consist of dietary fat, depending on your lifestyle choice and whether you're cutting or bulking.
And don't take this as an excuse to start eating pizza and ice cream every day. No, that junk won't do you any good. You need GOOD dietary fat. Here's just a few foods that would suffice:
- Ground Flax Seeds
- Chia Seeds
There you have it! Six effective ways to kickstart your testosterone. Don't expect to look like Lou Ferrigno just by following these tips though. What you CAN expect, however, is faster results in the gym, increased performance in your sport and a better feeling in your overall health and mood.