When people think of testosterone they usually think of one thing: Manliness. But there’s so much more to this hormone than just masculinity, women have testosterone too, and everyone benefits from it. And why wouldn’t they? Optimal testosterone levels are one of the main supporting features of:
- Muscle Mass
- Bone health
- Mental Agility
- And more!
And in this short article, we share of some of the best simple ways to keep yours in check, without having to take the risk of drugs or steroids.
Read on to find out the best steps of becoming a better you:
1. Compound Exercises and High Intensity Interval Training
Naturally the first place you’re going to want to go to boost testosterone is the gym.
And you’d be absolutely right. But there are two types of exercises you should be focusing on in particular to get the maximum amount of testosterone.
Compound Exercises and High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).
Essentially heavy lifting and short, insane cardio. Compound exercises are anything that involves more than one joint movement, e.g. bench press, squats and deadlift. This allows you to engage as many muscle groups as you can, which encourages your body to produce more testosterone to help you recover
This 2006 study showed that male volunteers following a strict 4-week weight workout comprised of many compound lifts boosted their resting testosterone levels by 40% and lowered the stress hormone cortisol by 24%. Now we get to the cardio; High Intensity Interval Training, which we already know, has a range of benefits. HIIT although primarily used for fat loss, has seen great results from a hormonal aspect. A study from the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research has shown that regular sessions of HIIT over a 3 week period can dramatically increase blood testosterone concentration.
2. Vitamin D3 – The Ultimate Testosterone Boosting Hormone
One of the core vitamins you need in your diet for maximum testosterone production is Vitamin D3.
That’s because it’s more than just a vitamin – it’s a hormone. If you learn anything from this article, please make it to supplement Vitamin D3! Vitamin D3 is absorbed through our skin via sunlight, and promotes healthy levels of testosterone, bone health and immunity. The problem is that most people don’t get enough Vitamin D3 throughout the day. Ever. Recent studies have estimated that a whopping 1 billion of the world’s population may suffer from a Vitamin D deficiency.
This is down to modern living. Due to people living and working mainly indoors, it’s harder for our bodies to absorb as much Vitamin D from the sun as we used to in times gone by.
And it’s essential for testosterone production.
Supplementing Vitamin D3 is easily the best answer here, many argue that you can get enough of the Vitamin from diary products like milk – however this is Vitamin D2, which is synthetically produced and nowhere near as effective. Vitamin D3 is the vitamin in its purest form, and exactly what you need to start taking the nutritional steps towards higher testosterone levels. Especially if you live in an overcast country like Iceland or somewhere in the UK.
3. Zinc – The Ultimate Testosterone Boosting Mineral
We’ve covered the core vitamin, now here’s the mineral: Zinc. Found mainly in red meats and leafy greens, zinc is insanely good for boosting testosterone, because it’s a necessity for its production. The process for testosterone starts in our brains, which first requires a reaction to produce LH – the Luteinzing Hormone. This is the precursor to testosterone and essential to it’s production.
And it can’t happen without enough zinc.
Not only that, LH is responsible for growth hormone, hair growth and other benefits. A study focused on elite wrestlers supplementing zinc found that regular supplementation of the mineral both maintained and improved testosterone levels over a 4 week period.
TIP: Don’t overdo Zinc! The maximum recommended daily intake of the mineral is 40mg according to the Institute of Medicine’s Food and Nutrition Board. Too much can result in side effects such as nausea and headaches.
4. Decrease Stress
It’s not just the physical that affects testosterone – there’s a psychological aspect as well. The main problem is stress – and the more you have of it, the less testosterone you produce. This is all down to the stress hormone, cortisol. It’s catabolic, meaning it induces muscle breakdown, fat gains and generally runs your immune system into the ground – contributing a lot to lower testosterone.
You load up on cortisol whenever you do anything that is demanding both physically and/or mentally. But don’t panic, (literally don’t, it’s bad for your T levels) getting more sleep, and engaging in relaxing activities such as meditation can significantly lower cortisol levels and get your testosterone back up to where it should be.
5. There’s Nothing Sweet About Sugar
One of the worst things you can put in your body when it comes to boosting T levels is sugar. This is down to the insulin your body creates to deal with large amounts of glucose. Insulin directly affects with testosterone and reduces your overall count.
This study involving 74 men, consumed 75g of oral glucose, which averaged a 25% decrease in testosterone levels quickly after being absorbed. Cutting down your sugar intake isn’t just good for your waist, it’s essentially to healthy hormone lifestyle.
6. Posing is Power
A big influence in testosterone levels is body language. How you hold yourself is a big part of who you are, and done right you instantly boost your testosterone levels by 20% while lowering your cortisol by 25%!
How? Power Posing.
A study from Harvard University by Cuddy et al. found that high-power poses (e.g. relaxed, chest out and open poses) significantly improve testosterone, in as little as 2 minutes! Whereas having a low-power poses (e.g. being slumped over, arms folded) decreased testosterone. You can learn more about Cuddy’s findings and her research in her TED Talk: ‘Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are’.
See the full talk below:
7. Fat is Your Friend
When you go on a diet, one of the first things people tell you to drop is your fat intake. But they don’t know how wrong they are. Certain types of fat are essential to testosterone levels, and taking in far less of it, dramatically drops your T count. In a 7 month study involving two elite ice hockey teams, Team A took a diet of 40% fat and 45% carbs, while Team B had 30% fat and 55% carbs.
The results were astonishing. Team A had a significantly higher testosterone level than Team B, and even had less Sex Hormone Binding Globulin, a protein that lowers free testosterone in the blood stream.
What your testosterone levels needs more than anything are healthy fats. These are foods that contain either monounsaturated fats (i.e. avocados, nuts, peanut butter) or polyunsaturated fats (flaxseed, salmon, tuna).
Stock up on these types of food and your T-levels will thank you to no end.
RELATED: 10 Workout Hacks for Building Muscle
Featured photo credit: USS Bataan (LHD 5)_140420-M-HZ646-027, Banff’s Sunshine, DSC_1491, Yoga In The Mountains, Sweet sugar, Potsdam, consumer confidence!, a is for guacamole, oops I mean avocado! via flickr
Featured photo credit: arms race/istolethetv via flickr.com
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