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7 Easy Ways to Boost Your Testosterone Levels Without Drugs or Steroids

7 Easy Ways to Boost Your Testosterone Levels Without Drugs or Steroids

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
  • Libido
  • Bone health
  • Energy
  • 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).

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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

bench-press

    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 benefitsHIIT 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.

    banffs-sunshine
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      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 HormoneThis is the precursor to testosterone and essential to it’s production.

      And it can’t happen without enough zinc.

      Red-Meat

        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.

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        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.

        yoga-in-the-mountains

          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.

          sweet-sugar-potsdam

            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.

            consumer-confidence

              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’.

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              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).

              avocados

                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 SunshineDSC_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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                Saul McArthur

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                Last Updated on November 15, 2019

                Expert Advice That Will Teach You How to Increase Your Metabolism

                Expert Advice That Will Teach You How to Increase Your Metabolism

                Wouldn’t you like to be able to eat twice as much as you do now without gaining weight? If so, I have good news for you because this is possible when you learn how to increase metabolism.

                How Much Do You Know About Metabolism?

                Before we get to the meat, let me say that metabolism is a term that describes all the chemical reactions in your body.[1] These chemical reactions keep your body alive and functioning, however, the word metabolism is often used interchangeably with the metabolic rate or the number of calories you burn.

                The metabolic rate is a rough estimate of how much energy your body needs to simply stay alive and perform all its biochemical reactions. These reactions require energy, aka burn calories.

                Imagine that your brain alone consumes nearly 20% of your TDEE (total daily energy expenditure at rest),[2] your digestion and the detoxifying system come second, repairing tissues third and so on.

                Staying alive is expensive for your body and its two main currencies are fats and sugars.

                When I am talking about improving your metabolic rate (metabolism), I mean improving the amount of energy, your body requires to (pretty much) lay down in bed and do nothing for 24 hours.

                Extra physical activity, extra thinking or fighting illness are things that require a lot of energy (burn a lot of calories) but they don’t really increase metabolism… actually they can decrease it.

                Can You Naturally Change the Speed of Your Basal Metabolism?

                The answer to this question is yes and you can also achieve an increase in metabolism and a drop in body fat by eating more.

                Shocked? Well, I was too.

                The way I came across this phenomenon is quite funny. Over my 10 years as a coach, I helped many busy professionals to naturally increase their metabolism by getting them leaner, fitter and stronger but, at the beginning of my career, I actually had no idea whether they were losing weight because of an increase in metabolism or because we created a calorie deficit with diet and exercise.

                When I was training my clients regularly, they would lose weight. Every time I would take a few weeks of vacation, I would come back to London and find out that most of them gained back a generous amount of weight despite the fact that they were following their diet and they swapped our weight training sessions with cardio.

                On the contrary, when they were going on vacation, they would do zero exercises and binge like there was no tomorrow but come back either lighter or weighing the same (but looking more muscular).

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                Observing this phenomenon happening over and over again, got me curious about the mechanics of our metabolism and the ways to hack it.

                Was it really possible that by relaxing and eating more food, someone could actually maintain his/her current weight or even be losing fat?

                Driven by the desire to answer this question, I spent a good amount of years researching and testing different food strategies until I finally cracked the code to an improved metabolism that allows you to eat like a king and look like a Greek God.

                Does Eating More Increase Metabolism?

                Before I explain why eating more increases your metabolism, let me dig into something that I see people doing much more often: “eating less and moving more.”

                It is quite common to see people embarking their yearly weight loss journey (usually after Christmas or Easter) by following very restrictive diets and bombarding their body with several hours of exercise per day.

                Despite the short-term effectiveness of this approach, in the long run, if the goal is to increase metabolism and lose a lot of fat over an extended period of time, this simply won’t work.

                As I have mentioned before, eating fewer calories and exercising more are energy-consuming activities for your body. In the first case, your body needs to use its own energy reserves to top up the missing energy it needs to fully function; and in the second, it takes your body extra energy to contract your muscles.

                In both cases, your TDEE (Total daily energy expenditure at rest) doesn’t vary much; therefore your metabolism stays unchanged.[3]

                A different scenario happens when you eat less and move more for an extended period of time (weeks or months). In that case, your metabolism will slow down because your body is receiving a “we have little access to food and we need to run away from threats” signal.

                Your metabolism is like your bank account.

                To understand this concept, let’s imagine that you have $4,000 coming into your bank account each and every month. The money you spend on housing, transport, food and leisure are calibrated according to this monthly income.

                Now, imagine that a rich uncle starts to send you $1,000 each day. What would you do? Probably, you would save that money for the first two or three days but, when you notice that $1,000 keep on coming every single day, you would likely start to spend more right?

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                What if, instead of a rich uncle sending you money, a poor uncle needed your financial help to pay for the treatments of his illness? You would probably try your best to adjust your spending according to your old $4,000 monthly budget.

                That’s exactly how your body reasons:

                More Resources Coming in = More Energy Released (Improved Metabolism)

                Fewer Resources Coming in = Less Energy Released (Decreased Metabolism)

                Note that activities like weight training[4] and high-intensity interval training (HIIT),[5] when combined with an increase in nutrient-rich foods, will also improve your metabolism.

                For this reason, today, when I coach a new client, I always start by increasing their daily food intake and their physical activities. Usually, people are quite confused because they come to me to lose weight and I tell them to eat more but, without fail, the next weekly weight-check shows a lower number.

                Be aware that not all foods are equal and only certain foods have the power to increase metabolism to a noticeable extent.

                Foods That Increase Metabolism

                Doubling up on Snickers bars won’t improve your metabolism and you know that. What you may not know is that certain foods that are marked as “healthy” doesn’t help you with increasing your metabolism. They also make you gain weight.

                Before giving you a list of foods to eat or avoid, let me explain a simple principle of human biochemistry.

                Your body uses energy from three (or four) main sources:

                • Sugars: whether you eat a Snickers bar or a banana, the carbohydrates contained in both get absorbed in the gut and become blood glucose (the basic form of sugar our body utilizes as a source of energy).[6]
                  When blood glucose is present in the bloodstream (elevated levels), the body always uses it as its primary source of energy. When blood glucose levels drop (this phenomenon happens when you’re using these sugars to fuel a physical activity or when your pancreas produced a spike of insulin and stores that glucose into fat and muscles), your body starts to release fatty acids into the bloodstream to use as a source of energy.
                • Fatty acids: either from your own fat cells (adipocytes) or from whatever fat-containing foods you ate in the past 2-3 hours. Fatty acids are a slower and more consistent form of energy than sugars that your body can utilise.
                • Amino acids: Amino acids are the broken-down form of proteins. Proteins cannot be used by the body as a source of energy, not even in their broken-down form. Your body can transform amino acids into glucose with a process called gluconeogenesis.[7] This is a very inefficient process where a decent amount of energy gets wasted (and that’s a good thing for us but I’ll get to that later).
                • Ketones: when you don’t feed your body any source of carbs (or proteins in excess), your liver produces an alternative source of energy called Ketones. It can replace the need for glucose (most of it at least).[8]

                Now that you know the four energy sources the body can use to fuel its metabolism, let’s get to the meat (quite literally).

                To make this simple for you, I am going to divide foods into three categories:

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                1. Red Flags – Avoid the red foods because they slow your metabolism. They are usually extremely low in micronutrients and high in antinutrients (agents that are highly toxic). They are highly processed or spike your insulin levels (therefore stopping your fat burning process).
                2. Orange Foods – Limit your consumption of orange foods. The orange foods on the list are suboptimal choices but they don’t have a negative impact on your metabolism when consumed in moderation. In fact, they contain a decent amount of micronutrients and, if eaten in small amounts, they shouldn’t stop your fat burning process.
                3. Green Foods – These are foods to consume most. Green foods will improve your metabolism and should be the main bulk of your diet.

                Next, I’ll get into details exactly what foods to eat and avoid:

                Sugars and Carbs

                Sugars do not directly improve metabolism because they stop the process of fat utilisation. There is an exception to this rule though. When you eat a diet extremely low in carbohydrates and sugars for an extended period of time (two to six days onwards), introducing carbohydrates and sugars can actually improve metabolism quite a bit.

                Unfortunately, for most of us that love eating bread, pasta, fruit and yoghurt, unless we were on a low-carb diet for the past few days, these foods are not an optimal choice.

                Sugars like fructose (found in fruit or commercial sugar) actually decrease metabolism and should be limited. Heavily processed sugars and carbohydrates should be also limited. Here is the colour list of sugars and carbs that affect metabolism:

                Red Flag Sugary Foods You Should Avoid:
                • Dried fruit
                • Commercial and packaged corn
                • High fructose corn syrup
                • All sorts of candies and lookalike
                • Packaged fruit juices and purees
                • Sugary dairy products like flavoured yoghurt, condensed milk etc
                Orange Sugary Foods You Should Limit:
                • Bread and flour-based products
                • Milk and also vegan milk alternatives that are sweetened
                • Most fruit (exceptions are in the green list below)
                • Potatoes and potato starch products
                • Oatmeals and other grains
                Green Sugary and Carb-Containing Foods That Improve Metabolism
                • All berries except strawberries
                • Tubers like squash, carrots, parsnips etc
                • Sweet potatoes
                • White rice
                • All green vegetables

                Fats

                Fatty acids and fats, in general, can improve or decrease metabolism depending on their composition.

                Red Flag Fatty Foods You Should Avoid:
                • Margarine and hydrogenated fat
                • Lard
                • Gmo oils
                • Most vegetable oils from seeds and peanut oil
                Orange Fatty Foods You Should Limit:
                • Nuts
                • Meat fat
                • Nut oils (macadamia, almond, cashew etc..)
                • Seeds
                Green Fatty Foods You Should Eat Daily
                • Extra virgin olive oil (non-heated)
                • Avocado
                • Coconut oil
                • Butter (organic)
                • Egg yolks (free-range)
                • Bone marrow

                The fatty foods in the green section tend to be very effective in increasing metabolism, especially in the absence of carbohydrates because they stimulate the production of ketones (I’ll talk about this later).

                Bear in mind that 1 gram of fat has 2.5 times the calories of a gram of protein or carbohydrates; therefore “eating more fats” to increase metabolism should be done very gradually to avoid weight gain.

                Proteins

                Eating food not only sends regulatory signals to your brain about abundance vs scarcity of resources, but it can also increase your metabolism for a few hours. This is called the thermic effect of food (TEF).[9] It’s caused by the extra calories required to digest, absorb and process the nutrients in your meal.

                Protein causes the largest rise in TEF.[10] It increases your metabolic rate by 15-30%, compared to 5-10% for carbs and 0-3% for fats

                Eating protein has also been shown to help you feel more full and prevent you from overeating, in fact, a study found that people were likely to eat around 441 fewer calories per day when protein made up 30% of their diet.[11]

                Also, proteins help preserve muscle mass.[12] The more muscle mass we have, the higher our basal metabolism is.

                For these reasons, the first nutritional advice I usually give to clients is to reduce sugars and increase proteins. This quick swap is often enough to kickstart their metabolism and commence the fat burning process.

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                Red Protein Sources That Should Be Avoided
                • Cheap whey proteins
                • Soy proteins
                • GMO meat
                • GMO eggs
                • Packaged meat
                Orange Protein Source to Be Limited
                • Canned tuna
                • Canned fish
                • Canned meat
                • Gluten-rich products like Seitan
                • Farmed fish
                Green Protein Sources to Have Daily
                • Free-range meat
                • Free-range eggs
                • Wild meat and fish
                • Whey protein isolate
                • Collagen and beef protein hydrolyzed

                Note that this is a general categorisation of the foods that, when added to your diet, have the power to increase or decrease metabolism. There are some specific foods and supplements worth mentioning because they have been proven to improve metabolism by increasing thyroid output or resting heart rate, they are as follows.

                Other Foods and Supplements

                Cold water

                Drinking water may temporarily speed up your metabolism. Studies have shown that drinking 17 ounces (0.5 litres) of water increases resting metabolism by 10-30% for about an hour.[13]

                This is not a surprise since our body is made up mainly by water and proper hydration is key to a fast metabolism. This calorie-burning effect may be even greater if you drink cold water, as your body uses energy to heat it up to body temperature.

                MCT Oils or Powders

                Medium-chain triglycerides or MCT have been shown to improve metabolism by stimulating Ketone production.[14] Coconut oil contains MCT fats and, when used as a replacement for cooking oil can help you improve metabolism.

                You can buy the concentrated version of MCT oils and eat it separately to further enhance this effect. Either way, coconut oil or pure MCT oil can be a great addition to your diet if you’re following a ketogenic or intermittent fasting protocol.

                Caffeine

                Caffeine and coffee have been shown to improve metabolism by improving heart rate and, therefore improving calorie consumption.[15]

                Green Tea

                Green tea

                is thought to increase energy expenditure and fat oxidation, and to reduce fat production and absorption.[16]

                Bottom Line

                In this article, I just covered the basics of food and metabolism but, there are many other non-food related things you can do to improve your metabolism, like improving your sleep quality and following certain exercise routines.

                For now, just know that making small and gradual changes to your diet can increase your metabolism and improve your general health. Starting from changing one habit at a time is always the best strategy to accomplish any goal.

                Once you improve your diet, your hydration and your supplementation you can think about testing more advanced “bio-hacks” or techniques like ice baths and fasted HIIT training.

                And remember, having a higher metabolism doesn’t only help you lose weight and keep it off but it also give you more energy and a feeling of vibrancy. If you give it time, it really is worth the investment.

                Featured photo credit: Fitsum Admasu via unsplash.com

                Reference

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