Any time I see a discussion about bodybuilding or fitness in general and the topic is hormones people usually mention testosterone.
And the most common question is how to boost testosterone naturally?
It doesn’t matter if you talk to a fitness fanatic or a beginner, everyone knows that the credits for strength, muscle mass and definition go to testosterone.
And they are right.
Testosterone is important for muscles and for men’s overall health.
Testosterone is primarily a male hormone, but that doesn’t mean that women don’t produce it.
However, men produce 60 times more of this hormone.
This hormone is vital when it comes to man strength.
Because of testosterone, there are differences between men’s and women’s strength, and gender characteristics, as well.
Men and women have this hormone naturally produced, but women have it in much smaller amounts.
As I already mentioned, it’s important for your strength and that’s why bodybuilders want to have a high concentration of it.
A healthy adult male should have at least 800 ng/dl (nanograms per decilitre) of testosterone.
Men have the highest level of testosterone concentration in their mid-20s, and in their 40s the level of this hormone is reduced by about 1% each year. (1)
What is the average testosterone level by age?
You can see that in the graph below.
How levels drop as you age:
What’s the role of testosterone in your body?
It significantly affects your health, it takes part in the work of your heart, brain, bones, glands, and it affects diabetes type 2.
Therefore, the level of testosterone is mainly important for your health.
But, you probably want to know is it important for your biceps. Yes, it is. It helps you with weightlifting, deadlifting, and squats.
Furthermore, when you have a high testosterone level you have a high libido and more energy.
The testosterone level is important for your brain too- it positively affects your cognitive functions such as memory and focus.
What are the symptoms of a low testosterone level?
The drop of the testosterone level is connected with increased irritability and depression.
Signs that you need to check your testosterone level
- Feel tired, exhausted,
- Have nightmares,
- Sweat a lot,
- Gain weight
- Have a sexual dysfunction,
- Have less upper muscle mass.
What can lower your testosterone level?
Stress is the main reason along with some diseases that can lower your testosterone.
Obesity comes right after stress as one of the factors that contribute to lower testosterone because of the increased production of estrogen.
Also, alcohol and bisphenol- a chemical substance found in plastic products can lower this hormone.
So, how to boost testosterone naturally?
You can increase your testosterone level by training, including certain ingredients to your diet, and using some supplements.
As I said before, we are going to talk about natural ways to increase your testosterone level, and we will leave supplements for some other time.
Here are 10 best ways to boost your testosterone:
1. Lose weight
If you have extra pounds, you should lose them to increase your testosterone level.
Men who are a bit overweight, most probably have a naturally lower testosterone level, so the need for weight loss is far more important.
If you are serious and committed to losing weight, you need to cut out (or significantly cut down) the intake of processed sugars since eating a lot of products like that is the main reason for obesity.
This means that you need to eliminate sodas, sweetened juices, fast food, and sweets.
This is important no matter if you are skinny or obese.
Obesity decreases the testosterone level and it decreases the percent of androgen in the blood.
The fat tissue enhances the transformation of male hormones to estrogen, and more estrogen means less testosterone.
Maintaining a healthy weight is key for increasing testosterone.
How to lose weight?
Read my detailed guide here.
2. Exercise, exercise, and … exercise!
How to increase testosterone levels quickly?
The answer is simple – start exercising.
Furthermore, occasional fasting combined with short but intensive workout program can boost the testosterone level and improve your libido because of the production of insulin, leptin, adiponectin, and glucagon peptides.
If you eat a meal high in whey after training you can boost the effects of your exercising.
Bear in mind that hormones that are produced when you are hungry have the opposite effect on your testosterone level and libido.
Intensive workout program:
3 minutes warm-up:
- Work as fast and as strong as you can for 30 secs (intensive training should make you feel as you can’t do a second longer than that).
- And then rest your body by working out moderately for 90 secs.
- Repeat the intensive and moderate exercising 7 more times.
You can use an equipment that’s most convenient for you- an elliptical machine, a treadmill, or you can swim, run, whatever it takes to give your maximum for 30 seconds.
To avoid injuries it’s necessary to warm up.
Also, start with two reps and slowly increase to 8 reps.
Don’t do 8 reps the first time you exercise, especially if you haven’t exercised in a while.
An intensive workout program lasts 20 minutes.
Only 20 minutes!
75% of that time goes to warming up and moderate exercising, so you do only 4 minutes of intensive exercising.
If you’ve never tried this type of workout, you will find it difficult to believe at first that it takes only 4 minutes to achieve your goal.
Believe it, try it, it’s all it takes.
We suggest including strength training program besides the intensive workout program because those exercises also enhance the production of testosterone.
If you decide to try the strength training program, consult a trainer to gradually increase your weight lifts, to reduce the number of reps and to focus on exercises that affect groups of muscles, such as deadlifting or squats.
You will make your strength training harder if you exercise slowly.
By doing exercises slowly you enhance their effect.
You should do bench press, squats, step outs.
Don’t exercise more than an hour because after that period of exercising the testosterone level starts dropping.
Also, don’t forget to rest between series.
You should pay attention to one more hormone which is secreted during working out and that’s the anabolic hormone GH (growth hormone).
Taking breaks that last 60 secs between series has a positive effect on the secretion of GH, whereas resting for 120 secs positively affects the secretion of testosterone.
So, the optimal break between series should probably be around 90 seconds in order to get the best out of these two hormones.
Generally speaking, resting is very important and not only this between series.
Resting is as important as exercising.
You should avoid overtraining since when you do that you don’t allow your body to recover between training.
If you overtrain the testosterone level can drop for 40%.
The symptoms of overtraining are insomnia, irritability, a decrease in muscle volume.
You should sleep for at least 8 hours and never exercise the same muscle groups two days in a row if you want to avoid overtraining.
3. Eat food which increases your testosterone level
Unprocessed, raw, healthy food has vitamins and minerals very important for stimulating testosterone and in some cases, they help to reduce estrogen.
So, how to increase testosterone levels naturally with food?
You need to include ingredients such as fish, meat, eggs, nuts, potato, seeds, and fruit because they are high in zinc, magnesium, vitamin B6, B12, and K2 which raise the testosterone level.
Let’s not forget about vegetables high in fiber like cauliflower and broccoli (they contain dindolimethan which destroys estrogen), and also ingredients high in healthy fats, like avocado and oily fish.
Meat is very important (it is one of the best muscle building foods).
When it comes to which kind of meat, I must say beef and poultry.
Beef contains nutrients that are essential for optimal secretion of testosterone, like zink and proteins.
It also contains iron, magnesium, and saturated fatty acids (necessary for the production of testosterone).
Poultry is also very good because it’s high in proteins.
A varied diet provides you with nutrients that are necessary for hormonal balance.
Read my list of best foods that boost testosterone here.
Also, there are some foods that kill your testosterone.
4. Intake vitamins and minerals
Vitamin D deficiency is connected with the low production of testosterone.
It’s recommended to intake ingredients high in vitamin D and also to expose yourself to sunlight at least 15 minutes a day.
But, be careful.
Don’t exaggerate because staying too long in the sun, especially when it’s strong, can be harmful and it won’t increase your testosterone level.
Furthermore, vitamin K can also affect the rise of testosterone level if you intake 50 mg a day.
Natural sources of this vitamin are egg yolks and hard cheese.
Let’s go back to vitamin D now.
It can help you increase the testosterone level, but if you want great results you need to include zinc, magnesium, and vitamin B6 to get the amount your body needs.
Many people lack minerals and vitamins because they have a bad nutrition.
There is a connection between the intake of these ingredients and the testosterone level.
A proper diet can help you stay healthy and raise your testosterone level.
5. Avoid alcohol
If you have a low testosterone level, drinking alcohol can only do you harm.
Alcohol increases the conversion of testosterone to estrogen and that’s one of the reasons why men become so emotional after a few glasses.
Unfortunately, beer is the worst because it contains a lot of hops which contains a lot of estrogen.
Maybe that’s why men who drink beer get the “beer belly” and man boobs.
Don’t worry if you drink only a few drinks per week, but if you drink a few drinks a day, don’t be surprised if you have a low testosterone level and belly fat.
6. Get more sleep
A good night sleep has a big effect on your body.
Even though work and daily obligations can leave you little time for resting, your health should be your number one priority and you need to find time to relax.
Experts agree that a short afternoon nap can compensate for the testosterone lost during the day.
When you don’t sleep well during the night and you constantly wake up, your testosterone doesn’t increase. (2)
Your body needs time to get used to that kind of interruptions, so try to get a good night sleep as much as possible.
Try reading one hour before sleeping in order to relax.
Meditation is also very helpful to get rid of anxiety and fall into a deep sleep without waking in the middle of the night.
Magnesium can naturally relax your muscles, which makes you sleep well and it increases the testosterone level- so intake before sleeping.
It would be ideal if you could sleep 7-8 hours a day and wake up and go to bed at the same time.
7. Reduce stress
The modern way of living and the advancement of invasive technology makes it harder to simply “shut down”. However, it’s crucial to do that.
When you are stressed, your body produces bigger amounts of the stress hormone, cortisol, which blocks the effects of testosterone.
The explanation for this is that the situations in which testosterone has a direct influence (mating, fighting, aggressive outbursts) reduce the chances for survival in dangerous situations.
In the modern world, chronic stress is a potential trigger for a long-term decrease in testosterone production, and that’s why you need to avoid it.
There are many ways to reduce stress, like meditation, various breathing techniques, sports, yoga, laughter, positive visualization, spending time in nature etc.
So, what’s the conclusion?
Now you know how to boost testosterone naturally.
You can boost your testosterone levels mainly with a good diet, but also with enough sleep and exercising.
Testosterone is very important for every man’s health and well-being.
Testosterone boosts your muscles, so if you increase your testosterone you will notice stronger libido, bigger strength and bigger muscle mass.