#1: Get Plenty of High Quality Sleep
How many hours do you sleep on most nights?
On a daily basis, the majority of your testosterone is released while you’re sleeping. This means your body will naturally release less testosterone if you sleep less.
In fact, many studies have shown that sleep restriction has a HUGE impact on testosterone levels. A recent study measured a 10-15% drop in daytime testosterone levels in healthy young men who underwent one week of sleeping only 5 hours per night.
That’s a significant drop!
And many other studies have confirmed the same thing: your total sleep time is a strong predictor of your testosterone levels.
Now, there’s no magic number here, but I recommend getting 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep per night if you want to ensure that your testosterone levels don’t take a hit.
If you struggle to sleep well, here are a few things that have helped me:
- Make sure your room is cool (use AC or leave a window cracked)
- Use a fan to drown out any noise that might wake you up
- Darken your room as much as possible (blackout blinds can help)
- Don’t have caffeine at least 6 hours before bedtime
- Avoid stressful or exciting activities for 2 hours before bedtime
If you want to optimize your testosterone levels, getting enough sleep every single night should be the first task on your to-do list.
#4: Optimize How You Deal with Stress
We all have stress. It’s an inevitable part of life.
The difference is that some of us let it consume us, and others know how to manage it.
If you let it consume you, and you constantly feel stressed out and anxious, it will cripple your testosterone levels.
You see, studies show that your body’s natural response to stress is to release more of the hormone cortisol. Studies also show that elevated levels of cortisol result in suppressed levels of testosterone.
Basically: when you get stressed out, your testosterone levels decrease.
Now, if you’re able to deal with the stress and move past it, this temporary decrease in testosterone will not have a lasting impact on your body. However, if you’re always stressed out, then your testosterone levels will constantly be lowered, and this will impair your ability to build muscle, your sex drive, and your energy levels.
Everyone has different ways to deal with stress, but here’s my “secret” method:
- Recognize that you’re feeling stressed
- Accept the fact that you’re feeling stressed out, and tell yourself that it’s ok
- Now relax your shoulders down and draw back your shoulder blades
- Finally, focus on breathing deep breaths into your belly (count 10 inhalations/exhalations)
By mastering your ability to cope with stress, you will further optimize your resting testosterone levels.
Read More: How to Build Confidence Through Meditation
How to Increase Testosterone Naturally
There you have it.
Let’s quickly review everything you should do to naturally optimize your testosterone levels:
- Sleep 8 hours per night
- Get lean (12-15% body fat)
- Eat a balance of carbs, fats, and protein
- Learn to deal with stress when it arises
- Take a multivitamin that contains zinc and vitamin D
- Don’t do too much cardio
- Follow a proven weightlifting routine
Now, these are not the only ways to boost testosterone, but they are the most effective. If you follow these steps, you’ll ensure your testosterone levels are as high as they can be!
5. Supplement Smarter
In addition to maintaining the right diet and workout routine, a few simple supplements can also support your T-boosting mission.
- Caffeine: While caffeine can’t ramp up testosterone directly, it can help you put in the quality work in the gym that will spike your T. One International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism study, for instance, found that athletes who consumed caffeine before training lifted more—and experienced a greater subsequent lift in testosterone—than those who took a placebo.
- Vitamin D: Recent research suggests a strong link between vitamin D and hormone function—but as much as 40 percent of Americans are estimated to be deficient. That’s where supplements come in: According to a study published in the journal Hormone and Metabolic Research, vitamin D-deficient men who also had low T experienced a roughly 25 percent increase in T levels after supplementing with 3,000 IU of vitamin D3 for one year.
- Zinc: The mineral zinc can block aromatase, an enzyme that converts testosterone into estrogen, and zinc deficiency has been linked to low testosterone. In fact, one Biological Trace Element Research study found that middle-aged men with lower levels of T also tended to have lower levels of zinc than men with healthy T.
- Ashwagandha: One of the hottest herbs out there right now, this adaptogen packs a one-two punch. First, it helps the body fight off stress: According to one Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine study, ashwagandha has a cortisol-lowering effect—a major benefit to anyone who wants their body to be more T-friendly. And, second, it can also support your T-boosting training efforts. One Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition study, for example, found that men who supplemented with ashwagandha saw significantly greater strength and T gains after eight weeks of resistance training than those who took a placebo.
Save this handy infographic to keep your T in tip-top shape:
Diggin’ What’s Good? For more essential health facts, tips, and inspiration, join our Facebook communities, Eating Healthy and Staying Fit, today!
Why You Should Increase Your Testosterone
For men, testosterone is one of the most important hormones in your body.
While there is such a thing as too much T, it’s incredibly hard to reach this point and the side effects are aggression and other mood-related adversities.
In fact, the side effects of having low testosterone is way worse than overdoing it. Depression, fatigue, osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s, and ED are common problems related to low testosterone.
Therefore, if you ever experiencing low levels of energy, additional fat tissue, low libido, or just feeling down all the time, then you may have low T.
This is more serious than you might think, so finding natural ways to increase your testosterone is vital for your overall wellbeing.
Benefits of More Testosterone
There are obviously numerous reasons to ingest more testosterone:
- Testosterone decreases body fat: Probably the #1 thing everybody wants, body fat shares a direct correlation with the amount of testosterone in the body. When you have low levels of T, your body can no longer regulate insulin, glucose, and fat metabolism as efficiently. This leads to the accumulation of adipose tissue (a.k.a. fat), which actually is an aromatase that turns your limited testosterone into estrogen. Basically, a slippery slope. More testosterone aids in the regulation of fat storage and metabolism.
- Testosterone battles depression: While the reasoning isn’t exactly clear, when men have low testosterone, they’re more likely to have symptoms of depression. When men have high testosterone, or have doctor-injected testosterone, the symptoms go away. We’d say that’s a good enough reason to add more T to your diet.
- Testosterone increases muscle mass: The second biggest reason why bodybuilders and other gym rats are nuts about testosterone is the effect it has on muscle. The most known fact about testosterone is that it increases muscle protein synthesis. (This is what turns your protein into additional muscle, especially after a workout.)
- Testosterone strengthens your heart and bones: This is one of the areas where research is relatively mixed. Some say too much testosterone spells trouble in terms of heart disease. Others claim low T is the true killer. Our recommendation is this: Err on the side of more is better. There’s an optimal amount, and it’s usually high. As for your bones, testosterone plays a crucial role in bone density via mineralization and reducing resorption.
- Testosterone ups libido and sex drive: Time to woo that woman. By far the biggest symptom of low testosterone is lower libido and erectile dysfunction. Up your sex drive by making sure you have enough testosterone coursing through your body.
- Testosterone lowers chance of Alzheimer’s: If you maintain optimal levels of T throughout life, you may avoid Alzheimer’s disease altogether. Even if you get older and start seeing the symptoms of Alzheimer’s, if you increase testosterone then the continual progression of the disease slows significantly.
- Testosterone enhances cognition: Memory and testosterone are tethered together. Not only does it deter Alzheimer’s, it also improves overall memory, prevents brain tissue decay, and improves cognitive function. These benefits are seen in older men, however; there hasn’t been a definitive link with young people. But that shouldn’t stop you from upping your T. It will help in the long run.
- Testosterone increases competitiveness (and lust for power): The common uproar about heightened levels of testosterone is the mood and social differences in men. Testosterone fuels our desire to win. In fact, a study showed that your T level determine whether you try again and again after you lose a game. Dominance is also another machismo trait resulting from extra testosterone. Social status is key in life, and once you increase your testosterone you want to reach as high as you possibly can. This is a tremendous benefit, because it allows you to compete and strive for a higher self.
- Testosterone adds an element of risk-taking: Somewhat related to competitiveness and power is the cheating of death and other things. When you’re a man with low status and power but high levels of testosterone, you’ll be more willing to take risks to obtain a higher status and extra power. Also, students with higher T will go for riskier careers. Be warned: With additional testosterone, your risk aversion will falter in multiple categories.
As you can see, testosterone affects a ton of things in our body. This is the top hormone in men that determines lifestyle.
The more T you have, the better your outlook and the more on-track your health will be long into your older years.
Plus that whole gain-muscle-lose-body-fat thing.
1. Do Compound Exercises
There’s no way around it. Lifting heavy weights is a must if you want to boost testosterone. Simply working out at all will boost your testosterone levels to begin with, but studies have shown that compound lifts will increase your test levels more than machine exercises alone.
The best compound lifts to boost testosterone levels are deadlifts and squats, but any other compound lift (overhead press, bench press, barbell row, etc.) will significantly increase your testosterone levels for 48 hours afterwards. Why? Probably, because you’re activating almost every single muscle fiber in your body when you do them.
If you’re new to working out, I recommend getting yourself a copy of Mark Rippetoe’s Starting Strength. Mark Rippetoe is one of the most knowledgeable guys around when it comes to compound lifts, and his simple yet effective compound-lift-based routine is a great place to start.
2. Supplement with ZMA
ZMA stands for zinc, magnesium, and aspartate (or vitamin B-6). These three nutrients work synergystically to help your body boost testosterone naturally, according to several studies. The reason why is that they’re precursors to testosterone, or in other words, your body needs zinc, magnesium and aspartate to build it.
I personally take ZMA on and off, because I get most of my nutrients from eating healthy, real, organic food and taking a good multivitamin, but when I’m training extra hard for a photo shoot or to break through a plateau I use Animal PM.
Not only does it have ZMA, but it has GABA, Valerian root, arginine, glutamine, and a whole bunch of other great stuff to help you fall asleep fast and recover while you’re sleeping. I know that I personally feel a difference when I take the stuff, in both my recovery time and how well-rested I feel.
If you do decide to try out Animal PM, I recommend cycling on and off so that you don’t build up a tolerance to the sleep-inducing ingredients. They aren’t harmful, but it’s best to give your body a break every now and then.
3. Utilize Semen Retention
This is just a fancy way of saying to stop masturbating. Yeah, I know—most guys are going to hate this one. We’ve all been told that masturbation is good for us by psychologists, doctors, and other “experts.”
Unfortunately, however, it’s been shown that masturbation drastically decreases testosterone levels, in addition to depleting your energy and motivation (this one is just common sense). You can still have sex, however—sex actually increases testosterone levels, in both men and women. This is the power of NoFap.
Why? Probably because your body knows the difference between an actual girl and your hand.
As if these studies weren’t enough, there’s actually a huge community of men on Reddit’s r/NoFap, claiming that quitting masturbation was the best decision of their lives. They claim that it gave them more energy, clarity, focus, and vitality. These are some of the things that happen when you boost testosterone levels, after all.
Do their stories technically count as scientific proof? Not really, but when you have over 100,000 men giving anecdotal evidence, it’s definitely something to consider.
4. Eat More Healthy Fat
Fat has been demonized by many doctors since the 1950’s, but it’s actually an essential nutrient for numerous bodily functions. Your body uses it to repair cell membranes, build new neurons, and…you guessed it, to create testosterone.
It has to be the right kind of fat, though. According to studies, you should eat monounsaturated and saturated fat to boost testosterone production. Avoid hydrogenated fats and trans fats, though.
So load up on the egg yolks, almonds, red meat, and avocados. I personally consume a ton of fat every day. In fact, when I followed the bulletproof diet, which calls for you to eat eggs, steak, avocados, olives, and other fats every day, my testosterone levels actually shot through the roof.
Despite concern over fat increasing cholesterol levels, studies have shown that consuming healthy fats is actually beneficial for your blood lipid profile (LDL/HDL, triglycerides, etc.).
And if your cholesterol is too high (300+), there’s plenty of ways that you can fix it naturally, which I’ll be blogging more about in the future. But for starters, consuming 500mg of Niacin every day has been shown to lower LDL (bad cholesterol) and raise HDL (good cholesterol).
5. Eliminate Stress
Studies have consistently shown that stress has a very negative impact on testosterone levels. Whether it’s stress over your finances, over some girl who’s causing you problems, or over your purpose in life, it doesn’t matter. Stress decreases testosterone.
But, don’t worry—there’s many ways to reduce stress, from having more sex, to making more money, to working out or going for a jog, to meditation. In fact, meditation is one of my favorite ways to reduce stress, because it’s quick, easy, and you can do it anywhere.
Meditation has been shown to decrease cortisol levels, which will indirectly boost testosterone levels. It also creates a sense of calm and tranquility, helps you uncover emotional bullshit holding you back, and enhances your focus to an ungodly level. If you don’t know how to meditate, check out my quick 5-Step Guide to Meditation.
Another great way to reduce stress is to have an awesome morning routine designed to reduce cortisol levels. Having a great morning routine is a phenomenal way to reduce cortisol levels and boost testosterone levels, in addition to priming your mind to conquer the day.
6. Sleep 8-9 Hours a Night
It’s been shown by studies that less sleep means less testosterone. If you want to achieve optimal testosterone levels, you need to give your body some time to rest (especially if you work out). Why do you think bodybuilders consistently sleep 9-1o hours a night?
Sometimes life is busy though—I get it. Sometimes you need to skate by on 5-6 hours of sleep, or even stay awake for a few days at a time. Sometimes you have to forgo sleep to push yourself to the next level or accomplish something that’s right within your reach.
Don’t make a habit out of it, though. It’s best to get around 9 hours of sleep a night. I’ll be writing an article on how to hack your sleep in the future, but for now consider supplementing with melatonin, 5-HTP, GABA, or lemon balm.
Supplementing with melatonin can be a good way to fall asleep quickly and stay asleep, but beware: you only need 1-2 milligrams. Anything more will shut your body’s own production down. Also, don’t take melatonin regularly (longer than a few days in a row), or you’ll build up a tolerance.
7. Avoid soy and BPA’s
Soy related products and BPA’s have been proven to wreak havoc on your testosterone levels. In addition to this, however, they also jack your estrogen and cortisol levels up, so you definitely want to avoid this stuff.
You can avoid soy by reading all of the ingredient labels on what you eat—be careful though, because manufacturers often use scientific terms that don’t outright say “soy.” Avoid anything that says “hydrolyzed,” “MSG,” “gelatin,” or “textured vegetable protein.”
Avoiding BPA’s will probably be a little bit harder. From cups to containers to water bottles, BPA’s are in nearly everything that’s plastic. Ideally, you should be drinking water out of either a glass or metal container…but when you do buy water bottles, be sure that they’re BPA-free.
Don’t store food in plastic containers. Instead buy some glass containers—your testosterone levels will thank you. Only eat natural, whole foods like vegetables, fruit, meats, and eggs. A good rule of thumb is this: if they didn’t eat it 5,000 years ago, then you don’t eat it, either.
Bonus #8. Use Testosterone Boosters
As someone who worked in a health store as a supplement salesman, I can personally tell you that most supplements are garbage. Marketers put some shiny label on them, promising you some ridiculous benefit, and then load it with pills filled with corn starch.
Red Growth, on the other hand, is loaded with high quality ingredients meant to boost your testosterone by up to 100%. Yes, that’s right—double your testosterone.
This stuff has an all-star lineup of ingredients, which are meant to slice estrogen levels and boost testosterone levels naturally:
- Chlorophytum borivilianum (75% extract)
- N-Acetyl L-Cysteine (NAC)
I won’t go too deep into the science here, but basically these ingredients are meant to work synergistically—they work extremely well in combination, to detoxify your liver, jack your testosterone levels through the roof, and minimize estrogen (the opposite hormone of testosterone).
When I take Red Growth, I can feel a massive difference. I feel more assertive, more confident, and more outgoing—these are some of the effects of increased testosterone levels, so I know that this stuff works. I cannot recommend it enough, and if you use it in conjunction with the other tips, you’ll be one lean, mean testosterone machine.
If you want to boost testosterone levels, you need to put in some work. There isn’t really a “quick fix,” aside from steroids, but even those you can’t be on your whole life. In my opinion, integrating lifestyle changes that will boost your testosterone levels is a phenomenal thing to do.
Higher testosterone levels will make you more confident, more assertive, and more decisive. They’ll push you to take risks that you wouldn’t have taken before. They’ll make you happier, healthier, and wealthier. They’ll help you put on lean, shredded muscle in record time.
I recommend using Red Growth immediately, because the effects will start taking place within a week. From here, start integrating the other habits that I mentioned into your life. This is a surefire way to at least double your testosterone levels, so I urge you to give it a try—trust me, you won’t regret it.