Testosterone is an important hormone, especially if you want to gain muscle. It’s the primary male sex hormone. And it plays a key role in the production of muscle and bone mass. If you work out and want to grow muscle mass faster it can be very helpful to know how to boost your testosterone levels. For the sake of your health, it is important to do this naturally. But how do you boost testosterone levels naturally?
A Little More About Testosterone
Testosterone is produced primarily in the testicles of men. Women have and produce testosterone too, but in much lower levels. The average adult male produces between 240 and 950 (ng/dl) and women 8-60 (ng/dl). The levels are highest during puberty and decline as you age.
Studies show that higher testosterone levels in your body increase levels of FGF 2 and IGF1, which are key factors in muscle repairment and growth. It’s also always correlated with growth hormone (GH). So, testosterone helps restore and build your muscles.
How to Boost Testosterone Levels
Besides natural ways you can use anabolites or supplements to boost your testosterone levels. With anabolites, people can grow abnormal amounts of muscle mass in relatively short periods of time. But this comes with dangerous health risks.
You can also use supplements to boost your testosterone levels. However, studies show that of 90% of supplements that claim to boost testosterone levels, only 24% actually did. In fact, about 10% of them even decreased testosterone levels. Many supplements only provide an abundance of vitamins and minerals.
Either way, it is best to boost testosterone levels naturally. But how can you do that?
Reduce Stress Boost Testosterone Levels
This is the most important factor. The ‘stress’ hormone cortisol has a lot of effects on the body. Two of them are *1) reducing testosterone levels and 2) breaking down muscle. Longterm exposure to stress, both physical and mental, will kill your gains. Reducing stress can be done by meditation or mindfullness. Another way to reduce stress is to set achievable goals. Either way, to boost testosterone levels it is essential that you reduce stress.
Heavy Weight Lifting
Studies show that heavy weight lifting is the best form of exercise to boost testosterone levels. Due to an increase in muscle mass, the production of growth hormone and testosterone is triggered. Because cycling and running activities for over an hour can decrease testosterone levels and increase cortisol levels. Therefore, we recommed you to perform heavy weight lifting with weights around 75%-85% 1 rep max for 2-3 times a week and moderate cardio for about 30 min.
Diet to Boost Testosterone Levels
Of course, eating healthy is important. It is also important if you want to boost testosterone levels. So make sure you eat enough macro and micro units and stay in a caloric balance throughout the day. For example, being on a caloric deficit for a longer period of time to get lean will decrease testosterone levels and increase cortisol levels. Being overweight too with a more than average percentage of body fat will decrease testosterone levels. To prevent decreasing testosterone levels try to get lean in 3 months before going back to your regular diet.
Foods to Boost Testosterone Levels
There are some foods which can boost your testosterone levels, mainly because they contain a bit of vitamin D and or Zinc. For Vitamin D you can also just get in the sun. Products like tuna, shellfish, beef, beans, oysters, fortified milk and leafy green vegtables are good in a diet to boost testosterone levels. Coffee also causes a temporary boost in testosterone levels in men drinking coffee regularly (1-2 cups per day) and in women decaffeinated coffee (1-2 cups a day).
A study showed that a 2 minute power pose boosts testosterone levels temporarily. The reason behind it is that by performing a short power pose you feel more in control and in power. It boosts your ego which leads to stronger physiological, mental and behavioural changes that boost your testosterone levels a bit and reduce cortisol levels. These temporary changes can give you an edge in doing an extra set or rep when training.
Sleep and Rest
Sleep is a very important activity for humans.And it is also important for a boost in testosterone levels. During the night your body recovers and gets ready for the next day. You need 7 to 9 hours of sleep per day. Too little sleep and sleep deprivation after just 6 hours per night have negative effects on your body. It increases cortisol levels, tiredness, feeling weakness and most importantly: lower testosterone levels.
A study showed that 1 week of sleep deprivation in healthy young men caused testosterone to decrease up to 15%. To prevent this, make sure you schedule your sleep pattern for at least 8-9 hours and don’t look at any screens 15 minutes before going to bed. The blue light from smartphones and tablets affects your eyes and makes falling asleep more difficult. If you want to know more about sleep and how improve your sleep, click here.
Avoid Drugs and Alcohol
Smoking, drinking alcohol and taking drugs are bad for your body and no way to boost your testosterone levels. In general, these things are very unhealthy and all three can lead to male erectile dysfunction and becoming infertile. So avoiding them is the best way to keep your hormone levels in shape. If you still want to drink, though, make sure not to drink more than 2 glasses of alcohol. And in the case of drugs, just don’t. Because they have zero benefits for your body and health.
All in all, there is a lot you can do to boost testosterone levels. Make sure to follow the tips above. As a result, you will stay healthy and notice the difference quickly.