The following strategies will promote natural testosterone levels. There’s nothing magic about these ideas, but they are effective.
Eat Enough Calories
Very low-calorie diets depress testosterone levels. People on very low-calorie diets lose muscle mass. Some of this may be due to reductions in blood androgens and increases in catabolic hormones. People with low testosterone levels may combat the problem by taking in at least 1,500 to 2,000 calories per day (average, depending on body size and activity level). For most people, this will create a small caloric deficit to aid weight loss/fat loss without depressing testosterone.
Eat Enough Protein
Eat at least 0.8 to 1.5 grams of protein per kilogram bodyweight (depending on activity level). Couch potatoes need less protein, while athletes need more. Vegetarian diets depress testosterone levels. Eating too much fiber in the diet and not taking in enough protein can also contribute to low testosterone levels. Following a healthy Mediterranean-type diet (rich in monounsaturated fats) will also help maintain healthy testosterone levels. Also, recent research has shown that taking an amino acid or protein supplement one hour before overreaching high-intensity resistance training and after can prevent muscle protein breakdown, enhance protein synthesis and maintain biologically active free testosterone.
Eat Healthy Fats
Low-fat diets lower testosterone levels. Higher fat diets raise testosterone levels. Saturated and monounsaturated fats raise testosterone the best. Choose healthy fats rich in monounsaturated fats such as beans, nuts and virgin olive oil and omega-3 fats from fish to help boost testosterone levels. Also, recent research has shown that taking an amino acid or protein supplement one hour before overreaching high-intensity resistance training and after can prevent muscle protein breakdown, enhance protein synthesis and maintain biologically active free testosterone.
Get Enough Exercise
Weight training boosts testosterone, increases testosterone receptor density (so the hormone works better) and helps control abdominal fat. The latest research demonstrates that high-intensity resistance training programs, which incorporate short rest periods (less than one minute) between sets, produce higher testosterone levels! Also, exercises that activate the most muscle groups such as squats and deadlifts raise testosterone levels to a greater degree.
Lose Weight if You’re too Fat
Higher body fat, particularly in the abdomen, lowers testosterone levels. Decreasing fat, through a sensible program of exercise and diet, reduces abdominal fat and increases testosterone levels.
High-volume distance running depresses testosterone. Overtraining, regardless of sport or type of exercise, also depresses total and free testosterone levels and stimulates the production of catabolic hormones. Catabolic hormones, such as cortisol, can stop progress in your exercise program. Active people can avoid depressing testosterone by including planned rest days in their training program.
Get Enough Sleep and Minimize Harmful Stress
People who overstress and don’t get enough sleep have lower testosterone and higher cortisol levels. Don’t avoid stress altogether, but avoid needless worry and frustration. Don’t sweat the small stuff!
Think Like a Winner
Mental state has a profound effect on testosterone levels. Testosterone levels go up in athletes when they win games, but go down when they lose. Assertive behavior followed by a rise in status leads to an increase in testosterone levels. Set yourself up for positive, winning experiences. You will be rewarded with a full tank of testosterone and a positive, winning attitude.
So, get psyched!
Stay Sexually Active
In men and women, sexual activity and arousal are strong stimulators of testosterone production. The best advice is to practice, practice, practice!
Maintain Your Muscle Mass
Fit, well-nourished muscles have more androgen receptor sites, which stimulate testosterone metabolism.
Harnessing Your Hormones to Cut Fat and Build Muscle
You can do this program by itself, but it works best if you also do the aerobics program and follow the diet described in this issue of FitnessRX for Men. This workout will bring results, but it’s not for the fainthearted. Put your heart and soul into this exercise program and you’ll see results. As the last lines in Rudyard Kipling’s classic poem said, “ . . . If you can fill the unforgiving minute/with sixty seconds’ worth of distance run—/yours is the earth and everything that’s in it,—/and— which is more— you’ll be a Man my son!”