Testosterone levels naturally decline with age, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make some lifestyle changes to combat the slump. For starters, you should see your doctor and have your testosterone levels tested. If you find that they are lower than optimal, this could put you at a greater risk for all sorts of health issues – from diabetes and obesity to erectile dysfunction and decreased physical performance.
Thankfully, there are many natural steps you can take in your lifestyle that will increase your testosterone levels.
Lift Heavy Weights
This seems to be the single best way you can increase your testosterone levels. It’s not easy, but it is certainly effective. While overtraining can actually lower your T levels, there are specific enhancements and movements you can add to your training regimen that will boost your testosterone.
- Choose weights so that you will reach muscle failure by 10 repetitions.
- Don’t work out for more than 60 minutes at a time.
- Use compound movements, like squats, bench press, deadlift, and shoulder press.
- Rest for at least 60 seconds between sets, but for no more than two minutes.
- Have at least two rest days during the week where you don’t do any heavy or intense exercise at all.
- Avoid lengthy endurance workouts. Instead, focus on HIIT (high-intensity interval training) when doing cardio. HIIT includes small bursts of high-intensity exercises, or sprints, followed by a slower recovery period.
- Use free weights, like barbells and dumbbells, instead of machines.
Your body makes most of its testosterone while you are sleeping. Therefore, it’s vital that you get enough quality sleep each night. Sleeping at least 8 hours per night can actually boost this hormone and decrease cortisol at the same time. This is akin to killing two birds with one stone since a lowered level of cortisol can also add to your T levels. Make sleep a priority, and make sure to speak with your physician if you have chronic sleep issues.
Adjust Your Macros
Finding a healthy and beneficial balance between dietary fats, protein, and carbohydrates is imperative when trying to elevate your testosterone levels. It has been shown that consuming certain fats, like those in eggs, salmon, coconut oil, and butter could actually help your body produce more testosterone. Without a sufficient level of fat in your diet, your T levels will suffer. Be sure to monitor how much and what type of fat you are getting. You want to stick to the “good” fats and steer clear of “bad” fats like trans fatty acids. Most men should consume at least 25-30% of their calories from fat, possibly more if they are on a low-carb diet, like keto or Atkins.
Lower Your Cortisol Levels
Cortisol is the “stress” hormone, and while it is necessary when our bodies are responding to a stressful situation, excess amounts of it in our bloodstream can wreak havoc on many of our internal systems. For one, it can dampen the effects of testosterone. So, it would be beneficial if you could find some effective ways to lower your levels of cortisol. Here are a few ways to do just that.
- Sleep longer and more deeply.
- Drink fewer caffeinated beverages.
- De-stress with meditation, yoga, deep breathing, or a massage.
- Have more day-to-day fun.
- Maintain healthy relationships.
- Eat whole foods.
Increase Your Vitamin D
The sunshine vitamin, which is actually a hormone, has a strong correlation to healthy testosterone levels. Get your levels checked and possibly supplement with Vitamin D3 if you find that you are low. Of course, work with your doctor or nutritionist on how to supplement safely. Besides soaking up some rays (and Vitamin D), foods that are naturally high in Vitamin D are fortified dairy, fatty fish, liver, and egg yolks.
Many studies have shown that men who are obese may have 50% less testosterone than men who are not at all overweight. This is a huge difference! The good news is that by losing weight, you can help your T levels climb back up into the normal range.
Review Your Meds
Of course, speak to your doctor before making any changes to your daily medication regimen. And, while you’re at it, you may want to ask him or her if one of your meds might be causing your T levels to dip. According to several studies, certain pharmaceuticals can have this adverse side effect: statins, anti-depressants, and opioids.
Avoid Certain Chemicals
There is a whole slew of research devoted to testosterone-lowering environmental and dietary chemicals and compounds. It’s worth it to try and avoid these if you have determined that your T levels are lower than optimal.
- Xenoestrogens are found in lots of products you may use every day: certain plastics, parabens in hygiene products, red dye in food, insecticides, and chlorine, just to name a few.
- Isoflavones found in soy products, like soy sauce, tofu, and edamame can raise your estrogen and lower your testosterone.
- Excitotoxins can also hinder your testosterone levels. You can find these in aspartame and other artificial sweeteners, MSG, and hydrolyzed vegetable oils.
Have More Sex
While it’s true that your sex drive may be low if your testosterone levels aren’t ideal, you may have to take one for the team to get a T-level pay-off. Studies have shown that regular sexual activity can boost your testosterone levels. And, not to worry, if you don’t have a regular sex partner, just having an orgasm can produce a boost in testosterone as well.
For many men, testosterone is their mojo. It is the key to virility, athletic performance, and overall quality of life. Therefore, it’s crucial that you maintain this important hormone throughout your lifespan. After speaking with your doctor and getting your levels checked, evaluate your daily habits to see if you can incorporate some of these lifestyle changes into your routine. They just might be the key to reaching your health and wellness goals.