Testosterone is the most important hormone when it comes to muscle building.
The MOST IMPORTANT!
So important that according to some research, people on synthetic T injections who don't perform ANY resistance training at all gain more muscle during a bulk than natural lifters following a proper routine.
But I'm not saying to go out in do steroids. Heck, I'm not even saying take the so called "T boosters" that are all the rage these days. Half the time they don't work, and when they DO work, they're usually just steroids (in case you can't tell already, I'm not a fan of performance-enhancing drugs, but I digress).
You don't need drugs though; you can boost your resting testosterone levels by making just a few simple lifestyle changes.
Without further ado, here we go!
1) Snooze Away
If you're not sleeping well, you're not recovering well. It's that simple. Even if you spend a lot of time in bed, that doesn't mean all that much if you're waking up constantly and taking a while to fall asleep.
So what tips are there for sleeping? Well, I have an entire article devoted to that, so check it out! But here are the big things to focus on:
- Take 15-30 minutes before bed to focus on just relaxation. Breathe deeply and slowly into your diaphragm, NOT your chest. Meditation and prayer would also be suitable during this time.
- Avoid blue light at least 1 hour before bed. You could use the application "Flux" on your computer, or just wear orange tinted sunglasses like myself.
- Keep your circadian rhythms in check. Try to go to bed around the same time every night and wake up at the same time everyday. This sucks on the weekends, but if you try it for even one weekend then it might get you out of a sleep deprived slump. Also, make sure to get as much daylight exposure as possible while you're awake.
With IIFYM being all the rage these days, people have forgotten the importance of nutrition. You need to eat real food to build muscle! And there are a few vitamins that really help boost Testosterone levels:
- Vitamin D3
- Vitamin B6
- Vitamin B12
Here's the problem though; most vitamin recommendations are from the U.S. Food & Drug Administration. And when it comes to some vitamins, they're not exactly accurate.
What do I mean? Well here are the levels of those vitamins in the multivitamin I personally take:
Vitamin D - 2000 IU (500% of recommended intake)
Vitamin B6 - 30 mg (1,500% of recommended intake)
Vitamin B12 - 600 mcg (10,000% of recommended intake)
As you can see, the FDA's 100% isn't all that accurate. And honestly, the B12 amount is fairly high in the multi I'm taking right now compared to others, but I'd still shoot for 2000% regardless of the brand you buy.
3) Intense Exercise
Intense exercise will do you testosterone more good than anything else. How intense am I talking? Well, in this context I'm mainly referring to heavy weightlifting and High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) cardio.
These are the types of exercise that will REALLY kick your testosterone into high gear. A heavy set of 5 on Overhead Press... sprinting until you can hardly breathe... if those don't boost your testosterone, NOTHING will!
Of course that doesn't mean go out there and do something insane like heavy lifting in the morning and HIIT in the evening 6 days of the week; only those from the elite reaches of the gene pool can handle a routine like that.
Doing just 3 intense workouts a week can make a difference in your testostserone; ideally, if your schedule can accommodate, you'd want to do 5-6 intense workouts each week.
4) Reduce Stress
Chill! Just chill out. If you work a job that requires 60+ hours a week on regular basis or one with an awful commute, chances are you're more stressed than most of your peers.
So how do you reduce stress? Well, there's a million different ways, but here's just a few:
- Pick up a musical instrument
- Enroll in yoga classes
- Go back to Church
- Get a significant other
- Dump your significant other (quick 180, right? It's true though; don't let a toxic relationship hold you back).
- Read a book
Marvin Gaye was on to something with that one hit wonder of his. When you get that low-testosterone feeling... you know exactly what you need.
Some people claim being chaste for a week can spike your testosterone levels, but any reputable studies I've seen debunk this.
So feel free to get it on! 3 times a week should be plenty of stimulation (as long as your partner agrees!)
You need to get fat...
...into your daily diet, that is. Dietary fat is more important than carbs or protein for testosterone levels.
I'd recommend having 20-30% of your daily caloric intake consist of dietary fat, depending on your lifestyle choice and whether you're cutting or bulking.
And don't take this as an excuse to start eating pizza and ice cream every day. No, that junk won't do you any good. You need REAL food for your dietary fat, and here's just a few foods that would suffice:
- Red Meat (80% ground beef or leaner)
There you have it! 6 effective ways to kickstart your testosterone. Don't expect to look like Lou Ferrigno just by following these tips though. What you CAN expect, however, is faster results in the gym and a better feeling in your overall health and mood.
Comment below and let me know your thoughts!