At every stage of life, testosterone plays an important role. It assists muscular growth and strength, minimises muscle wastage, improves sex drive and libido, impacts on bone strength and helps with general growth and development. So how can we maximise this awesome hormone to ensure our fat burning, muscle building, sexually driven being stays active? Here are 5 methods to add to your routine to keep the T naturally high.
Cut the Stress
The bad news is, stressors from the pressures we place on ourselves to achieve deadlines, be in six places at once and attempt to please all of those who surround us releases the hormone cortisol (stress hormone) which competes directly with testosterone production. Luckily, stress levels of this kind are all in your mind. With so many of us living in a fast paced manner that is conducive of remaining in a fight or flight state, we favour the production of cortisol as a response to stress, which is catabolic (breaks down muscle) rather than an environment where testosterone can be produced, which is anabolic (assists in muscle growth). How can you cut your stress in half and make a conscious effort to minimise stress response day to day?
Take 5 and focus on your breathing and nothing else for a period of time that suits your schedule. Even it only means 3-5 deep and mindful breathes, your breath is perhaps the most effective yet simple ways to take control of your internal world and project inward rather than outward. Extending and deepening the breath has the effect of sending a message to the nervous system that everything is ok. From here we can think about incorporating more extended meditative practices into the daily routine - where the level of control over mental state, emotions and chemical balance is endless.
Eat More Fat
That's right. Once again, fat is your friend. If you haven't already thrown the low-fat diet out the window and never looked back, it's definitely time you do. Fat (and cholesterol of the good kind), from healthy sources like pasture raised animal meat, seafood, eggs, coconut, avocado, nuts and cultured butter/ghee provide necessary materials for the synthesis of testosterone. Studies show that without high dietary fat intake from saturated and monounsaturated sources, like those mentioned earlier, our baseline testosterone levels will most definitely suffer.
Lift and Shift
Performing compound movements like squats, deadlift, snatches, cleans, bench press, clean and jerk will most definitely increase testosterone levels. Lift heavy things, regularly - the hormonal response is that the hypothalamus, which is a portion of the brain that links bodily systems, detects the need for more testosterone to enable the body to perform these movements and so more is produced. Super high intensity sprints will also have the desired effect on T production.
Cut the Simple Carbs
If you've been living on the SAD diet (Standard American Diet, or Standard Australian Diet) for most of your life, chances are you've been fed the low fat, high carbohydrate, rubbish that comes with it, much of which involves refined and processed grains and sugars. Due to the make-up of these foods, they are quickly broken down into sugar (simple carbohydrates) which has been shown to be detrimental to testosterone levels. Lets not be fooled, just because something is natural or is derived from a natural source, the implications of consuming high amounts of things like fruit juices, smoothies, milk, sweets, high fructose fruits and the obvious one, soft drinks are doing you zero favours in terms of testosterone (or anything!).
Bump up Your D
Chances are, if you are like a large percentage of the population, cooped up indoors for the duration of the working day, you are not getting sufficient Vitamin D. Short of stripping off all clothing and planking in full sunlight in the middle of a summers day, we can definitely make use of Vitamin D supplementation. As an important building block for testosterone, ensuring a consistent uptake of Vitamin D will encourage T to stay naturally high. If D dips low, chances are T will follow, as this study shows. Zinc is also a very beneficial trace element to ensure makes a big appearance in your diet for bumping up T levels - shellfish and some organ meats will provide ample amounts!