The following is another guest post from Chad Howse.
I, possibly like you, grew up thinking testosterone was a villain. That it was a drug. That it made men angry, filled with rage, and senseless bravado.
Alas, I was told wrong. Testosterone doesn’t do any of those things. In fact, testosterone has been shown to decrease your likelihood of depression – it actually has a positive effect on your mood.
Much of what we know about this powerful man hormone is wrong. And that needs to change…
A Couple Facts About Testosterone
Testosterone has also been linked to a reduced risk of cancer.
High natural levels of testosterone gives you a reduced risk of heart disease.
Step 1: Get Tested
Go to your doctor and figure out where exactly you fit in the spectrum. Are you on the low level, or are you at the upper end of the testosterone spectrum?
Keeping it simple, we’re talking about optimal testosterone levels, so you want them to be around the 1200 ng/dl (nanograms per decilitre) range. This, of course, is optimal, the ideal. If you’re in the 800 ng/dl range, that’s still good. If you’re dipping lower than that you want to work on increasing it.
Causes of Low T
Once you reach 30 you’re believed to see decreases in testosterone, but what more studies are beginning to show is that low T is often caused by excess body fat and decreased activity, not necessarily age.
Our environment is also becoming increasingly destructive to our testosterone levels. We’ll cover this later in the article as it also pertains to lowering estrogen levels, but you have to become increasingly aware of what you put in your mouth as well as what you carry your food in, drink your water in, and surround yourself with.
Low T has many causes, stress included. We’ll get into them as we delve in to the steps to reclaim your masculinity and start producing more of this awesome, powerful hormone on your own.
Another cause: You May Be Eating Like a Woman
How to Naturally Enhance Testosterone Levels
1. Lose Fat/Get Active/Get Strong
Before we even get into the dietary changes you’re going to have to make to start creating higher levels of testosterone, you’re going to have to get off your ass and get active. Of course, there is a method and a strategy to your training that will help you achieve high T levels optimally.
First, Get Strong.
Building a base of strength will allow you to accomplish your other fitness goals, including higher than average testosterone levels, far easier. Strength should be the base of your fitness journey, no matter your goals.
The stronger you are, the greater your capacity to burn fat (which is arguably the most important aspect to creating high natural T levels). If you don’t first tackle the strength issue, you’re not putting yourself in a position to burn fat and change your body composition which is a necessary step to increasing your T levels.
Second, Burn Fat.
Alas, you need to burn fat – yes, even if your overall goal is to build muscle. This may go against everything you’ve read thus far, but it’s true. Just think about it.
Fat is the friend of estrogen and the enemy of testosterone. To build muscle and to burn fat optimally, you need optimal natural levels of testosterone. So, raise your T levels first, then worry about building muscle. It’s a far more effective route to travel.
Third, Gain Muscle (If you choose).
Muscle is important because it helps you stay lean, and being lean, healthy, and active is important not only for your overall health, but your hormonal health as well. I do encourage you to focus on gaining muscle even if your goal is to get lean, because a solid base of muscle will help you stay lean for the rest of your life.
Now, we come to a bit of a crossroads. I’ve told you that you need to get strong, burn fat, then gain muscle, but we all know that half of that battle is dietary, not merely a matter of training the right way.
Each of the methods I’ve sent you to above tackle the dietary aspects of each goal on their own, but, as we’ll cover now, if you feed your body’s ability to create testosterone, you’ll then make it far easier to get stronger, burn fat, and build muscle. Alas, you need to…
2. Fuel Your Balls
Your balls (testes) is where testosterone is produced. This is where you create this powerful hormone by converting cholesterol into testosterone. If you’re not providing your body with the “fuel” (cholesterol), you’re giving it nothing to work with.
Alas, if you’re not eating good fats, you’re not allowing your body to produce more testosterone than you currently produce. Here’s the solution:
There are 3 fats that you need to eat more of:
- Polyunsaturated Fats: Think, nuts and fatty fish like salmon and sardines. Almonds, walnuts, Brazil nuts (also known as “nuts” in Brazil).
- Monounsaturated Fats: Think red meat, oils, nuts and high fat fruits such as olives and avocados.
- Saturated Fats: Think beef, bison, the fat that’s found in the animals we love to consume (and eggs).
Each of these fats are both healthy, and will help you burn fat. You should know by now (if you’ve followed this site) that eating fat doesn’t make you fat. What does make you fat is eating a large amount of high-glycemic carbohydrates at the wrong time of the day (not around your workout).
Carbs aren’t the enemy unless they’re consumed at the wrong time. DO NOT consume high glycemic carbohydrates with the aforementioned fats. The resulting spike in insulin that these carbs create will make you absorb these fats as bodyfat, rather than using them to create more T in your body, and use the fat calories as fuel.
A couple tips:
Free testosterone is more valuable than T that is bound to a protein. To “free” up your testosterone, and unbind it from a protein, supplement with vitamin D. Take 3,000-5,000 IU 2x everyday, once in the morning with fish oils, and once at night, again with fish oils.
3. Lower Your Estrogen Levels
One part of the battle to create high natural levels of testosterone is to feed your balls and to give them the cholesterol they need to create testosterone in the first place. If you don’t do this, you don’t give your body the ability to create more T.
The other part is killing testosterone’s enemies.
T has two primary enemies in the hormone world:
Estrogen and Cortisol.
Testosterone is the man hormone, and estrogen is the female hormone. While we need estrogen, we need it at such small levels that we do not have to work on producing more of it. In fact, a lot of men today are experiencing higher than healthy estrogen levels, and the reasons for our rampant estrogen levels have everything to do with our environment and our diet.
Much of the plastics that we use to hold our food and drink contain harmful chemicals that have phytoestrogens that raise our estrogen levels.
Rather than reading every label, avoid plastics all-together. Carry your water in metal or glass. Stop using Tupperware. Stop carrying your phone on your body. Just avoid plastics and you’ll remove a large part of the chemical estrogens that are destroying your testosterone levels from your body.
Harmful phytoestrogens can also be found in pesticides. Rather than going into detail about what pesticides to avoid at all costs, just avoid them all. They’re not good for you and they’re harmful to your testosterone levels. When you can, buy organic produce and poultry and meats and everything else.
Pesticides aren’t the only harmful chemical found in – or on – our foods. Our meats are often either pumped full of harmful chemicals or hormones that will lower your natural testosterone levels. Thus, always aim to eat organic, grass-fed beef and poultry. Eat less but see greater benefits from your food to account for the increase in cost of organic, grass-fed meat.
Last but not least, do not eat packaged or fried foods. While natural fats are great for your testosterone levels, trans fats are terrible for them. Anything man made should be kept out of your diet. The chemicals in packages foods are incredibly harmful to your T levels, but they also often contain other ingredients that raise your estrogen levels like soy (something else that you should stay away from).
Check out this article on Testosterone: 3 Myths KILLING Your Testosterone Levels.
Bonus tip: Supplement with zinc. Zinc blocks aromatase which is the precursor to estrogen. Supplement with 20-40 mg of zinc daily, ideally before bed or post workout.
4. Lower Your Cortisol Levels
The second primary enemy of testosterone is cortisol.
Cortisol, in my mind, is much more fun to remove from your life because cortisol is a stress hormone. Remove stress from your life, and you remove cortisol. Here’s the problem:
Stress can actually be a good thing. If you’re not working towards something, progressing as a man, improving, growing, and hustling, what’s the point?
Stress can be a good thing, indeed. It can push you to be greater, do greater things, and create a lasting Legacy, so, rather than removing stress from your life, remove worry from your life.
A couple things that you should be doing that will – in a correlational sense – help you naturally enhance your testosterone levels:
Read the article above about lowering cortisol and estrogen levels.
Take mini-vacations. A man needs to find clarity daily. Go for a walk or a run or – if you awesome – ride a horse in nature. But find time to clear your mind daily, and take mini-vacations (ideally to get out in nature) every 1-2 months.
This will help you put things into perspective and remove worry from your life.
Raise Testosterone By Eating Like a Man
No one talks about it, but men and women should have different diets. We have different hormones that require different feeding.
Much of your testosterone woes can be fixed by small changes to your diet. By simply changing when you eat your macros, you can dramatically increase your testosterone levels.
To discover how to naturally enhance your testosterone levels with simple dietary changes…
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