Boosting your testosterone levels offers a wide variety of benefits: an increase in libido, enhanced energy levels, improved strength, boosted immunity, and even a better mood.
Recent research suggests that increasing testosterone may also improve a man’s ability to lose weight and improve his overall body composition, which in turn reduces the risk for cardiovascular disease – a pretty good deal all around.
Fortunately, there are many things you can do to increase your testosterone levels naturally – without the use of dangerous steroids or harmful chemicals that will provide you with more risks than actual benefits.
1. Eat the Right Amounts of Protein
Many fitness enthusiasts and newcomers to bodybuilding are often under the assumption that they need to increase their protein intake in order to build bigger, stronger muscles. After all, muscles are made of amino acids and protein, so it only makes sense that you’ll want to give your body the basic building blocks for success.
While it is true that protein plays a key role in muscle production, you shouldn’t go over the recommended amount of protein for the day. Typically speaking, experts suggest that adults should consume between .8 to 1.8 grams per kg of body weight per day. Athletes who participate in long and intensive hours of exercise will want to keep to the higher end of the scale while more sedentary individuals should stick to the lower end.
Once your individual protein needs have been met, any excess protein will be eliminated from the body rather than stored for later use.
Interestingly enough, one study conducted by the Center for Sports Medicine at Pennsylvania State University observed that excessive amounts of protein consumption actually had a negative impact on free testosterone levels before exercise. Additionally, Jeff S. Volek, pointed out in the Journal of Applied Physiology that vegetable-derived protein may lower testosterone levels as well.
2. Choose Dairy
In addition to the promotion of strong bones, calcium, found in many dairy products has been shown to aid in the natural boost of testosterone levels.
Calcium is essential for healthy nerve transmission and muscle contraction, and in a recent study, athletes who increased their calcium intake (in conjunction with intense training) that higher counts of both free and total testosterone. Researchers suspect that calcium pathways directly influenced testosterone production, but only when combined with regular exercise.
The recommended dosage for Calcium is approximately 800 milligrams daily, or 35 milligrams per kilogram of body weight (totaling up to 3,150 milligrams for a 200-pound athlete).
3. Add Variety to Your Workouts
Studies have shown that exercise and testosterone go hand in hand. What optimally affects muscle mass also has a significant impact on total testosterone levels as well. The greater the workout, the greater the increase.
“In a formula: Muscle mass x exercise intensity = maximum testosterone increase,” explains Russ Klettke, an ACE certified fitness trainer, “Since leg and back muscles are the largest muscles, that then suggests that exercising these areas will increase testosterone levels.”
However, if you’re lifting the same old weights and doing the same old workout that you’ve been doing for years, then it’s time to switch things up. The longer you perform an exercise, the more efficient your body becomes and signaling which muscle fibers need to contract in order to get the job done, until eventually, you cease to gain any benefits at all.
Whether it’s increasing your intensity or trying an entirely new exercise, switching up your old routine will not only prevent boredom, but it may be just what you need to give your testosterone levels a natural boost.
4. Optimize Your Sleep Schedule
During sleep, though you may think you’re resting, your body is hard at work producing essential hormones such as HGH and testosterone to compensate for wear and tear you incurred during the day.
“The highest levels of testosterone happen during REM sleep, the deep, restorative sleep that occurs mostly late in the nightly sleep cycle,” explains Dr. Michael J. Breus, Clinical Psychologist, “Men with obstructive sleep apnea are also more likely to suffer from complications to their sexual function, including low libido, erectile dysfunction, and impotence.”
According to a study conducted by the Endocrine Society, “men with lower testosterone levels had lower sleep efficiency, with increased nocturnal awakenings and less time in slow-wave sleep as well as a higher apnea-hypopnea index.” Although researchers were uncertain whether or not less sleep as a result of low testosterone or the cause, there was an apparent link between the two.
Though it may be difficult to find a schedule that suits your individual needs, try to focus on going to bed and waking up in the morning at approximately the same times every day.
5. Avoid Alcohol and Recreational Drug Use
Taking in large amounts of alcohol can actually decrease the levels of testosterone in your body, lower metabolism, and increase body fat. Some studies have revealed that drinking alcohol temporary lowers testosterone levels by as much as 25%, though these studies were typically conducted on chronic alcoholics.
If you’re a moderate drinker approaching your middle age, then the decrease is much smaller. According to a 2004 Dutch Study, 40 grams (or three, 12-oz. beers) per day for three weeks may result in a 6.8% decrease in plasma testosterone.
Consequently, try to limit your alcohol intake to no more than 2-4 glasses each time you go out. In addition, it is of course recommended that you steer clear of ANY kind of recreational drug use, unless absolutely necessary and recommended by a doctor.
These are just a few of many testosterone boosting activities you can participate in to help increase your testosterone levels naturally. Of course, there are a number of other recommendations that can prove helpful in the natural boost of testosterone, and your body may react differently to different stimuli. We recommend trying a number of different activities and diets to see what works best with your muscle-building workouts.