How To Boost Your Testosterone Naturally For Fast Muscle Growth

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Wouldn’t it be awesome if we could easily transform ourselves into the incredible hulk with the snap of a finger! (Ha ha Thanos reference)

Unfortunately, to be able to get to that size that quickly isn’t possible (even with anabolic steroids, which isn’t what I’m discussing here).

Allowing yourself to achieve muscle growth takes hard work, dedication, and of course TIME!

There are MANY factors that come into play when trying to increase muscle mass. Your age, training routine, meal plan, and your HORMONES! The hormone that plays the biggest role for muscle growth is non-other than TESTOSTERONE!

You probably already knew this. What you most likely didn’t know is what causes it to fluctuate, what are the side effects of lowered testosterone, and what you can do to keep your testosterone levels at there peak.

The most common side effects of low testosterone are:

  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Increased Body Fat
  • Lowered Libido
  • Difficulty Concentrating
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Decreased Bone Density

Then what causes lowered testosterone, and what can I do to improve it?

Let’s dive in!

1. Consume More Fat

Make sure your diet consists of a good source of healthy fats. You want to make sure 20-25% of your calories are coming from healthy fats. If you start going below that, you risk the chance of testosterone levels dropping.

Take note that going too high can cause unwanted body-fat. This is why bulking can be a bad idea if you overdue do it.

Higher levels of body fat are generally associated with higher levels of aromatase.

Well, what is aromatase?

Aromatase is an enzyme the body produces when you have higher levels of body-fat. This enzyme converts testosterone into estrogen. End result, more body-fat and potentially man boobs.

On the other end of the scale, you can drastically lose muscle mass and strength if you go to low.

One study conducted on a bodybuilder prepping for a competition resulted in a MAJOR drop in his testosterone levels (source). This is because during competition prepping, you’re at a major calorie deficit. People have this big misconception that during this time, bodybuilders are at their strongest, when it is actually quite the opposite.

Studies have concluded that the optimal body-fat percentage to keep testosterone at their peak level ranges somewhere between 10-15% for men.

2. Stop Stressing

Stress leads to the release of the most dreaded hormone, cortisol. Cortisol is the hormone responsible for breaking down muscle (catabolic), fat storage, and lowering testosterone.

It’s in your best interest to keep stress related cortisol levels at bay.

One of the biggest causes of elevated cortisol levels (stress) is lack of sleep. Sleep plays a major key role in testosterone production. A study conducted by the University of Chicago Medical Center found that men who slept 5 hours or less for a full week had lower testosterone levels than the men who had a full night of sleep.

The study focused on 10 healthy, fit men averaging around the age of 24. When sleep deprived, their testosterone was nearly 10-15% lower and cortisol was roughly 15% higher compared to their fully rested counterparts (source). So, rest is EXTREMELY important!

Another way to naturally lower stress levels is to EXERCISE! You can also meditate or try doing yoga. Yoga is a great stress reliever, even if you only do it for the relaxation techniques and focused, slow deep breathing. Another great way to keep cortisol levels down is to spend time with close friends and family. This last one happens to be my personal favorite, going outside for a walk.

3. Increase Your Vitamin D Levels

Vitamin D is different than other vitamins because it is actually produced in the body in response to sunlight exposure. Vitamin D acts more like a hormone and is considered the “master key” hormone because it actually helps regulate other hormones. In fact, it is responsible for regulating over 200 different genes and is essential for growth and development (source).

Due to Vitamin D’s general nature in hormone regulation, it has a quite a large affect on testosterone production. One study was conducted on 54 different men to see how much Vitamin D actually affected testosterone production. The results showed that the men who took the Vitamin D supplement for 1 year showed nearly a 25% increase in their overall testosterone production (source).  

Another major benefit to Vitamin D is that helps improve sleep. As we already know, sleep plays a big role in testosterone production. It helps regulate the body’s sleep cycle. When we humans used to spend more time outside hunting for food, we would start our days off with a large dose of vitamin D as the sun rose.

Unfortunately, it estimated that nearly 40% of the U.S. population is Vitamin D deficient.

So how do I increase my Vitamin D intake?

  1. Spend more time outside (be careful of harmful UV rays)
  2. Vitamin D supplementation (4,000-10,000UL per day)
  3. Consume more of the following foods
  • Wild caught fish
  • Egg yolks
  • Shitake mushrooms
  • Milk or Almond Milk
  • Oatmeal
  • Yogurt

4. Incorporate More Zinc

Zinc plays an important role regarding testosterone production.

One particular study focused on what effect zinc would have on men’s testosterone levels. The men in the study were between the age of 20-80 years old, and it lasted for nearly a year.

First, the men were put on a meal plan that restricted their dietary intake of zinc. The second part of the study focused on what happened after zinc was supplemented back into their diet. The research concluded that zinc supplementation does increase serum testosterone levels (source).

So, then what are some good sources of zinc?

Glad you asked!

  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • Grass-Fed Beef
  • Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans)
  • Cocoa Powder
  • Cashews
  • Yogurt
  • Mushrooms
  • Spinach
  • Chicken

Something to keep in mind:

Too much zinc is not a good thing either.

Some of the immediate effects are vomiting, nausea, loss of appetite, diarrhea, headaches and abdominal cramps, kidney failure, and even DEATH!

SO, it is DEFINITELY important to be mindful of how much you are consuming.

The recommended dosage for men is 11 milligrams, and for women it is 9 milligrams per day.

5. Reduce Sugar Intake

What’s the problems with sugar?

Sugar is a highly addictive substance that is actually toxic to your liver. Sugar is made up of half fructose, and half glucose. Glucose, is the preferred source of energy and is utilized well by the body. Fructose on the other hand, can ONLY be metabolized by the liver and does not get used the same way.

What ends up happening?

When the body takes in copious amounts of refined sugar, the body can not store it as glycogen and reuse it for energy. Thus, the liver is forced to turn it into FAT.

So, with all that to digest, what does this have to do with testosterone?

One of the biggest downsides of sugar is it causes insulin spikes. Unfortunately, the more insulin you have released in your body, the less testosterone your body produces.

The second problem with sugar is your liver pretty much converts it into fat. If there’s more fat, there’s more estrogen floating around. And as I said earlier, more estrogen = less testosterone.

My suggestion is the next time you have a sugar craving, try eating some fruit. Fruit may have sugar in it, but because it contains fiber, your body can still utilize it for energy and won’t cause insulin spikes (that’s a good thing).

6. HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training)

If you’ve ready any of my previous articles, you are well aware of how much I preach HIIT. However, HIIT isn’t for everyone. High intensity training can put a tremendous amount of stress on your body, so you should only do it if you are a healthy and fit individualI would not recommend this for elderly individuals with joint problems.

If you are overweight and out of shape, then I would at least work your way up to it.

That being said, it can be a great tool for boosting natural testosterone production.

One study was conducted on 15 athletes assigned to either HIIT, or steady state cardio. The group performing HIIT had significantly higher findings of testosterone (source)

On another note, steady state cardio has actually been proven to increase cortisol levels (source). As I mentioned before, cortisol is testosterone’s worst enemy. I wouldn’t recommend this type of cardio exercise.

My suggestion would be probably the most obvious one, incorporate strength training. Not just any type of strength training, higher intensity strength training. Full body exercises are going to get you the higher intensity you need to boost your t-Levels.

Some examples of this would be lunges, squats, dead-lifts (if your back can handle it), push-ups, pull-ups.

As you can see, boosting natural testosterone can be a little tricky. Knowing what to eat, how to exercise, and what supplements to take can be quite overwhelming. If you are looking for a detailed guide to get you on the right track, check out Anabolic Running. It’s an excellent guide to help you get your testosterone levels where they should be.

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