Struggling with low testosterone? Have you been seeking gains in all the wrong places? Misdiagnosing the causes, blaming the incorrect aspects of training and nutrition, etc. If you have tried adjusting macros, tweaking routines with lackluster results, then chances are you might be part of the low testosterone club (come on in, we have jackets, for current members and alumni alike).
In this article, we will address the top 3 things that are piledriving your testosterone levels, and consequently, knocking any potential gains unconscious. By the time you finish reading, you will know how to navigate around the monsters (metaphorically speaking, as diet, lifestyle, and training pitfalls) that are holding you back.
As a bonus, I’ll provide three things you can do today to start giving those free testosterone stores the boost they need to climb the proverbial mountain (of glory)
What is Testosterone?
Before we get started, let’s address the basics. We won’t get super in depth in this article (for your sake).
Testosterone is one of the key hormones when it comes to building muscle, shedding fat, and really anything that’s related to achieving your dream physique.
Top Three Things Killing Your Testosterone
Note: This list is going to be excluding one, particularly obvious, potential cause of low testosterone. That potential cause is…
Age. No surprise there. Anyway, testosterone levels do naturally decline as we age, but that can—to some extent—be mitigated with healthy lifestyle choices and testosterone-boosting habits.
I’ll divulge some useful tips to naturally increase testosterone levels later on. Let’s start with the bad though (I’ve always been the type of person who prefers bad news first, end on a happy note). In the section to follow, you will learn the three things holding you back. What you do with that information is, of course, up to you. I’m just your friendly neighborhood messenger.
Number 1: Nutrition
Coming in at number one on our list is—no surprise—diet and nutrition. It’s widely known that the foods you eat have a serious impact on our physique and health. For example: If you eat too many simple sugars, chances are pretty high that—excuse for—food is going to minimally show around the waistline.
The effects of many foods, sugar included (obviously), can also have an impact on hormones in your body. Below are five such foods that are holding your free testosterone levels down—with a dictatorial, oppressive power the likes of which are unparalleled.
- Sugar: Because, well, insulin is a thing. So is inflammation. Oh, and gut health. This could go on…
- Vegetable Oils: Largely from an abundance of highly inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids in the body.
Alcohol: It’s literally poison. Delicious and sometimes (seemingly) much-needed poison, but poison nonetheless. Alcohol is actually impressive in all its potential side effects:
- May slow metabolism
- Can impair protein synthesis
- “Encourages” muscle protein breakdown
- Loves robbing you of your sleep quality (while sneakily letting you think it’s helping because you might fall asleep faster), due to its negative impact on REM. Consequently, this throws off circadian rhythm, which leads to throwing off stress-hormone cycles and…
- Impairing testosterone: In other words, cut back on alcohol alone and it’s very likely you’ll see some powerful changes (but let’s be honest, your interventive loved ones have told you that already).
- Baked Goods: Similar to sugar, but with some added highly processed additives, gut-hostile “grains,” and cheap dairy components (thrown in for good measure, a sort of destructive cherry on top, if you will)
Number 2: Inactivity
An abundance of research has shown that lack of exercise can negatively impact—nearly everything, but specifically—testosterone.
As it turns out, our bodies were meant to move (who knew?). We have a cardiorespiratory system and cardiovascular system that our ancestors used to survive by outlasting their prey during great hunts. And now we have food delivery services. Times are good.
That being said, exercise can greatly increase testosterone levels. And, as stated earlier, avoiding exercise can severely impair, well, just about everything. If you’re finding it difficult to get to the gym (possibly due to already low testosterone levels), try taking a stim-heavy pre-workout.
Number 3: Neglecting Rest & Recovery
On the flip side of inactivity is—what I’m safely assuming most individuals reading this struggle to stick to—neglecting rest and recovery. Most of us are running on caffeine & cortisol. I know, there’s always something to finish, a deadline to hit, fat to kick to the curb, and muscles to build. With all the goals stacking up, overwhelm can, and often does, settle in and keep us up at night. Even thinking about taking some time to rest, recover, and gains forbid, sleep, is laughable.
That being said, it’s absolutely necessary for the health of our testosterone.
In fact, one study, published in the Journal of The American Medical Association found that men who slept less than five hours a night for one week in a laboratory had significantly lower levels of testosterone than when they had a full night’s sleep. Additionally, this study found that this lack of sleep (over the course of the study) had an effect similar to that of aging ten years.
Now you're gonna tell me you have insomnia. Well guess what? WE ALL DO! Here are some simple steps to increase the chances you get some sound sleep tonight, and every night to follow.
Turn off your freaking phone. Seriously. It will take you, like, one google search to see all the ways sticking on your phone at night can keep you awake. Not just from the blue lights screwing with your circadian rhythm, but also from the fact that you’re likely scrolling through social media, which is an entirely different rant, but as you must already be fully aware, has a tendency to keep your thoughts on full formula one racing mode throughout the night.
- It’s suggested that you turn that phone off an hour before bed, minimally
- Try to be ready to fall asleep (that means, in bed, no phone) by eleven. This has to do with your circadian rhythm, and helps you avoid that “second wind.”
- Ever consider reading a book? Studies have shown that this can increase relaxation and assuage anxieties, making it easier to fall asleep.
- Meditate…I guess.
- Avoid stimulants late at night.
- Try a Sleep Support! Hands down, this is one of my favorite of our supplements. Find out more about my personal favorite here.
Below are just a few ways to naturally increase your testosterone levels. I won’t get all redundant by reminding you of the things already stated above.
- Incorporate testosterone boosting foods into your daily diet. Some good sources would be:
- Eggs: The great Vince Gironda (The Iron Guru, trained Larry Scott) once stated that eating a dozen eggs a day was the equivalent of taking anabolic steroids. I wouldn’t go so far as to make that claim, but whole eggs are packed with testosterone boosting vitamins.
- Ginger: Shown to have a positive effect on testosterone
- Leafy greens: I know. I’m not happy about it either. Which is why I take our Organic Greens
- Pomegranates: Antioxidant rich, for the win
- Fatty fish, like salmon: super rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are incredibly beneficial for pretty much everything, including testosterone.
- Incorporate supplements like one of the Testosterone Boosters we have available like RUT, PRO PF3, TEST BOOST or Feradox for naturally increasing testosterone, addressing vitamin deficiencies, and driving stress hormones down.
- Practice doing active rest things like checking into the sauna post workout
- Skip the lift, and if you find yourself thinking, “Okay, cool, I’ll just do some HIIT,” then slap the back of your hand. Cut back on the high intensity interval training too, and opt for, like, a walk, or some relaxing yoga (not the applause worthy contortionist kind). Thing is, the Central Nervous System can only take so much, and intense lifting along with HIIT is only pushing you further and further into the abyss of diminishing returns (thank you, biology, ugh).
- Throw in some Collagen.
- Stock up on some Sleep Support.
Low testosterone could just be the factor that’s been holding you back from achieving your dreams, and more importantly, your dream physique.
I’m not saying to make all these changes at once, because I’m not an extremist. Start small, and start with whatever is easiest. For example, if it’s really difficult to take a rest day, try scheduling a bunch of relaxing activities one day (like, maybe the spa or yoga) so you can’t fit in a grueling lifting session, and therefore, force you to take it easy (zing, take that, yogis).