Testosterone is a hormone that plays a huge role in the process of building muscle for both guys and girls. It is an anabolic hormone, which means it stimulates muscular development, but it also affects fat distribution, mood and energy.
Low levels of testosterone can limit your ability to build muscle, ruin your sex drive and deplete your energy levels. Clearly these negatives are all things we want to avoid in the world of fitness and bodybuilding.
Your natural testosterone levels are affected by tons of different environmental factors which can optimised by making small changes to your diet and lifestyle. We don’t recommend you resort to taking anabolic steroids but here are 10 of the best ways to increase testosterone levels naturally.
1. Eat enough healthy fats
Studies have found that the amount of fat we consume impacts our testosterone levels. Diets low in fat ( less than 15-20% of daily caloric intake) have been found to reduce testosterone levels compared to a diet higher in fat (25-30% of daily caloric intake).
However, the research also found that there is a limit to this testosterone boost. The impact of dietary fat on testosterone production flatlines at approximately 30% fat, although diets with higher fat content can be beneficial for other reasons, so don’t rule them out.
Read more about how to get more healthy fats into your diet HERE.
2. Improve your sleep quality & quantity
Lack of sleep is an absolute killer for your testosterone levels. Research has shown that less than 5 hours of sleep a night can cause your testosterone levels to fall by 10-15%.
Try to sleep for 7-8 hours a night, and make sure you are getting good quality sleep too. If you are waking up in the middle of the night, or feeling drowsy the next day, then you are not getting quality sleep.
There are tons of way to improve your sleep quality including reducing stress levels and supplementation. Read on to find out about de-stressing and supplementation.
3. Reduce your stress levels
For maximising testosterone, it is hugely important to reduce your stress levels! When you are stressed, your body releases the hormone cortisol, and increased levels of cortisol lead to a decrease in testosterone. High levels of stress can also prevent you from sleeping, which is another factor that reduces your testosterone levels.
There are many different ways to reduce stress. You can try techniques such as meditation or yoga, or it may just be a case of identifying what causes you to become stressed in the first place and then removing that trigger from your daily life.
4. ZMA supplementation
ZMA gets its name from its ingredients. Zinc and Magnesium Asparate (plus some vitamin B6). It’s one of the few supplements that have been clinically proven to increase muscle strength in trained athletes, as it is very difficult to get enough of these minerals through diet alone.
Zinc deficiency leads to reduced testosterone levels, and additionally, it is essential for protein synthesis (building muscle). Magnesium deficiency has been found to cause poor sleep, so topping up your magnesium levels should help sleep, boosting testosterone levels as a result.
Get yourself a good quality ZMA supplement to improve your performance and increase testosterone levels naturally (Warning: regular zinc & magnesium supplements are usually not in the correct asparate form so do not work!).
5. Reduce alcohol consumption
When alcohol is consumed, the activity of an enzyme called testosterone reductase increases which increases the breakdown of testosterone in the liver. In addition to this, alcohol consumption often causes sleep disruption
If you want to find out more adverse affects of alcohol, read our complete article on how alcohol can stop you building muscle.
6. Eat your veggies, especially garlic!
Increasing the amount of cruciferous vegetables in your diet affects your testosterone-oestrogen balance, decreasing oestrogen levels and increasing testosterone. Cruciferous vegetables include broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower. They have tons of other health benefits too, so there really is no excuse not to eat your greens.
Garlic is not only useful to ward off any vampires that might be around, it also boosts your testosterone. Garlic contains the chemical chemical diallyl disulfide, which causes your body to increase testosterone production. So sacrifice tonights date, chow down on some garlic and let the gains begin!
Read more about some of the best veggies for your health HERE.
7. Get leaner
A number of studies have found that testosterone levels are reduced in individuals with a higher body fat percentage. Reducing your body fat will lead to increased testosterone levels and improve your physical performance in and out of the gym.
The best way to shred body fat is to follow a structured diet and training plan with a combination of weight training and cardio exercise. Our Ultimate Cutting plan has been tried & tested by over 100 people with proven results – read the testimonials here.
8. Increase your training intensity
Training intensity is a measure of how much you are stressing your muscles. In laymans terms training with high intensity means lifting 80% or more of your maximum strength for that lift.
The more you tax your muscles, the more testosterone your body will produce in response. Performing compound movements that recruit large muscle groups, such as the squat, deadlift, overhead press and pull up, will also boost testosterone levels compared to isolation exercises.
9. Have more sex
This may seem crude, but sexual activity stimulates the release of endorphins, which in turn increases testosterone production. It should also relax you (afterwards at least), which should help you to de-stress and therefore help maintain optimum testosterone levels.
10. Avoid reduced calories for too long
Eating a diet with a significant calorie deficit can really wreak havoc on your hormones over time. Don’t worry, following a cutting process for short periods of time is a safe and effective way to reduce body fat.
If you are constantly in a caloric deficit, over time your body will induce safety measures to prevent you starving. This includes shutting down non-essential functions, including producing testosterone.