The first hormone people think of in relation to building muscle and losing fat is testosterone, hence why bodybuilders inject more and more to grow bigger, stronger, and leaner. However, a common issue is that many people don’t have it in optimal amounts, but equally, don’t fancy turning to a needle.
Testosterone naturally declines as we grow older in both men and women. The healthy levels for men over the age of 18 is between 300-1200 ng/dL (nanograms per decilitre) and for women it’s 20-75 ng/dL. After the age of 30, men tend to lose around 1% of their testosterone each year. For reference, bodybuilders tend to inject an extra 750-1200mg each week alongside everything else.
Boosting your testosterone can not only help you to build more muscle and drop fat faster, but also help with your confidence and mood, especially for men. Lower testosterone is associated with poor sleep, reduced muscle mass, higher fat storage around the hips and chest, lower sexual desire, infertility, depression, and a myriad of other problems.
Now, it’s important to note that taking yourself from 500mg-600mg isn’t going to make that much of a difference to your mind or body. The most changes will occur from taking yourself from the lower ranges such as 300-400mg up to the higher ranges of 600-700mg. As well as this, if you’re testosterone is lower than 300mg, then it’s important to consult with a doctor, too.
If you google how to increase your testosterone, you’ll be blasted with a ridiculous amount of products all claiming to take your testosterone to super-human heights. What you’ll find is that many of the supplements claim to have effects similar to steroids. Yet, in actuality they’re only going to have a mild effect for such a drastic price point.
When you think about it, our body’s will have a high level of testosterone when they’re at their healthiest, not through taking additional supplements (unless you’re medically challenged). Therefore, a lot of the best ways to naturally improve your testosterone are through just making yourself healthier. As well as this, because testosterone is the male sex hormone, typical ‘manly’ activities are an easy way to boost your levels. When it comes down to it, there are 5 main things you can do to make sure your testosterone is optimal:
Any exercise is good for keeping your hormones in check, but lifting heavy weights is good for testosterone in particular. Aim to complete 3-5 resistance training sessions each week, focusing on recovery as much as your work outs.
Needless to say, being out of shape isn’t great for your mental and physical wellbeing. So, not only do you need to take care of your exercise habits, but also what you eat. Aim to consume more foods high in vitamins and minerals, such as fruits and vegetables, as well as unprocessed meats. This will directly help to improve your testosterone as well as indirectly by helping you to lose fat.
Stress is one of the biggest factors behind many ill-health problems, but many of us prefer to push our stress to the back of our heads opposed to acknowledging it. Yet, if you want to boost your testosterone, then you need to take care of your mind as much as your body.
Unless you frequently stay outside in a sunny climate, then there’s a high chance that you’re not getting an optimal level of vitamin D. There’s now more and more research to suggest that supplementing with vitamin D3 can highly impact your testosterone levels. A 2011 study found that supplementing with 3,000 IU of vitamin D3 each day managed to increase testosterone levels by as much as 25%.
Alongside diet and exercise, sleep is the third biggest factor that influences how you look and feel. We all know the difference in our mood after a good night of rest compared to a bad night, and now sleeping less than 6 hours each night has been found to reduce testosterone levels by 15%. Aim to sleep at least 8 hours per night, getting to bed before midnight.