Testosterone is always getting endless attention in the fitness world, and for good reason. It is hands down the most powerful anabolic hormone in the human body. In terms of benefits, almost no other hormone can touch the potential of testosterone.
Thus, being able to naturally increase testosterone levels in the body is as beneficial as it gets in terms of muscular development.
Take a quick look at some of the endless advantages testosterone provides in the body:
- Increases muscular strength and hypertrophy
- Burns body fat (improves body composition)
- Improves overall mood
- Boosts energy and alertness levels (improves focus and concentration as well)
- Helps with sleep and staying asleep throughout the night
- Can increase bone density (stronger bones)
- Increase overall red blood cell (RBC) count in the body
- Improves libido (sex drive)
- Helps lower cholesterol and the risk for heart conditions
- Having appropriate levels of testosterone benefits overall health (decreases risk of disease and injury, and several others)
Unfortunately as we age our body’s testosterone levels naturally begin to decrease, and we can lose several of the benefits above it provides. Being able to counter decreases in testosterone and maximize its levels in the body is crucial.
Decreased testosterone levels have been linked to higher risk for several diseases and conditions, including: Obesity, Heart Disease, decreased bone density, Type II Diabetes, reduced muscle strength and mass, and decreased overall health.
This leads us to the question: What can we do to increase the body’s natural testosterone levels?
Let’s take a look at some of the best ways to increase natural testosterone levels.
1. Perform Multijoint (Compound) Exercises In The Gym
Research has shown repeatedly that performing high intensity resistance training in the gym (reaching failure before ten repetitions) will boost testosterone levels. However, it is just as important to perform the right types of exercises as well. Essentially, the larger the movement, the more muscles that movement will recruit. By performing these types of movements, you will maximize the stimulus for boosting testosterone. To be specific, the types of movements we are talking about include squats (back/front), deadlifts, bench press, overhead presses and olympic movements.
2. Include The Right Type Of Fat In Your Diet
While all too often fat gets a bed reputation, much research has been done proving the effectiveness of healthy fats in improving health and also increasing testosterone. Even including saturated fats, which often are considered unhealthy, have shown to increase testosterone levels. Ideally, including unsaturated fats in your diet is a great way to boost natural testosterone levels. Include foods like avocado, olive oils, nuts, fish and chia seeds. Several studies have shown that decreasing the amount of fat consumed in your diet will decrease testosterone levels. Don’t be afraid of the fat! Even including an adequate amount of saturated fat in your diet will boost testosterone.
3. Ensure You Are Consuming Enough Cholesterol In Your Diet
If you don’t already know by now, testosterone is created from cholesterol in the body. Thus, it only makes sense if you do not have enough cholesterol in your diet and body, you will also have a lower amount of testosterone. As mentioned above, including fat in your diet is important. Foods that are high in saturated fat are also high in cholesterol. These types of food include whole eggs, dairy products (cheese, milk with fat), red meats, and several different types of oils.
4. Make Sure You Are Getting Enough Vitamin D Daily
Vitamin D has been gaining increasing attention for the various health benefits it can provide. We most commonly obtain our Vitamin D via exposure to sunlight. Research has shown that over half of the US population is deficient in Vitamin D. One way to increase your total Vitamin D would be to consider adding a Vitamin D daily supplement to your diet to ensure adequate amounts. Foods that are high in Vitamin D include fatty fish and most dairy products (milk, cheese, and eggs as well). A year long study found that supplementing Vitamin D increased testosterone levels in participants by 25%! Don’t neglect this potent testosterone booster.
5. Don’t Forget to Get Enough Sleep Each Night
Getting an adequate amount of sleep (approximately 8 hours) is nearly as important, and often more important, than a good diet and exercise regime. Not only that, getting enough sleep has a profound effect on the body’s testosterone levels. The amount of sleep that is ideal for each individual varies significantly. However, numerous studies have shown that sleeping under 6 hours per night can decrease testosterone levels by nearly 20%. Getting at least 7 hours of sleep per night is necessary for nearly every individual. Make sure not to neglect the amount of sleep you get each night to maximize testosterone levels.
6. Train In The Best Set And Repetition Range to Elicit Increased Testosterone Levels
Including multijoint/compound exercises in your training routine is vital for boosting testosterone. However, it is also equally important to train at the right intensity and volume. Specifically, studies have found that training at about 70-85% of your 1 rep max is ideal. Further, research has also shown that performing at least 3 sets with at least 6 repetitions is also ideal. This would be considered training at a moderate to high load, with a higher amount of volume. For experienced lifters, it can be important to push the limits even further. Make sure to consider including drop sets or rest-pause sets to push past failure to maximize testosterone increases.
7. Keep Workouts Around One Hour Long
Longer workouts aren’t always better! While most of us love to be in the gym and push ourselves, sometimes we can go for too long. Research has proven that exercising much longer than one hour can spike the body’s cortisol levels, which in turn decreases testosterone levels. To expand further, it is also more beneficial to take shorter rest periods in between sets and exercises. Studies have found that keeping rest in between sets and exercises at around 1 minute is optimal to elicit higher testosterone (and other anabolic hormones) levels following a workout.
- Perform mutlijoint/compound exercises in your training
- Make sure to include enough fat in your diet
- Include foods that include cholesterol in your diet (don’t be scared of dietary cholesterol)
- Get enough Vitamin D via exposure to sunlight, fatty fish, dairy, or consider supplementing
- Don’t neglect the amount of sleep you are getting each night. Try to get at least 7 hours per night
- Also make sure to train in the right intensity, set, and repetition ranges. Ideally, keep intensity between 70-85% with at least 3 sets and 6 reps per exercise
- Lastly, don’t drag out your workouts. Keep focused and take shorter rest periods in order to maximize testosterone
Any questions or comments regarding increasing testosterone levels? Let us know in the comments!