Testosterone plays an important role in the growth of muscle. If you have a high level of testosterone, you will respond to training more readily and make greater gains in muscle and strength.
Below I present some of the ways in which you can naturally increase testosterone levels or at least ensure that testosterone production is optimal.
If you’re overweight, try to lose weight. The more body fat you have, the more influence estrogen may have on your body, and estrogen is detrimental to testosterone.
Intense training with heavy weights has a proven effect on increasing testosterone. That’s unlike chronic cardio training, which has been shown to have either negative or no effect on testosterone production. Intense training, including performing reps to failure (discussed in Intensity techniques), will stress your body, leading to the release of testosterone. The best way to stress your body is by concentrating on major compound exercises, such as the barbell deadlift and the barbell squat, which simultaneously work multiple joints and muscle groups. You will be introduced to compound exercises in Types of exercise.
When you’re under a lot of stress, your body releases high levels of the stress hormone cortisol. If the level of cortisol in your blood is consistently high, it may start to block the effects of testosterone, as well as cause other problems. Therefore, work on reducing the amount of cortisol in your blood by reducing stress and anxiety. Some potentially effective ways of reducing stress and anxiety include exercising, watching funny movies/stand-up comedy, listening to music, spending time with loved ones, and practicing mindfulness meditation. Cutting down on caffeine can also help.
Boost your intake of BCAAs
Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) promote higher testosterone and growth hormone levels, particularly when taken in conjunction with weight training. You can buy BCAAs in supplemental form, as well as find them in high concentrations in dairy products, especially quality cheeses and whey proteins.
Eat healthy fats
Healthy fats are essential for testosterone production. Therefore, make sure that you get enough healthy fats in your diet. By ‘healthy’, I mean not only mono- and polyunsaturated fats but also saturated fats, which are healthy in moderation.
Eat less sugar
Testosterone levels decrease after you eat sugar, which is likely because the sugar leads to a high insulin level, another factor leading to low testosterone. Therefore, watch your sugar intake. This means cutting back on confectionery and desserts, adding less sugar to the things that you eat and drink, and paying close attention to food labels, as sugar is added to almost everything these days.
Eat more garlic
Try incorporating more garlic into your diet. Garlic has been proven to elevate testosterone levels. It contains a compound called allicin, which scientific studies have proven to simultaneously decrease cortisol and raise testosterone.
Get some zinc
The mineral zinc is important for testosterone production, and supplementing your diet for as little as six weeks has been shown to cause a marked improvement in testosterone among men with low levels. ZMA is a good example of a popular zinc-containing supplement.