Testosterone is a much maligned thing. An excess of it is blamed on all sorts of aggressive, anti-social behaviour, and even the poor old prostate unjustly points it’s finger at testosterone for all its problems in later life. True, the irrationalities of our youth can sometimes be blamed on a wild excess of testosterone, but a lack of wisdom and life experience also has more than a little to do with it too. And let’s not forget the vim and vigour of youth – so much of which can be directly attributed to the cascade of testosterone coursing through the teenage male body. It seems that finally we have all cottoned onto the fact that modest rises in our natural testosterone levels will actually be life enhancing and go a part of the way to fulfilling Ponce de Leon’s ancient quest for the Fountain of Youth!
All of our personal training clients here at Ultimate Performance, including women, benefit from moderate natural increases in their bodies production of testosterone. After all, this is a hormone that doesn’t just drastically increase one’s ability to gain muscle (although I should stress here that natural rises for women are still very low relative to that of a male and in no way result in the accidental creation of a She Hulk!), but also has profoundly positive implications for the immune system, sex drive, and overall levels of confidence and well-being. The majority of our clientele live in London, one of the most stressed out, hormonally damaging cities in the word. The average London male has 20% less testosterone than his father at an equivalent age – it’s time we did something to reverse this alarming, and dare I say emasculating, trend!
We follow a very simple and straightforward Five Step Protocol that always yields swift results:
1. Consume plenty of “good fats” every day
Every single study of any authority has now proven beyond doubt that the old 1990s diet staple (I so hope that this feels like 1990s thinking to you) of limiting fat to 10 percent or less of total calories will take your testosterone levels right down into the cellar. A good rule of thumb is that 14-20% of your diet should come from essential fatty acids such as monounsaturated fats, omega-3’s and all those other fats that keep your heart healthy and reduce inflammation.
2. Eat protein several times a day
Why oh why do so many people still think that cereal provides them with their morning protein?! Here is a basic rule of thumb – if it walks, runs, swims or crawls then it is protein packed. You can also add if it was laid too. Before your mind descends into the gutter, I am referring to eggs. Research also shows that athletes have higher testosterone levels when eating meat-based protein, so make sure to try to eat some lean meat every day if you want to add some muscle or tone to your body. A study of 1,522 men ages 40-70 following low-protein diets had decreased testosterone and lower sex drives – so learn from this lesson. And yes, Tibetan monks do live quite comfortably on exclusively vegan diets. Of course, they also don’t reproduce, but who cares?
3. Do some sort of resistance training as exercise
Muscles make your metabolism quicker and they increase the body’s natural production of testosterone. As if this wasn’t reason enough to get down the gym it has been proved that they very act of acquiring these muscles in the first place is also a hormonally stimulating activity. Lifting weights that challenge us (so forget about wasting your time playing on a leg extension machine, you need to do some real exercise!) causes our bodies to ramp up their natural testosterone production. It has been repeatedly shown that the harder you train in a given rep range (to go as broad as possible let’s say 4-20 reps) with specific set and rest interval protocols the more you will increase your natural levels of testosterone (and growth hormone too, but that’s an entirely different story).
Nick Mitchell Showing The Way With Resistance Training At UP (edit: our old gym interior)
4. Ensure that you get good quality sleep
Testosterone, not to mention growth hormone, is produced during deep sleep known as REM sleep. Regular exercise, proper nutrition, intelligent supplementation with products such as magnesium, melatonin, valerian or even camomile tea all can have a positive role to play in aiding restful sleep. This is a very deep topic in itself and far beyond the scope of this article, and is something we work on very closely with some of our clients who have to deal with stressful and busy London lives.
5. Control the urge to splurge!
If you are a party animal and still want to maximise your physical fitness, then it’s definitely time to reprioritise. Alcohol, nicotine and even worse things such as marijuana all inhibit the production of testosterone. And let’s not even start on what they can do to your actual performance, both in and out of the gym (yes, it would be valid to read a definite innuendo in there if you want).
Follow these simple rules and you can drastically improve upon your quality of life and go through the day with an added spring in your step! There are of course a number of other ways to refine and add to any programme of this nature, some of which we will deal with in later articles, and some of which we keep exclusively for our clients. If you are interested in learning more about specific testosterone inducing training protocols, nutritional practices, and herbal remedies please contact us and we will happily discuss how we can help you to achieve your goals.