It’s the elixir that holds the key to unlocking your greatest potential as a man. It’s the proverbial magical mushroom power-up to Super Mario. It’s the golden ticket into Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory, except it’s the factory of gains.
Testosterone; the holy grail of the hormonal system.
As men, we are well aware of the role testosterone plays in our livelihood. Aside from being the conductor of the GainzTrain, testosterone is responsible for basic male characteristics. The simple stuff, ya know, that makes men well, men. The growth of body hair, maintenance of bone density, and deepening of the voice.
Except, the pitfalls of modern society can be quite the roadblock for your little guys trying to swim upstream. Long nights at the office, booze cruises on the weekends, polluted city air, hormone-laced meat, estrogen-infused water; the list of boner killers is long and thick. Pun intended.
But, we’re here to help you regain your manhood and give you the most advantageous methods to keeping your testosterone levels skyrocketed. We’re talking as high as Stiflers during the girl on girl tease scene in American Pie 2.
Are you ready? Leggo!
GET TESTED, SON.
Not the kind of test your new lady wants, man. We’re talking about a test for your test.
We cannot stress the importance of this. Before we give you any of the natural strategies to skyrocket your testosterone, we should establish a baseline to make sure these four ways are actually doing the trick.
As far why you should make it a priority to test your testosterone levels? Well, simply it will determine if you are functioning optimally as a man.
If your doctor refuses to order these tests, you can do them on your own here or here (search: 10 most important tests).
Here are some important considerations:
- Have your results interpretated by a clinically.
- Take your test in a fasted state at 8 am.
- Don’t do while on a diet. It will be lower.
- To get the most accurate results, complete a few times.
Back to where we were in how to amp up and preserve your testosterone without getting testosterone replacement. These 4 lifestyle strategies should be given your best shot before you even think about going the injectable route.
NUMBER ONE: CARBOHYDRATES
When discussing macronutrients and their effect on the hormonal system, particularly testosterone, dietary fat is usually the focal point of the conversation. We mean, a juicy freshly seared rib-eye screams manly man right? Because of this, however, people overlook carbohydrates impact on testosterone production.
Carbohydrates and their role in testosterone production became documented via a study in 1987. Using dietary fat and overall caloric intake as a control, researchers manipulated protein and carb intake between two groups. After only ten days, the group consuming higher carbs and lower protein had higher free testosterone levels than their counterparts. Thirty-six percent higher, to be exact.
In a separate study, researchers also concluded that men who exercise and consume a diet low in carbs experience a rapid increase in the stress hormone, cortisol.
The stress hormone, Cortisol, can inhibit testosterone production if chronically elevated. During times of perceived threat (physical or emotional), cortisol is released into the bloodstream through the adrenal gland. The body then uses cortisol to break down muscle protein into amino acids to use as energy to survive said threat. A process as taxing as this shifts the body into a catabolic state and in return, blocks anything anabolic (like testosterone production) from happening.
Training is a perceived threat (stress) to the body, which means it elevates cortisol in the bloodstream. Consuming carbohydrates post workout, help lower cortisol and bring the body back to an anabolic state where you can recover and grow.
To maximize your training potential, keep all three macronutrients (protein, carbs, fats) in your diet regularly. Stop demonizing any of the three of the macros. It is not necessary to make progress, no matter what your training goals entail.
Now, adjusting the ratios of protein, fat, and carbohydrates according to your individual situation (body fat percentage, current goals) would be the better move. Even, altering macros for sport or competition is necessary at times. For instance, fighters purposely drop carbs close to their fights as a method to make weight.
For general training purposes, your best bet is to hire a coach (or coaches) to determine your caloric needs in direct relations to your goals (fat loss, recomposition, or muscle gain.) As general guidelines and without knowledge of your specific situation, we recommend consuming one gram of protein per pound of your current or target lean body mass, set 20 to 30 percent of your total calories to come from dietary fat, and have the remaining calories come from carbohydrates.
NUMBER TWO: SUPPLEMENTS
With your nutrition dialed in, supplements can provide an extra boost. No, not supplements like Winstrol or D-bol. If you’re already gassed up on that, you don’t have any problems with low T…yet.
These are supplements that you can easily pick up at your local supplement store and bypass the bro at the counter trying to sell you a two hundred dollar t-booster. Spoiler alert, they don’t work like the bottle says it will.
Aiding in immune function, protein synthesis, DNA synthesis, and cell division; zinc is undoubtedly a big player for the team. However, despite its importance, zinc is often the mineral we struggle with maintaining adequate levels the most.
Lost through sweat, low levels of zinc can decrease androgen receptors, increase estrogen receptors, and speed up the aromatization process (conversion of testosterone into estrogen.)
On the flip side, adequate levels of zinc allow the body a more robust release of testosterone. Scientific analysis has confirmed zinc’s power in elevating levels of free testosterone throughout the body.
Except, there’s the catch.
Supplementing zinc isn’t as easy as popping open the bottle and swallowing a handful. Overdosing or chronically taking zinc can be toxic to your body and result in adverse side effects. Toxicity can become prevalent in men who consume more than forty milligrams per day.
To safely supplement with zinc, begin by first purchasing a zinc test. A personal favorite of ours is the “Designs By Health Zinc Challenge“.
The test is performed by swishing a capful of the liquid zinc around in your mouth and getting in tune with your trusty taste buds. If you cannot recognize any distinct taste and the liquid “tastes like water,” this indicates a great need for zinc supplementation. AKA Category 1.
Category 2 is indicated by a slight dry mineral taste a few seconds after swishing it around in your mouth. This result calls for mild zinc supplementation.
Leveling up, Category 3 is indicated by a definite unpleasant taste almost immediately. Zinc supplementation is practically unneeded.
Category 4 is the highest test result, indicated by an IMMEDIATE disgusting taste that would cause you to spit out the liquid. No zinc supplementation is needed.
It is worth noting that zinc can also be tested through bloodwork to determine exact levels of zinc within the body.
To play it completely safe, you can optimize zinc levels by focusing on specific foods high in the mineral.
Transitioning from minerals to vitamins, the second supplement is all about vitamin D.
Get ready, because here comes a teenage boy joke. Do they ever get old?
The D is here to help the D.
Ha, get it? I’m hysterical, I know.
Now back to science, bitch.
Testosterone production is supported by vitamin D due to its receptors on the cells that release testosterone. Additionally, vitamin D can slow down the aromatization process mentioned earlier regarding low levels of zinc.
A controlled study identified that men deficient in vitamin D had much higher estrogen levels and lower testosterone levels as opposed to the fine gents who were sufficient in it.
In the study, deficient was defined at a level below 20 ng/ml and adequate was categorized at above 30 ng/ml. In addition to estrogen and testosterone levels, researchers also noted that men with sufficient vitamin D had the leanest body composition and overall better health.
Like zinc, the only way to know the exact level of vitamin D within the body is through blood work.
Unlike zinc, vitamin D is much harder to reach levels of toxicity. Usually, individuals would have to dose 40,000 IU per day for months on end or ingest a substantially large dose at once to reach toxicity.
To optimize testosterone, supplement with a reasonable amount of vitamin D daily and spend a little time outside with Mother Nature.
NUMBER THREE: RECOVERY
When you strip away all the layers, increasing testosterone comes down to one thing, optimizing hormones.
As testosterone and his anabolic friends aim to increase muscle, improve performance, and demolish fat; the catabolic villains just want to watch the world burn.
Just like the Avengers have to defeat Loki and his army of Chitauri, we have to make sure your anabolic hormones Hulk smash their enemies.
You’ve already come face to face to enemy number one. Cortisol.
Let’s dive deeper into the heart of the demon. Much earlier, we explained that cortisol is a key stress hormone. Primarily in charge of your “fight-or-flight” response, cortisol temporary supercharges the body’s energy production to save your ass in stressful situations.
Like all things in life, everything comes at a price.
In the event of a stressful situation, any function not needed for immediate survival stops. Cortisol production takes full priority over the body.
Think about it like this; if a bear is chasing you in the woods, your body is far more concerned with supplying energy to escape death via cortisol than it is pumping your little boys full of testosterone to procreate.
Now, this doesn’t mean that cortisol is inherently evil all the time. Cortisol is responsible for some pretty important day to day stuff too, such as waking us up in the morning or powering us through our workouts by converting amino acids to glycogen.
This is why it is imperative to shift from “fight-or-flight” to your parasympathetic nervous system as fast as possible post workout so you can properly recover.
So, it is NOT that you need to train less, but that you need to recover more.
Aside from carbohydrate consumption post workout, there are other strategies you can implement to ensure you are recovering as much as possible.
So the question begging for an answer is, do you even recover bro?
NUMBER FOUR: ICING
There’s no doubt you are familiar with cold therapy’s place in the recovery and rehabilitation realm. Your sprained ankles and wrists have been nursed back to health with frozen bags of veggies since you were just a kid. You’ve seen your favorite professional athletes hanging out in a giant ice bath during their post game interviews. Perhaps even your Instagram feed has been swarmed with the latest phenom of #cryotherapy.
While each is useful and offer unique benefits of their own, this particular method utilizes something completely different for elevating testosterone. Full disclosure, it’s straight sadistic.
Let’s take that frozen bag of peas off your ankle and put them on the peas of your own.
Yep, I’m talking about icing the boys down low. Your beloved testicles. (Sorry ladies, this one is for the boys. But you should definitely share it with the guy in your life.)
Hear me out.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but those jewels don’t hang outside of your body so you can play pocket pool when you’re bored.
They were miraculously engineered to be outside of your body as a cooling mechanism. Evolution always has our best interest in mind. Formally known as the cremasteric reflex, your sack drops down from the body to regulate its temperature when heat rises.
Without this reflex, the body would severely jeopardize hormone production. In fact, at around 98 degrees Fahrenheit, sperm production ceases entirely.
So, it should come as no surprise that some OG bro from the past put two and two together and decided that cooling down the jets would aid in performance.
Obviously, I don’t expect you to trust some random bro when your prized possessions are involved. So here’s some science.
In 2013, a group of brave souls decided to collect and analyze 6455 samples of semen for the sake of science. The most significant result? Quality, volume, and motility were found to be significantly higher in the colder months of the year.
Icing your testicles via a cold pack or cold shower will imitate these results.
If you possess reckless abandon and a serious set of gonads, start implementing a twenty-minute ice pack session a day. Before or after your training session; doesn’t matter.
If you’re one that likes to dip your toes in the water before you dive in, start slowly. During your showers, toggle the shower handle to the cold side every once in a while. Get a little braver every shower and make the water a little colder and the duration a little longer.
If you live somewhere in the middle of those two, there’s a unique solution for ya. Store a small container in the shower and fill it with cold water near the end of your shower. With a deep breath and an ounce of courage, take your boys for a quick swim. Just like the cold shower, make the water a tad colder and hold it a bit longer every time.
BONUS: ONNIT TOTAL STRENGTH + PERFORMANCE
Maybe you’re ahead of the game and already doing all of these. Well, except that fourth one. You’re not the “icing deez nuts” kinda guy. Even though we think you should give it a shot (bonus points if you tag us on Instagram; just keep it PG fellas), we also know exactly what’s on your minds.
“Come on bros, give us something a little sexier.”
Even though it doesn’t get much more seductive than ice cold gonads, we do have a little trick up our sleeve. As philospher, Dom Mazzetti would say….BONUS!
Insert: Onnit’s Total Strength + Performance.
This is only for the select few that have already implemented the 4 strategies explained above. If you’ve done that consistently for the past few months and still want to skyrocket your testosterone, this is our go-to supplement to give us a little extra something-something.
Total Strength + Performance was university-tested against a placebo and showed promising results of increases in strength within a powerlifting population. That was in only 4 short weeks. Imagine what you can do by training hard, consuming your carbohydrates, supplementing with zinc and vitamin D, optimizing your recovery AND throwing this Onnit supplement into the mix?
Talk about becoming a complete freak of nature. 😉
If that is music to your ears and gets you all excited below the belt, go grab it to optimize your hormones, enhance your recovery, and make them strength gains.
THE TESTOSTERONE PROMISE LAND
In closing, remember these five key takeaways to guide you to the testosterone promise land.
Recover harder than you train
Ice your nuts.
Onnit Total Strength + Performance
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