In the modern day gym of today, people training for a better overall physique, are trying to make lean muscular gains, there constantly looking for the best solution. We get people always asking, what’s the best training programme? How many times a week should I train? What’s the best nutrition or diet plan? How many grams of protein and carbs should I be eating a day? The questions are endless and of course, your type of training and nutrition is important to gaining muscle, but there are other key components to our health out there that will lead to a big, big difference in the amount of natural lean muscle we can gain. Testosterone is one of these components, and it is extremely important to have high levels of natural testosterone in our systems to build muscle, burn fat, have higher energy levels, better sex life, but also produce a healthy sperm count. It’s also worth noting that testosterone level peak at the age of 27 and start to decline slowly from there, so this applies even more so to the guys over that age. Ladies, pay attention too, this is not just aimed at guys.
Testosterone is the male sex hormone. Females also produce testosterone, but in much smaller amounts, this is why women tend to have less muscle, more body fat and is 10 times harder to gain natural muscle than it is for men. These days both men and women have lower testosterone levels than they should, you need to produce good levels of testosterone in order to build muscle and stay lean. Having high testosterone is a sign of virility, vitality, strength, power and energy. If you constantly have low levels of testosterone not only will you under perform in the gym, but also in your sex life too.
So you’re probably wondering how I know if I have high or low levels of testosterone and how do I fix it? First off to get your testosterone levels measured accurately you actually need to have blood tests taken by a medical professional, but sometimes you can just tell if you have low levels. For instance if you have a high percentage of body fat, low energy levels, poor nutrition, no interest in sex or problems getting erect and don’t exercise/lift weights, then you probably don’t have high testosterone levels or don’t produce enough. Now how do we fix this problem? Here’s a list of things to do, to help kick start that production of testosterone levels and help them healthy and high:
- Avoid processed and refined foods (trans fats, high sugar)
- Eat mixed nuts (almonds, Brazil nuts, walnuts, cashews, hazelnuts, peanuts etc.)
- Eat a good amount of omega 3 fats (flax seeds, salmon, sardines, mackerel, fish oil supplements)
- Eat healthy saturated fats in moderation like grass fed beef and coconut oil, DO NOT eliminates saturated fat from your diet.
- Perform regular heavy weight training or conditioning work like interval training or sprints.
- Limit your workouts to 45-60 minutes. Research as shown testosterone levels will start to decline shortly after 60 minutes of vigorous exercise, raising cortisol levels (stress hormone)
- Get 20 minutes of sunlight per day or take a vitamin D supplement
- Have sex more often
- Compete in something
- Get 8-9 hours sleep a night
- Minimise stress
Now were briefly going to discuss estrogen and the link it has to testosterone. Estrogen is the female sex hormone that increases fat around the hips and chest. Now men want this to be low as possible, but it’s a problem that is increasing due to environmental factors and poor eating habits. Women need estrogen as it is a key hormone regulator for them; Estrogen hormones play an essential role in the growth and development of female secondary sexual characteristics such as breasts, pubic and armpit hair, endometrium, regulation of the menstrual cycle and the reproductive system. Estrogen also needs to be present in females who are pregnant, stimulating the release of progesterone from the placenta.
If you want to lose fat then you have to get your estrogen levels in check, especially if you’re a male. If you have higher levels of estrogen than testosterone, then trust me, gaining muscle and losing fat will be next to impossible. Here are some ways to get those estrogen levels in check:
- Try and eat organic, grass fed, and wild caught fish. Factory made foods contain estrogenic and antibiotic compounds.
- Avoid drinking or eating out of plastic.
- Avoid drinking beer. Beer contains hops which has been linked to increasing estrogen levels.
- Detox your liver. All estrogenic compounds must pass through the liver. If yours is stressed from an unhealthy diet and too much alcohol you will never be able to rid your system of excess estrogen.
If you feel you’re’ testosterone levels are low then start with some of the advice above. Concentrate at one thing at a time and incorporate them all together. If your only getting 6 hours sleep a night, go to bed an hour or 2 earlier. Start eating a handful of mixed nuts as a mid-morning snack. Start lifting heavier weights, progress in the gym. Don’t buy into the 1980’s advice that saturated fat is bad for you and you should banish it from your diet, your testosterone will suffer as a result. Look at the cavemen or the Spartans, did they eliminate saturated fat? Of course they didn’t and look how they performed in life and looked. If your training longer than 60 minutes, stop, try upping the intensity and believe me you won’t need to train for longer.
Start doing these little things on a daily basis and notice your testosterone levels sky rocket, you’ll know it when it kicks in! If you still feel you’re not getting anywhere, look into getting your levels tested and at your local doctors and hopefully they can shed more light on the situation. But hopefully you won’t have to go that far after reading this.
Thanks for reading,
Until next time
SJ Fitness out.