Testosterone & Muscle Mass
When it comes to building muscle, testosterone is the key. The powerful hormone is the signal for your body to grow and enlarge your muscles, which is the goal which most of us fitness fanatics strive for. Whilst generally you’re stuck with the levels of testosterone your body naturally produces, and hence many people turn to steroids, there are some things you can do naturally to increase your levels of testosterone and thus increase your gains.
One of the key ways to naturally increase your testosterone levels is by increasing your intake of dietary fats. With this being said, that doesn’t mean you have a free pass to stuff your face with Mars bars and expect to see great results. You need to choose the types of fats you eat wisely, and most importantly, avoid the bad fats. At all costs if possible.
Fats such as trans fats are unnatural and should be avoided. There are certain foods you should turn to as a source of healthy saturated and unsaturated fats. For example, for saturated fats, you should aim to eats foods such as red meats, eggs, coconut oil, and for unsaturated fats you should aim to eats foods such as nuts (almonds etc.), avocado, and oils such as olive oil.
There have been several different studies which have shown almost definitive results that suggest eating more fat can lead to an increase in testosterone levels. It is important to keep track of how much you are eating though, as an increase in fat intake will lead to an increase in cholesterol intake, and thus could lead to related diseases. If your cholesterol levels are already high, then you should consult your doctor before you decide to up your fat intake.
Cut Down On Body Fat
Another key way of boosting your T levels is to cut down on your levels of body fat. There have been many studies which show that higher levels of body fat can lead to lower T levels. As such, the lower your levels of body fat, the higher your T levels will be. This means it will be easier for you to build muscle at lower body fat percentages.
However, keep in mind that in order to reduce your body fat, you will need to eat in a caloric deficit, which could lead to you losing muscle. If your aim of increasing your T levels is to improve your gains, then going on a long cut in a caloric deficit could be counter intuitive.
For most of you reading this, it will sound like I am teaching you to suck eggs, however, lifting weights is a key way of increasing your T levels. Studies have shown that T levels are at their highest 48 hours after weight lifting, so therefore, the harder you train and the more frequently you train, the higher your testosterone levels will be.
Cut Down On The Booze
This might not be the news you would like to be hearing, but drinking alcohol can reduce your T levels. Studies have shown that alcohol consumption can reduce your T levels for up to 24 hours, whilst it can also increase your levels of cortisol and reduce your levels of HGH (human growth hormone). Whilst the odd drink won’t really do you much harm, drinking regularly can have very negative effects on your T levels and your overall health. Not to mention the copious amounts of added calories you are inputting to your diet by drinking regularly.
Get More Sleep
One study has shown that for people with low T levels, the most important factor in getting them up can be getting more sleep. A lack of sleep can affect your hormones in a variety of ways, which in turn affects your body’s level of testosterone. A healthy level of sleep often ranges from 7 to 8 hours, though aim for as much as you can get (within reason!). Sleep should be prioritised, along with your diet and training, and has many other positive effects on your health. Not to mention that your body produces HGH (human growth hormone) when you sleep, which will further help you to build more muscle.
Studies have shown that consuming creatine can lead to an increase in testosterone from 20-25%. Creatine can be found in red meats, as well as being available in supplement form. The recommended supplement dosage is between 5 and 10g.
Take Home Message
Whilst your T levels are generally fixed and genetic, there are some things you can do to increase them. If you follow these tips, you should increase your T levels by a marginal degree. It may not be noticeable, but it will help. Even if it doesn’t, these practices are all healthy in their own right and will improve your life and performance in the gym.