In this post, you’re going to learn multiple ways you can naturally increase your testosterone levels.
When I say naturally, I mean without taking anything prescription (or non-prescription) substances, without prohormones, and with minimal supplements.
In fact, supplements are optional here. Because I’m going to give you several tangible things you can do to boost test naturally, starting today!
This may very well be the only post you ever need to learn how to naturally boost your testosterone!
Here’s what you’re going to learn…
- The reasons you should focus on increasing testosterone (and the dangers of having Low T!)
- The TRUTH behind lifting weights and testosterone
- Other types of exercises you can easily do on a weekly basis
- How certain foods can impact your testosterone (good and bad!)
- How stress can literally DESTROY your testosterone and health (and ways to manage stress!)
- How many hours you need to sleep to boost hormones
- Option: Vitamins and minerals you can take that will naturally increase testosterone levels AND longevity!
Go make a protein shake, kick-back and get ready to soak in a wealth of knowledge that’s going to help you be the strongest and healthiest version of yourself!
Why Should You Want To Boost Your Testosterone?
Is boosting testosterone really that important? I assume by you reading this far that you’re interesting in building lean muscle, being the strongest version of yourself, and maintaining overall health.
If that’s not you, then go make yourself a microwave pizza and watch something meaningless on TV…and be content with all the negatives that come with low testosterone (and I’ll get to that below), because this post isn’t going to help you.
Here’s what elevated, or at least maintaining healthy testosterone levels will do for you. You’ll more than likely be familiar with some of these benefits, but there are some interesting caveats you may not know:
- Helps you build more lean muscle tissue (and helps you maintain this muscle as you age)
- Higher testosterone works in conjunction with building lean muscle in the sense that it boosts your metabolism to help your body naturally burn fat more efficiently
- Reduces the risks of many diseases and ailments associated with low testosterone levels
- Gives you more energy, that ‘spunk’ and confidence
- Per Harvard Health Publishing, health.harvard.edu, testosterone can enhance brain function
Heck, give me just half of those benefits and I’m interested in boosting test!
In essence, healthy hormone levels aren’t just something to aspire to have. It’s a necessity. If you go back and reread these benefits, you’ll see how they all tie together.
Is Having Low T Dangerous?
What about low testosterone? Is that really detrimental to your health? You bet it is!
Even if you didn’t care so much about building muscle and staying in shape (which I know that you do!), there are still many health concerns with having low T.
Here are some of the dangers of low testosterone can lead to:
- Easier to gain body fat
- Muscle loss (and losing the ability to put on muscle)
- High blood pressure and cholesterol
- Thyroid problems
- Depression, and lack of confidence and self-worth
- Per healthline.com, can lead to osteoporosis
- Kills your sex drive (which in turn can damage your marriage and/or relationship with your partner)
If you want to read more about Low T and how to reverse it, check out my post (this will open another tab so you don’t lose this page): Symptoms of Low T and How to Reverse It
Weight Training to Build Muscle and Strength
The absolute best and most organic thing you can do to boost testosterone is to lift weights.
In fact, if you do this alone, along with adhering to some of the nutrition tips I’m going to give you in the next section, that would be enough to maintain healthy hormone levels.
Chances are you’re already hitting the gym. But I want to show you some specific workouts and exercises that will have the greatest impact on your testosterone.
Weight Training Workouts
First, let’s cover the workouts. This is from my personal experience (I’ve been lifting weights since 1989…yes, I’m that old and still at it!).
There are many types of weightlifting programs you can do. The 2 main types of workouts are:
Bodybuilding focuses on building muscle size where powerlifting is geared towards strength training. But I’m going to recommend that you combine them both bodybuilding and powerlifting styles of training for the best results.
And I’m going to show you exactly how to do that and give you a full workout plan.
This is a simple 4-day training split:
- Day 1: Upper body
- Day 2: Lower body
- Day 3: Rest
- Day 4: Upper body
- Day 5: Lower body
- Day 6-7: both can be rest days, or you can start over on day 7
Here’s what a simple workout plan based on the above schedule looks like (listing workout days only):
Day 1: Upper Body Workout
|Exercises||Sets x Reps|
|Bench Press||4 x 6-8|
|Barbell Rows||4 x 6|
|Incline Dumbbell Press||3 x 8|
|Dumbbell Rows||3 x 8|
|Dumbbell Flyes||3 x 10|
|Seated Rows||3 x 10|
Day 2: Lower Body Workout
|Exercises||Sets x Reps|
|Squats||5 x 6-8|
|Leg Press||4 x 12|
|Stiff-leg Deadlifts||4 x 12|
|Leg Extensions||4 x 12|
|Calve Raises||4 x 12|
Day 3: Upper Body Workout
|Exercises||Sets x Reps|
|Reverse Grip Barbell Rows||4 x 6-8|
|Standing Overhead Press||4 x 6|
|Lat Pulldowns||3 x 8|
|Seated Dumbbell Press||3 x 8|
|Dumbbell Curls||3 x 10|
|Cable Pressdowns||3 x 10|
Day 4: Lower Body Workout
|Exercises||Sets x Reps|
|Deadlifts||5 x 3-6|
|Front Squats||4 x 12|
|Leg Extensions||4 x 12|
|Leg Curls||4 x 12|
|Calve Raises||4 x 12|
Weight Training Exercises
Now, scroll back up through the workouts and look at the first 2 exercises for your upper body workouts, and the first exercise for lower body. They total 5 core compound exercises:
- Bench Press
- Barbell Rows
- Overhead Press
**Barbell rows are done twice in the workout plan; the second time is with reverse grip – you simply can’t row enough!
These are the exercises that will increase testosterone the most!
Why are these the best exercises? Because they require you to use multiple muscles and also require the most effort. Per mensjournal.com, these are important factors for boosting testosterone.
You’re also working your largest muscle. This means you’ll pack on more muscle mass (and in return, you’ll burn more fat). More muscle and less body fat are also related to increased testosterone levels.
That’s why you’re doing these exercises first in your workouts; you want to focus more effort on these compound lifts.
There are more exercises than just the 5 above that trigger a hormone response. Any exercise using multiple muscles will do this (many of these are variations of the core compound exercises, like front squats, incline bench press, dumbbell rows or press).
If you want more weight training advice, and bodybuilding and strength training workout programs, visit my website and sign up at TheMuscleProgram.com
Don’t stop at just lifting weights. The workout plan I gave you is only 4 days a week. So on the ‘rest’ days, you can do some sort of activity, and preferably outdoors.
There are 2 reasons I’m specifying outdoor exercise, and yes, others have something to do with raising testosterone:
- Natural vitamin D from the sun (and we’ll talk more about vitamin D when we get to the supplement section)
- Fresh air (breathing out toxins and bringing fresh air)
The types of outdoor activities here relate to cardiovascular exercise. Doing cardio a few times a week will also help maintain healthy testosterone levels by helping you maintain a lower body fat percentage.
Here are a few outdoor exercises and activities you can do:
- Kayaking/canoeing (my personal favorite!)
- Martial arts/boxing (practicing outdoors on a heavy bag is an extremely awesome workout!)
- Yoga or Tai Chi (an extremely low impact and slower form of ‘cardio’ but this does burn some calories from the concentration efforts, and awesome to do outdoors)
- Any type of sports like tennis, basketball, softball, etc.
- Hiking through trails or terrain
All of these are excellent choices of outdoor exercise. Whereas some of these you need special equipment and the right environment for, the one you can always do anywhere is walking.
Stretch Your Way to Gains
Yoga and Tai Chi were mentioned briefly above, and you should consider both or at least some form of stretching on a daily basis. Here’s why…
- Will improve your balance and coordination
- Help with muscle growth and recovery
- Can prevent injuries (from having tight muscles)
- Reduces stress (we’ll talk more about how stress impacts testosterone later!)
Even if you just did 10 minutes a day, that’s better than nothing. It’s recommended that you stretch some after your weight training workouts. And you could also do something like Yoga or Tai Chi in the evenings.
Eat More Protein, Carbs, and Fats
There are certain foods you can eat that will help you increase your testosterone. How? Through the nutrients that these foods contain.
I’ll get into those nutrients, and the foods that contain them, but first…
Balanced Diet, Not Trendy Diet!
Let me just say this for the record: protein, fats, and carbohydrates are all crucial to maintaining healthy and boosting your testosterone. Yes, you need all 3!
Look, there’s always going to be some new trendy diet that it seems everyone is following. These types of programs seem to attract the masses and build a cult-like following.
Diets are like politics. If you’re not doing the same thing they’re doing, then you’re an idiot, how could you not possibly agree with them?!
All joking aside, again, you need balanced portions of protein, carbs, and fat.
Here are 3 muscle-building meals that have a balance of all macronutrients:
- 3-4 whole eggs
- blueberries (you can put these in your oatmeal)
- turkey sausage (for more protein but minimizing fats since you’re getting plenty of fats with your eggs
- 6-10 oz sirloin steak
- sweet potatoes
- Jasmine rice
- cup of spinach or broccoli
- 1.5 scoops of whey protein powder
- 6 ounces of almond milk
- natural peanut butter or almond butter
- frozen dark berry mix
If you need a full meal plan, then check out my post 3 Day Testosterone Boosting Meal Plan.
What to Eat
Not only will you learn what to eat, but also why. Here’s a list of some of the top foods for boosting testosterone.
|Foods to Eat||Why|
|Oysters||high in zinc and contain trace minerals|
|Beef||contains the fats needed for testosterone and vitamin D|
|Eggs||Loaded with healthy fats (needed for boosting test) and a full amino acid profile|
|Milk/cheese||contains high amounts of calcium and vitamin D|
|Dark berries||high in antioxidants fiber, and vitamin C|
|hot sauce||per eatthis.com, hot sauce and spicy foods can raise your testosterone levels|
|Nuts||specifically almonds and cashews both contain healthy test boosting fats|
|Green vegetables||spinach, broccoli, kale, and most green leafy vegetables are high in fiber and loaded with vitamins and minerals essential to increasing testosterone|
Of course, there are many other foods that will support healthy testosterone levels. My advice is to keep it simple. Much of this is common sense. Just stick to the below and you’ll be ok:
- Meats/proteins from quality sources (grass-fed for all meat, and cage-free eggs)
- Organic fruits and vegetables
- Healthy fats
What about alcohol? You can drink alcohol, but don’t overdo it. Heaving drinking will literally lower your testosterone levels. So keep yourself in check. If you’d like to read more about this, then check out my post 8 Rules of Alcohol.
What Not to Eat
I’m going to keep this extremely simple for you. There are 2 main types of foods that can lower your testosterone:
- Processed foods
- Refined sugars
Stay away from these types of foods at all costs. Here are some examples:
- Soda (especially diet soda)
- Frozen dinners
- Packaged lunch meats
- Some foods that come in boxes or cans (often can foods are mixed with other substances to prolong shelf life)
- Many foods disguised as ‘healthy snacks’
Read the labels on foods! If it has a ton of ingredients, it’s probably not something you want o put in your body.
Along with hurting your testosterone levels, there are other obvious health implications with eating processed foods and refined sugars. It’s best to minimize these as much as possible.
Don’t Stress Out
No one aspires to be stressed out. I also realize we live in a fast-paced society and it’s tough to keep up. And sometimes ‘life happens’ and throws a curve call that’s out of our control causing chaotic moments of stress.
Here’s the deal…stress raises cortisol levels, which can be detrimental to our health and ability to function. Below are some of the issues that a surge in cortisol can case, according to universityhealthnews.com:
- Fat gain
- Fluid retention and swelling
- Memory loss
- high blood pressure
- Muscle loss
All of these symptoms are also symptoms of having low testosterone. So you can see how stress has a direct impact on your hormones.
The good news is there are ways you can reduce, and in some cases avoid stress. Here are some things to manage stress:
- Working out triggers endorphins (seriously, the gym can take you to that happy place!)
- Eating healthy gives your body the essential vitamins, nutrients, and energy you need to function, which helps when life gets a bit out of control
- Just 10 minutes a day of meditation can reduce stress, per medicinenet.com
- Certain breathing exercises (take 6 seconds to breathe in, and 6 seconds to release)
- Any type of exercise or activity (from walking to kayaking to doing Yoga) is proven to reduce stress
- Taking time for you
I must note that many experience stress from their job. If this is the case, it may be time to assess a new position, or new career. And remember, it’s never too late to learn a new skill set.
Sleep Deep To Optimize Hormones
One of the biggest ways your testosterone will take a hit is by neglecting sleep. And not just sleep, but deep sleep.
Deep sleep not only raises testosterone but also releases growth hormone, per an article on tuck.com, a website dedicated to advancing better sleep. Now, if you’ve been working out long enough and have done any type of research, you know that testosterone and growth hormone are an extremely powerful force.
The good part is everything we’ve talked about up to this point will help you sleep better! Lifting weights, exercising, eating good foods, reducing stress…all of that is closely related to your ability to get restful sleep.
There are some other methods, and these are 3 I use off and on:
- Drink a nighttime tea (like Sleepytime Tea) an hour before bed
- Supplement with Melatonin
- Take a ZMA supplement (this is the zinc, magnesium, and vitamin B6 formula)
For more tips on getting restful sleep, read my post 9 Ways to Build Muscle While Sleeping.
Take the Right Test Boosting Supplements
I saved supplements for last because they’re far less important than everything else we’ve captured so far. In other words, if you do everything else right to raise testosterone naturally, I’m not convinced that supplements are necessary.
However, we both know that most do not do everything right 100% of the time. And sometimes we may still have vitamin or mineral deficiencies without even realizing it. This is especially true as we age.
So I’m going to point out supplements that you can consider taking. I’ll start with test boosters, and then I’ll also include supplements that will help you build more muscle.
Supplements that Really Boost Testosterone
There are a lot of supplements that claim to boost testosterone. Some of them work, but many do not.
Here’s what to look for in testosterone boosters:
- Vitamin B6 (and any B vitamins)
- Vitamin D
- Oyster extract
- DAA (D-aspartic acid)
You don’t necessarily need all of these ingredients to increase testosterone. I would say make sure your test booster has the first 4 and 1 or 2 of the others.
Also, remember to do your own research each ingredient and the effective dose of each ingredient. Often times test boosters are underdosed.
You can read more about how to research this on my post Why Most test Boosters Don’t Work.
Supplements that Build Muscle Mass
The cool thing about supplements that are geared towards building muscle mass is that this is also going to have a positive impact on your testosterone.
Remember, all of this stuff works together. So think in terms of…
- Take muscle-building supplements equates to…
- Building more muscle which then equates to…
- Naturally increasing testosterone
Here are some basic supplements to consider for building more muscle and getting stronger:
- Creatine monohydrate: take pre and post-workout
- Whey protein powder: use for post-workout shakes
- BCAA (branched-chain amino acids): take before and during workouts
- Multivitamin: take any time with food
- COQ10: take with pre-workout (or make sure your pre-workout drink has this as it will improve mental focus during workouts)
The goal of taking muscle building supplements is to enhance both performance in the gym, and recovery so that your muscles can rebuild and grow stronger.
There are many other muscle building supplements you can take. That can get overwhelming and you can quickly blow half of your paycheck on this stuff. So keep it simple, know what your goals are, and align your supplement regimen accordingly.
Boosting Testosterone 101
I hope you enjoyed this post and that it helped answer the questions you had about boosting testosterone naturally.
Because we covered so much, I’m going to list the basics of what you learned below.
- Understand the reasons why boosting test is important (and how to prevent low T)
- Lift weights using heavy compound exercises (just follow the 4-day workout plan I gave you)
- Incorporate other exercise routines to your week, and try to do these activities outdoors when possible
- Make sure you stretch daily
- Eat a balanced diet with quality sources of protein and carbs, and healthy fats
- Don’t overdo it on alcohol
- Stay away from foods that are unnatural and that diminish your testosterone levels
- Do everything possible to reduce stress in your life
- Get deep, restful sleep
- Take a quality test booster and muscle building supplements to enhance your muscle gains
**Don’t forget to read about my recommended natural test booster here.