5 Simple Steps to Increase Testosterone Levels in Men

A few years ago something clicked in my often stubborn mind that led me down a journey to find the “secret” to a strong, powerful, alpha-esque body. A secret that I eventually found in the powerful, often vilified hormone, Testosterone.

Alas, there I stood, weights in hand, sweat pouring from my brow as I lifted the weight up, then down, up, then down. And then there was a pal of mine, a guy who I’d known only from our brief conversations at the gym, standing next to me, lifting a heavier weight. He was stronger. Bigger. Leaner. But I worked harder.testosterone

The frustration I’d experienced when I was skinny was coming back. I was brought back to a time when I worked as hard as anybody, but my results never came. A time when all I wanted was to be strong, powerful, and muscular, a goal that I thought was clearly not my cards.

Then, like I said, something clicked.

The guy next to me was admittedly  taking steroids at the time. Now, I’m not going to take them, nor will I ever take them, but they work. Clearly. And as I pulled a weight that was heavy for me, in a body that I was actually proud of, the guy next to me who was once my size pulled more, had less fat, and far more muscle.

My entire life I’d been told that testosterone is a rage-inducing hormone that puts zits on your back and shrinks your balls. But what I saw was a hormone that gives guys more muscle, doesn’t lead to rage, and allowed them to burn more fat. So what was the truth? Did it lie somewhere in the middle? And do guys have to take it to get it, or can we produce more of it safely and naturally?

Thus, my journey began.

I was determined to find the truth behind testosterone – a truth that far more men know about today than we did 5 years ago.

A Few Facts About Testosterone

  1. High natural testosterone levels don’t bring about rage, but rather the opposite. T has been shown to lower depression in men.
  2. Testosterone has also been linked to a reduced risk of cancer.
  3. High natural levels of testosterone gives you a reduced risk of heart disease.

As for steroids… 

They’re harmful to your body, and your body’s ability to produce testosterone because they’re an external, unnatural form of the hormone that your body doesn’t react to as well as it does the perfect version that you produce naturally. The key then, is to figure out how to produce more of this hormone in it’s natural, perfect form.

What’s scary is that if you go to your doctor and get tested for low T, they’re likely to prescribe injections that are steroids; they’re a synthetic, external form of the hormone that in no way enhances your body to produce testosterone naturally.

What’s also scary is that the majority of men today are experiencing less than optimal T levels, but more than that, we’re experiencing lower and lower testosterone levels every decade, no matter the age group. What was once thought to be an ‘older man’s’ problem, is now being show to be a problem for men society-wide, and our doctors – for the most part – are doing nothing to help the problem, and are in fact simply compounding it by refusing to meet the problem at its source, choosing to prescribe drugs instead.

The fact is, fellas, that you likely don’t have optimal testosterone levels, and you need them.

In this article we’ll simplify things. We’re going to address the causes and provide you with a step-by-step solution optimal natural testosterone levels.

Step 1: Get Tested

Go to your doctor and figure out where exactly you fit in the spectrum. Are you on the low level, or are you at the upper end of the testosterone spectrum?

Keeping it simple, we’re talking about optimal testosterone levels, so you want them to be around the 1200 ng/dl (nanograms per decilitre) range. This, of course, is optimal, the ideal. If you’re in the 800 ng/dl range, that’s still good. If you’re dipping lower than that you want to work on increasing it.

Causes of Low T

Once you reach 30 you’re believed to see decreases in testosterone, but what more studies are beginning to show is that low T is often caused by excess body fat and decreased activity, not necessarily age.

Our environment is also becoming increasingly destructive to our testosterone levels. We’ll cover this later in the article as it also pertains to lowering estrogen levels, but you have to become increasingly aware of what you put in your mouth as well as what you carry your food in, drink your water in, and surround yourself with.

Low T has many causes, stress included. We’ll get into them as we delve in to the steps to reclaim your masculinity and start producing more of this awesome, powerful hormone on your own.

PS. Here’s a great article to read about WHY you need more Testosterone in Your Life.

How to Naturally Enhance Testosterone Levels

hugh jackman deadlift1. Lose Fat/Get Active/Get Strong

Before we even get into the dietary changes you’re going to have to make to start creating higher levels of testosterone, you’re going to have to get off your ass and get active. Of course, there is a method and a strategy to your training that will help you achieve high T levels optimally.

First, Get Strong.

Building a base of strength will allow you to accomplish your other fitness goals, including higher than average testosterone levels, far easier. Strength should be the base of your fitness journey, no matter your goals.

This is how you Get Strong.

The stronger you are, the greater your capacity to burn fat (which is arguably the most important aspect to creating high natural T levels). If you don’t first tackle the strength issue, you’re not putting yourself in a position to burn fat and change your body composition which is a necessary step to increasing your T levels.

Second, Burn Fat.

Alas, you need to burn fat – yes, even if your overall goal is to build muscle. This may go against everything you’ve read thus far, but it’s true. Just think about it.

Fat is the friend of estrogen and the enemy of testosterone. To build muscle and to burn fat optimally, you need optimal natural levels of testosterone. So, raise your T levels first, then worry about building muscle. It’s a far more effective route to travel.

This is how you Burn Fat.

Third, Gain Muscle (If you choose).

Muscle is important because it helps you stay lean, and being lean, healthy, and active is important not only for your overall health, but your hormonal health as well. I do encourage you to focus on gaining muscle even if your goal is to get lean, because a solid base of muscle will help you stay lean for the rest of your life.

Learn how I gained 32 lbs of lean muscle in 32 weeks.

Now, we come to a bit of a crossroads. I’ve told you that you need to get strong, burn fat, then gain muscle, but we all know that half of that battle is dietary, not merely a matter of training the right way.

Each of the methods I’ve sent you to above tackle the dietary aspects of each goal on their own, but, as we’ll cover now, if you feed your body’s ability to create testosterone, you’ll then make it far easier to get stronger, burn fat, and build muscle. Alas, you need to…

2. Fuel Your Balls

Your balls (testes) is where testosterone is produced. This is where you create this powerful hormone by converting cholesterol into testosterone. If you’re not providing your body with the “fuel” (cholesterol), you’re giving it nothing to work with.

Alas, if you’re not eating good fats, you’re not allowing your body to produce more testosterone than you currently produce. Here’s the solution:

There are 3 fats that you need to eat more of:

  • Polyunsaturated Fats: Think, nuts and fatty fish like salmon and sardines. Almonds, walnuts, Brazil nuts (also known as “nuts” in Brazil).
  • Monounsaturated Fats: Think red meat, oils, nuts and high fat fruits such as olives and avocados.
  • Saturated Fats: Think beef, bison, the fat that’s found in the animals we love to consume (and eggs).

Each of these fats are both healthy, and will help you burn fat. You should know by now (if you’ve followed this site) that eating fat doesn’t make you fat. What does make you fat is eating a large amount of high-glycemic carbohydrates at the wrong time of the day (not around your workout).

Carbs aren’t the enemy unless they’re consumed at the wrong time. DO NOT consume high glycemic carbohydrates with the aforementioned fats. The resulting spike in insulin that these carbs create will make you absorb these fats as bodyfat, rather than using them to create more T in your body, and use the fat calories as fuel.

A couple tips:

Free testosterone is more valuable than T that is bound to a protein. To “free” up your testosterone, and unbind it from a protein, supplement with vitamin D. Take 3,000-5,000 IU 2x everyday, once in the morning with fish oils, and once at night, again with fish oils.

3. Lower Your Estrogen Levels

One part of the battle to create high natural levels of testosterone is to feed your balls and to give them the cholesterol they need to create testosterone in the first place. If you don’t do this, you don’t give your body the ability to create more T. The other part is killing testosterone’s enemies.

T has two primary enemies in the hormone world:

Estrogen and Cortisol.

Testosterone is the man hormone, and estrogen is the female hormone. While we need estrogen, we need it at such small levels that we do not have to work on producing more of it. In fact, a lot of men today are experiencing higher than healthy estrogen levels, and the reasons for our rampant estrogen levels have everything to do with our environment and our diet.

Environment

Much of the plastics that we use to hold our food and drink contain harmful chemicals that have phytoestrogens that raise our estrogen levels.

Rather than reading every label, avoid plastics all-together. Carry your water in metal or glass. Stop using Tupperware. Stop carrying your phone on your body. Just avoid plastics and you’ll remove a large part of the chemical estrogens that are destroying your testosterone levels from your body.

Diet

Harmful phytoestrogens can also be found in pesticides. Rather than going into detail about what pesticides to avoid at all costs, just avoid them all. They’re not good for you and they’re harmful to your testosterone levels. When you can, buy organic produce and poultry and meats and everything else.

Pesticides aren’t the only harmful chemical found in – or on – our foods. Our meats are often either pumped full of harmful chemicals or hormones that will lower your natural testosterone levels. Thus, always aim to eat organic, grass-fed beef and poultry. Eat less but see greater benefits from your food to account for the increase in cost of organic, grass-fed meat.

Last but not least, do not eat packaged or fried foods. While natural fats are great for your testosterone levels, trans fats are terrible for them. Anything man made should be kept out of your diet. The chemicals in packages foods are incredibly harmful to your T levels, but they also often contain other ingredients that raise your estrogen levels like soy (something else that you should stay away from).

For a full list of foods that you should remove from your diet read this article:

How to Lower Your Cortisol and Estrogen Levels

Bonus tip: Supplement with zinc. Zinc blocks aromatase which is the precursor to estrogen. Supplement with 20-40 mg of zinc daily, ideally before bed or post workout.

4. Lower Your Cortisol Levelsmanliness

The second primary enemy of testosterone is cortisol.

Cortisol, in my mind, is much more fun to remove from your life because cortisol is a stress hormone. Remove stress from your life, and you remove cortisol. Here’s the problem:

Stress can actually be a good thing. If you’re not working towards something, progressing as a man, improving, growing, and hustling, what’s the point?

Stress can be a good thing, indeed. It can push you to be greater, do greater things, and create a lasting Legacy, so, rather than removing stress from your life, remove worry from your life.

A couple things that you should be doing that will – in a correlational sense – help you naturally enhance your testosterone levels:

  1. Read the article above about lowering cortisol and estrogen levels.
  2. Take mini-vacations. A man needs to find clarity daily. Go for a walk or a run or – if you awesome – ride a horse in nature. But find time to clear your mind daily, and take mini-vacations (ideally to get out in nature) every 1-2 months. This will help you put things into perspective and remove worry from your life.
  3. Read this: How to Stop Worrying And Start Living by Dale Carnegie

Boosting Tricks

We’ve covered a lot. But hopefully it was done in a no-b.s. manner that’s easy to not only follow, but implement immediately.

Get strong. Then burn fat. Then build muscle. At the same time you should be feeding your balls, and lowering your estrogen and cortisol levels. This is the perfect testosterone storm.

Get tested before you start, and after you’ve added these changes to your routine for 1 month straight. And thank me by sharing this article. ‘Tis all I ask of you. However, there is still more you can do to increase your T levels. And they are below.

  • Cold Showers: As mentioned, your balls are where testosterone is produced, and you need to keep them healthy. Temperature has a lot to do with the health of your testes. They need to be cool. Take a cold shower upon rising and again before bed. But also wear loose boxers, especially to bed.
  • Lift Heavy Weights: Lifting heavy weights (do the strength program I suggest at the beginning of the article) has been shown to result in boosts of testosterone levels. Do you have to do your max every time you train? No! Just keep progressing in that 6-10 rep range, adding weight each week.
  • Testosterone Shake: Take this shake 3 times a week to see incredible gains in your testosterone levels – whole, raw milk + 3 raw whole eggs + 1 scoop chia seeds + cinnamon. Blend and consume.

Be an Alpha Male

Why should you focus on testosterone if you’re happy the way you are, you’re fine with your physique, and you don’t want to really improve any more?

You shouldn’t.

This article is for those who strive to be optimal. Sure, it’s a constant battle that will likely never end. Nor should it. That’s not how life works. That’s not how we work. Our journey to improve is endless. Our quest for knowledge doesn’t either.

If you want to be at your best, if you want to be your very own alpha male, your ideal, then take to heart everything I’ve covered in this article. Eat right. Train hard. Be Legendary.

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  • Ossian

    Chad, I know you consistently say that ‘men need to eat meat’, but I just wanted to ask, based on the fact that all the fats you mention can be found in either eggs or nuts, is it possible to get enough on a vegetarian diet (given adequate consumption of these foodstuffs)?

    • http://www.chadhowsefitness.com/2011/01/20-characteristics-of-a-real-man/ Chad Howse

      From what I’ve seen it isn’t optimal to be on a vegetarian diet for two main reasons, quality, and variety. When you’re constantly eating the same food groups – which you’re forced to do as a vegetarian to get the fats you need – your body can become allergic to those foods, or at the very minimum experience decreased absorption.

      And then there’s the quality. Meat and fish are the highest quality fats we can consume, leaving vegetarians with a big piece of the puzzle missing from their diets.

      • disqus_HbXEuIo3uB

        Hey Chad..
        My experience from Chia seeds is that it lowered my T levels. I might be wrong as I also didnt find any studies related to the fact that chia lowers T. Can you clear this confusion of mine.

        For the T shake, I’d use a cinnamon stick(grounded into powder form) & add to the rest of the works(eggs,milk & chia). That’d be good, right ?

  • Shawn

    At the risk of sounding like a keyboard warrior/a-hole, omega 3 fat is not monounsaturated. It is a polyunsaturated fat. The fats in nuts are largely omega 6 fat. Sources of mono fat are EV olive oil, avocados, and macadamia nuts. Big fan of the blog. Just wanted to come in and say that before one of those internet police called you out on it.

    • http://www.chadhowsefitness.com/2011/01/20-characteristics-of-a-real-man/ Chad Howse

      Good eye! Silly mistake on my part.

  • Spencer

    This is a great article, again. I will definitely keep this in mind, but I think that a couple of friends of mine could benefit from it far more, seeing as they practically live on monster and pizza, but are still less than 140.

    • http://www.chadhowsefitness.com/2011/01/20-characteristics-of-a-real-man/ Chad Howse

      Aw man, that ain’t good! Diet and exercise is about so much more than physique. Pass this on!

  • Adam

    I’ve been drinking out of a metal drink bottle…. but I do use a heap of tupperware to transport my meals to work in and then eat out of. Anyone got a workable replacement?

    Also Chad, this link doesn’t work for me… “How to Stop Worrying And Start Living by Dale Carnegie”

    • http://www.chadhowsefitness.com/2011/01/20-characteristics-of-a-real-man/ Chad Howse

      There’s glass tupperware with a rubber top. Think you can get them almost anywhere. I’ll fix the link.

  • Phan Tam Quyen

    My dad, he has a back pain, and he keep use that as a reason to not get physical. Is it that hurt? What if I had a back pain? does that mean I can’t work out anymore?

    • Alfredo

      google TMS

  • Fernando Adolfo Castellanos

    Hello Chad is it true that beer lowers testosterone levels?!

    • http://www.chadhowsefitness.com/2011/01/20-characteristics-of-a-real-man/ Chad Howse

      Sadly, yes. Beer is estrogenic. Does that mean quit? Hell no. To quit drinking beer is no way to live. Just pick your spots when to drink it.