It’s no surprise that to build quality muscle, your body needs lots of anabolic hormones and the more the merrier. Though growth hormones and insulin play key roles in building muscle size, testosterone is undoubtedly the most critical of all of them. Without sufficient testosterone, your body can’t synthesize muscle and the more testosterone you produce, the more muscle and strength you can gain. The ultimate male hormone pushes your muscle to grow bigger and stronger over time and offers you a mental boost you need to attack the weights with the ferocity that produces the results you want. So obviously boosting testosterone levels is important for anyone and the following strategies will help you keep your testosterone levels maxed and your strength and muscle growth in full force.
1. Lift Heavy
You have heard it before “lift big and you will get big”. That’s because the harder you train, the more you increase your natural levels of testosterone. And the best way to lift big is by focusing your training on compound exercises such as squats, bench presses, rows, and deadlifts. These exercises require you to use a number of large muscle groups simultaneously and this creates a larger hormonal response, as the stress that compound weights put on your body requires higher levels of testosterone to aid muscle repair than those required during workouts that isolate individual muscle groups.
- Build your workout routine around compound moves using heavy weights in the 6–8 repetition maximum range and relatively short rest periods between sets (1–2 minutes)
2. Keep your bodyfat low
Besides making you soft and slowing your metabolism, high body fat percentage increases the production of the female sex hormone estrogen, which in turn causes your testosterone levels to dip. Fat tissues contain the enzyme aromatase, which is responsible for converting testosterone into estrogen, the muscle-shrinking, fat-storing hormone. The more fat you have, the more estrogen you will produce.
- Focus on cutting bodyfat levels and putting on lean muscle by combining a good diet plan and exercise regimen that will allow you to pack on lean muscle mass to keep your testosterone levels high.
3. Eat a diet rich in fats
Quite possibly, the most important nutrient for increasing testosterone is dietary fats but we mean the good ones, monounsaturated and saturated fats. These fats are critical for your body to produce hormones such as testosterone and studies found consuming these fats resulted in the greatest increase in testosterone levels.
- Make sure to get 25% of your total daily calories from fat, primarily monounsaturated fats found in avocados, nuts, and olive oil, as well as some saturated found in egg yolk, red meat, and dairy products.
4. Eat more cholesterol
Cholesterol has been vilified in recent years but the truth is there are bad and good cholesterols. And we are talking about the good ones or the healthy HDL which is an important building block needed for your body to manufacture testosterone. Cholesterol is a precursor to testosterone.
- Eat food rich in cholesterol as part your daily meals if want more testosterone. Good sources include egg yolks, red meat, and dairy products.
5. Don’t overtrain
Excessive training increases levels of catabolic hormones like cortisol, a stress hormone that competes with testosterone and breaks down muscle. And if training is done too hard and too often, it can result in a significant decrease in levels of anabolic hormones such as growth hormones and testosterone.
- Follow a sensible training routine and allow your body to recover by making sure to observe proper rest periods, both between sets and workouts.
6. Get enough sleep
The less sleep you get, the lower your testosterone. While you sleep your levels of testosterone build up, and poor sleep or sleep deprivation progressively decline their levels thereby restricting your muscle-building potential.
- Try to get a minimum of seven hours of sleep every night and if you can squeeze in a short 20–30 nap during the day, even better.
8. Cut or limit the booze
Ever wondered why excess drinking causes you to go limp at the moment of truth? Excessive alcohol inhibits the ability of the testicles to produce testosterone. In fact, numerous studies have found that alcohol consumption not only reduces testosterone levels for up to 24 hours but it also increases cortisol and lowers growth hormone levels.
- Try to keep your drinking under control and allow yourself a one-to-three drink limit, and stick to it.
9. Keep stress under control
When you’re under a lot of stress, your body releases high levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol is the archenemy of testosterone. High levels of cortisol inhibit testosterone production, and cortisol competes with testosterone for receptors in muscle cells and thus hinders testosterone from entering muscle cells where it’s needed the most.
- Avoid stress by incorporating relaxation into your routine such as getting a massage, yoga, stretching or simply listening to calming music. Relaxation helps reduce cortisol, so taking time to relax can indirectly help you boost your testosterone levels.