Question: Are there any natural testosterone boosters that could raise my levels without having to resort to drugs?
What about lifestyle choices?
Answer: Low testosterone is no fun. It leads to less muscle, more body-fat, depression and, of course, the inability to get it up.
This is a recipe for a disastrous, unhealthy, lonely life.
The problem, though, is what happens when you look for ways to boost testosterone. You get bombarded with supplement scams that claim 697% increases in testosterone.
If only that were true.
Any “supplement” that makes a significant difference is either illegal or requires a prescription.
Which is okay. The vast majority of you don’t need anything like that to boost your testosterone levels.
Those just put a band-aid over the problem.
In other words
You have to attack the root cause of low testosterone levels.
Address the lifestyle factors that tanked your testosterone in the first place.
Think of it this way.
If you had toilet that punched you in the nuts every time you sat down to lay a log, what would you do? Wear a cup to the bathroom every day? Or get a new toilet?
Right, it’s a simple solution. You’d go straight to the root of the problem. You’d get a new toilet.
But, when it comes to boosting test levels you’re more than happy to take hypothetical nut shots, you pill popper! It’s madness!
Ya gotta get down to the cause of your testosterone problems. And to do that, ya gotta understand how your whole testosterone system works.
A Brief Primer on Testosterone Production
Your balls make testosterone.
Alright, that covers it. I’m out. 5,000.
Just kidding. There’s more.
Your body makes testosterone through a pathway that also handles the production of other hormones. Ones like cortisol, estrogen, progesterone, and DHEA.
A variety of factors dictate where the cholesterol goes. Either to testosterone, or one of the other hormones.
Because you’re smart, I know you’re thinking, “How do I make sure I shuttle every last drop of cholesterol to the testosterone pathway?”
We’re gonna get there. But first, you need to understand how testosterone works after it’s made.
The Three Fates of Testosterone
Once your balls make it, testosterone will go to one of three places.
- It gets bound by proteins in your blood: Albumin and Sex Hormone Binding Globulin.
These proteins lock up the testosterone and keep it from helping you build muscle, boost energy, and exude manliness.
- It gets converted into estrogen by an enzyme called aromatase.
Estrogen and aromatase are right up there with some of my least favorite words in the English Language, including moist and flaccid.
The last thing you need is more estrogen, so you gotta keep aromatase levels down (more on that later).
- It stays in your blood as free testosterone to circulate through your body and help the growth of your beard, muscles, and everything else important. This is good.
The goal then, is to not only make as much testosterone as possible, but to also ensure that you let it circulate through your blood as free testosterone.
Seems like a daunting task, no?
Lucky for you, I am the master of simplifying the fuck out of things. Here you go:
The 3 Goals of Maximizing Testosterone Levels
- Ensure you have enough of the building blocks for testosterone production (ie. cholesterol)
- Ensure you shuttle as much of that cholesterol towards testosterone production as possible.
- Ensure that, once your balls make the testosterone, it stays in its most active form in your blood: free testosterone.
That’s it. That’s all you have to do.
Looking at it that way, you can create a list of lifestyle habits that will optimize each one of those goals.
- High Priority Tips
These are the ones you have to develop first. They will give you the most bang for your buck in boosting testosterone levels.
- Medium Priority Tips
Once you have Tier 1 covered, you can start to work on these.
- Low priority Tips
These are the tip of the iceberg. The stuff you can worry about once you have mastered the two foundational levels.
High Priority Testosterone Boosting Tips
These are the 5 most important methods for boosting testosterone levels. Don’t worry about anything else until you have these in order.
1. Sleep. A lot.
Nothing will help boost your testosterone levels more than consistent, deep, high quality sleep.
Everything good happens when you sleep.
You burn fat and have an easier time staying lean
- This is critical. Body fat produces aromatase, the enzyme that turns testosterone into estrogen.
- Staying lean will help prevent testosterone from getting turned into estrogen, which will help keep your total testosterone levels higher.
- You reduce inflammation and your body produces less cortisol.
- This is especially important. Both inflammation and high cortisol prevent cholesterol from going down the testosterone pathway (one of our main goals in boosting testosterone levels.)
- You decrease the amount of Sex Hormone Binding Globulin.
- Remember from above. Sex Hormone Binding Globulin binds up testosterone in your blood and keeps it from doing it’s thing.
Here’s How To Improve Your Sleep
- Get outside for a 30 min. walk first thing in the AM. This helps maintain your circadian rhythm and will make you tired later in the day. Trust me.
- Get black out curtains and turn your room into a cave
- Maintain a consistent sleep schedule.
- That means going to bed and waking up at around the same time 7 days per week. It’s a pain in the ass, I know, but its worth it. At the very least, try to get up around the same time every day.
- Dim the lights in your home once the sun goes down. This helps melatonin production and will make it easier for you to fall asleep.
- Incorporate relaxing activities into your evening. Things like watching a funny TV show, having sex, relaxing with a loved one, or listening to mellow music.
2. Manage Stress.
We live in a world that’s a nuclear bomb for stress levels.
Deadlines, intense jobs, kids that won’t go to bed or behave at school, horrible events on the news, and the list goes on.
Unless you make a conscious effort to manage stress, it will get the best of you. And when it does, your hormonal system responds by shuttling cholesterol to the production of cortisol, instead of testosterone.
This makes sense when you think about it.
Your body responds to the cues from your external environment, and stimulates the production of whatever it needs.
If you’re stressed, you make the hormones that help you handle stress. Like cortisol. Unfortunately, increasing cortisol production inhibits testosterone production.
So, high cortisol means low testosterone levels. Remember that.
On the flip side, reducing cortisol levels will give your testosterone levels a huge boost. Remember that, too.
Here are some of the best ways to manage stress:
- Petting a dog
- Deep Breathing techniques
- Sitting outside for 30 minutes and just chilling
- Listening to mellow music or playing it.
- Having sex
- Getting outside for a long walk first thing in the morning
- Sleeping in a pitch black room for 8+ hours per night
- Having a routine that lets you wind down at night
- Turning off the news
- Not comparing yourself to other people on social media
- Painting, pottery, or any other type of art
- Staring at the ocean or stars
- Lying in the grass for 15 minutes
- Making time to laugh every single day
If you can do at least some of these on a daily basis, you will feel a dramatic difference.
3.Eat enough Fat and Cholesterol
As we discussed above, cholesterol is the starting point for testosterone production. And getting an adequate amount of fat is another critical component for maintaining hormone levels.
Also, contrary to common medical advice, eating cholesterol does not increase your risk of heart disease. That idea was debunked in 2015.
How do you get enough cholesterol?
While your body has ways to make it on its own, you can help out your hormones by eating it on a regular basis.
Shoot for 1-2 servings of fat in each of the 3-4 meals you eat per day.
By doing this, you will get your cholesterol from the fatty foods you eat. Things like eggs and grass fed beef. Also, be sure to get a variety of other healthy fats from wild caught salmon, avocados, olive oil, coconut oil, and butter.
To clarify, you get a serving of fat from…
- ½ an avocado
- 1 tbps of olive oil, coconut oil, butter
- 2 eggs
- 4-8 oz grass fed beef
- 4-8 oz salmon
4. Eat enough food!
High testosterone is a luxury. Write that down.
Your body only produces high testosterone levels during times of abundance.
This is because high testosterone is not a mandatory part of life. You don’t need high test to survive. Just look around the grocery store tomorrow.
In fact, maintaining high testosterone is an expensive process. When your body has to choose between surviving, and reproducing, it will pick survival. Always.
So, when you’re under any sort of stress, testosterone levels will drop. And calorie restriction is one of the most potent forms of stress.
If you want to optimize your testosterone levels, make sure you consume enough calories.
Here’s How Much You Should Eat:
While I am not a huge fan of counting calories, just take a few days to track what you eat. Make sure its around 14 calories/lb BW.
Now, I know some of you out there are trying to lose fat and have to consume less than that. That’s fine. You have to look at the big picture.
While you won’t boost your testosterone levels during a fat loss phase, getting lean will help you in the long run. As you remember, being lean means less testosterone will get converted to estrogen.
Once you finish your diet and bring your calories back up, your testosterone will increase.
5. Avoid processed food.
Garbage in means garbage out. If you fuel your body with low quality, processed garbage, you will never optimize your testosterone levels.
The low quality food will lead to inflammation and make it harder to stay lean. And both of these issues have a negative effect on your testosterone levels.
Always opt for the highest quality food you can afford.
Buy the items we include on the Renegade Shopping List
Healthy Meat Sources:
- Pastured eggs
- Wild caught seafood
- Wild game meat
- Grass fed beef and bison
- Pastured poultry
- Pastured pork (limited amounts)
- Organic, grass fed dairy products (preferably from goats and sheeps, in limited amounts)
Healthy Carb Sources
- White potatoes
- Red potatoes
- Gluten free oats
- Sprouted Ezekiel bread
- Fermented sourdough bread
- All fruits
- All vegetables
- Coconut oil, milk, butter
- Butter from grass fed cows.
- Olive oil
- Fish oil
- Red Palm Oil
- Organic nuts (in limited amounts- i.e.. a serving here and there).
- Fat that comes with the high quality meat you consume. This is where the majority of your fat intake should come from. Use the added fats above in small amounts.
Medium Priority Testosterone Boosting Tips:
Once you have the high priority ones covered, tackle these.
1. Train Smart
When you go to the gym, think about training with perfect form on every set.
That means using weights you can dominate, not ones that leave you with shitty form and slow reps.
When you compromise your form, you not only risk injury, but you also end up putting too much stress on your system. Your body responds with sky high cortisol levels.
And as we’ve discussed already, high cortisol = low testosterone.
Focus on stopping sets 1-2 reps before your form starts to break down.
Another great way to limit the amount of stress on your system is to keep your workout short and sweet. For example, all of my workouts last 30-45 min.
As long as you bring intensity and focus to your session, you’ll pack a sick workout into that time window.
2. Limit Cardio
While Crossfit has done amazing things for fitness, it has also given people the idea that they need to do high intensity conditioning 15 times per week.
That’s too stressful for your system. It will break you down and keep you from making progress.
Here’s how much cardio you need to do:
To stay lean, lose fat, and stay fit, you just need to hit 2 HIIT sessions per week that last 10-15 minutes.
These short and sweet conditioning workouts will be plenty effective as long as your diet is in check.
You can either do them as a finisher after your strength workouts, as a Saturday workout, or just run some hill sprints.
Beyond that, you’ll be better off incorporating lots of easy activity into your daily routine.
- Go for long walks and hikes.
- Go for an easy swim at the pool or a mellow bike ride.
These kinds of low level activities are restorative. Plus, they will make you feel WAY better than hammering back conditioning work every day.
Low Priority Testosterone Boosting Tips:
Once you have those two levels covered, you can start to worry about some of these smaller tips.
1. Testosterone Boosters
While 99% of them are bogus, the one that I have seen guys get a consistent benefit from is T+ from Onnit.
While it won’t do much if you don’t have the other two layers of habits dialed in, it can give that last 1%-2% you need to really dial things in.
2. Avoid Plastics
The debate is still out on how much of a role synthetic materials play in effecting testosterone levels. But, if you want to be extra safe, get all of that shit out of your house.
- Instead of tupperware, use these.
- Opt for cast iron or stainless steel cookware
- Use all natural soaps, detergents, and deodarants.
That wraps it up. Now you know all about the best natural testosterone boosters.
And if you found this article helpful, it’d be awesome if you shared it with someone you think needs to read it.
I appreciate you.