Come on, admit it! The real reason you train is so you can get babes, lift heavy shit and one-up your counterparts. It’s in our DNA people, whether you like it or not. And if you have lost those desires, I'm willing to put it out there that your testosterone levels are kinda low. So put down the soy, take those Crocs off, and hear my call!
Testosterone elicits decreased body fat, increased muscle mass, a higher libido, better athletic performance and vigor for life--what broseph wouldn’t jump at that? Testosterone is the fountain of youth, the magic hormone we produce naturally that is the fuel for our muscle growth.
If we are training for a positive physiological adaptations, we need to be thinking about testosterone. So how can we maximize this? What types of activities and lifestyle habits both in and out of the gym can contribute to our NATURAL production of testosterone? I have compiled a list of the top tips to get the most out of your most important hormone:
Lift Heavy Shiz
If your eyeballs are popping out, if your veins are trying to explode, if you feel as though you are going to either pass out or poop yourself after a lift, you are probably eliciting the magic hormone. Deadlifting and heavy squatting should be your staple when it come to training for testosterone production. These movements recruit a tremendous amount of musculature, both upper and lower body. When it comes down to creating that stimulus to elicit that neuroendocrine hormonal response from our training, you are not going to do better than these two movements. 1-20 reps, mix it up! Mess with the different energy pathways and time domains, as long as you feel like you're going to pop on that last rep. Keep the rest short and get back on the bar!
Get Yo Sleep
I LOVE SLEEP! I wish I could sleep 14 hour a day--but then I would be back in college. Sleep is fun and exciting, it reminds me of Christmas...I can’t wait to see what tomorrow will bring: PR’s, new toys? Who knows! I like to make sleep a ritual. I get into my jammies, brush my teeth and write down all the things I want to do in the next day. But sleep in also very important for your performance. Your testosterone levels can be decreased by up to 40% by a poor night's sleep. Tips to improve your quality of sleep
-Keeping the room cool. A good sleeping environment should be neither too hot or cold. Go for optimum temperature for the best night's sleep.
-Avoid caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, and other chemicals that interfere with sleep patterns.
-Don’t stare at the clock. The more you think you need to get to sleep, the harder it will be.
-Take supplements that induce sleep — such as ZMA and Melatonin.
Get Your Fats
I lika da bacon. I thinka da bacon tasta gooood! Fats are not only tasty, but very anabolic. They give you a sense of satisfaction. Essential Fats are extremely important in testosterone production. Good sources for essential fats are nuts such as almonds, brazil nuts and nut butter as well as fish/cod liver oil. Fats are the most important micro nutrient in increasing testosterone levels, and good levels of fats are essential in promotion of testosterone levels.
Then there are the not so essential fats that I really love ending in acon,utter,and ausage. While these are not the most favorable, I find them the most tasty!
Have Lots of Sex
Bow chicka wow wow! I don’t for sure know the meaning of life but I’m pretty sure sex is a major part of it. Sex plays an important role in testosterone, after all, testosterone is the primary sex hormone in males. It’s important to have intercourse at least once a week to keep a healthy level of testosterone and to keep your testosterone levels functioning properly.
It’s believed that a lack of sex can increase testosterone such as boxers do before a big fight. The effectiveness of that is yet to be proven--it’s more of a mental state of mind rather than playing any actually key function. Do it early...do it often...keep the Ms. happy!
Dave Lipson is a CrossFit Level One trainer and was a CrossFit Games competitor in 2009. Photograph of the author courtesy of Patrick Cummings.