Lifestyle Hacks to Boost Testosterone Naturally (and What to Avoid!)

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No matter how perfect your diet is, it’s critical to make healthy lifestyle choices if you want to boost testosterone naturally.  Proper nutrition is essential, but many other daily habits that men have can suppress testosterone production over time.

We’ve talked before about different aspects of low testosterone, so, what are some lifestyle hacks to boost testosterone naturally? What should you avoid? The answers to these questions may not be as intuitive as you think.

This article will explain why seemingly innocuous everyday choices we make are doing more harm than good (and how to fix them!).

How to Boost Testosterone Naturally

While there are myriad hormones, neurotransmitters, and other biochemicals that dictate how we feel and function, testosterone is vital, especially in men. Yet, most men – particularly those in their early 30s and 40s – never stop to think about daily habits that affect their testosterone levels and endocrine system.

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But before you invest in a testosterone booster supplement, it behooves you to live a lifestyle conducive to overall health and longevity. Remember, supplements are not a replacement for things like diet and exercise.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at how to boost testosterone naturally by making smarter choices in day-to-day life.

Get on Your Feet

Arguably the most overlooked unhealthy habit people have is sitting for hours on end, day in and day out. I can empathize, trust me. We live in a world where so much occurs in “cyberspace,” meaning a sizable portion of the workforce is behind a computer monitor for 8+ hours a day.

Needless to say, sitting at a desk in a cubicle for seemingly endless amounts of time is not great for, well, anybody. Recent research contends that extensive sitting and sedentary behavior is a major driving force of the alarming obesity epidemic.[1] 

To compound the problem further, sitting for long periods has been found to significantly reduce fat-burning enzyme activity, specifically lipoprotein lipase (LPL).[2] In turn, the body’s intrinsic capacity to burn fat for energy is greatly diminished when we sit at a desk and lay around on the couch for consecutive hours.

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So, how does sitting tie into testosterone? Well, overweight and obese men tend to have higher estrogen levels and lower testosterone levels. Logically, it follows that sitting too much contributes to low testosterone by increasing the risk of excess body fat gain.

The plight of many middle-aged and older men is the office/desk job. Thankfully, modern problems spawn modern solutions – in this case, the standing desk!

Switching to a standing desk helps you burn more calories while working, but it also keeps your posture in check and stimulates blood flow to the lower limbs.

Now, will a standing desk drastically increase your testosterone levels? Probably not. But considering the alternative, it will only help.

If you choose to continue sitting while working, the next best option is to take a quick 5-10 minute walk around the office or outside every 30-45 minutes. Even if you do work at a standing desk, taking brief walks throughout the day will rejuvenate your mind and give your eyes some much-needed relief from staring at the computer.

Intensity Is Everything (When it Comes to Exercise)

Exercise plays a pivotal role in boosting testosterone naturally and sculpting a chiselled physique, but not just any type of exercise. If all you do right now is go for long walks on the treadmill, it’s not going to do much for your testosterone levels. While it’s certainly better than sitting around all day, your exercise routine should be somewhat challenging.

The magic starts to happen when you kick the intensity up a notch.

High-intensity exercise pushes you to your anaerobic threshold, and this has a distinct positive effect on natural testosterone production.[3] Though strenuous, the “burning” sensation you feel in your muscles after sprinting as fast as possible for 100 meters or lifting relatively heavy weight is a positive sign. It tells you you’re pushing yourself hard enough to elicit the many metabolic and hormonal benefits of vigorous exercise.  

And don’t worry, this is not saying you have to train like a pro bodybuilder or until you’re puking your guts out, but high-intensity workouts should leave your muscles burning a bit (and that’s a good thing for boosting testosterone!).

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No Gym? No Problem!

Arguably the best part of high-intensity workouts is that they are productive and time-efficient. Forget spending hours on the elliptical or Stairmaster. You can complete a high-intensity workout in 20-30 minutes, and you don’t need a bunch of fancy equipment either. Heck, there are many ways to approach high-intensity exercise without any gym equipment.

Here’s an example of a circuit-style workout you can do in the comfort of your living room:

  1. Push-ups
  2. Bodyweight squats
  3. Lunges (alternate legs each rep)
  4. Jumping jacks (or jump rope)
  5. Burpees
  6. Reverse crunches
  7. Glute bridges
  8. Plank (hold for 20-30 seconds)

Perform each exercise for 20 seconds before moving onto the next. Try to complete as many reps as possible (with proper form) during every 20-second interval. Keep rest to a minimum between each exercise – you can catch your breath once you complete the entire circuit!

After you complete all exercises (one round of the circuit), rest for about 60 seconds and repeat. To get your heart pumping, try to finish 3-5 circuits in 20 minutes or less.  

Remember, your muscles should be burning! If the exercises don’t feel challenging enough, you can use a resistance band to increase the intensity.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Alcohol

Everybody knows that drinking excessive amounts of alcohol carries a ton of health risks, yet countless people drink beer and wine more than water. I could sit here and tell you the obvious, like alcohol damages the liver and suppresses your immune system, but that isn’t particularly enlightening to most men.

Instead, let’s focus on what will grab your attention: muscles and testosterone.

Several studies suggest that even transient alcohol intoxication (i.e., getting drunk) reduces muscle protein synthesis by nearly 30%. These effects appear to be specific to fast-twitch muscle fibers surrounding the heart.[4],[5] One study also found that acute alcohol intoxication decreased blood testosterone levels by upwards of 200 ng/100 mL in men![6] 

Chronic alcohol consumption is also well-known to disrupt metabolic processes and impede energy production in skeletal muscle.[7] 

Paradoxically, acute consumption of small amounts of alcohol may increase testosterone, according to a study from 2003.[8] The catch is that the subjects in this study were given a very modest dose of alcohol (roughly half the amount of ethanol found in a 12-oz can of beer).

To Drink or Not to Drink? That is the question.

Even the occasional weekend bender is doing more damage than you think. And let’s be honest, no man is going out for a night on the town with his buddies just to “indulge” in one can of beer.

Sure, a glass of wine or beer from time to time is harmless, but immoderate drinking is a habit you should reconsider if you want to boost testosterone naturally. 

Snooze Your Way to High Testosterone Levels

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Sleep is a foundation of health and longevity, and nothing is more important than those two things. Yet, many adults barely get more than five hours of sleep per night due to their lifestyles.

Not sleeping enough is a major no-no if you’re trying to boost testosterone levels naturally. A recent study in healthy young men found that as little as one week of sleep deprivation (<5 hours per night) reduced their testosterone levels by an average of 15% (not to mention, their reported “vigor” plummeted).[9]

Other research has found that even one night of sleep loss can impair insulin sensitivity, spike cortisol levels, and increase food intake.[10] Sleep deprivation is also strongly correlated with obesity and type-II diabetes.[11] 

In layman’s terms, not sleeping enough is pretty terrible for your health and testosterone levels.

Intuitively, the solution is to sleep as much as possible, right? Well, not quite. Oversleeping is just going from one extreme to the next, and there are health consequences on both ends of the spectrum.[12] 

How Much Sleep Do You Need?

The American Sleep Association recommends that adults aim for seven to nine hours of sleep per night for optimal health.

As we age, the need for long nights of sleep wanes ever-so-slightly. Older men (e.g., 55+ ) might be able to “get away” with six hours of sleep per night. Young and middle-aged men, however, typically require at least seven hours per night, but no more than nine.

Regardless of how busy you are or the responsibilities you have to worry about, you can set aside adequate time for sleep. If not, you should seriously reevaluate where your priorities lie.

Brighten Your Day with Sunshine

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An “occupational hazard” of many jobs is spending considerable time indoors. Yet, we can’t overlook the essentiality of regular sunlight exposure for a man’s health and wellness. Sitting inside all day is notorious for negatively affecting mood (i.e., the “winter blues”), and it also appears to reduce testosterone levels in men.[13],[14] 

The ultraviolet rays of the sun are Mother Nature’s way of activating vitamin D found in the skin. Low vitamin D is a culprit of low testosterone. On the flip side, men with higher vitamin D levels typically have higher testosterone levels.[15] 

Never take a breath of fresh air for granted. Get outside and sit/walk in the sun for at least 20-30 minutes per day (if not longer). Sunshine exposure is a positive thing for virtually all living organisms.

You can also take it a step further by supplementing with vitamin D3 (found in TruALPHA Plus). One study found that healthy adult men who supplemented with vitamin D3 for one year increased total and free testosterone by an average of 33% and 21%, respectively.[16] 

However, don’t expect a supplement to replace the need for sunlight. Being outside and experiencing the elements of nature is about much more than just vitamin D.

Wrap-up: Lifestyle Choices that Hack Your Testosterone

As much as I stand behind the use of natural testosterone boosters, I’d be lying if I said there is a “magic pill” that will make up for lack of sleep, sitting inside all day, not exercising, and excessive drinking.

After all, consistently making smarter lifestyle choices is arguably the most practical way to naturally boost testosterone levels. The sooner you develop habits that nurture your mind and body, the better.

The tips in this article may seem ordinary and obvious, but you’ll be surprised how effective they are if you give them an honest chance.

Documentation

[1] Hamilton, M. T., Healy, G. N., Dunstan, D. W., Zderic, T. W., & Owen, N. (2008). Too little exercise and too much sitting: inactivity physiology and the need for new recommendations on sedentary behavior. Current cardiovascular risk reports2(4), 292-298. 

[2] Daneshmandi, H., Choobineh, A., Ghaem, H., & Karimi, M. (2017). Adverse effects of prolonged sitting behavior on the general health of office workersJournal of lifestyle medicine7(2), 69.

[3] Di, A. B., Izzicupo, P., Tacconi, L., Santo Di, S., Leogrande, M., Bucci, I., … & Napolitano, G. (2016). Acute and delayed effects of high intensity interval resistance training organization on cortisol and testosterone productionThe Journal of sports medicine and physical fitness56(3), 192-199.

[4] Lang, C. H., Wu, D., Frost, R. A., Jefferson, L. S., Kimball, S. R., & Vary, T. C. (1999). Inhibition of muscle protein synthesis by alcohol is associated with modulation of eIF2B and eIF4EAmerican Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology And Metabolism277(2), E268-E276.

[5] Vella, L. D., & Cameron-Smith, D. (2010). Alcohol, athletic performance and recoveryNutrients2(8), 781-789.

[6].Mendelson, J. H., Mello, N. K., & Ellingboe, J. (1977). Effects of acute alcohol intake on pituitary-gonadal hormones in normal human malesJournal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics202(3), 676-682.

[7] Yazaki, K., Haida, M., Kurita, D., & Shinohara, Y. (1996). Effect of chronic alcohol intake on energy metabolism in human muscleAlcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research20(s9), 360A-362A.

[8] Sarkola, T., & Eriksson, C. P. (2003). Testosterone increases in men after a low dose of alcoholAlcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research27(4), 682-685

[9] Leproult, R., & Van Cauter, E. (2011). Effect of 1 week of sleep restriction on testosterone levels in young healthy menJama305(21), 2173-2174.

[10] Gonzalez-Ortiz, M., Martinez-Abundis, E., Balcazar-Munoz, B. R., & Pascoe-Gonzalez, S. (2000). Effect of sleep deprivation on insulin sensitivity and cortisol concentration in healthy subjectsDiabetes, nutrition & metabolism13(2), 80-83.

[11] Knutson, K. L., Spiegel, K., Penev, P., & Van Cauter, E. (2007). The metabolic consequences of sleep deprivationSleep medicine reviews11(3), 163-178.

[12] Kim, K., Shin, D., Jung, G. U., Lee, D., & Park, S. M. (2017). Association between sleep duration, fat mass, lean mass and obesity in Korean adults: the fourth and fifth Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination SurveysJournal of sleep research26(4), 453-460.

[13] An, M., Colarelli, S. M., O’Brien, K., & Boyajian, M. E. (2016). Why we need more nature at work: Effects of natural elements and sunlight on employee mental health and work attitudesPloS one11(5).

[14] Tak, Y. J., Lee, J. G., Kim, Y. J., Park, N. C., Kim, S. S., Lee, S., … & Yi, Y. H. (2015). Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels and testosterone deficiency in middle-aged Korean men: a cross-sectional studyAsian Journal of Andrology17(2), 324.

[15] Nimptsch, K., Platz, E. A., Willett, W. C., & Giovannucci, E. (2012). Association between plasma 25‐OH vitamin D and testosterone levels in menClinical endocrinology77(1), 106-112.

[16]  Pilz, S., Frisch, S., Koertke, H., Kuhn, J., Dreier, J., Obermayer-Pietsch, B., … & Zittermann, A. (2011). Effect of vitamin D supplementation on testosterone levels in menHormone and Metabolic Research43(03), 223-225.

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