If you are serious about building muscle, one thing that you also need to be serious about is doing everything possible to increase your natural testosterone levels.
Testosterone is the primary sex hormone in the male body and is the hormone that is responsible for boosting your strength, increasing lean muscle mass, and giving you that competitive, aggressive edge.
If your testosterone levels are not quite where you feel they should be, chances are, you are already starting to notice. You could be feeling weaker in the gym or noticing that you are starting to develop more ‘love handles’ than you are used to.
Or, perhaps you are struggling in the bedroom with sexual performance or are finding that you never feel refreshed, even after a good night’s sleep. Testosterone influences just about every element of your well-being, so when levels are low, you will notice.
So what can be done to prevent dropping testosterone levels? While there are a number of things you can do to increase testosterone, there are also a number of things you can do to prevent it from lowering as well. Today, let’s look at five things that could be crushing your testosterone levels that you need to address immediately if they’re in your lifestyle.
If you feel down and in a bad mood more often than you’d like to admit it’s worth it to get it checked out by a medical professional. Depression, even in mild cases can decrease testosterone levels and influence your drive and desire to hit the gym.
If you are in fact suffering from clinical depression, there are many medications as well as natural treatment methods if you prefer to get control over this.
Doing so will not only benefit your physique and fitness performance, but your health. Ongoing depression can lead to many health related issues as chances are, your desire to eat healthy and avoid activities like drinking and smoking will be lower.
A Very Low Fat Diet Plan
Another factor that can be causing your testosterone to decline is if you’re prescribing to the classic ‘low fat, high fiber’ diet that is prescribed to so many Americans world-wide.
Sure, a lower fat, high fiber may be good if you have 50+ pounds to lose like the average American, but if you are in relatively good shape and are already quite healthy, don’t be afraid of a little fat.
Studies suggest that consuming a diet that’s too high in fiber and that doesn’t contain enough saturated fat may have testosterone lowering effects.
This doesn’t mean you should eat steak and bacon every day for breakfast and forgo all greens at every meal, but it does mean you should strike a better balance.
Another of the reasons you may be noticing your testosterone level is declining is if you’re a slave to your cardio training. Perhaps you are doing cardio training to avoid putting on excess body fat, or maybe you are just one of those rare breeds who actually enjoys going for an hour run every morning.
Whatever the case, know that too much cardio training can have negative implications on your natural testosterone release. If you take a look at your average marathon runner for instance, you can see this at work in the extreme situation. Most marathon runners are very thin and gaunt looking, which clearly illustrates low testosterone levels at work.
Contrast this to say a sprinter, who is muscular and lean, characteristic of high testosterone levels.
By looking at these two extremes, you can see how the different cardio variations play out on hormonal levels and therefore, your end physique.
If a lean muscular body is what you’re after, short duration sprinting is a far better cardio method to use. If you really love your runs, the odd hour-long run shouldn’t hurt you too much, but refrain from making this a habit multiple times per week.
Replace a couple of those endurance based cardio sessions with some sprint training instead. It’ll serve you far better.
Burning the midnight oil every night? Or, perhaps a hectic pace of life just keeps you on the go what feels like 24 hours a day. If you are not devoting enough time to getting quality shut-eye, this too is going to have a strong influence on your overall testosterone levels.
In one study where researchers looked at men who suffered a sleep deficit for just one week, sleeping just five hours per night, they noted that after the one week time period, the testosterone levels of the subjects dropped nearly 15%.
Compare this to the fact that your average yearly decrease in testosterone due to aging is just 1-2% and you can see how powerful this is.
If you want to boost your testosterone levels, it pays to get serious about your sleep.
Yes, the one that you likely don’t want to hear, but must be said: alcohol. If you are regularly indulging in a few drinks out with the boys every weekend, this may need to come to an end if you hope to maximize your testosterone levels.
Alcohol is a toxin in the body and whenever you drink it, all processes essentially turn off until the alcohol is oxidized off. This includes the act of protein synthesis (which helps you build muscle), the act of burning off body fat, as well as the act of generating hormones in the body such as testosterone.
Men who are heavy drinkers tend to have lower levels of both testosterone as well as growth hormone, which are two of the most powerful hormones necessary for building muscle.
Not only that but if you are drinking too often, chances are, you’re also likely skipping a workout here and there as well because of it.
This doesn’t mean you can’t go out with the boys. You just need to choose water instead.
So there you have five thing factors that could be decreasing your natural testosterone levels. Are any of these coming into play in your life? If so, it’s vital to take steps to remove them.