Tricks to improve your testosterone naturally! TFW Portland
Coach Josh here from Training for Warriors Portland.
Today I want to discuss testosterone... specifically how to:
1. Improve your testosterone production naturally and the amount of T you have in your system
2. Enhance your recovery
These are closely related because the hormone testosterone plays a huge part when it comes to building muscle, burning fat, and feeling good. I want to share some basic concepts about how you can enhance your testosterone production. It doesn't matter who you are-- if you have health and fitness goals, testosterone is important! There's a lot you can do to manipulate it, whether you are down-regulating or up-regulating. So here are some ideas about how to do that!
Here's a good way to think about how your body is producing testosterone (a hormone that helps to build muscle, burn fat and recover from training).
Think of it like driving a car: you can go faster one of two ways.
1. You can put the throttle down, rev the engine, give the engine more gas and move forward. 2. You can also go faster by taking your foot off the brake. Both of these work together to make you move forward faster.
It's the same with your body, your hormones, and how well you recover. You can do things that improve your own T production and at the same time, you can do less of the things that are detrimental to your hormone production.
1. LIFT HEAVY WEIGHTS
Psst, this is MY FAVORITE THING TO DO!
By heavy, I mean something that is 70% of your 1 rep max or higher. If you don't know what that means, go ask someone who lifts at your Portland gym (or message me)! Here's one way to figure out your 1 rep max: 1 Rep Max Calculator
Lift a weight that is pretty challenging for more than 8-10 reps. Do that a couple times a week and the body will naturally want to repair the muscle that you are abusing! It will build you up and cause your testosterone to come up naturally.
2. Lift often! 2-3 times a week is what I mean by "often".
Lift heavy... and lift often. As stated, this is my favorite thing! We love doing this at Training for Warriors Portland every day; we're lifting weights in different ways and we're moving quickly.
That leads me to the next thing.
It's a great, natural movement and it's a bodyweight movement that uses practically every muscle in your body. It's something that we all learned to do as kids and we got away from it as adults. But it's something that's pretty fun when you get out there. Just make sure you warm up properly for those sprints to make sure that you're giving your body a chance to be successful. Also, you want to make sure you're injury free before you start your sprint(s)!
Sprinting doesn't take any equipment- you can do it today and anywhere! You can easily give yourself a great sprint workout with very few barriers. If you don't know how to start, message me for ideas!
Sprinting is something that you should do at least once a week. It's going to get you some cardio, get your heart rate up, use every muscle in your body, really give yourself a boost of your natural testosterone production, not to mention the body likes moving fast. Just another movement we love to do here at TFW PDX.
Your diet has a lot to do with how your body processes and produces testosterone. Zinc-rich foods are great, but many of us need to take a zinc supplement. The bonus of getting more zinc in your diet is the potential improvement of your quality of sleep. Zinc is a crucial factor in testosterone production and you might want to give it a chance and pick up some supplements! Do a little research and see what you can do to get some zinc into your diet. That will make you feel better and will enhance your sleep.
5. Speaking of SLEEP...
You want to get good sleep, which means you want quality and quantity. As mentioned, you may want to try incorporating some zinc into your diet. CONSISTENCY is key to good sleep, as well. Go to bed at the same time and wake up at the same time. Ideally, you would wake up early then go lift heavy! That should get you tired and will lead to good sleep at night. Those things work well together; it's all part of a synergistic cycle.
Get the blue screen out of your system at least an hour before bed. Do this by leaving your electronics out of the bedroom and don't watch TV too late! Insulating your bedroom from light pollution will contribute to your quality of sleep and will make you more rested, which will speed up your recovery. In addition, this will make you feel good and boost your testosterone which will give you better results from your training.
EAT IT! Every personal trainer at your local Portland gym will probably tell you this on a daily basis. You want to have more protein for your body to access so it can repair and build new muscle. You need a lot of bio-available protein to get the work done! So make sure you're eating ... and if you're a vegetarian/vegan make sure you're getting supplements through protein substitutes, a shake or other methods that work for you.
Those are some of the big things that you can do to improve your testosterone. Going back to our car analogy, these tips are akin to "putting your foot on the gas pedal."
Now, here are a few other suggestions for "taking your foot off the brake", aka lessen some of the actions that are slowing down your testosterone production.
1. Trim up
Recently, I read a book entitled "Testosterone" which went in depth about the endocrine system. It talked about how hormonally active visceral fat is (or isn't, rather) in the human body. Researchers are discovering that people with a lot of visceral fat have very different hormone profiles than an "average" American. Therefore, leaning out so your hormones naturally come into balance is a big step. Trim up and do what you can to work on the diet!
Obviously, if you're doing all of the steps listed above: working out, eating well, sleeping, sprinting etc... you're probably already mitigating these other "brakes" on the system.
2. REDUCE CERTAIN FOODS
If you eat a lot of foods that have a lot of estrogen or estrogen-like compounds, think about reducing the amount you eat. I've read a lot about soy and there are varying conclusions about the effects of soy on testosterone production.
3. Stress reduction techniques
I think this is necessary for survival. If you're like me, you've got a lot of balls in the air and you've got a lot of stressors in your life. I try to meditate on a daily basis and work out every single day. Movement is so key to getting my emotional state in balance. Do whatever you can to mitigate stress in your life!
Sometimes that's getting your work-life balance in order or making sure you're doing your best to smooth out relationships and any points of friction in your life and working on those things to lower your overall stress load. I think that's a tough one because the last thing you want to do is to start stressing about stress. You don't need to start worrying about worrying.
Instead, start with just planning things that make you feel good- having fun, spending time with your friends, being around positive people.... those are all things that will definitely take a lot of the load off.
4. The final piece is CARDIO
Cardio is important-- you gotta have a strong heart! BUT, you should keep your cardio workout routines down to less than an hour. There's something magical about that 45 to 70 minute time frame. After that, the cortisol keeps getting higher and higher and the gains start to dip off. It's almost an inverse relationship: the more cortisol you produce, the more stressed out you are and then the less you get from that training session.
Try to keep your workouts under an hour and do cardio but do cardio like HIIT (high intensity interval training), or a run/jog that is slightly shorter. Try some of these tips out to manage your whole program... and your goals and technique should move together to move you forward and by putting the throttle down and by taking your foot off the brake.
Putting some ideas out there for those that want to get better testosterone naturally through diet and exercise... and also for those who just want better recovery, build more muscle and burn more fat.
If you have any questions, leave a comment or shoot me a message and I'll be happy to chat.
Until next time... Coach Josh here at TFW Portland, helping YOU bring out the warrior within.