What is testosterone?
Testosterone is the male sex hormone primarily produced in the Leydig cells of an individual’s testicles. Females also produce a very small amount in their ovaries.
Why it’s important eh?
Simply put, it regulates the critical functions in the body:
- Increases protein synthesis (More Gainz)
- Sex drive 😉
- Fat burning
- Overall heart health
The increase in protein synthesis is important. When we’re in the gym, crushing weights, hitting PR’s, we cause damage to our muscle fibres. Our body responds by producing new protein strands, making the muscle grow bigger and stronger. That’s protein synthesis. Where testosterone comes into fruition is during this process, testosterone is released into the system and binds itself to the receptors on the surface of your muscle cells, amplifying the signal for protein synthesis.
Low protein = Signal for testosterone greatly reduced
Oh and testosterone seems to have some positive effects on human growth hormone. (But who knows?! I just write articles)
94-98% of testosterone is bound to protein as it helps them become more soluble ultimately to be transported and stored throughout the body. Also this protects it from being broken down by the liver and kidneys instead.
What we’re most interested in is the remaining 2-6% or ‘free testosterone’ that is not bound to protein but instead binds itself to the surface of muscles meaning more protein synthesis.
How to boost Testosterone?
Low body fat %
Stored body fat contains, the enzyme Aromatase – this converts your manly T into Oestrogen THE FEMALE SEX HORMONE :O. This can create the snowball effect where you can find yourself in a cycle of:
More body fat = Increased levels of oestrogen = Less testosterone
Sleep – well lack of it
The ideal amount of sleep varies from person to person. A study conducted by Leproult & Cauter (2011) found that sleeping only 5 hours and less at night was linked to a 15% reduction in testosterone levels.
Try to get the normal recommended 7-9 hours of sleep per night and you should be fine!
Try to lift 2-3 times per week including mostly compound lifts. Squats, bench presses, overhead press, deadlifts ALL maximise the muscle fibres stimulated intra-workout.
Progressive overload – GET STRONGER! Push the bar further each an every workout whether that be in weight or even that one extra rep!
Limit it! Not only is regular alcohol intake expensive (when you could spending your money on some Chocolate flavoured whey only available at: https://www.dystinctlifestyle.com/). On serious note, excessively consuming alcohol (raving your bollocks off) means you are likely to sleep less = lower levels of T = less gainz
Unnecessary stress releases testosterone’s nemesis CORTISOL…
…which suppresses testosterone production. Unnatural elevation in cortisol can quickly reduce testosterone.
Think of them like a sort of seesaw: as one goes up, the other comes down
Stress and high cortisol can also increase food intake through stress eating, weight gain and the storage of harmful body fat around your organs. In turn, these changes may negatively impact your testosterone levels.
So for optimal levels try to avoid stressful situations. Engage with your hobbies! Life’s short so SMILE!
Eat Protein, Fats and Carbs
A diet based mainly on whole foods is best, with a healthy balance of fat, protein and carbs. This can optimise both hormone levels and long-term health. Don’t overeat and don’t restrict calories too much for too long. Try to eat balanced amounts of carbs, fat and protein.
Get some D – not that kind
A 12-month study by Pulz et al (2011) found that supplementing with around 3,000 IU of vitamin D3 per day increased testosterone levels by around 25%. (Or soak up some sun, unless you live in England )
Foods that increase testosterone naturally
Despite being a protein rich food that low in calories, tuna has proven to be a natural source of vitamin D has been linked to healthy testosterone production.
Egg yolks gain a bad rep due to their cholesterol content. However most of the nutrients are found in the yolk and have been shown to aid low levels of Testosterone.
Legumes and Cruciferous Vegetables
Here’s an option for the Vegan’s out there!
Consuming cruciferous vegetables and legumes such as kidney beans, chickpeas, white beans, cabbage, broccoli and kale can help rid the body of excess oestrogen, thus increasing testosterone.
Found it quality whey protein powder, it may help reduce your body’s production of cortisol and increase the positive effects of testosterone. There are many benefits to incorporating protein into your diet (For more reasons why check out: Why Whey Protein is important as part of a balanced lifestyle). As a reference point aim for 1 gram per pound of body weight.
Testosterone killing foods
Too much of anything can be a bad thing. Food in excess leads to unnecessary weight gain as well as killing your sex drive so avoid eating the food mentioned above in excessive quantities.
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