Testosterone Week: How I Doubled My Testosterone Levels Naturally and You Can Too

by Brett on January 18, 2013 · 329 comments

in Health & Sports, Wellness

vintage_strongman

At last we’ve reached the final post of Testosterone Week and based on the comments from you all, this is the post you’ve been most looking forward to. Today I’m going to share what I did during my 90-day experiment in order to double my total and free testosterone levels.

I’m afraid I have no super cool “secrets” to share and there are no easy shortcuts to increasing your T. If you were expecting some magical potion or supplement or weird body hack that will instantly and naturally increase your T levels, what follows is bound to disappoint. Despite what some companies or websites might tell you, there’s no single thing that will boost your testosterone naturally for the long term.

The unsexy truth is that increasing testosterone naturally simply comes down to making some long-term changes in your diet and lifestyle. As you’ll see, what I did to increase T largely boils down to eating better, exercising smarter, and getting more sleep. That’s pretty much it. But as with most things in life, the devil is in the details, so I’ll share with you exactly what I did and provide research that explains why the things I did helped boost my testosterone.

The good news here is that while the things I recommend below will boost your T, their effect is hardly limited to testosterone. They’ll greatly increase your overall health and well-being at the same time.

Ready to get started?

The Obligatory Disclaimer 

While I do have a pretty manly mustache, I’m not a doctor or a medical expert. I’m a guy with a law degree he’s never used who blogs about manliness. What I’m about to share shouldn’t be taken as a substitute for qualified medical expertise. It’s simply my experience and views on the subject. Before you make any changes in lifestyle or diet, talk to your doctor or healthcare provider. Be smart.

My 90-Day Testosterone Experiment

Let’s do a quick review of what I shared in the introduction to this series. August of last year was a tough month for me, primarily because of a huge and grueling project we were in the midst of here on the site. I was stressed out and my sleeping, healthy eating habits, and workout regimen all suffered. At the end of the month I got my testosterone levels tested and found that my total T was 383 ng/dL and my free T was 7.2 pg/mL – close to the average for an 85-100-year-old man.

I then began a 90-day experiment to see how diet and lifestyle changes could boost that number.

The reason I started the experiment at that point is because I know a lot of guys who live my last-August lifestyle all the time, and I wanted to see what would happen to an “average” guy who turned things around. At the same time, there was no “normal” time in my life which would have been better for me to start the experiment. My stress level and diet fluctuates throughout the year anyway, so at any point, factors in my current lifestyle would have influenced the results. I wanted to begin at “ground zero.”

After 90 days, I had my testosterone tested again. My total T had gone up to 778 ng/dL and my free T had risen to 14.4 pg/mL. I had doubled my testosterone.

I know the experiment didn’t simply bring me back to my pre-August levels because of the fact that when I learned that the original test I took can sometimes overestimate your T levels, I took a more accurate test around four months after the start of the experiment (I’ve continued the lifestyle changes made during the experiment) and my total T had gone up again to 826.9 ng/dL.

If you’re already healthy, making the changes I list below will probably not double your T levels. But if you’re starting at ground zero, then you should see pretty dramatic results.

Alright, with that all out of the way, let’s talk about exactly what I did to double my T levels in 90 days.

Diet

Our diet plays a huge role in our testosterone production. Our glands need certain minerals — like zinc and magnesium — to get testosterone production started and our Leydig cells need cholesterol to make testosterone. Some foods — like broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage — can help boost T levels by removing estrogens in our body that lower our T.

The biggest change I made to my diet was increasing my fat and cholesterol intake. There’s a reason why old school strong men would drink raw eggs — studies have suggested that higher fat and cholesterol consumption results in increased levels of total T; men eating low-fat diets typically have decreased testosterone levels. The emphasis on increasing fat and cholesterol consumption meant I got to eat like Ron Swanson for three months — bacon and eggs and steak was pretty much the staple of my diet.

But you might be asking, “Isn’t cholesterol bad for you? Doesn’t it cause heart disease?”

Answer: It’s complicated.

I don’t have enough time or space to cover the ins and outs of cholesterol in this post, but overall, research is showing that popular beliefs about cholesterol aren’t completely correct and the public shouldn’t be as afraid of this molecule as it is.

If you’re interested in learning more about the myths and benefits of cholesterol, I highly recommend reading these in-depth, well-written, and well-researched articles at Mark’s Daily Apple:

For those interested, at the end of this section, I share my cholesterol and triglyceride levels after more than four months of eating copious amounts of bacon, eggs, meat, and nuts.

Now here’s a breakdown of what I ate at each meal:

Breakfast – “Give Me All the Bacon and Eggs You Have”

baconeggs

During the weekdays, I ate what I called the “Ron Swanson Special” — three slices of bacon and three whole eggs. Aside from being delicious, it also provided the fats and cholesterol my body needed to make testosterone. Nitrates freak me out, so I used nitrate-free bacon.

On Saturday mornings, Gus and I went to Braum’s — pancakes for Gus; breakfast burrito for me. That’s one of our father/son traditions.

Sundays I typically skipped breakfast – I usually just wasn’t hungry.

Lunch – The Man Salad

IMG_0919

I know Swanson wouldn’t approve, but for lunch each weekday (and sometimes on Saturday) I ate a salad. But it wasn’t just any salad, it was a Man Salad damnit! I packed as many T-boosting foods as I could into this thing.

  • Spinach/Spring Salad Mix. This was the base of my salad. I used Organic Girl Greens from Whole Foods. Yeah, I know. The base of my Man Salad came from a company called Organic Girl. Spinach and other leafy green vegetables contain minerals like magnesium and zinc, which have been shown to aid in testosterone production (study on magnesium, and another; study on zinc)
  • Meat. Meat, particularly beef, provides our bodies with the protein it needs to create muscle (more muscle = more T) and the fats and cholesterol to make testosterone. My meat topping of choice was sliced up chuck steak. I grilled two of them on Monday and it lasted me until the next Monday. Every now and then I’d slow-cook some ribs or brisket to use as my meat topping. My philosophy was the fattier, the better.
  • Nuts. Usually a handful of Brazil nuts or walnuts. Nuts are little fat bombs that provide the cholesterol that Leydig cells need for T production. One study suggest that the selenium in Brazil nuts boosts testosterone. Just don’t go crazy with them. Too much selenium is no bueno.
  • Avocado/Olives. Avocados and olives are a great source of the good fats we need for healthy testosterone production.
  • Broccoli. Every now and then I’d throw some broccoli into the salad. Broccoli contains high levels of indoles, a food compound that has been shown to reduce the bad estrogen in our bodies that sap testosterone levels.
  • Olive Oil. I topped my Man Salad off with lots of olive oil. Research suggests that olive oil helps your Leydig cells (which produce testosterone) absorb cholesterol better. And as I’ve mentioned a few times, our Leydig cells need cholesterol to make T. More cholesterol absorption = more testosterone.
  • Balsamic Vinegar. Mostly for taste. It’s also supposed to help keep your insulin in check.

I bought most of the ingredients for my Testosterone Salad at Whole Foods. For those curious, I added up all the ingredients and divided by six (I typically ate six of these salads in a week). The cost per salad was roughly $5. That’s about the price many folks pay every day for a crappy fast food meal. If you’re on a budget, I’m sure you could get the ingredients at Walmart and bring the cost per salad down even more.

This is what I ate for breakfast and lunch almost every single weekday during my 90-day experiment, and it’s what I continue to eat every weekday more than four months after my experiment began. And I don’t mind at all. I guess I am a pretty boring dude.

Snacks

During the day I tried to snack on testosterone-healthy foods like nuts, pumpkin seeds, and broccoli. I’d throw in some dark chocolate every now and then too.

An added testosterone benefit of my high fat and balanced protein and carb diet was that it probably helped me lose some body fat (I went from 18% to 12% body fat). Studies show that high fat diets actually contribute to increased body fat loss. And as we discussed earlier, as you lose body fat, your T production ramps up. Virtuous cycle for the win!

Dinner – Whatever (in moderation)

I just ate what the family was having: chili, chicken and rice, enchiladas. Whatever. I wasn’t worried too much about carbs. I just watched my portions and tried to stop eating as soon I was full.

With the exception of increasing my fat and cholesterol intake, my diet wasn’t that unconventional. I didn’t follow a strictly low-carb or Paleo diet because recent research has suggested that a diet high in protein and low in carbs actually causes T levels to decrease. With that said, I was judicious with the carbs. I tried to get most of my carbs from veggies and fruit, but I didn’t freak out if my wife made us spaghetti for dinner.

I tried to be really strict with my diet during the week and relaxed it on the weekends. Life’s short. I want to be able enjoy a Triple Stack Sandwich or taquito from QuikTrip every now and then.

I’m a lifelong teetotaler, so alcohol wasn’t on the menu. Some studies have shown that beer can lower your T levels in a few ways, but I imagine it would be fine as a weekend indulgence.

Obviously, you don’t have to follow my exact meal plan. The goal is simply to eat more high-fat foods.

Egads! What did all that eggs and steak do to your cholesterol levels?

I was curious what my cholesterol levels would be after following a diet high in cholesterol and saturated fat, so I got a full lipid screening a little more than four months after I began my experiment. Here are the results:

  • Total Cholesterol: 202 mg/dL (Just barely out of the desirable range of < 200 mg/dL.)
  • HDL Cholesterol (“Good” Cholesterol): 77 mg/dL (Optimal range is > 60 mg/dL — my HDL levels were great!)
  • LDL Cholesterol (“Bad” Cholesterol): 112 mg/dL (This put me in the near or above optimal range of 100-129 mg/dL.)
  • Triglycerides: 65 mg/dL (< 150 mg/dL is considered normal; < 100 mg/dL is optimal — mine were downright stellar.)

Looking at the raw numbers, overall my lipid screening was pretty dang awesome.

Total cholesterol was a bit high, but most doctors agree that total cholesterol isn’t a good indicator of heart disease risk.

Things get more interesting when you look at the ratios that doctors use to determine a patient’s risk for heart disease.

  • Total cholesterol/HDL Ratio: 2.6:1 (Normal is < 5:1; optimal is < 3.5:1. Mine was optimal.)
  • LDL/HDL Ratio: .68:1 (Normal is > .3:1; optimal > .4:1. Mine was optimal.)
  • Triglycerides/HDL Ratio: .84:1 (Optimal is < 2:1. Mine was optimal.)

So despite pounding back bacon, eggs, whole milk, and steak for four months, I still had healthy cholesterol levels.

Supplements

Sadly, many guys think they can just pop a few “natural enhancers” and their T levels will magically increase. If you’re eating garbage, not exercising, and not getting enough sleep, no amount of supplements is going to help your testosterone levels reach optimal levels.

With that said, I did include some nutritional supplementation in my experiment. Here’s what I used:

  • Vitamin D3. Vitamin D3 actually isn’t a vitamin, it’s a hormone — a really important hormone that provides a whole host of health benefits. Our bodies can naturally make vitamin D from the sun, but recent studies have shown that many Westerners are vitamin D3 deprived because we’re spending less and less time outdoors. When we do decide to venture outside, we slather our bodies with sunscreen, which prevents the sun reaching our skin to kick-off vitamin D3 production. If you’re not getting enough sun, you may have a vitamin D3 deficiency, which may contribute to low T levels. If you think you need more vitamin D3, supplement it with a pill. Studies have shown that men who take this supplement see a boost in their testosterone levels. Because I have a darker complexion — which makes me prone to Vitamin D3 deficiency — I took 4,000 IU of vitamin D3 in the morning.
  • Omega-3 Fish Oil. Fish oil has been shown to lower SHBG and increase production of Luteinizing Hormone (the hormone responsible for triggering the testes to produce T). Because of the increased amounts of saturated fats and cholesterol I was consuming, I wanted to make sure I had enough of the “good” fats to clear the gunk out of my blood.
  • Whey Protein + Creatine shake. Before my weightlifting workouts I’d mix a scoop of whey protein (I use Jay Robb because it’s all-natural) and a scoop of creatine into unsweetened coconut milk. Just trying to feed my muscles the stuff it needs to rebuild itself after my workout.
  • Caffeine. Use caffeine moderately. Too much of the jittery juice increases cortisol, which decreases testosterone. Moreover, consuming caffeine late in the day hurts sleep, which lowers testosterone production. But one recent study indicates that caffeine consumed before working out may boost testosterone levels and help you exercise more efficiently. During my experiment I popped a piece of caffeinated gum five minutes before my workouts. Each piece had 100 mg of caffeine, about the same amount in a cup of coffee. That was usually it for my caffeine intake that day.
  • Vitamin C (unnecessary). I don’t know where I first heard about vitamin C’s supposed T-boosting benefits, but it’s one of those things you see all over the internet when you Google “how to increase testosterone.” Without trying to find the research that backs up that claim, I took a vitamin C supplement during my experiment. I later found some research that suggests that vitamin C does increase testosterone levels in diabetic mice, but because I wasn’t diabetic (nor a mouse), I’m not sure how much the vitamin C helped. I’ve actually stopped taking vitamin C supplements. I’m likely getting more than enough with my diet. Unless you have diabetes, you probably won’t see much benefit from this supplement. Don’t waste your money.
  • ZMA (unnecessary). So when I researched how to increase testosterone, a supplement called ZMA kept popping up. It’s a blend of zinc, magnesium, and vitamin B6. The purported benefits of ZMA include better and deeper sleep which indirectly is supposed to increase testosterone. Zinc and magnesium are necessary minerals in testosterone production, so a mega-dose should be useful, right? Well, no. I bought some and took it during the duration of experiment. I should have done some more research before I made the purchase. While one study in 1998 showed increased strength among athletes taking ZMA, two recent studies (study 1, study 2) have shown that it has absolutely no effect on total or free testosterone levels. Crap. My advice, unless you have a zinc and magnesium deficiency, no need to waste your money on this.

What about Tribulus and Stinging Nettle?

There are several supplements on the market claiming to be natural testosterone boosters. I get these sorts of things in the mail all time. The companies that produce these products claim that the herbs (typically stinging nettle and tribulus) in their pills increase free testosterone by reducing SHBG. They also throw in some B vitamins for “increased energy and vitality.”

If you read online forums about boosting testosterone, many guys swear by the effectiveness of natural testosterone boosters. The evidence is mixed. A study found that stinging nettle did indeed increase free T in mice, but another study showed no increase in humans. You see the same sort of results with tribulus — works in mice, but not humans.

With the exception of ZMA, I didn’t take any other purported testosterone boosters.

Exercise

Exercise boosts testosterone in two important ways. First, specific types of exercise actually cause our body to produce more testosterone. We’ll talk more about those in a bit. Second, exercise helps to increase muscle mass and decrease body fat. As we’ve discussed previously, adipose tissue converts testosterone into estrogen. The less fat we get, the more T we have.

Lift Weights

If you want to increase testosterone, you’ve got to start lifting – and lifting heavy. No, doing a short circuit with the weight machines won’t cut it.

Here’s what the research says on how to craft your weightlifting routine to maximize testosterone production:

Two workout plans that I used that meet most of these criteria were the StrongLifts 5×5 and 5/3/1. I primarily used Strong Lifts during the 90-day experiment. I’ve been a fan of the program for years. I recently discovered 5/3/1 and have been pleased with the results I’ve seen with it. I definitely recommend picking up a copy of the book that lays out the program.

HIIT Training

In addition to weightlifting, studies have shown that HIIT workouts can also help boost testosterone levels. For those of you who don’t know, HIIT stands for high-intensity interval training. It calls for short, intense bursts of exercise, followed by a less-intense recovery period. You repeat with the intense/less-intense cycle several times throughout the workout. In addition to increasing T, HIIT has been shown to improve athletic conditioning and fat metabolism, as well as increase muscle strength.

You can find a whole bunch of HIIT workouts online, but the one I used during my 90-day experiment was a simple wind sprint routine. On Tuesdays I went to the football field near my house, marked off 40 yards with some cones, and sprinted as fast as I could. I’d slowly walk back to the starting line, giving my body about a minute to rest, and then I’d sprint again. I typically did 40 sets of 40-yard sprints in a workout. I love sprints.

Don’t overtrain!

It seems like today it’s a badge of honor to train every day until exhaustion. The ethos is to push yourself harder and harder every day. If that’s your philosophy towards exercise, you might be sabotaging your testosterone levels (as well as your 20 Mile March). Studies have shown that overtraining can reduce testosterone levels significantly. Yes, it’s important to exercise hard, but it’s even more important to give your body rest so it can recuperate from the damage you inflicted upon it.

Give yourself at least two days during the week when you don’t do any intense exercise at all. Depending on your workouts, more days off might be in order. I typically took the weekends off from intense exercising. I’d go on a light walk or hike, but that was about it.

Just move more. I tried to be more active throughout the work day. I took breaks every 30 minutes or so to take a walk. I also used a standing desk more often than I usually do.

Get More and Better Sleep

Most Americans today are sleep deprived, which may be a contributing factor to declining testosterone levels in men. See, our body makes nearly all the testosterone it needs for the day while we’re sleeping. That increased level of T that we experience at night is one of the reasons we wake up with “Morning Wood.” (If you don’t have Morning Wood on a consistent basis, you might have low T).

But if you’re not getting enough quality sleep, your body can’t produce testosterone as efficiently or effectively. In one study, researchers at the University of Chicago found that young men who slept less than five hours a night for one week had lower testosterone levels than when they were fully rested. The drop was typically 10-15%.

Not only does sleep boost T, but it also helps manage cortisol, a stress hormone that has been shown to wreak havoc on testosterone levels when present in high amounts.

During the month before my experiment, I was definitely sleep deprived. Some nights I was only getting 4 to 5 hours. Testosterone killer! During my experiment I tried to get 8 to 9 hours of sleep at night as consistently as possible. I had to go to bed earlier, but I was only cutting into time that I would have been using to mindlessly surf the net anyway.

I also took measures to improve the quality of sleep I got. For example, I reduced my exposure to blue light in the evening, reduced my consumption of caffeine in the evenings, and took warm showers before bed. In a future post, I’ll go into more detail about some of the more crazy things I did to improve how well I slept. It was fun.

Manage Stress

When we face stress, our adrenal glands secrete cortisol to prepare our bodies and minds to handle the stressful situation — the primal fight-or-flight response. In small dosages, cortisol is fine and even useful, but elevated cortisol levels for prolonged periods can do some serious damage to our bodies and minds. One area that seems to take a hit when cortisol is high is our testosterone levels. Several studies have shown a link between cortisol and testosterone. When cortisol levels are high, testosterone levels are low; and when testosterone levels are high, cortisol levels are low.

My stress-filled August was likely another factor leading to my low T levels. Knowing about the connection between cortisol and testosterone, I took the following measures to improve my stress management:

  • I mediated for 20 minutes a day.
  • When I started to feel stressed, I got up and went for a walk.
  • I practiced deep breathing exercises.
  • I focused on being more resilient in the face of stress.

Avoid Xenoestrogens and Other T-Lowering Chemicals

Many endocrinologists are sounding the alarm about the damaging effects that come with exposure to common household chemicals. Called “endocrine disruptors,” these chemicals interfere with our body’s hormone system and cause problems like weight gain and learning disabilities. One type of endocrine disruptor is particularly bad news for our testosterone levels.

Xenoestrogen is a chemical that imitates estrogen in the human body. When men are exposed to too much of this estrogen-imitating chemical, T levels drop significantly. The problem is xenoestrogen is freaking everywhere — plastics, shampoos, gasoline, cows, toothpaste. You name it and chances are there are xenoestrogen in it. The ubiquitous nature of this chemical in our modern world is one reason some endocrinologists believe that testosterone levels are lower in men today than in decades past. It’s also a reason doctors say the number of boys born with hypospadias — a birth defect in which the opening of the urethra is on the underside of the penis and not at the tip — has doubled.  Note to expecting parents: make sure mom stays away from xenoestrogens during the pregnancy.

Despite the stacked deck, I did my best to avoid products that contained xenoestrogens during my 90-day experiment. Here’s what I did:

  • Stored food in glassware and never, ever, ever heated food in plastic containers. Most modern plastics contain phthalates. Phthalates are what give plastic their flexibility, durability, and longevity. But they also screw with hormones by imitating estrogen. Because I didn’t want any of those T-draining molecules in my food, I kept all my food in glassware. I also made sure to never heat food in plastic containers, as heat increases the transfer of phthalates into food.
  • Avoided exposure to pesticides and gasoline. Sure the smell of gas is manly, but it contains xenoestrogen. Same goes for pesticides. Limit your exposure to these products. If you do come in contact with them, make sure to wash your hands thoroughly.
  • Eat organic when possible. Pesticides and hormones that are used in our food can imitate estrogens in our body. When possible, eat organic. If budget doesn’t allow, at least make sure to wash your fruits and veggies before eating and find meat and milk that comes from cows that haven’t been treated with hormones.
  • Use natural grooming products. Most grooming products these days contain parabens, another type of xenoestrogen. And by most, I mean more than 75% of all products. To reduce my exposure as much as possible, I became a hippy during my experiment and started using all natural, paraben-free grooming products. You can find most of these items at most health food stores:
    • Jason Shampoo
    • Grandpa’s Pine Tar Soap
    • Tom’s of Maine Toothpaste
    • Crystal Rock Deodorant (This deodorant smells good and works pretty well. But by the end of the day you’re going to be kind of stinky. And if you work out the following morning, you’re going to be really stinky. I eventually made the switch back to regular deodorant/antiperspirant post-experiment. Everybody makes trade-offs.)
  • Avoid BPA. Studies suggest that BPA, a chemical that lines food cans and thermal printer paper, may reduce testosterone. I reduced my exposure to BPA as much as I could.

More Sex

Testosterone is the fuel that propels our sex drive, but did you know that actually having sex puts fuel in our testosterone tank? That’s right. More sex = more testosterone. So, yeah. Have more sex.

No, I’m not going to share my experience with this part of the experiment.

Cold Baths

Twice a week during my three-month experiment, I took a 15-minute cold bath after my really hard workouts. I did it for a few reasons. I wanted to help with recovery and I was trying to prep myself for the GORUCK Challenge. Another reason was that I thought it could help increase testosterone levels.

The basis for my thinking that T levels could be boosted by cold baths came from a post I wrote a few years ago on the benefits of cold showers. One benefit I found in my research was that they could increase testosterone levels. I mentioned a 1993 study done by the Thrombosis Research Institute in England that found increased T levels after taking a cold shower. Here’s the thing. I can’t find a link to the original source and I can’t find any other studies that support this claim! So without supporting research, I’m unsure of the effects of cold showers on testosterone.

I still found the practice beneficial, invigorating, and helpful in building my self-discipline.

Conclusion

So that’s what I did to double my testosterone levels in three months. No artificial gels, creams, or injections. Nothing top secret or cool. Just discipline and good livin’. I’m still at pretty much this whole regimen five months later, and I don’t see any reason for stopping.

Now a few last caveats and comments:

First, it’s important to note that these tactics and practices to boost testosterone naturally probably won’t work with men who have hypoandrogenism. If the glands and cells responsible for producing testosterone are damaged or defective, no amount of eggs or sleep will help you raise testosterone levels. You’ll likely need to use testosterone replacement therapy to get your T levels to a healthy place.

Next, while testosterone levels do decline with age, this may simply be because the older that men get, the less they take care of themselves – they stop exercising, start putting on weight, and don’t pay as much attention to their diet. A recent study suggests that age-related T decline is not inevitable, and that if you keep living a healthy lifestyle, you can maintain healthy testosterone levels. So if you’re an older guy, try to do all you can as far as lifestyle changes before you get on the prescription T. I don’t mean doing a little cardio a few times a week, using the machines at the gym, and eating “pretty” healthy. Follow the guidelines above, and see what happens first.

Finally, these kinds of posts always bring a deluge of questions, mostly focused on, “Can I make an exception to X?” “Can I sub in A for B?” “What if I can’t do C?”

Tailor the above recommendations to your personal needs and lifestyle. If you’re a vegetarian drop the bacon and steak, but keep the whey protein and eggs. If you have an injury that prevents you from heavy weightlifting, move as much as you can in the way that you can. There are no studies out there which can tell you exactly what will happen if you do X and Y, but not Z. And I certainly can’t tell you either. Don’t be afraid of self-education – that’s how I learned all this – and embrace the idea of conducting your own experiment and being your own test subject. Incorporate as many of the recommendations above as you’re comfortable with, consult your doctor, and track your results.

Semper virilis.

Testosterone Week Series:
The Declining Virility of Men and the Importance of T
The Benefits of Optimal Testosterone
A Short Primer on How T is Made
What’s a “Normal” Testosterone Level and How to Measure Your T
How I Doubled My Testosterone Levels Naturally and You Can Too

{ 329 comments… read them below or add one }

101 Nuts!! January 21, 2013 at 1:03 pm

Just to touch on nuts, you stated brazil nuts and walnuts aid tesosterone when in my studies have concluded they will aid the female hormone’s. In my studies almonds/cashews and any nuts with monounsaturated fats that have higher fat levels mentioned, are for men and polyunsaturated fats are for women. Chicken is for girls and beef is for men ect ect.

Sleep in my opionion is 100% the best form of booster in front of a very important diet which I do agree has a lot of beef. All the other so called aids are not great, beef is by far the best aid based on about 10 years of paying attention to what my body works best with.

Good read all the same.

102 Nate January 21, 2013 at 1:30 pm

Great article, I’ll be trying some of this in the near future. My diet’s already much higher in fats and protein, while being lower in carbs than it ever used to be. It’s been a great change.

I’ve been trying to cut out most carbs actually. I’ve been losing weight and feeling great. Looking to add in an exercise program of some sort as well starting in a week or two.

(my source has been the 4 hour body, by Ferriss. Seems fairly legit so far, but the self-testing is still in progress)

Brett,

Do you get hungry while on that “diet”? I find that with the extra protein/fats, I haven’t been hungry myself.

Also: would you consider a followup post 3 months from now, and/or 6 months from now? It would be good to have somebody’s results from a longer time period (nonetheless, they’re great results!). Whether the levels remain higher, and whether the other benefits like fat loss/muscle gain/feel-goodness keeps up or not.

103 Bruce Egert January 21, 2013 at 2:37 pm

Great series!! Thanks. The most difficult aspect for me to perform–8 hours of sleep per night !! Looking forward to strategies that will work.

104 Adrien January 21, 2013 at 3:08 pm

I think the experience is great and I thank you for sharing it but come on, using creatine to enhance your muscle mass and tell this story under a title that contains the word “naturally” is not very obvious or genuine. But maybe this is because of a cultural gap seeing that I am European

105 Brent January 21, 2013 at 3:26 pm

Long time fan of AOM, here is my input.

I’ve adapted much of my health habits through reading Men’s Health magazine and health news. Everything you recommended is consistent with what I’ve read through the years. It’s funny, the supplements you suggested are the exact ones in my cupboard, no more, no less.

Also, your writing style in this article had more of a conversational and personal tone to it. It was enjoyable to read without sacrificing the quality of the message.

Excited where AOM is going!

106 J.W. Simpkins January 21, 2013 at 4:40 pm

An excellent conclusion to the series and some solid advice.

I would add that avoiding tap water is a good idea, as a boatload of pharmaceuticals (including birth control pills) are now showing up in municipal water supplies.

107 Francis January 21, 2013 at 4:53 pm

When you say have more sex, does masturbation count? Because I’m not currently getting any and frankly don’t know when I next will.

108 Drew January 21, 2013 at 4:54 pm

@Adrien Do you know what Creatine does? It isn’t meant to increase muscle mass. It is meant to restore depleted ATP in your muscles. If you don’t know what that is then I you don’t make ignorant comments.

109 Tyler January 21, 2013 at 5:45 pm

Great article. Something you know I’m into. Only dilemma is that I wanted to print it out to save to reread again later, but your “print” button doesn’t seem to be working! I keep getting a 404. Just thought I’d give the heads up. Let me know when it’s fixed? Muchas gracias homeslice.

110 man January 21, 2013 at 7:19 pm

all of the things you listed as lowering T are also unhealthy things… women prefer to have a lot more estrogen than testosterone… I guess it sounds confusing if healthy things raise T and unhealthy things lower it.
Does it work differently in men than in women?

111 Doug January 21, 2013 at 7:48 pm

Hey Brett, great mini-series you have here. It was very informative, but what I really want to thank you for is providing the link to that 5×5 workout plan! It looks awesome and I’m ready to try it!

112 Alejandro De La Garza January 21, 2013 at 8:29 pm

I often prefer to start out with warm, or even hot water when showering, then I switch to cold water the last couple of minutes. Cold water helps improve circulation in the blood stream, a well-documented fact. Besides, warmer water is detrimental to sperm production. That’s one reason why our testicles reside in a sack of skin between our legs, as opposed to remaining in our lower abdomens where they are until just before birth. It stands to reason, therefore, that colder water is helpful to increased testosterone production. Ultimately, there’s no one key factor to testosterone health. There are a slew of things every man must do, even as he ages, to maintain his overall good health.

113 Skweekah January 21, 2013 at 11:31 pm

Watch the heavy weights, especially if you are starting out. Google rhabdomyolysis. It is serious business and has happened to many a young man trying too hard to bulk up too quickly or improperly.

114 David Vega January 22, 2013 at 9:22 am

Fish Oil is a great supplement with insane benefits (especially living in dry climates like Arizona) but MAKE SURE you are taking a quality fish oil product. Almost every single brand you buy in stores is stuffed with fillers and have miniscule benefit at best or adverse reactions at worst.

I do not have any affiliation with this product or company, but I have found this to be the best quality product and value: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004O2I9JO/ref=oh_details_o01_s00_i00

I only reccomend it because it has worked for me and is very well reviewed.

115 Jonny M W January 22, 2013 at 9:35 am

I’ve been trying to eat similarly for a few weeks, currently on the Green Faces diet but only for 1 more week. Then I plan to have similar but some carbs. Mainly dinner as I don’t always cook it. Could I suggest Subway salads, in the UK they are only £2.80 and are lovely, choose the right meat and they aren’t too bad. Very filling too!

116 justme January 22, 2013 at 1:15 pm

regarding deodorant – i find the crystals fall short too – but i have found is use regular deodorant once a week the crystal seem to last longer on the days i use them – also try to ‘really’ scrub your underarms

but better still, the most effective natural deodorant i have found is diaper rash cream – really! just a dab of zinc oiment cream lasts LONGER than commerical deodorant and there is no perfumey smell.

It makes sense, since the reason its a rash preventative is it stops bacteria growth – and i figure if its mild enough for a baby’s butt its mild enough for me.

117 Steve January 22, 2013 at 1:29 pm

Great series Brett. Quality information and even better replies to all the “information” that accompanies medicine in this information age. In my humble opinion, you steered clear of much myth, were quite balanced, and didn’t let yourself be cowed by arguments from authority. Organic if you can afford it is great advice. Xenoestrogens are ubiquitous. Cholesterol is complicated, but it is not the bogeyman it has been made out to be by pharmaceutical medicine: even the original JUPITER studies that have been used to make cholesterol lowering drugs the number one pharmaceutical worldwide show as much. The real key seems to be one’s inflammatory index. Healthy living keeps this down. C-Reactive protein is a good lab indicator.

118 Joel A. January 22, 2013 at 2:41 pm

This is one of those articles that needs to be required reading for all men as it aggragates a lot of good bits. Love 5/3/1 full body.

119 steve January 22, 2013 at 3:48 pm

I believe underarm stinkies are the smell of bacteria tooting. Use rubbing alcohol under there every so often, whenever you notice the stank building back up.

120 Mad Max January 22, 2013 at 4:12 pm

Brett,
Thanks for these topics and articles. I would not have even thought to have my T tested if I had not read your articles. Mine tested even lower than yours. I’m going to try your workout and diet plan and see what happens. I’m 46 and feel more like 70. To be honest, I get angry easily and don’t have much interest in getting intimate with my wife. I feel pretty helpless and unhappy and so I’m willing try try anything at this point. I purchased a GNC product called High T. Have you ever heard of that? I take the MEGA MAN energy vitamins from GNC and have been taking a Magnesium supplement becuase I had borderline high blood pressure and read that Magnesium should help that. It seemed to.
What do you think about a Heavy Bag Workout? I just purchased a heavy bag (I used to be a pretty good martial artist) and plan on getting back into it and working on the heavy bag. I plan on getting more weights or join a gym.
I don’t want to make my comment really long so I’ll sign off now.
Keep it coming.

121 KambizAmini January 22, 2013 at 4:41 pm

I really like this article! Thanks!
It is a true fact that testosterone is a very important hormone when it comes to success in a mans life. Not just financially, even in other areas of life too. The diet part in this article is interesting. The contention that males are not really made for the low fat diet is very interesting! The male body is just not made for this kind of diet. We males need to eat and i mean EAT! Not measuring calories, fat% etc… Just look at the english breakfast and compare it to how some males today eat their breakfast (coffee and cigarettes). The supplements are kind of unnecessary. The only really necessary one is the D.vitamine from the sun. Your body needs more exercise than supplement.
I believe that the best way to increase your testosterone hormone level is by heavy bodybuilding, not to mentioning the cold bath and sex too of course!… Just focus on the bodybuilding part and rest will follow. Or just read AOM!

122 Martin January 22, 2013 at 5:23 pm

One thing I was surprised to notice you did not mention was soy. Soy-derived products contain phytoestrogens, which can wreak havoc on a man’s hormonal system (and women’s too).

Totally agree on eating more natural fats and protein, and not avoiding carbs like the plague. But seek out good carbs, not tater chips and cookies. I’ve maintained this sort of diet for about 10 years now.

123 Spencer Noble January 22, 2013 at 9:49 pm

I love this article series. I am hoping this will make a big difference in my life. I really like all of your articles, Brett. Keep up the inspirational job!

124 Gareth January 22, 2013 at 10:37 pm

Martin makes a very good point. Soy may well be detrimental to optimum T levels.
Otherwise, an excellent and very thorough article, Brett, and one that is very relevant to manliness. Many thanks.

125 Craig Morris January 23, 2013 at 12:55 am

Two words: go primal

126 Kratoklastes January 23, 2013 at 1:48 am

So here’s the thing: about 90% of the results outlined in the story, can be achieved **without** the girly-man carnagevore-ism (which would have outraged Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Epicurus, Pythagoras and Seneca – ALL vegetarians).

As Joseph Mercola has pointed out for AGES, doing a manly HIIT workout will drive your T through the roof (gots ta do it HARD though, ladies: 90-100% of maxHR on the hard bits).

My T tests at 170% of normal (1750 ng/dL the day after HIIT; routinely at 1190 ng/dL)… and I’m vegetarian.

And I’m about to turn 48, I’m a little over 6’1″ and (about) 225-230lb (a bit too fat); RHR 58; VO2Max in the mid-40s.

TL;DR: you can man up – be aggressive as hell, hairy, smelly and strong – without eating some slab of flesh hacked off the corpse of some animal who lived its entire life in misery and ended it in terror.

Ben Franklin, Thomas Edison, and Nikola Tesla would approve. So would ALBERT “E to the MC-mutha-phuqqin-squared” Einstein. (OK, so none of those dudes could dip bodyweight-plus… but Tesla had a pretty manly ‘stache. ALL were veggies, girls)

127 Marc P January 23, 2013 at 3:25 am

Wanted to say thanks about this series of article. Currently I do suffer from low T. Im 37yrs old and afters ome self research 3yrs ago I told my doctor to test for it. He didnt at first saying that I was far too young for low T but the results showed I was below average. Currently Im on Androgel but even now my levels havnt gone up that much. Im going to try some of your tips and hopefully it will help out. The plastics did shock me so that is something Ill have to adjust. Again thanks.

128 John Brauer January 23, 2013 at 5:16 am

Brett, re the low carb “research,” did you notice that that study had only 8 subjects (very small sample) and that it was a THREE DAY study?! I bet at least a few of the subjects were still excreting their old diet by the time that study ended. This is a fine example of the terrible research that informs our national dietary recommendations. I would hesitate to say that low carb diminishes T based on such a study.

129 Dr Phil January 23, 2013 at 9:34 am

So you went from abysmally low to near normal; do you think that you can double it again from normal?

130 Clayton January 23, 2013 at 11:01 am

@Kratoklastes –

Your name calling and condescending tone does nothing to aid your message. If eating vegetarian is a passion of yours, you should approach people in a way that is going to be well received. Frankly, the way you wrote was rude and immature – shrouding your great tips on HIIT training. Please be far more civil.

Your response frustrated me especially because I am also a vegetarian.

@Brett –

Great article. Really admire your constant research and all of your writing.

131 Dr. True January 23, 2013 at 12:49 pm

Kratoklastes, add yourself to the million people we’ve already heard these frantic rants from. Your emotional invocations of animal cruelty do not constitute science. Your name dropping does not constitute a point. Furthermore, your vegetarian diet, without Vitamin B12 supplementation, since B12 only comes from animal sources, will kill you.

Why all the high drama, while leaving out this key fact? Like all vegetarians you take the argument to the realm of blanket insults (were you even addressing anyone personally?), before you dare engage in a fact based discussion that you will always lose. Funny that you make a point to talk about animals living in misery when your anger and self loathing are so obvious. Vegetarianism is a symptom of deep rooted self loathing. It is self denial/self punishment at a deep subconscious level. And your aggressive, offensive, but ultimately factless antagonism of the diet that homo-species have subsisted on for millions of years is an obvious defense mechanism. Clearly less about conveying facts than conveying anger. Much like what we see from drug addicts who use any available excuse to turn their backs on the ones who love them, just to serve their addiction. Your demeanor makes it clear that you don’t want to give anyone the chance to like you, lest they try to free you from your self imposed sentence. Its textbook self loathing obvious to anyone with even a passing understanding of psychology. And easily and commonly observed in vegetarians and vegans.

Just thought you might be interested to hear what a real scientific argument sounded like. Enjoy your vegetarian life, if its really what makes you happy. But its fantastically obvious to everyone that it’s not…

To the rational among you, let me just say that I have been a primal dieter for two years now. My weight has gone from 188 to 153, BP from 136/93 to 117/79, body fat from over 20% to 11% and BMI from mid 26s to low 22s. I don’t have my cholesterol checked because cholesterol is a key ingredient in brain matter and testosterone and thus I’m not afraid of it. But having lost 20% of my body mass, I assume it has gone down as well. Hope this helps. Kudos for a great article Brett…

132 Joe Mc January 23, 2013 at 7:28 pm

If you have low testosterone, how would you know if the glands or cells responsible for producing testosterone are damaged or defective? Would there be something to look for on a blood test?

133 Brian J January 23, 2013 at 7:58 pm

Natural Deodorant:

1/2 cup extra virgin coconut oil.
1/2 cup baking soda.
1/2 cup cornstarch
10-20 drops essential oil (I use peppermint).

mix together in a container.
rub on each of your pits each morning.

your welcome.

134 Paul January 23, 2013 at 11:00 pm

I had my testosterone tested before I began fully training as a power lifter. I’ve always been active and healthy, but small (150 lbs when I started)

I was in college for exercise physiology, so had access to the equipment.

My t was about 485, which is terrible for a 21 year old (senior year). Now, 9 months later, I had mine tested, and im at 1027, which is awesome, especially considering where I started. Im also 170 lbs, and my dead lift went from 150 to 360.

Diet is huge for health, but lifting heavy weight causes hormonal changes in many ways. During, after, and long term.

135 Brian January 24, 2013 at 12:20 am

One thing to consider when you start strength training: for the first month, you wont notice any increase in muscle mass. It actually takes about 4 weeks of training before muscle hypertrophy begins. Strength gains before then are the result of increase neural activation to the muscles.

That said, the StrongLift 5×5 is pretty similar to the squat routine I came up with in college: 4 sets of 5 reps and 1 set of 10. If you can finish that set of 10 at the end, add 10 lbs the next time you work out.

136 Moshgremlin January 24, 2013 at 6:52 am

Great set of articles, not sure if i’ll get my T tested but might try to implement some of the suggestions. I used to workout a lot which I can testify makes me feel a lot better but havn’t had the time recently.

Dr. True, your rant sounds just as ridiculous than Kratoklastes’, but with much more venom. You want to talk about blanket insults? You just gave a few great examples in your post.
I learned two facts from your ‘scientific post’, B12 comes from animal products, and humans have eaten meat for millions of years (groundbreaking science, do you have a PHD?) Not sure where your theory of self-loathing comes from but I’m pretty sure vegetarianism is more to do with empathy and compassion towards animals.

137 doctorlivingstone January 24, 2013 at 10:17 am

Cholesterol levels are a product of the food we eat, and the cholesterol your body produces. That last part is the most important, if you are genetically predisposed to high cholesterol, how much you consume has little to do with your overall numbers. It also has nothing to do with being skinny or fat. Fat people have low cholesterol, and skinny athletic people have high cholesterol.

So in closing, this diet described worked for YOU, but could be very dangerous for others. Everyone needs to determine their own cholesterol level with a simple blood test before doing anything.

138 Joe McMatton January 24, 2013 at 7:18 pm

How would you know if the glands or cells that are responsible for producing testosterone are damaged or defective? Would there be a way to look for it on a blood test?

139 Brad January 24, 2013 at 9:32 pm

I’m a vegetarian and have been 100% for the last three years. I was concerned for a while on the impact of not being a meat eater would have on my T levels so your articles have been fascinating. I don’t eat soy products as I believe that they contribute to oestrogen levels and have an intense running and weights program.

I have to agree with you that clean eating, resistance exercise, sleep and sex are the keys to higher T levels. My cholesterol levels are much lower than yours which would be animal fat related but our T levels are similar. It is important to note that your body can only absorb a small amount of protein every day and this is where high levels of meat consumption for the average gym goer destroys their ability to flash a six pack. The protein rich food becomes fat and no matter how big your biceps are, you still have a fat storage tank on the waist line. Spinach, Lentils, Beans, Brocolli and Mushrooms will give you the same results but without the fat deposit.

I challenge you to try a second 90 day challenge but with a significant reduction in your diets reliance on meat. I bet you can keep your T levels but reduce your cholesterol levels significantly.

140 EW January 25, 2013 at 8:02 am

Just an FYI on your LDL numbers – the current recommendations say to first get patients under 100, then to aim for under 70. New recommendations (should come out in a few months) are going to target an LDL of under 70 as the overall goal for everyone. And LDL is likely (although we’re not entirely sure) the most important number cardiac risk-wise on the Lipid panel.

141 JKG January 25, 2013 at 1:26 pm

Just FTR, I found Kratoklastes to be neither condescending nor frantic. Jocular, perhaps.

As beneficial as meat can be to humans, it does carry documented ill-effects. More importantly, modern American meat production is foul — bad for animals, bad for the planet, and ultimately bad for you. If Brett is buying organic meat at WF, that’s an improvement in some respects. However, the best way to get the healthiest beef is to find a small-scale farmer or a co-op that deals in grass-fed beef. This is becoming easier and easier to do, though by no means commonplace. I’ve been able to go in on shares of a whole or half an animal with a group of friends. That’s provided me with nearly 4 months worth of beef at a fairly reasonable price (less the freezer). Even better, I know exactly where it came from.

I could go on and on about the follow-on benefits this has for the local economy, the regional landscape, my body, the earth, etc., but I won’t. I’ll simply suggest that you try it out. If you live in the right place, this is also possible with game — moose (an acquired taste) venison, etc. (Guys who hunt Moose are often looking to share the meat — there’s a damn lot of it.)

Finally, as Kratoklastes and Brad point out, it is possible to gain the benefits of a balanced/high protein diet without eating meat. If you look into it just a little bit, you’ll find sound examples even in the NFL. I don’t think anyone here is going to challenge Tony Gonzales’ manliness, or that of Mac Danzig (MMA).

142 Branden January 25, 2013 at 3:02 pm

I think the important thing to note, is that there isn’t one thing we can do to instantly improve our T. Like anything there is no magic pill.

We have to delay instant gratification to improve our T over the longer term, and we will be glad we did.

Things that are really worth having are the things that take work.

143 Joshua D. Drake January 26, 2013 at 2:28 am

Don’t forget to limit alcohol. Yes it sucks, I love Whiskey…..

144 David Walsh January 26, 2013 at 3:51 pm

Sounds like ripped straight from “the 4-hour body”

145 Robert T January 27, 2013 at 1:24 pm

@Brett

I go to a military style college and experience the same 4-5 hours of sleep at night you touched on. I toss and turn and then struggle to wake up in the morning for formation. I really want to become a morning person and I would love to see an article expanding on how to get a better night’s sleep!

146 Alexander January 27, 2013 at 5:25 pm

Dude this is absolutely fascinating. Very reminiscent of Tim Feriss’s “Cellphone in the pocket experiment.”

I didn’t see any mention of it in the post, but I’m curious what effect you might see if you got rid of carrying around a cellphone too.

But for the vast majority of dudes your advice is spot (based on what I’ve read me-self).

147 Andy January 27, 2013 at 8:21 pm

Great article on the small tips and tricks one can do to increase T levels.

My only bone to pick with you is that you state “rest between 1 and 2 minutes” between sets, whereas that study itself stated there was no significant difference between a 2min rest time or a 5min rest time between sets.

Personally, I find you should rest when you feel you’re ready for the next lift; whether it’s 2 min or 5 min. I find it hard to believe somebody can do heavy singles of a 500+ deadlift with 2 min rest times between sets, for instance.

Or were you merely suggesting that in order to speed up workouts?

148 Sal7 January 28, 2013 at 6:54 am

try Lavilin deodorant. It is a stiff cream that doesn’t wash off in water and can keep odor at bay for days. I got some from my doctor and it’s the best I’ve ever used. Also, my favorite bicycle company (Rivendell: I have no affiliation) sells Granpa’s Pine Tar Soap and they suggest not rinsing your final suds after washing your pits. Haven’t tried this though because I’m so happy with Lavilin.

149 Rob Roy January 28, 2013 at 12:21 pm

Thanks for sharing!

Of course he cannot cover all possibilites about diet but it is, simply as it sounds, just an or better HIS experience.

But I will start to do the same. Try to eat the same as you and get more sleep as I already do workouts (but without artificial weights, I just use my bodyweight and different options to increase the difficulty).

150 Christopher January 28, 2013 at 2:51 pm

Amen to this!

Good to see someone else come out and speak the truth – that you can actually do this naturally.

It’s not sexy – it’s not complicated – but it works.

I personally took my T from 12 ng/dl to 1190 ng/dl over the course of only one year just through simple dietary and training changes.

Good stuff – thanks for writing this!
Chris

151 Scott Vignali January 28, 2013 at 4:05 pm

This is great stuff, much of which I’ve been doing for a long time, other things I need to reincorporate into my routine.

I want to add something notable that I think is missing here. MMA and contact sports. Doing aggressive, “dangerous” activities like football, boxing, wrestling, whatever. Any kind of contact sport or martial art in which you actually spar will increase testosterone.

152 Alex January 28, 2013 at 4:10 pm

Great article, definitely going to apply some of these principles into my life.

I study business management but also have an interest in biology, having just typed in “links between business and biology” i found this paper:

The relationship between entrepreneurship and testosterone.

http://www.ivey.uwo.ca/cmsmedia/35564/WhiteRE_OBHDP.pdf

Enjoy.

153 Christopher January 28, 2013 at 10:13 pm

Cool paper Alex – thanks for leaving that here. I didn’t know researchers even studied those kinds of correlations.

154 William January 29, 2013 at 2:51 pm

Good article, I follow the Primal way of eating from Mark’s Daily Apple (www.marksdailyapple.com) which is pretty close to this encouraging consumption of fats animal and other good sources while lowering carb intake, especially from junk carbs that make up most of the American diet. That combined with 3-4 days of week of HIIT working out (crosffit for me) and adding in sleep has worked wonders on my body. As you mentioned there is no magic pill, takes some lifestyle changes and a bit of work.

155 Colin January 29, 2013 at 4:19 pm

Hi, I just wanted to let you know that your statement about organic foods not containing chemicals that mimic estrogen is false. Pyrethroids, an organic approved class of pesticides and very common high dosage pesticide in the organic world has significant estrogen mimicking properties. I am a plant pathologist and do this sort of work for a living. Going organic probably wont have any affect on estrogen mimics in your diet.

156 work-in-progress January 30, 2013 at 10:14 am

thank you thank thank you! great article and perfect timing as I have been attempting to get to the root to some health issues! I’m 39 (6′-3″ and now 175 lbs – after dropping almost 30 lbs over the last 7 months) and had some routine bloodwork done a few months back dr. reviewed my T levels (469) and noted they were in the ‘normal’ range of 400-1100 – now I have a better understanding of this and am having additional b.w. this week.

@Nuts!!(or anyone willing to provide some input) – I have been using nuts (almonds, peanuts, (less) cashews for a ‘healthy’ snack option – but am concerned that this may be lowering T levels… Anyone????

Also – any suggestions for ‘lifting’ routines using body weight as opposed to weights / equipment? (i.e. no gym access)? Can the same effects be created w/o weights?

Can T-levels ‘reverse’ (?) gynocomastia at 39 yrs old? Can gynecomastia be ‘deleted’ naturally at this age? I’m fit, slim, and exercise regularly but am retaining ‘fat’ in lower abdomen and have been diagnosed w/ gyno – which all bring into question hormone levels (both T & E) – anyone any input / experience with this?

Thanks!

157 Chris January 30, 2013 at 12:12 pm

There are some supplements I’ve found that do help increase Free Testosterone. Mdrive is a natural blend of herbs including cordyceps and fenugreek that are both proven to help free up bound testosterone. My Free T increased significantly and I’ve noticed a tremendous improvement in my endurance and stamina. A healthy diet is also important – great ideas!

158 Robert January 31, 2013 at 7:53 am

I’ve used this diet since it was posted. So far, I’ve been very pleased. I need to lose about 30 lbs to get back to a healthy BMI, and I’ve lost 5-7 lbs so far due to alot more energy, and I feel full longer so I’m much less likely to eat junky snack food. I suspect some placebo effect, but I’ve tried other diets with equal enthusiasm without equal results. I don’t recall reading about the effect of this diet to one’s weight. Any thoughts on the diet as a continued weight loss regime?

159 Mark January 31, 2013 at 7:47 pm

Brett,
Thank you for doing your homework and sharing it with us. Keep up the good work. Here’s a question and a tip.
Question: what about the supplement DHEA? It’s not mass marketed, but my own homework indicates that this can also boost T levels.

Tip: regarding deodorant — keep it simple guys! B.O. is caused by bacteria on the skin’s surface. The best, cheapest and simplest deodorant is just rubbing alcohol, rubbed in and around your pits after a shower. I’ve been doing this for years — and there’s no B.O. on me or my clothes even at the end of the day and after workouts.

160 Mark B February 1, 2013 at 1:29 am

Another supplement worth checking is phosphatidylserine (PS), which in a sports nutrition context has been found to blunt cortisol after moderate to intense exercise sessions, thus promoting more testosterone and a better cortisol/testosterone ratio. The referenced study used 600mg taken 30 minutes before exercise.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2503954/

An example of the supplement and its cost here:

http://www.amazon.com/Designs-Health-Phosphatidyl-Serine-Powder/dp/B003CF1P68/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1359703142&sr=8-1&keywords=phosphatidylserine+powder

A cost of $70 seems steep but 50 grams used in 600mg servings is about 83 servings. An average of 4 exercise sessions a week will make it last for almost 21 weeks, so that’s around $14 a month.
I have no affiliation with that sourcing company. Just an example to show it can be a reasonably priced supplement.

161 Mark B February 1, 2013 at 1:38 am

@Mark (post 159)

Cool tip regarding deodorant, thanks.

Regarding DHEA, I think it has been shown to improve testosterone. I have taken DHEA transdermally once before, and can attest anecdotally (take that for what you will) that I definitely thought it increased my testosterone. Of course a rise in test usually means a rise in estrogen as well. More importantly though, it is my understanding that DHEA, as of now, is not completely understood biochemically. This lends caution to usage.

162 John February 1, 2013 at 9:40 am

@Mark: Regarding DHEA, you’re right it be helpful. But you should get your DHEA levels checked first, either a blood test or saliva test.

Plenty of men have testosterone issues but their DHEA levels are fine.

163 Brian February 1, 2013 at 7:57 pm

I run a fitness/nutrition blog, and a few weeks back, I happen to have also written about increasing testosterone. I don’t know what original research you were looking for on the cold baths, but if you go to this post:

http://thatguysepicrant.com/blog/index.php?/archives/11-Testosterone.html

and look at the comments, I included some links to, and summaries of, peer-reviewed research showing that cold exposure correlates with increased testosterone and decreased cortisol levels.

I don’t do ice baths, but I ride a motorcycle year round, so the 15 mile ride home from work at 90+ MPH seems to have done the trick for me…as the weather warms up, I plan to start using targeted cold exposure, using ice packs.

Anyway…just thought you might want the research I dug up.

164 Anonymous February 2, 2013 at 5:45 am

Intrigued by these posts, and since I was having blood work done anyway, I decided to have my testosterone levels checked. They turned out to be 297 ng/dL — frighteningly low. Considering that testosterone is not something regularly checked for men my age (I’m 24), I could very well have gone a good several decades without ever knowing that I was suffering from low T if not for The Art of Manliness. Thank you, Brett. I’m looking forward to bringing my T levels up and feeling like a whole man again.

165 Tim February 2, 2013 at 8:56 pm

Thought I’d point out that the study you link to RE: carb consumption and LC diets actually used a VLC diet (<5% daily kcal from CHO), which is far below what most paleo dieters consume.

166 Steve February 3, 2013 at 10:34 pm

Just released, StrongLift 5X5 for iPhone:
http://stronglifts5x5app.com/

167 Aiston February 4, 2013 at 4:06 pm

What’s the benefit in raising T levels above the moderate norm?

There are men who complain about feeling horny all the time and “pumped up” (aggressive). There is no benefit in feeling horny 24/7 and certainly no benefit in a civilian society in feeling aggressive.

The result is nothing more than frustration so I don’t see why all this concern over raising T levels above their norm.

What practical benefit does it have?

168 Brett McKay February 4, 2013 at 11:32 pm

@Aiston-

The answer to your question can be found in this part of the series:

http://artofmanliness.com/2013/01/14/testosterone-benefits/

169 Jonas Ogrefoln February 5, 2013 at 12:32 am

I have been living alone in the Gros Ventre Wilderness as a caretaker at a lodge since Nov. 1st. I was surprised to read the diet tips and find that my diet (job comes with stocked freezer and all staples) was quite like the one you had. Lots of eggs, bacon, meat (including elk liver which brined over 2 or 3 days is AWESOME btw). Not so much veggies tho’ and I miss them for sure. I am surrounded by 10,000 ft mountains covered in about 2 – 3 ft of snow that I snowshoe in frequently with a 30 – 40 lb pack just for extra weight and to stay in shape, along with doing push-ups, knee bends, pull ups, and dips between 2 chairs. I also snack on Almonds, walnuts, raisins and some chocolate. I am 44 years old and I looked pretty good when I got here, but nothing like I do now and it just keeps improving. Along with cultivating my own awesome moustache (which I have named Brainard Thornbird Hornbuckle) I am getting cut, I have more energy, I sleep like a rock and I bet you I could get through a marine boot camp as easily as a 20 year old. The sex part will have to wait til I leave here in April, my wife is very excited at the news of my increased health and stamina. lol In May I will be moving to the Alaskan bush to build my own cabin in the wilderness, and attempt to live much like Richard Proenneke; so that is my motivation for increasing my health. You have to keep moving, Gentlemen. Don’t just set goals but reach them and then set more. Never consider that you are too busy or too old to start living longer, happier and healthier. A Healthy life begins in the mind!!

170 docL February 5, 2013 at 1:35 pm

A common misconception is that people who have low T are not muscular. It is very possible to look like your full of T, but have very little. Just got mine tested, and my free T was only 13, and I’m 30 with less than 8% BF. Not low by medical standards, but no where near optimal, and do not feel like I did a year ago. Will be making some dietary changes and am may run some clomid therapy if that doesn’t help.

171 Brian February 6, 2013 at 8:40 pm

The increased aggression and out of control sex drive is likely more an issue of increased testosterone in conjunction with increased luteinizing hormone. Aside from that, quite honestly, I feel so much better with elevated testosterone that even if it meant I had to be perpetually horny and aggressive, I’d do it. I heal faster, burn fat and build muscle more easily, and have more confidence. It’s a wonderful thing.

This isn’t my site, and I don’t want to hijack the discussion here, but all-in-all, there are a myriad of reasons why increased T is good for your health. I’ll be more than happy to discuss further in another venue, where I’m not taking away from Brett’s article.

172 Robeato February 7, 2013 at 2:26 pm

Does like olive tree leaf tea or green tea, infusions that they say reduce your cholesterol levels a problem to your testosterone production? Or wouldn’t it affect you enough?

Another question: if testosterone is mainly produced when we’re sleeping, wouldn’t it be more effective to eat your cholesterol by night, instead of when getting up?

173 silverburg February 8, 2013 at 6:06 pm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eurycoma_longifolia

The authors also reported that the plasma testosterone level of Eurycoma longifolia extract treated rats “was significantly increased when compared with that of the control and infertile animals.”[12]

174 bernard February 8, 2013 at 11:14 pm

Brett,

What type/brand of fish oil do you use? Capsules or the oil straight? What dosage of the EPD/DHAs?

Im not sure if you saw this, but it seems studies are saying fish oil doesnt benefit the heart.

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/250142.php

Do you think its still worth taking?

Thanks

175 Samuel K February 12, 2013 at 2:48 am

Has anyone mentioned Ginseng?

176 Alex February 13, 2013 at 2:30 pm

Bernard,

Fish oil is still a must. If nothing else, always take fish oil/omega 3. Below is a great website that lists some of the many benefits of omega 3.

http://www.leangains.com/2011/05/omega-3-fatty-acids-for-muscle-growth.html

As for the dosage I follow the omega-3:omega-6 ratio, I take 2g EPA:1.5gDHA before bed. I take NutraSea Original Liquid, 3tsp give you the 2:1.5 dosage, there are 100tsp in the bigger bottle for $20.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17617998?ordinalpos=1&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_SingleItemSupl.Pubmed_Discovery_RA&linkpos=1&log$=relatedreviews&logdbfrom=pubmed

177 Patrick February 13, 2013 at 2:36 pm

This diet advice ignores about 50 years of scientific research on food and health. If you want “manly” prostate cancer and heart disease than you should follow this recommendation. Stop getting diet advice from blogs, read the real research…

http://nutritionfacts.org/2013/02/12/less-cancer-in-vegan-men-despite-more-testosterone/

178 Verile February 15, 2013 at 11:00 pm

“After 90 days, I had my testosterone tested again. My total T had gone up to 778 ng/dL and my free T had risen to 14.4 pg/mL. I had doubled my testosterone.”

I’m a bit confused by your free T value. My own blood test reports that the healthy range is 35-155 pg/mL. WebMD says it’s 50-210 pg/mL. Where are you getting 14.4 from?

179 Verile February 15, 2013 at 11:16 pm

@Patrick

You should take your own advice.

“Mean serum insulin-like growth factor-I was 9% lower in 233 vegan men than in 226 meat-eaters and 237 vegetarians (P = 0.002). Vegans had higher testosterone levels than vegetarians and meat-eaters, but this was offset by higher sex hormone binding globulin, and there were no differences between diet groups in free testosterone, androstanediol glucuronide or luteinizing hormone. © 2000 Cancer Research Campaign”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2374537/

180 marco bizzarri February 21, 2013 at 1:53 am

Just a minor note: it is the HDL/LDL ratio, what you’re computing.

181 Martin February 21, 2013 at 10:05 pm

Can we have natural growth hormone increase in the next post? Thank you!

182 Zeph February 24, 2013 at 6:52 pm

Nuts contain cholesterol? No. Flora don’t make nuts, fauna does. Nuts may boost it in your body, or not, but they’re ch.-free.

183 Fred Hahn February 25, 2013 at 2:25 pm

Short, 30 minute HIT strength sessions are indeed very good for T levels. If HIIT is good, how could HIT not be?

184 Hamze March 3, 2013 at 9:46 pm

Brett, I know this is shallow as all hell, but did you happen to look better at the end of the experiment?

185 Steve March 4, 2013 at 5:19 am

Instead of chuck steak (braising steak in uk) I used ox heart. It saved me a fair bit of cash, and made me feel alot more manly.

Saved me cash on the beef as well.

186 Colonel Angus March 10, 2013 at 10:56 pm

Other substances, similar to a xenoestrgen, are phytoestrogens. These plant based, natural, estrogen-like compounds can either block or increase estrogen in a person’s system. Of the natural sources, soy beans are the worst. while a small quantity may offer some benefits, large quantities are probably not good. Seeing that over 90% of all soy grown in the USA is genetically modified (Monsanto Round up Ready), and sprayed heavily with Roundup (glyphosate). The bad news is that soy is in a ton of stuff. Soya oil, often just called vegetable oil, is cheap and used extensively in the food industry. Soybean meal is also used as animal feed for beef, fowl, pork and even fish. So it is very hard to avoid, but not impossible. Read your labels, and know what you’re reading. Buy your meat in bulk from a local farmer who raises healthy animals (ie pasture fed cattle, free run chickens, etc). You will be supporting your local economy, saving money, and putting more money in the farmer’s pocket, rather than the mega grocery store chain or meat packer monopoly.

187 Colonel Angus March 10, 2013 at 11:09 pm

Also, natural bacon still has nitrates in it. It’s a bit of a marketting ploy. Instead of using raw sodium nitrate/nitrite salts they sea salt and celery or beet extract which is super high in nitrates. So you just paid wice as much for something that is really the same thing (you got duped). But, nitrates are not that bad for you anyway and there is more in vegetales and your body makes even more. It’s the sodium you want to watch, and more importantly, the ratio of potassium to sodium (should be 2:1 or more).

188 Jason Effraimidis March 11, 2013 at 7:39 am

Great post, very informative and straight to the point. Natural testo production is achievable as long as we take into consideration many attributes such as sleep diet etc etc.
Now, when supplements are involved, only intravenous methods may increase Testo (and HGH) and that usually involves illegal compounds that may destroy your hormonal profile and lead to Gyno. Lift hard, eat clean, sleep well and grow!

189 mg March 11, 2013 at 9:00 am

I eat and train almost exactly like this and have done so for more than a year. I am 49 and just had my T level done and it came back at 505. According to my research my T level should fall between 380-890 so I could argue that I am lower than optimal. I am still debating whether I should look into some T therapy to elevate my levels.

One thing I didn’t see mentioned was fasting, I typically fast twice a week for 24 hours and this has had a profound effect on fat loss and energy levels with no loss of lean mass, in fact I have seen increases in strength with my squats and dead lifts.

190 Jim March 16, 2013 at 9:08 pm

Just wanted to say thanks. Im a 29m with low t (253) recently started Axiron as TRT, on day 5 now. I’m following a lot of these tips and hoping to get off the meds in 6 months or less. My lifestyle had been for 2 years like what you describe for last August (poor diet, working overnights, no exercise routine).

Does anyone know if going paleo (most likely for just like 14-16 of 21 meals a week to start) would be good, or just too much?

191 Sandy March 19, 2013 at 5:28 pm

Just wanted to say that I’m a 54 year old woman who has suffered the effects of weight gain and muscle loss due to perimenopause/menopause…ugh. I have gone from a trim and fit size 4-6 to a size 16 in a few years…help! I have been scouring the internet for help with regaining my former trim and toned body. This aging crap stinks. I’ve been reading a lot about testosterone regarding women, and the how the diminishing levels dramatically affect the female body and mind. I like your information…I’m giving it a try. I especially like the 40 yard sprint…I was the fastest sprinter in high school and it sounds like it’s suited to me. I eat almost entirely organic, and GMO free foods, and store my foods in glass already. I have also started taking a supplement of Fenugreek every day to help build muscle. The sex thing could be a problem though, due to my husband having always had an extremely low sex drive…the cause of many debate in our household….isn’t it usually the other way around? lol. I mean he didn’t have sex with his ex-wife for 4 out of the 5 years of marriage with his first wife…really. He’s good for maybe 3 times a year right now…any suggestions?…give him an IV of testosterone? Anyway, I’m going to do what I can, and really give your suggestions an honest try. Thanks for the article.

192 NoodlyOne March 23, 2013 at 4:53 pm

Vitamin C helps reduce cortisol. Therefore it should help increase testosterone by doing so.

193 Peter March 27, 2013 at 8:38 am

Studies have pretty much established that tribulus terrestris has a positive effect on testosterone. One study, (France, I think) had subjects on 600mg per day (3 times 200mg). After 90 days T levels had increased on average 30%. Sorry I don’t have the reference to the study.

194 Kurt March 27, 2013 at 10:14 am

@work-in-progress – I love ‘You Are Your Own Gymn’ for body weight exercise routines. I read the book to get the philosophy, etc but if you had an android/iphone you can pick up the app and just start one of the 10 week programs. He has a lot of creative (military style) ways to make things challenging. I like the simplicity of it and have seen good results.

195 Tom M March 30, 2013 at 5:44 pm

Great post! I have been looking for ways to increase my testosterone levels as I am getting older and have noticed a decrease in energy and sexual drive. Thanks for the great information.

196 darin April 2, 2013 at 12:16 pm

nice article you have covered alot of information here. so many guys just try to grab a testosterone booster hoping it will be a magic pill and forget som any other important aspects

197 Branden April 2, 2013 at 3:10 pm

Thanks for this post, successfully improved my only levels through following this.

Been eating eggs and bacon every morning.

Taking fish pills, vitamin D, and Zinc daily.

Been doing strength work, and getting lots of exercise.

I really can feel the difference and my morning tent is back with a vengeance ;]

198 Brad April 12, 2013 at 12:43 am

I had to laugh when you called your salad a “man salad” very good.
But you are spot on with the ingredients though, all great testosterone boosting foods.
My doctor prescribed testosterone injections for me a few years ago, but I came off them after I read that it can cause prostate cancer.I think the research now seems to support the opposite, so you never really know where you stand.

199 Liesl April 14, 2013 at 10:10 am

This is a GREAT series and I am definitely going to share. I found just a couple of problems.

Most people do have a zinc or magnesium deficiency due to consuming large amounts of phytic acid in grains, legumes and nuts. But oral supplements are a less than ideal way to replace magnesium and probably zinc and B6 as well. I get my magnesium from foods, mineral waters high in magnesium, epsom salt baths and magnesium oil on the skin. If you’re going to recommend eating nuts, recommend blanched nuts because the phytic acid is concentrated in the skin. It depletes iron, zinc, magnesium and calcium.

The Paleo diet and other “low carb” diets do not in any way recommend “severe dietary carbohydrate (CHO) restriction.” The idea is to avoid simple carbs in preference for complex carbohydrates such as those found in fruits and vegetables. You can eat a lot of vegetables on a Paleo diet and plenty of fruits that are lower in sugar. So I doubt that the study you cited can be applied to the Paleo diet. Grains and starches are a terrible way to get your carbohydrates. Certainly a man with insulin resistance would want to avoid grains, starches and sugars almost entirely.

200 Amir April 18, 2013 at 4:22 pm

Hi Brett.
Thanks for sharing your experience. It is quite fascinating and makes complete sense to me. Something interesting about cold shower I’d like to share with you. I am Muslim. In my religion, it is recommended to take a clod shower after sex. I was always wondering why cold shower and now I see it.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post:

Site Meter