Testosterone has been getting a lot of press lately, and not all of it is good.
With hormone replacement therapy (HRT) increasingly prescribed to all types of men—young, old, gay, straight—who just want to maintain their strong muscles and lean midsections, a variety of medical groups have started waving red flags about the many potential pitfalls of testosterone supplementation, from permanent cessation of the body’s ability to produce testosterone on its own, to drops in the “good” cholesterol that promotes heart health.
Increasingly, leaders in the medical community have begun pushing to establish guidelines to use HRT only when it’s medically needed, not as a pharmaceutical fountain of youth.
Higher levels of the hormone have been shown repeatedly to increase muscle mass, reduce fat, increase bone density, reduce depression, and improve libido. Of course, testosterone is produced naturally by all human bodies, and in large quantities by the male body, enabling men to build muscle strength more easily than women.
But those quantities vary between individuals, and over time.
Most testosterone loss is associated with aging—and that loss makes it harder for men to maintain the same levels of lean muscle mass and strength as they age.
Boost Your Testosterone Naturally through Exercise & Nutrition
1. Do Your Leg Work.
Exercise can increase testosterone levels immediately, in the moments during and after completion of a workout. But not just any exercise will have this effect. Increased testosterone is associated with short, high intensity exercise (no more than 60 minutes)—not with long endurance work.
So, to increase your testosterone levels, you want to work the largest muscles in the body to the highest tolerable levels of intensity.
2. Work several and large muscle groups.
The body’s largest muscles are in the legs (quadriceps, hamstrings), butt (they don’t call it the gluteus maximus for nuthin’), and back (the complex of trapezius, latissimus dorsi, and rhomboids). Your best bet is to work as many of these muscles in a single exercise as possible.
3. Exercise to intensity.
Simply, complete fewer repetitions using heavier weight to achieve maximum fatigue (without injury!). One popular method is “super slow,” where you achieve muscle exhaustion by the sixth or eighth rep by counting to ten on the decline (eccentric movement) of a free weight exercise. Do this on a multiple muscle group exercise for maximum gain.
4. Use Interval Training in your cardio workout.
Short bursts of high-speed runs—two minutes at 8, 9, or 10 miles per hour on an incline, for example—tax the muscles to momentary exhaustion, thus increasing testosterone. For evidence, consider the physiques of marathon runners versus sprinters.
If you want to learn more about adding intensity to your workouts, just drop me an email here.