Testosterone - the elixir of masculinity (though it's also found in women but in traces) - is one of the essential hormones produced in the body and is the primary sexual hormone found in males. Apart from playing a huge role in male reproduction and sexuality, testosterone also regulates muscle mass, libido, bone density and the ability of the body to burn fat. It also restores a sense of overall well being!
But the sad part is that testosterone levels begin to dip as we age. But worry not, there are ways to ensure optimum levels in the body. Here are 10 remedies:
1. Say no to long workouts
For those who love spending long hours at the gym, ogling at women, taking long pauses between sets and being narcissistic in front of the mirror: "your testosterone levels take a dip". Ideally, the duration of your workout should be somewhere around 40-45 minutes. Shorter rest periods between two sets elicit higher hormonal responses. On the flip side, workouts that span hours show decrease testosterone levels.
2. Do a full-body workout
For the body to show high levels of testosterone, employ more high weight-low reps workouts. Full body exercises like bench press, Olympic lifts, squats and deadlifts should ideally form the major part of your workout time. Engage in 2-3 full body weight lifting workouts to get maximum benefits for your body. Ever heard of the "manmaker" exercise? Well, do it!
3. Ditch chronic cardio
Endurance activities for instance cycling and running seem to plummet testosterone levels to a new low! Researchers have even stated that if you’re trying to boost testosterone, avoid long jaunts on the treadmill. Instead, a triathlon would be a better bet if you wish to go through the endurance drill without compromising on the level of testosterone.
4. HIIT and shake shake the room
HIIT or High Intensity Interval Training definitely ups the ante when it comes to boosting T-levels. HIIT includes short yet gruelling bursts of exercises followed by a less-intense period of recovery. You can alternate between heavy lifting days and HIIT days for enhanced effect.
5. Stop "killing it" in the gym
The "training until exhaustion" mindset literally sabotages your testosterone levels. Yes, it is important to go big on exercise, but it is equally important to give enough rest to your body so that it can recuperate from the onslaught.
6. Don't cut back on cholesterol
Contrary to what 9/10 people in this world think, cholesterol is important. However, it is only the "good cholesterol" that the body needs. (Ha, I see you were almost ready to gorge on chole-bhature). Testosterone is derived from cholesterol, so if you're shunning cholesterol in the hope that you'd quickly shed weight, bear in mind that you'd also lose out on testosterone and fatigue quickly. Foods like eggs and red meat should be included in your diet in order to maintain healthy levels of testosterone.
7. Fat is integral to cholesterol
Gone are the days when fat used to be considered as a "physique killer". Dietary fat is one of the most critical determinants of cholesterol levels in a human body. But when it comes to dietary fat, the "type" of fat you consume, matters (no potato chips doesn't count!). A study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology linked higher testosterone levels with higher amounts of saturated and monounsaturated fats.
Monounsaturated fats: almonds, peanut butter, olive oil, avocados etc.
Saturated fats: coconut oil, red meat, dark chocolate, cheese, egg yolks.
8. Get some sleep
A big "fuck you" to those who say "sleeping is for the weak". A lack of quality sleep drastically diminished the amount of testosterone produced by the body. Researchers at the University of Chicago recorded the sleep patterns of health men and found that testosterone levels in the participants increased the longer they slept. 7-9 hours of sleep a night is mandatory to optimize testosterone levels.
Caffeine in moderation is shown to increase testosterone levels. The keyword being "moderation". Avoid coffee during late hours of the day as it would meddle with your sleep that would impede testosterone production in your body (refer to the point above).
10. Pack a few essential nutrients
Go in for Omega-3 Fish Oil, Zinc and Vitamin D supplements if your diet lacks in any one of them. That would regulate requisite testosterone levels in the body.