This is a chapter from my book How To Increase Testosterone Naturally: The How & Why Of Getting High Levels Of Testosterone Naturally. Enjoy.
Alright so I’ve written a lot about optimizing your hormones and raising your testosterone as high as it can be naturally. However there is a lot of information and it can be overwhelming at times. So what I’m going to do here is give you a cheat sheet meaning a simplified breakdown of all the actionable steps that you should be taking and in the correct order of importance. Optimizing testosterone just like getting in shape whether you’re trying to build big muscles, get rid of fat, or both can be very complicated when you’re thrown information (even if it’s great information) from every different direction. So it’s good to have something that focuses everything that we have learned and allows us to make the most out of it.
I also want to point out while some things are certainly more important than others, for example getting enough sleep is far more important than whether you take your ZMA or not, that everything still works together. Meaning that everything feeds into each other. Becoming healthier in one area is going to help you in others making for a positive loop, something I talk a lot about in The Primer and would recommend you check out to learn more. So for example eating healthier will give your body the energy that it needs to hit the gym harder which translates into better sleep and so on and so forth. Not to mention all of those things also contribute to hormonal health and testosterone optimization. Everything is connected, especially when it comes to your health. Alright now for the cheat sheet for increasing your testosterone.
Level 1 – Sleep
Without sleep you won’t be producing any testosterone. You could have a perfect diet, train like a beast, as well as be free of any environmental hormonal disruptors yet without sleep you’re not going to have high levels of testosterone, simple as that. Make sure that you’re getting around 8-9 hours if not more. If you must be in bed before ten to make sure that you have plenty of time to sleep. Many people see sleep as something that gets in the way of productivity and therefore do not place much importance on it, this is a mistake to put it lightly. Sleep is incredibly important of health at all levels, and your hormones and testosterone production is no exception. Don’t neglect this vital part of your life.
Do everything you can to maximize the quality of your sleep as well. If that means spending some extra money to get a nicer matress, placing fans strategically around your bed (a must for me), and getting black out shades then do so. There are plenty of things that you spend money and time optimizing that are not one one hundreth as important as the sleep that you get. Put priority on this and your body (and testosterone) will thank you. Experiment with different things to see how they effect your sleep, like with anything else take what works for you and discard what doesn’t. But regardless make sure to give sleep the importance that it deserves.
Level 2 – Nutrition
After sleep the next most important thing is nutrition. Without proper nutrition you’re not going to make testosterone in healthy amounts. Most people eat a crap diet, no surprise there but even many who are eating “healthy” without injecting testosterone can be killing their testosterone levels with their diet. Many common diets even ones that may be good for overall body composition are not great for hormones. Also as a side note getting below ten percent body fat also negatively effects testosterone. There is a marked difference between one whose hormones are optimized and one whose body is optimized to impress judges at a bodybuilding contest or photo shoot. Try to stick between 12-15% bodyfat otherwise your libido and testosterone production are going to take a dive.
Alright for hormonal optimization you want to make sure that you are getting as much food as you can from natural sources meaning that pretty much anything from a farmer’s market is going to be better for you than something from a big box store (or even a specialty “health” store). Avoiding pesticides and other crap is a must. It can be expensive but you’re better off eating less good food then you are eating more processed and modified foods. For a general recommendation about eating for hormonal optimization you want to eat lots of fats and avoid most carbs (other than vegetables). Think paleo or keto type diets. You don’t have to follow them exactly just trying to give you an overall general idea of the type of foods and diet structure you want. High fats, moderate protein, and for the most part low carbs (can raise carbs on training days if needed).
Level 3 – Training
For hormonal health pretty much any kind of resistance training is going to help improve it and increase testosterone levels. However not all methods are created equal. Also you want to make sure to avoid things like long distance running or triathalon type training which will crush testosterone levels. You want relatively short intense bursts of activity. You want your workouts to be under an hour and you want to go heavy, hit it hard, then get out. You want to focus on full body workouts and compound movements. You want to hit everything and hit it fast, so things like squats and deadlifts are going to do more then cable work or isolation work will ever do as far as hormonal health goes.
Here are some examples of good testosterone producing workouts. Something like Bill Starr’s 5×5 where you’re doing a heavy push, pull, and squat three times a week. I also like things like barbell complexes, sprints, and high rep squats as they all have a large hormonal impact on the body and follow the principles of working out for hormonal health (namely intense compound movements). Do what works for you if that’s full body workouts three times a week then do that. If that’s something different but uses those movements above and has high intensity then do that. Just make sure you’re not spending hours in the gym doing isolation exercises or jogging for hours. Put simply workout like a man.
Level 4 – Environment
The third level is taking care of your environment. This means avoiding as much chemicals and other hormone destroying things as you can. Some simple steps to do this are eating organic food (covered in the nutrition section), switching from plastic glasses and containers to glass, and staying away from as many man made chemicals as you can. This can also mean switching from main steam personal care products to ones that are more naturally produced and don’t contain the harmful testosterone sapping chemicals that main stream ones do. For example anything that contains parabens in it can hurt your testosterone levels and anything containing BPA can absolutely wreck your hormonal health and in particular your testosterone production.
The biggest source of BPA is plastic water bottles so make sure to get rid of those ASAP. You also want to make sure you’re using a water filter because tap water is filled with flouride which also lowers testosterone. In addition to all this you want to manage your stress as best as possible. Fortunately things like sleep, nutrition, and training will all help with this. But if you need to include meditation or listening to classical music at the end of the day to take off the edge then do that as well. Do what works for you to keep stress low. I try as hard as I can to make sure that my overall stress levels are kept low as possibly but that’s not always possible and I have found walks in nature does wonders for me. Do what works for you.
Level 5 – Supplementation
This is by far the least important part of the process. Don’t get me wrong supplementation certainly helps and can work wonders especially when you are deficient in certain vitamins and minerals (which the vast majority of men are). The two prime ones that help tremendously in testosterone production and most men are deficient in are zinc and vitamin D (which is actually a steroidal hormone). Magnesium also helps. This is why the only testosterone boosting supplements that I recommend are ZMA and vitamin D. Fish oil also can help through helping with isulin so I take that as well but that is for general health reasons and all the benefits that fish oil provides.
Regardless you should strive to get all the macro and micronutrients that you need from real food sources. But in reality that isn’t always possible so it’s good to have supplements to take up the slack. They aren’t going to completely turn your testosterone levels around but they certainly help and are worth the investment. Just understand what place in the hierarchy that they occupy. Don’t worry about what brand of ZMA you’re getting if you’re sleeping on a mattress that isn’t comfortable or you’re sweating when trying to fall asleep at night. Take care of the important things first and then take care of the least important things. Makes sense but few do it, those that do though are the ones that get the most from it. Again obvious but something to keep in mind.
Alright so I’ll give you a quick breakdown of what you need to do to optimize testosterone. This is made to be a quick reference list. Don’t skip everything read this list only and then complain if things don’t work. It’s important to know the why behind things so that you can adust them as needed and see if they apply to you. Blindly following a cookie cutter program of any sort will generally not get you the results that you want, always learn the why behind things. Now with that being said here are the actionable items that you can implement right away to get your testosterone levels optimized naturally.
Get 8-9 hours of sleep. Eat enough good fats, adequete protein, and in general keep your carbs low (get most if not all of your carbs from green vegetables). Traing like a man. Lift heavy shit for short periods of time, do sprints, squat, you get the general idea. Get rid of as many chemicals as you can. Drink from glass, don’t microwave food in plastic containers, avoid processed foods. Cut out as much stress as possible, do meditation or nature walks if you want. Take ZMA and vitamin D. There you have it do these things and you’ll be on your way to hormonal optimization, feeling great, and high levels of testosterone. Now get to it.
If you have any questions you would like to see answered in a future post send them to me at charlessledge001 (at) gmail (dot) com. If you found value in this post then I would encourage you to share this site with someone who may need it as well as check out my books here. I appreciate it. You can follow me on Twitter here.