The Current State of Man
Today, men are fatter, have less muscle, and have lower levels of testosterone than ever. In fact, testosterone levels in men have been dropping on average of 1% each year since the 1980s according to the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.
Being soft, fat, and having low energy is the new normal for men. But, you don’t have to follow suit! Rebel against the trend and take pride in not accepting the status quo. Optimize your health today. You’re probably ready to learn how to do this so let’s dive in!
Testosterone may be the most important hormone for men. It’s what is responsible for making men, men. During puberty it causes shoulders to widen, the voice to get deeper, and muscle gain. It affects confidence, libido, how attractive you are perceived by women, and your sperm count. It even affects how long you will live: Men with higher levels of testosterone have less heart disease and a longer lifespan on average as well.
As previously stated before, testosterone levels in men have been on the decline. Why is this? Well, not everyone exactly knows exactly, but there are a few theories that experts believe may be affecting men’s testosterone levels.
One of the main causes for the drop in testosterone rates could be the ubiquitous use of glyphosate on crops that we eat. Glyphosate is the main compound in products like Roundup and is used by farmers to kill weeds to increase crop yield. It may increase yield, but glyphosate has been shown to decrease testosterone at an alarming rate. One study conducted on mice showed that glyphosate resulted in a 35% reduction in testosterone.
Another factor that affects testosterone levels is the widespread use of plastics in our everyday life. Plastics contain chemicals like Bisphenol A (BPA) which are considered “xenoestrogens” or estrogen mimickers that disrupt the endocrine system. Butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) is another compound that serves as a preservative in whole grain baked goods. BHT is an endocrine disruptor and testosterone killer as well. Moreover, some speculate birth control pills releasing estrogen into our water supply has something to do with decreasing testosterone levels.
Inadequate amount of sleep crushes your testosterone levels as well. In a study that measured the level of testosterone compared between a control group that got 8 hours of sleep versus an experimental group that only got 5 hours of sleep it was discovered that the sleep deprived experimental group had a 15% reduction in testosterone levels for the rest of the day.
1. Lift heavy things– performing compound lifts that target large muscle groups will give you your best bang for your buck in terms of increasing testosterone levels. Additionally, performing exercises that are dynamic/explosive, i.e. require you to use high levels of power, like snatches or cleans are even better for increasing testosterone levels due to their ability to also tax the body metabolically. One study showed that explosively squatting increased testosterone levels compared to the control group.
2. Do interval training– When it comes to cardio exercises, stick to interval training rather than steady state cardio. In one study that compared steady state treadmill sessions vs. high intense sprinting with breaks on the treadmill, it showed that more free testosterone was produced by the sprinters rather than the steady state “treadmillers”. On the other hand, if you are doing an olympic lift, like squats, and are trying to hit a PR, then it is good to take 2-4 minute rest periods to allow the muscles to fully recover for your next set, so you can perform your best. Do sprints. One study demonstrated that doing sprints lasting only 6 seconds long was able to spike T levels and keep them high after the workout had concluded.
3. Get in vitamin D each day (preferably from the sun). Vitamin D may be the most vital supplement a man can take. Many biochemical reactions rely on having an adequate supply. When it comes to your testosterone it’s just as important. A year long study that measured men’s testosterone levels showed a significant increase in not just total testosterone, but also free testosterone compared to the placebo group.
4. Take zinc supplements. Supplementing with zinc in zinc deficient men has been shown to increase T levels. In one study (1)Ingesting a little less zinc than normal negatively affected serum testosterone concentrations and seminal volume. But then when they resumed zinc supplementation their T levels returned back to normal.
5. Supplement with Magnesium. Magnesium has been shown to increase testosterone in men who supplement with it by increasing testosterone’s bioavailability. In fact, one study demonstrated that magnesium binds to testosterone rather than testosterone binding to SHBG (steroid binding globulin). This then increases the levels of free testosterone. Another study showed that active individuals showed higher increases in free testosterone than sedentary individuals with sedentary individuals experiencing a 15% increase and athletes experiencing a 24% increase. (2)
6. Get more sleep. Getting good quality sleep solves many hormonal issues. This includes helping raise your testosterone levels. During your first REM cycle of sleep is when you produce the majority of your testosterone. Therefore, getting enough quality REM sleep can have a beneficial boost to testosterone levels. In a study that used older men as participants, it found that longer sleep correlated to higher levels of testosterone.
7. Cut out added sugars from your diet. Researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston discovered that eating 75 grams of sugar in one sitting can cause a drop in testosterone levels that lasts longer than 2 hours. High amounts of sugar is detrimental for your health in so many ways. You can add reduced testosterone levels to the long list of health detriments that sugar causes.
- C D Hunt, P E Johnson, J Herbel, L K Mullen, “Effects of dietary zinc depletion on seminal volume and zinc loss, serum testosterone concentrations, and sperm morphology in young men.” The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 56, Issue 1, July 1992, Pages 148–157.
- Cinar V, Polat Y, Baltaci AK, Mogulkoc R, “Effects of magnesium supplementation on testosterone levels of athletes and sedentary subjects at rest and after exhaustion,” Biol Trace Elem Res. 2011 Apr;140(1):18-23.