1. Shred excess weight
Being overweight has negative consequences on your body’s ability to sustain high testosterone levels.
When you have an excess of fat, these fat cells have a particular enzyme called aromatase which turns your testosterone molecules into estrogen. This increases the secretion of estrogen, inflammation and can result in becoming less sensitive to insulin.
Getting and staying in a healthy weight bracket is arguably one of the most essential factors for not only maintaining good general health but, particularly for naturally optimizing your testosterone levels.
2. Strength train
Strength training has been proven to boost your testosterone production more so than other forms of training (1). It has countless benefits for overall health, as we know, and it is one of the best ways to increase your testosterone levels naturally.
When you perform exercise under load, your muscles’ exertion to move that load allows for the release of anabolic hormones into your bloodstream, including testosterone. In turn, you begin the process of muscle building, slowly improving your body composition by dropping fat and increasing muscle mass.
Bottom line, lift heavy and lift often.
3. Supplement with ashwagandha
Ashwagandha is an ancient Indian herb classified as an adaptogen, which helps you manage stress. It lowers blood sugar, cortisol levels, anxiety, depression and can positively impact brain function and immunity. Ashwagandha has also been linked to having higher testosterone levels (2).
In one study, participants taking 5g per day for three months experienced a 10-22% increase in testosterone levels (3).
4. Eat a balanced diet
Although processed foods are typically much easier and cheaper to eat, they are also full of fillers and chemicals that lower your natural testosterone.
Eating a healthy diet filled with lean meats, greens, fruits, healthy fats, and complex carbs will aid your body in healthy T production. When you don’t have a balanced diet, you’re not providing your body with enough nutrients and resources to maintain and build your health.
The critical factor, however, is the balance. It’s crucial to make sure you’re eating enough of each macronutrient and micronutrient. Remember, never follow someone else’s diet plan because it was made for their body. Every person has different dietary requirements and should create a diet that reflects those needs.
5. Work on compound movements
Compound movements such as squats and deadlifts should make up the majority of your lifting protocol. These compound movements work the largest muscles and require the most energy output, which increases your testosterone levels more than other simple exercises.
For example, if you look at a deadlift, this is a huge posterior chain exercise. Not only does it use the hamstrings and glutes, which are some of the biggest muscles in the body, but it will also activate your back, core, and other smaller muscle groups to execute the movement.
You are getting much more bang for your buck performing the compound movements, and you’ll get rewarded with a more significant amount of testosterone being released.
Sprinting works with the largest muscles in your body (legs and glutes) and is a great explosive exercise to increase speed and lose weight. It improves conditioning, relative body strength and makes you overall more athletic.
Due to its aggressive and explosive nature, this exercise causes increases in testosterone production.
It’s a great way to stay cardiovascularly fit, and burn more calories in a shorter amount of time if you are someone who doesn’t like performing cardio.
7. Eat enough
When looking to lose weight, the most important factor is to be in a caloric deficit; calories in, calories out. However, you should be aware of how low you go. Long term calorie restrictions are connected to lower testosterone levels (4)
Your body has a priority list of functions it needs to run. Reproductive health is important but not as important as keeping your brain sharp and your heart pumping. When you aren’t eating enough calories, your body will slow or shut down its reproductive health to allocate the low amount of energy to more essential functions.
8. Keep cortisol low
Cortisol is the infamous stress hormone. If too much of it exists in your system, this can lead to lower testosterone levels (5). An increase in cortisol levels can cause you to gain weight and increase fat around vital organs.
Lowering your cortisol levels can make you feel more relaxed and, in turn, improve your anabolic hormone production.
The best ways to manage cortisol are to exercise regularly, eat a balanced diet and reduce repetitive stress. Sleep plays a vital role in stress management, and meditation can be a beneficial tool for lowering cortisol levels.
9. Try supplementing with magnesium
Magnesium has many benefits, including nerve functioning, regulating blood pressure, supporting your immune system, and is a common deficient found in most men. In addition to all those benefits, it also plays an important role in testosterone production.
Increased levels of magnesium in the body have been shown to increase your production of testosterone. Like most things, you can supplement magnesium; however, the best way to get it is through a balanced diet.
Some foods with the highest natural magnesium are dark chocolate, bananas, avocados, and nuts.
10. Add in some zinc
Zinc is another micronutrient that has been shown to improve libido and boost testosterone. It also plays a crucial role in your immunity and metabolism.
Research has shown that people who supplement with just 30 milligrams of zinc per day have an increased level of free testosterone in their bodies. Supplementation works and is an easy option, but you can also find high zinc levels in foods like oysters, red meat, and legumes.
11. Supplement with vitamin D
Among other things, vitamin D is essential for the proper absorption of calcium and plays a significant role in strengthening your immune system.
Despite its integral support to our bodies, most of us are either deficient or suboptimal on our vitamin D stores.
Research suggests that vitamin D is a natural testosterone booster and plays a crucial role in the quality of your sperm (6). A one-year study showed that the participants who supplemented 3,000 IUs per day had a 25% increase in testosterone levels (7)
12. Cut down on drinking
It is well known that drinking too much can cause fairly significant consequences, but many people may not be aware of its effect on your natural testosterone production.
Alcohol causes damage to the endocrine system, which affects the testes’ ability to produce testosterone. Some research has shown that alcohol decreases plasma testosterone levels and is costly to male reproductive wellness (8,9).
Beer, in particular, is more harmful than hard alcohol due to the phytoestrogens it contains. Not only are your testosterone levels decreased from drinking, but now your estrogen levels are increasing due to the beer.
13. Retain your semen
Ancient Chinese medicine has proven time and time again that it works in many different areas of health. Semen retention is no exception and is an ancient Tao sexual practice that requires you to abstain from ejaculation.
One Chinese study showed that the men who did not ejaculate for seven days found a 45% increase in their natural testosterone levels (10). Frequent masturbation lowers your testosterone by reducing your androgen receptors in the brain (11).
14. Work to be successful
Success breeds confidence, and confidence breeds testosterone. Sometimes it doesn’t need to be complicated. When you feel successful and confident, your body responds by releasing more testosterone into your system. More successful people tend to have higher testosterone, so we can safely say they are positively correlated.
However, the mind is also a very powerful tool to use. Regardless of how successful or not you are, just believing you are successful can elicit the same physiological response (12).
15. Avoid long bouts of cardio
Endurance training is essential for healthy cardiovascular health; however, too much of anything can have negative effects. In particular, long bouts of endurance training can have a negative impact on your T levels if done in excess.
One study concluded that males who were doing endurance training had decreased levels of serum testosterone (13).
Moderate intensity endurance training can lead to increases in testosterone (14). Take out or significantly reduce the long-distance exercise and instead try getting your cardio from HIIT training.
16. Practice mindfulness
Mindfulness can sound a little alternative; however, the mind is a powerful tool for mental and physical change. Just like writing down goals gets you to be more present, practicing mindfulness can have the same effect.
Visualizing success and confidence in all shapes and forms can help your body respond. We’ve touched on how becoming successful can have a positive impact on your confidence and, in turn, your testosterone production. Being present with that thought, visualizing it, and making it true for your mind can also be beneficial. It’s an easy and free alternative you can try, and over time, it could have positive effects on your health and T levels.
17. Eat healthy fats
Having too much body fat isn’t good for natural T production; however, consuming a sufficient amount of healthy fats has been linked to a boost in testosterone levels in the body. Healthy fats are also beneficial to heart health and contribute to a lower risk of heart disease and bad cholesterol.
Monounsaturated and saturated are the key components to high testosterone levels (15, 16). Making sure that 20-30% of your daily caloric intake is coming from healthy fats and you’re consuming both monounsaturated and saturated fats ensures optimal results.
Some good sources of healthy fats come from coconut oil, olive oil, dairy, and grass-fed beef.
18. Have more spicy foods
There are many benefits to eating spicy foods, and increased testosterone is one of them. Research has shown that men who like spicy foods have been proven to have higher T levels (17).
Spice, like capsaicin, can also help you feel full faster and aid in weight loss, positively impacting testosterone production.
19. Consume foods high in HDL cholesterol
Cholesterol is a foundational building block of many hormones, including our topic of discussion, testosterone. Consuming too much cholesterol can be bad for your heart health and can lead to blockages; however, eating too little can have a negative effect on testosterone levels.
Of course, cholesterol comes in different forms, which is why you want to make sure you are consuming foods containing high HDL cholesterol like eggs and steer away from LDL, which is bad cholesterol.
20. Get proper sleep
Getting enough sleep is vital for having energy, mental clarity and allowing your body the chance to recover and renew itself. Several studies have shown that not getting enough sleep leads to lower levels of T. The majority of daily testosterone release in men occurs during sleep (18).
One study, in particular, showed that a male who slept 4 hours had T levels of almost half that of a male who slept 8 hours (19).
Not only will you have more energy when you sleep for 6-8 hours per day, but men will also see increases in their natural testosterone production, a win-win.
21. Have more sex
There are tons of resources, books, and podcasts telling you how to get laid and be better in bed. Men who have sex are typically more confident, healthier, happier and all of these are great for increased levels of T.
According to one study involving men in the club, the men who only watched and masturbated had an 11% increase in their testosterone levels compared to the men who had sex, who showed a 72% increase (20).
Another study also showed that older men who were having more sex had increase and better levels of testosterone compared to other men their age (21).
More sex means more testosterone, which means feeling better all around.
22. Reduce sugar intake
Sugar has a pretty significant and immediate effect on your testosterone levels. Due to the rapid release of insulin, your body responds by dropping your T. The Clinical Endocrinology Journal published a study in 2013 that showed the ingestion of sugar could cause a male’s serum T level to drop up to 25% (22)!
A diet high in sugar can also reduce your body’s ability to produce Growth Hormone (GH). This hormone is responsible for your body’s growth, increases your muscle mass, and decreases body fat, amongst other things.
Aim to avoid high sugar foods and artificial sweeteners to keep your T levels high, keep your physique looking sharp, and your body strong.
23. Don’t miss out on clean carbs
Carbohydrates are a necessary macronutrient required for a balanced diet and to fuel your activity. They are also required for healthy testosterone production, and going low carb typically results in a decline of your T levels.
It’s important to fuel your body with clean carbs, which will help in long-term energy, and to match your carb intake with your activity level. Clean carbs mean complex carbs and little to no sugar carbs.
Beans, whole grains, potatoes, and vegetables are excellent sources of complex carbs that will leave you feeling full longer and provide you with that increase in your testosterone.
24. Eat enough protein
Contrary to popular belief, the more protein you eat doesn’t mean the more muscle you have or can build. Although protein is imperative for boosting testosterone levels, overeating can have a negative effect. This is not to say that you should drastically lower your protein, however, the excess is not doing anything for you.
Research has shown that to build lean muscle, you only need around 0.82 grams per pound of body weight (23). If you go above this ratio, you risk not having a balance with your carb and fat intake, which are just as necessary as protein for boosting T levels and general health.
25. Consume bone broth
Collagen is a type of protein in the body’s structures like bones, tendons, ligaments, and other connective tissue. It is crucial for maintaining youthful-looking skin, hair, and nails and improving your ability to recover post-workout.
Bone broth provides your body with important vitamins and minerals and contains saturated fat from the bone marrow. This gives a fantastic foundation to support the healthy production of hormones, including testosterone.
You can purchase ready-made bone broth from many companies, but it is also very inexpensive to make your own at home. If you decide to make it at home, you can try lots of different recipes and mixtures of ingredients to make the perfect batch for you.
26. Take a probiotic
Our gut, which has been given the name of “the second brain,” is such a critical part of maintaining good health. Due to its immense role in overall wellbeing, emotional and physical health, we have to take care of it.
The digestive system plays a crucial role in eliminating toxins and xenoestrogens from the body along with digestion. If your gut is not healthy, your body can reabsorb some of these toxins.
Eating foods like yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi, and pickles all have natural fermentation and probiotic benefits as well. Supporting your gut will allow for better mood regulation, elimination of toxic waste, and better general health, which are all important to boost testosterone in the body.
27. Supplement with fish oil
Fish oil is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids. This supplement has positive effects on mood and cognition but also was found to be associated with better testicular function (24).
The study done with 1600 Danish men found that the men who were supplementing with fish oils were associated with better testicular function. The research showed that those who reported taking the supplement have larger testes, higher semen volume, and higher total sperm count.
28. Avoid manufactured fats
Vegetable oil, canola oil, sunflower oil, and soybean oil all have a couple of things in common. One, they are fake fats, manufactured to be very cheap alternatives to things like olive oil and coconut oil. Two, they all have a negative impact on your testosterone levels.
They also contribute to gut inflammation, inflamed arteries, could contribute to heart disease, and are connected to Alzheimer’s. All around, just not something you want to be consuming. Eliminate them from your diet and be conscious of hidden sources in restaurants (especially fast food), pre-made goodies, and prepared foods.
29. Eliminate soy from your diet
Some research does suggest that soy, in moderate amounts, can be alright. However, a large part indicates that soy is a powerful phytoestrogen and can actually work to lower your testosterone.
Soy is also in a ton of processed foods in the form of soy and soybean oil, which are both just not good for you, plain and simple. They can cause cognitive, digestive, cardiovascular, and hormonal issues.
There are so many other foods and soy alternatives that are much healthier and more natural. There truly isn’t a reason to have this particular food in your life.
30. Supplement with B12
B vitamins contribute to energy, concentration, mood, and strength. Vitamin B12, in particular, has an important role in keeping your body’s nerve cells healthy and happy, making DNA and having even energy.
If you find you are low energy, you may want to consider looking into where your B vitamins are at via a blood test. B12 has also been shown to reduce cortisol levels, so lower cortisol means better testosterone production (25).
31. Decrease caffeine and stimulants
Coffee, in moderate dosages, can actually increase your testosterone when paired with resistance training (26).
Too much caffeine can cause your body to be stressed out, in turn causing side effects like anxiety, increased cortisol, and decreases your body’s ability to support your testosterone.
Caffeine itself has a half-life of around 5 hours. This means, after five hours, your body has metabolized half the amount of caffeine you ingested. Stick with approximately 400mg of caffeine and watch out for hidden sources like tea, chocolate, and some pop.
32. Use Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting (IF) is an effective and trendy diet that helps people control their caloric intake and lose weight. Because there are fewer hours in the day to eat on this diet, you are restricting the amount of food you are able to consume during that time.
There are many benefits to intermittent fasting, including increased human growth hormone (HGH) and testosterone levels (27). Fasting can help you lose weight and body fat which can help with your testosterone levels even further. It can help with dietary behaviors and provide more structure to your eating habits if you are someone who struggles with not having a specific eating regime.
Always be sure to do a ton of research and even speak with a nutritionist or your doctor to be sure this can work for you. No two people’s bodies react the same to a specific stimulus, and intermittent fasting is no different.
33. Don’t smoke
Smoking is probably one of the worst things that you can consciously do for your health. It ruins your lungs, cardiovascular health, increases your risk for cancer, makes your skin dull, bad breath, horrible teeth, and that’s just scratching the surface.
Despite all these terrible side effects, we always have to look at both sides, and there is some research to suggest that it can be beneficial for increasing testosterone production (28).
Apparently, men that smoke have slightly increased levels of testosterone compared to men that don’t. However, smoking does have a negative effect on erectile health. It can damage your blood vessels and blood flow, impeding nitric oxide production, which is crucial for blood flow for a healthy erection.
The cons of smoking definitely outweigh the pros in this situation.
34. Work on your posture
How you stand and carry yourself are two huge factors that impact not only your mentality towards yourself but how people perceive and treat you. The way you chose to stand has an impact on how you move, how you breathe, and your confidence.
Research shows that practicing good posture can increase your testosterone (29). Posing in a power position (think Superman, hands on the hips, chest proud) for just two minutes can lead to a 25% decrease in cortisol and a 20% increase in your salivary testosterone.
You can improve your posture through resistance training, specifically training your posterior chain muscles and core. Resistance training itself has positive impacts on your testosterone levels, so you’re getting a two-for-one deal.
35. Perform High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
HIIT training uses many muscle groups together to have a high-intensity full-body workout. The anabolic response in your body is much greater when multiple muscle groups work together.
In 2012 a study showed that HIIT training creates more free testosterone than steady-state cardio (30). In a different study done in 2017, researchers looked at the effects high-intensity interval training had on male athletes (31). It proved that they showed an increase in free testosterone and muscle power.
HIIT cardio is a great addition as it is time-efficient, works on your cardiovascular fitness, increases circulation, and can help you shred fat. In conjunction with the results from research, all of these factors prove that HIIT cardio should definitely be a part of your fitness regimen.
36. Look out for environmental xenoestrogens
Environmental xenoestrogens mimic estrogens and are often referred to as endocrine disruptors. They have specific estrogen-like effects on the body, which can dramatically increase the toxic burden and can cause a testosterone-estrogen imbalance in your body.
Pesticides, herbicides, plastics, detergents, fabric softeners, cleaning supplies, and triclosan (found in many hand sanitizing products) are all considered some form of xenoestrogen. The more of the products you use daily, the more toxicity you are introducing into your body.
Making some small lifestyle changes can drastically improve your overall health and start bringing your body back to normal levels of estrogen. Choosing chemical-free cleaning products and laundry detergents, drastically decreasing the amount of plastic you are using, really clean your produce well before eating, and using triclosan-free hand sanitizer.
37. Try red light therapy
Humans and plants, although they are entirely different, share a similarity in that both our biology is affected by light. Plants use photosynthesis to generate light and can stimulate biological processes, including increased cellular energy.
Red light (630nm and 660nm) and near-infrared (810,830 and 850nm) fall within the therapeutic window of light. Compared to infrared, red light is gentle, safe, natural, and poses no risk of harming the sperm.
Red and near-infrared wavelengths have been shown to stimulate the production of energy in the Leydig cells, responsible for testosterone production in the testicles (32). When energy is being created and used more efficiently throughout the body, it will enable various body systems to function more efficiently, including the endocrine system responsible for hormone production.
38. Keep caffeine consumption in the first half of the day
It’s best to consume caffeine in the first half of the day. Give your body the chance to burn the caffeine off and allow your natural cortisol to lower as the day progresses. You’ll get the energy boost you require in the morning without ruining your sleep cycle in the evening.
If you’re pounding back two coffees between 4-6 pm to get through the end of the workday, or you’re consistently drinking caffeine throughout the day, it will probably be pretty difficult for you to get a good night’s rest. Not getting sufficient sleep can decrease your ability to keep, let alone boost, your T levels.
39. Don’t go overboard with protein consumption
All studies prove the importance of having balance. It is imperative to consume adequate amounts of protein to support lean muscle mass growth and have a balanced macronutrient profile. However, overeating can cause unwanted side effects and doesn’t give you the muscle mass boost you may have been hoping to see.
One study has shown that men who ate a high protein diet for ten days had a decrease of 36% in their free testosterone compared to the male subjects who were eating average amounts of protein (33).
40. Look out for pseudo health products
They are everywhere claiming that they are full of health and wellness, but in reality, if you look a little closer, many are full of sugars, chemicals, or simply bad ingredients.
Make sure you do some research on the products you’re thinking about buying before you pump your body with sugar and a whole bunch of other unwanted chemicals.
41. Get outside
The sun provides a significant vitamin D source, so getting midday sunshine every day for 20-30 minutes is an excellent addition to supplementation. You can add in a nice walk outdoors so now you are getting movement as well as sun exposure.
Being in nature is also great for boosting your mood and clearing your head. Getting natural vitamin D and decreasing stress will do wonders to keep those T levels high.
42. Stick with low reps for strength
When you lift, being conscious of the different stimuli your body receives through how much work you’re doing is important. To promote muscle growth and stimulate hormone production, stick with lower reps.
For the best results, stick with three sets of 4-8 reps performing big, heavy compound movements. This allows for the most optimal levels of testosterone to be released.
43. Try a testosterone booster
Due to the rising number of men with low T levels, the market for natural testosterone boosters has blown up. As great as it is that there are so many different options to chose from, this also comes with the downside of a lot of less than optimal choices.
Doing research will save you a lot of money but also give you peace of mind that the product you are consuming is good for you. These supplements work to use natural ingredients to help your body produce more testosterone. Avoid things like fillers, harmful chemicals, or synthetic additives.
44. Pick up a sport
Testosterone and athletic performance go hand in hand. The athletes who have higher levels of testosterone seem to be more successful at their sport. The competitive nature of sports also seems to have a testosterone-boosting effect (34).
Some sports have some kind of aggression to them like football or basketball. Using your strength, and competitive nature, to dominate the other team taps into your testosterone even further. Another bonus is it’s a great way to get in some exercise while still having a great time.
45. When possible, stay away from prescription meds
A select number of prescription medications, especially the ones containing SSRIs (Seratonin reuptake inhibitors), have a negative impact on your natural testosterone levels.
The first sign of anything wrong and many of us run to get prescribed some kind of medication. Not only is this bad for your gut health but it also doesn’t allow your body to learn how to fight off infection. Living a healthy and active lifestyle can take care of a lot of issues that may come up. It will also allow your body to be in prime condition if you do get sick that it will be able to readily fight it off with no assistance.
If you have been instructed by your doctor to take prescribed medication, please don’t stop taking it. Rather, stay away from getting prescription medication unnecessarily.
46. Incorporate nuts and beans into your diet
Nuts and beans are full of healthy fats and carbs however they also rich in D-aspartic acid, zinc, and iron. According to research, D-aspartic acid has been shown to play a role in the regulation of the release and creation of testosterone (35).
They are a great meat alternative and provide you with a host of health benefits with the bonus of also improving testosterone. You can add them to your snacks throughout the day or try out a number of delicious bean recipes.
47. Have some tuna
Tuna is full of vitamin D and has been linked to living a longer life with higher testosterone. It’s full of protein and is low calorie making it an amazing addition to your diet.
One serving of tuna takes care of your vitamin D intake for the day, and it doesn’t matter if it’s canned or fresh. If you are not a tuna fan, try other fish like salmon or even sardines which are both high in vitamin D.
Keep your intake to 2-3 servings per week in order to keep your mercury intake low. It’s a good tool to have under your belt to add in some variety to your weekly diet.
48. Keep stress levels low
Stress is the biggest factor for the body to release the hormone cortisol which amongst other things, is terrible for testosterone production. One study done in 2016 found that students who were stressed had increased salivary anxiety and cortisol while salivary testosterone was found to be decreased (36).
It can be difficult to get control of stress because more often than not it turns into a vicious cycle. Exercise, sleep, meditation, and eating healthy are all ways to control the stress your body is feeling.
Incorporating healthy habits daily will provide you with the best opportunity to keep those levels low and therefore steer clear of the negative testosterone stealing side effects.