At present, our testosterone levels are under siege. Various factors appear to be pulling our T levels into the gutter — from sedentary jobs to poor diets and lifestyle choices to more ominous influences like environmental toxins. One particularly disturbing study, published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism in 2007, indicated that men’s testosterone levels plummeted 17 percent from 1987 to 2004 — and that’s controlling for health and life- style factors, such as obesity and diabetes, that are known to affect T levels.
The study found not only that individual men were losing testosterone as they aged (which is fairly normal), but that same-age men from later eras had substantially lower T than their predecessors: a man who turned 65 in 2002, for example, had much lower T than a man who turned 65 in 1987.
At the same time, males in the United States are experiencing an increased incidence of birth defects in the penis and testicles, a higher rate of testicular cancer, and a general decline in reproductive health.
Why are these things happening? The 2007 study suggests that although poor health in general is associated with a drop in testosterone, this generational decline cannot be fully explained by obesity, depression, or diabetes. Other studies — including one compelling study of 325 over-forty men by Dr. David Handelsman of the University of Sydney — have concluded that “age alone does not make you testosterone deficient.”
I’ve actually increased my testosterone naturally 36% over the last five years. Use these tips to get the boost you need in later life:
Get regular sleep
Your body produces most of your testosterone (T) and Human Growth Hormone (HGH) when you’re asleep. Burning the candle at both ends leads to adrenal fatigue and reduced testosterone levels. I aim for 7 hours a night which is the optimal sleep period for someone my age.
The leaner you are, the more T you produce. That “beer belly” is nothing more than a fast track to low T and a host of other health problems. Keeping the weight off gets harder as you age. Here’s how I do it:
Skip the long cardio:
Long, slow cardio is time-consuming and sucks away your testosterone and HGH. Instead, I focus on a mix of strength, mobility, and short, high-intensity training, which I call “P.R.I.M.E Training” (Peak Repetition Intervals at Maximum Effort). P.R.I.M.E Training involves an all-out effort doing rowing, burpees, or similar exercises over 20-30 seconds followed by 1-2 minutes rest between sets. This type of training promotes lean muscle, helps drop fat, boosts and maintains high energy levels, and kicks up T and HGH levels.
Lift hard and heavy:
As you get older, your muscle mass starts to decline. So I include lifting heavy weights and working large muscle groups in my training program. Studies show that increasing the weight load on the big muscle groups (hips and quads) boosts short-term testosterone production.
There’s a reason why our testicles (the main producers of T) hang outside our body — they love the cold! Cold showers, cryotherapy, or ice baths after exercise are a great way to reduce inflammation and can also help in boosting your testosterone, HGH, and fertility. Try to also sleep in a room that’s between 60 and 67 degrees, which has been shown to enhance sleep quality.
Eat more fats
Fats have had a bad rap over the years, but eating the right fats (e.g., omega-3 fatty acids, monounsaturated, polyunsaturated) is critical for us guys as we reach our later years. The fats in avocados, nuts, coconut oil, and other healthy fats have been shown to increase testosterone levels, help with Alzheimer’s, reduce inflammation and risk of heart disease, and promote weight loss. So make fats your friend. But don’t overdose, as those calories can add up.
I do intermittent fasting (IF) every Tuesday. IF has been shown to decrease inflammation, and boost testosterone. There’s no real magic to my IF – I just don’t eat for a day, usually from 6pm to the following 6pm.
Cut back on the alcohol
Alcohol increases the metabolism and elimination of testosterone from your bloodstream and also reduces the rate that your body produces testosterone. Cutting back on drinking helps increase your testosterone level and also helps you sleep better at night — which allows your body to naturally replenish your T levels. Alcohol also affects your liver, which is the main organ responsible for regulating the availability of free testosterone in our bodies.
Supplements to boost testosterone levels
I take a bunch of supplements daily. The full list of what I take is here. The main supplements I take for testosterone are EveryDay Male® as well as about 5000 IU’s of extra vitamin D which you can read more about here.
Read more tips for staying strong and healthy in my book, Your New Prime – 30 Days to Better Sex, Eternal Strength, and a Kick-Ass Life After 40.