[This is a guest blog by one of our Athletic Interns, Jesse Wang, an Exercise Science student from the University of Oregon]
Testosterone is the principal male sex hormone that improves body composition, prevents osteoporosis, increases libido and is responsible for most male sexual characteristics. Testosterone improves body composition through increased protein synthesis and muscle mass as well as reduced body fat. There are ways to maximize the natural production of testosterone, which leads to improved health, aesthetics and athletic performances without facing the negative side effects of steroids.
Training full body movements with high intensity and volume affects the endocrine response of the body in a positive way. In the weight room, benefits are reaped from heavy Olympic weightlifting movements as well as deep squats multiple times a week. For this purpose, it is better to sprint instead of going on a steady state jog on the track. These complex and compound movements increase natural testosterone production by placing a large metabolic stress on your body.
Diet also plays a critical role in maximizing testosterone levels. It is essential to consume an optimal amount of saturated fat and zinc. Egg yolks and red meats contain saturated fat. Red meats are a good source of zinc. Vitamin D levels are correlated with testosterone levels. If Vitamin D levels are low, both Vitamin D3 supplements and exposure to the sun may be utilized to raise those levels.
Sleeping properly and avoiding alcohol will also improve testosterone levels. Improper sleep will increase cortisol levels and decrease testosterone levels. Alcohol reduces sleep quality by increasing non-REM sleep and by reducing REM sleep. Alcohol also inhibits the body’s ability to remove estrogen from the blood stream and decreases zinc levels.
Increased testosterone levels will lead to a healthier life in addition to improved athletic performances and aesthetic appearance. Training often with high intensity, eating properly, avoiding alcohol and sleeping properly will all help to naturally increase testosterone levels. It is important to try and adhere to these guidelines everyday for maximum benefits.