by Tony Gjokaj April 26, 2021 6 min read

According to Urology Times, testosterone levels have been showing a steady decrease among young US men. When we hear declining testosterone levels, we usually think this comes with age.

But recent studies have shown this issue is not just a matter of aging, but also is a pressing matter of behavioral, health, and lifestyle deficiencies. For example, some of the decline of testosterone is connected to obesity and depression.

Based on personal experience and evidence, these are correlated with one another.

Luckily, this means that we can improve our testosterone by introducing better habits into our lifestyle.

So in this post, we will discuss 8 very practical ways to improve testosterone.

Let's dive in!

Ways to Improve Testosterone

I. Sleep Better.

One of the most common problems in young men is sleep deprivation. While this leads to increased levels of stress, distress, and other behavioral challenges... this can also lead to drops in testosterone overtime.

Working at my previous job, sleeping around 4-5 hours per day was the average amount of sleep I would get. This lead to elevated levels of stress, made me eat more, made me not recover properly with exercise, and other issues.

The simple solution: you need to sleep more.

Here are some of the common issues as to why we sleep less:

  • Lack of exercise. Exercise builds sleep pressure (biological response that makes us want to go to sleep), reduces anxiety, and more.
  • Lack of proper nutrition. Proper nutrition can aid with sleep quality. For example, being deficient in magnesium can be detrimental for sleep quality.
  • Using our phones before bed. This is the most time-consuming thing we can do at times. While it's nice to sit down and enjoy some memes, sometimes we can spend hours scrolling. Put your phone on the other side of the room or outside the room. Get your sleep.
  • Lack of sleep schedule. When it comes to sleep, having a very consistent sleep schedule is of utmost importance. If you don't sleep consistently at the same time, create a sleep routine that primes yourself for sleep. This can include planning out tomorrow, journaling, reading, and other unwinding exercises.

For more on sleep, you can read our essential sleep guide here.

II. Engage In Physical Exercise

Engaging in frequent physical activity is one of the best ways to improve testosterone production. According to one study, overweight and obese men reported dramatic increases to their testosterone by just following a 12-week aerobic exercise program.

So get your workouts in.

To add to that, here are some of the best ways to improve testosterone through exercise:

  • Primarily start by introducing exercise in your lifestyle. Start with 15-30 minutes of frequent exercise. Just a small difference like this can make a big impact on testosterone levels.
  • Introduce resistance training to your regiment. Whether it is strength training or training for muscle growth, resistance training can aid in testosterone production dramatically.
  • Train compound exercises. Doing compound movements like the squat, bench, power clean, and deadlift can improve testosterone production.

If you need a jump-start on an exercise program, give this one a shot.

III. Eat More Whole Foods

From the previously-mentioned 12-week aerobic exercise study, you will notice that they included a proper diet into the regiment to improve their testosterone.

Many of the blog posts you will see on the internet will tell you that specific foods will lower or raise testosterone levels. Ultimately, you should be most concerned about eating large amounts of processed foods over everything. As most processed foods are calorie-dense and lack proper nutrients, these will negatively impact your goals if you consume them in large amounts.

What we recommend is following these few tips:

  • Eat more whole foods. Eat a diverse palate of fruits, vegetables, proteins, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates.
  • Remove or limit junk food from your home or workspace. Our environments can influence our decisions. Eliminate or limit junk food from the workspace. Replace them with more nutrient-dense snacks.
  • Think 90/10. Don't eliminate junk food. Limit them. 90% nutrient-dense food consumption. Leave 10% for junk food consumption. We all go out from time to time to have dessert, alcohol, and more. It's ok to enjoy in moderation.

IV. Prioritize Healthy Fats

Dietary Fats play a huge role in our bodies because they're needed for various processes, like hormone production. Prioritizing a proper and healthy fat intake can optimize your testosterone levels.

In fact, one study compared testosterone production in individuals with high and low-fat diets. The study found that the people who consumed ~41% of total calories in fats had 13% more testosterone than the individuals who ate 18% of total calories in fats.

Now what about the types of fats? You might hear a lot of things about how bad saturated fats are, but saturated fats are actually ok in moderation. In fact, they can be very beneficial when combined with other healthier fat options. One study showed that consuming saturated fats and monounsaturated fats can lead to increased levels of testosterone production.

You can get this through consumption of fish, red meat, nuts, and fish oils.

The one group of fats you SHOULD avoid is trans-fats. According to one study, high intakes of trans-fats have been linked to lowered testosterone production in animals. Trans-fats typically come from processed foods, so limit your intake of  processed foods. If you have to, look at the nutrition facts to make sure you aren't consuming trans-fats.

For more on Dietary Fats, you can read our guide here.

V. Optimize Your Protein Intake

Most people fall on the spectrum of either too much protein, or not enough.

We can simplify this step as such: you don't need to go absolutely HARD on the protein intake. You just need to consume a good amount of protein. Most can simply consume 0.8-1g of protein per pound of bodyweight and have an adequate amount. 

This recommendation allows us to focus more on adding healthier fats, complex carbs, and fruits & vegetables to our diets as well.

If you don't track macros, the average person can get enough protein by estimating 1-2 palm servings of protein per meal (~4-6 meals). This typically equates to consuming 4-8 oz of protein per meal. 

VI. Focus On Complex Carbohydrates

When it comes to sugar consumption, you can find hundreds of blog posts on the dangers of consuming sugar for testosterone production. Too much sugar can be detrimental for you, however moderation is important.

You should never completely eliminate sugar. You should LIMIT large and SPECIFIC amounts of sugar consumption.

For example, fruits should not be avoided because they aid to help provide you proper nutrients and fiber. In addition, simple sugars like fruits can be beneficial if consumed pre and post-workout to aid in recovery. Essentially, they help improve performance and energy in these moments because of rapid digestion.

Better nutrients leads to better performance in exercise, which leads to more optimal testosterone production.

What we recommend is that you prioritize complex carbohydrates (rice, potatoes, etc) in most of your meals. Add fruit servings to your pre and post-workout meals.

For more on carbohydrates, you can read our guide to carbs here.

VII. Limit Alcohol Intake

According to one study, large amounts of alcohol consumption leads to decreases in testosterone for men.

If you can't completely eliminate the alcohol intake, you should simply reduce alcohol consumption. This can easily be done by reducing beer consumption. Focus on hard liquor, as it is easier to get a buzz from.

VIII. Compete.

Men are extremely competitive. It's in our nature.

According to Sciencedirect, there are studies that show there is an association with competitiveness and testosterone production.

So compete.

You should strive to compete in competitions or against other people. Training with a training partner will also incite this competition between the two of you. Just make sure you don't load up the bar with something you've never handled before!

Improving Your Testosterone

To simplify all of the steps, here are the things you should consider:

  • Sleep more.
  • Exercise often.
  • Eat whole foods.
  • Stress less.

Each of those four points are synergistically correlated with one another. When you exercise more, you tend to eat better. When you exercise and eat better, you end up stressing less. When you exercise, eat good, and stress less, you end up sleeping better.

Take care of these four steps and you should be able to improve not just your testosterone production, but your lifestyle as well.

Any questions, comments, or insights on fitness? Direct message us on Instagram, or email me at tony@reforgedperformance.com.

Until next time, Reforged Legion!

Tony Gjokaj
Tony Gjokaj

Tony is the Owner of Reforged Performance Nutrition. He is a PN1 Certified Nutrition Coach and has been in the fitness space for over a decade. His goal is to help bridge the gap between physical & mental health through fitness.



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