Testosterone? Isn’t that for bodybuilders and macho men?
Well, if you care about your energy levels, sex life, mood and vitality than you should consider reading on….. This article discusses how you can maintain or increase your testosterone levels without taking drugs or shady supplements when traveling.
What exactly is Testosterone?
Testosterone is a hormone responsible for numerous factors in the body outside of reproductive and sex characteristics, including mood, energy levels and athletic performance. While far more present in males, testosterone is also produced by women but in a far smaller quantity. It is important to maintain adequate levels of testosterone for both men and women.
Why is Testosterone important?
Testosterone is widely written about in the health and wellness world. It is associated with the epitome of manliness, strength, and vitality. There are now hundreds if not thousands of supplements on the market claiming to “radically improve your sex life” or make you “the young man you once were” when it comes to getting women. The vast majority of these pills, potions, and powders are failed promises and complete scams. The lack scientific evidence to justify their extreme marketing and pale in comparison to the lifestyle modifications someone can make to increase their levels of T. If you are reading this article, chances are you care about working out and taking care of yourself. In order to stay in shape and maintain a healthy metabolism, you need adequate testosterone levels–yes, both men and women need this! When you eat food, your liver will convert some of this food into cholesterol. Your thyroid hormone T3 is activated to help convert this cholesterol into pregnenolone, a hormone which is then converted into DHEA, and finally testosterone. If your test is low, your metabolism will suffer and visa versa.
So, what can you do if you are traveling and want to keep a healthy testosterone level?
1) Dial in your diet. Skip the Sugar.
For the average guy or girl this means eating more healthy fats, wild-caught meats and cruciferous vegetables. Do not be scared to eat fat! The idea that “fat makes you fat” is debunked when you consume healthy fats in adequate amonts—avocado, olive, coconut, organic meats, eggs full-fat dairy and nuts are all shown to help increase testosterone as studies show higher fat diets elicit greater testosterone production. Moreover, a diet that is too low in fat and cholesterol is shown to lower testosterone in the body. Vegetables, particularly cruciferous veggies (broccoli, brussel sprouts, bok choy, etc.) help to expel excess estrogen in your body, which in turn will optimize testosterone production. Sugar is shown to decrease testosterone levels by up to 25% after digestion and can cause numerous metabolic problems when ingested in large quantities. A little sugar won’t harm you, and in fact it can serve as an extra boost of energy before a workout. But skipping the sugary drinks in particular will do wonders.
2) Short, purposeful workouts.
On the whole, exercise is positively correlated with higher testosterone levels. That said, studies on endurance athletes reveal an association between prolonged endurance training and suppressed T-levels. This phenomenon is hypothesised to occur due to higher levels of cortisol circulating in the body from chronic exercise-induced stress. This correlation is not apparent when exercise is changed to incorporate more high intensity interval training, or HIIT. HIIT and resistance training have a particularly important role in increasing human growth hormone (HGH) which leads to higher levels of testosterone. You can do this through bodyweight workouts like this. All of these exercises involve major muscle groups and cause you to produce HGH.
3) Bring your D with you!
Unless you eat a lot of eggs or sardines, chances are you may very well be vitamin D deficient. Vitamin D has numerous positive health effects on the body and is shown to increase testosterone when properly dosed. An estimated 40% people are deficient in vitamin D, especially those that live in colder climates or avoid sunlight. Anywhere from 2,000-4,000IU is an appropriate dosage, but do check with your practitioner first. Aside from Vitamin D (the most crucial), low levels of zinc are associated with low testosterone and supplementation can be considered. Fish oil is also shown to raise testosterone in studies done on subjects who take a recommended dosage for several weeks. Magnesium is another critical mineral that tends to be low in most humans. Supplementation is also shown in studies to help boost T levels and calm the nervous system, which down-regulates cortisol.
4) Rest & Recover.
Where ever you go, make sure chill out. Cortisol is produced by the body in response to stress. Our lives are filled with stressful situations and when an overabundance of cortisol is secreted, testosterone will plummet. Meditation, gentle stretching, deep breathing, walking, and utilizing effective relaxation strategies can radically help—experiment and find what works for you!
Sleep is critical for testosterone production. This is when your body is in a regenerate state of Sleep deprivation is directly correlated with lower serum T levels. This can be as much as 15% less in a matter of days when someone is not getting enough sleep their body requires. One sign of low testosterone in men: not consistently waking up with “morning wood”. While testosterone therapy is an option, consider these remedies first if you want to boost it naturally. Bonus: sex increases testosterone production, as does simply being around women. So take that advice and run (or go to bed) with it!