There exist thousands of methods for (allegedly) boosting testosterone and I’ve tried many. But no one wants a thousand extra things to think about. We want a handful of things to put on auto-pilot.
I kept what I suspect had the biggest return on investment and organized a list of Nutrition, Lifestyle habits and Supplements. I hope it helps you.
I emphasize “suspect” because I don’t know, for sure, which practices worked and to what degree.
Investigator by trade, I’m good with observation and data collection. I recorded years of daily subjective feelings; anxiety, mood, libido etc. and objective biomarkers; strength, body comp, HRV, ketones, sexual performance etc.…even boners. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Using the scientific literature, my boner notes and a few blood tests, I’ve made an educated guess as to what drove my T gainz.
Benchmark Gainz (2014-2018)
Bodyweight: 170 – 190lbs
Body composition: ~16 – 10% bodyfat
Strength (Deadlift): mid 200’s – mid 500’s
Mindset: depression/anxiety – happiness/drive
The rate at which I’m able to develop strength, recover from training and grow muscle is exhilarating. The way I move and look wasn’t even considerable, several years ago.
More important than physical gains, were my behavioral gains. I feel alive, capable, smart, attractive and confident…and extremely funny. I’m also extraordinarily humble - obviously.
I feel more like myself, or, more how I’ve always thought I should feel. Not sure if that will make sense.
Before, I lived with an underlying sense of impending doom and insecurity. I was a bitch and my feelings and thoughts were manifested negatively in relationships and work. Life was pain and I was unhappy, and I didn’t know why.
Testosterone on the Brain
We know that brain cells have testosterone and estrogen receptors and many diverse behaviors are connected to testosterone in the brain.
Even in women; [Testosterone] affects sexual desire, bone density, muscle mass and strength, adipose tissue distribution, mood, energy, and psychological well-being. If you’re a man (with healthy libido), the only thing you really took from that sentence was “sexual desire”, and like me, you are now fascinated with boosting your wife’s testosterone so she will desire to sexual you more.
The human experience is a product of biochemical reactions within our bodies. Testosterone shapes our behavior and, in a way, shapes who we are as individuals.
Check this article out to see how I do simple, easy and cheap lab testing.
Before testing/most of my life: Standard American Diet (SAD). Sick and depressed, food allergies, GI issues, joint pain, brain fog, demotivation, physical weakness and what I now consider low libido.
Test #1 (107): 4 years ago, 2 years lazy Paleo-ketogenic, lots of vegetables, “cleanses”, bulletproof coffee, heavy supplementation (protein powders, pre-workout, vitamins)
Training: High frequency, high intensity training, isolation “bro-split” bodybuilding, jogging.
Other lab values were normal: HS-CRP, TSH, Estradiol, vitamins and minerals etc.
Test #2 (400): This year, 1-year carnivore diet, after ~5 years of keto. Almost no supplementation – essential amino acids, magnesium.
Training: 2 years competitive powerlifting
Test #3 (565): 1 month after test #2, No changes to diet or training. 1-month consistent supplementation, egg yolk ice cream, daily UV light method and weekly sprinting (all listed below).
Paleo, Keto, Carnivore
I’ve eaten a Ribeye steak diet for 14 months.
Paleo/keto produced consistent and linear health improvements over time. But there was a clear and distinct shift in the characteristic androgenic (testosterone) traits, after going carnivore: sharp increases in libido, erection thickness (first noticed by my lady), hypertrophy, strength, fat loss, training frequency, mood.
Steroid hormones (testosterone) are made from cholesterol. It makes sense to eat a lot of cholesterol for T gains. Plus, it’s now confirmed that saturated fat does not clog arteries, so…
My low-fat diet was likely starving my endocrine system of steroid building materials. My doctors “expert” advice was to take a cholesterol lowering statin in addition to TRT (testosterone replacement therapy) – Terrifying.
In this study, men who ate higher fat diets, were placed on a low-fat diet for 6 weeks, and then put back on higher fat. Testosterone decreased on low fat but recovered when switching back to higher fat.
High-carb diets raise insulin levels. Elevated insulin raises sex hormone binding globulin. SHBG binds with free testosterone, preventing it from binding with testosterone receptor sites and doing its job. Low carb = Low insulin = Low SHBG = increased free testosterone. #EatLowCarb
Insulin resistance is associated with low testosterone. Low carb diets reverse insulin resistance. Nuff Said.
Elevated blood glucose lowers testosterone. Maybe rethink that carb-load bulk.
If I had to do it all over again, I’d lead with the carnivore diet and keep keto in my metabolic toolkit. Carnivory seems to be a bigger driver of gains.
Absolutely No Soy or flax
Soy and flax are high in phytoestrogens (plant-estrogens); compounds similar to human estrogen hormone. They bind to estrogen receptors in our body and “feminize” men.
I knew a guy who drank soy latte’s daily - now I know a girl.
In this study, soy decreased testosterone in healthy young men.
In this study, men replaced meat with soy tofu and their testosterone decreased while estrogen increased.
In this study, higher soy intake was associated with lower sperm count.
In this study, a 19 year old male ate a high soy diet and experienced loss of libido, erectile dysfunction and a significant decrease in free testosterone.
Don't be a SOY BOY.
- Get Yolked – Testosterone Ice Cream Shake - (recipe)
- Heavy Deadlifting
Personal anecdote - I experience a sharp libido increase the night/morning after deadlift training. It’s not uncommon for an erection to last all night long (8 hours), even persisting after sex, which can be inconvenient for stomach sleeping. Actually, I’m not even mad, that’s amazing.
Deadlift training should be so strenuous that your body thinks death is near. It’s response to this artificial near-death experience is testosterone production. Because men with more testosterone are harder to kill.
Progressive overload – Training must become progressively more intense as you become stronger, and thus, harder to kill. The work load that “almost killed you” last week, is not sufficient for this week, it must be progressively harder. ((Video Explanation))
Recovery – Training too often or too hard without sufficient rest will blunt testosterone production. In this study, elite soccer players showed a significant drop in testosterone and rise in stress hormone as the season progressed and physical output increased.
I measure my HRV to manage my recovery. I test every morning and design my training, for that day, based on my HRV score. This is the best way, I know, to manage fitness recovery.
Training as a carnivore permits much higher training volume. I can train at maximum effort almost every day. Carnivore diet and high volume training have a synergistic effect on hormones.
The research says short max effort sprints boost testosterone production and improve the testosterone:cortisol ratio. Testosterone and cortisol are like opposing forces. The more cortisol you have, the less testosterone you will have...Cortisol is the stress hormone, so relaxing, recovering and being happy is big for making testosterone gains.
Sleep is more important than diet, training and supplementation for hormonal status, but its boring as fuck so it’s not talked about.
Testosterone is made during deep sleep. If we don’t sleep well, we won’t make testosterone well, period. I get 8 hours per night, consistently.
In this study, men experienced a 10 -15% decrease in testosterone with only 1 week of sleep restriction.
In this study, Low total testosterone levels are associated with less healthy sleep in older men.
You could literally eat perfectly, deadlift everything and take all the right supplements, but still have low testoaterone if your sleep game sucks.
Consistent sleep/wake cycles – Circadian rhythm
My uncle was so muscular when he got out of prison, I almost didn't recognize him. Government facilities (schools, hospitals, penitentiaries) offer dog shit nutrition, low quality exercise equipment and zero sport supplementation, yet my uncle made impressive gains. How could he make gains at such a disadvantage?
The one thing prison does do well is routine. Morning roll call, breakfast, yard time, supper and lights out is the same time every single day.
I wake up, eat, train and go to sleep at the same time every day. Think of the circadian rhythm as the master clock that controls all systems (including hormone production) in your body.
Sunlight or artificial red light
I try to get outside, naked, or at least with my shirt off, daily. If I have no opportunity to get sun, I use a red 660nm LED lamp, to get at least 30 minutes of direct light to my nether-regions, while consuming my Get Yolk-ed shake, before bedtime.
I try to get as much direct sunlight as possible and I don’t wear sunblock. Most humans can easily avoid sunburn by executing the following, highly technical and scientific protocol: "Step out of sun when skin feels hot, dummy." If you can’t escape the sun, put on a thin, light colored long sleeve and hat.
“Estrogenics are things that bind or “stick” to estrogen receptors in our body.” Anthony G. Jay, Ph.D. - Estrogeneration
Estrogenics enter our body and bind to estrogen receptors, “feminizing” us. Estrogenics are in soy, flax, plastics, pesticides, food coloring, cosmetic lotions, sunscreens, soaps, tap water, cleaning products and many other common everyday items we meet.
I learned everything I know about this topic from, “Estrogeneration”, by Dr Anthony Jay.
Avoiding estrogenics completely is impossible. Below is a list of what I do to protect myself and my family, without obsessing or stressing over it.
- Avoid soy and flax as if it were Aids
- Use only purified water (stored in glass)
- If you eat plants, eat organic, to avoid estrogenic pesticides
- Don’t eat or drink anything that is stored in plastic. Use glassware.
- Use stainless steel or glass cups and food containers. I use this one for my coffee and my son uses these cups and these bottles.
- Eliminate lavender products.
- Avoid fragrances in personal care products, laundry detergent, dryer sheets, body lotions etc. I wash laundry with this.
- Avoid anything that contains "benz-" or "phen-" in the ingredient list.
- Avoid food coloring, especially Red and Yellow.
- Don’t use sunscreen. If you burn easy, put on a thin, light colored long sleeve shirt and hat or use natural zinc sunscreen. We use this for our son, Bear.
- Use estrogenic free shampoo and body wash. I use this.
- Sauna is the best way to detox estrogenics. Dr. Jay recommends at least 11 minutes. I usually do 30-minute sessions, a couple times per week.
This list seemed overwhelming at first. Brittany (my woman) literally cried when I explained this concept to her. Nearly every beauty product she used contained estrogenic compounds. But once we replaced the offending products with safe ones, life continued as usual.
Magnesium - I like mg for testosterone because of its sleep improving benefits (testosterone is made during deep sleep, remember).
In this study Mg increased serum and free testosterone in sedentary and athletes, but worked better for athletes.
In this study of 400 older men, magnesium was positively associated with total testosterone. The more Mg they had the more T they had.
I use this. I am a Bodyhealth affiliate and you can use coupon code "gabe10" for any products on the site.
Boron - In this study 10 mg of boron for 7 days increased free testosterone by 28%, decreased free estrogen levels by 39% and several inflammatory markers improved as well. I took 10mg of this product daily, stacked with the above zinc.
Lab results are only a number. What matters is how we feel and perform. Dr. Shawn Baker is breaking world records with a total testosterone in the 200’s, so it’s clear that hormones are highly individualized.
Don’t compare your numbers to others or even the national averages. Instead, use lab testing to see where your numbers are trending, how lifestyle changes might affect your numbers and how they correlate with your overall health.
Will a 290% boost in your T make you feel great? I don't know, maybe not...but probably it will. Could testosterone have nothing to do with my gains? Maybe...but probably it did.
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