Although testosterone is generally associated with masculinity, the benefits of this naturally produced hormone are critical for both men and women in a number of ways. Playing a key role in the building of lean muscle mass and strong bones, healthy testosterone levels can guard against osteoporosis, boost athletic performance, increase sexual desire, improve mood, decrease risk of cardiovascular diseases, and much more. Specific to the fitness athlete, however, how can we continue to naturally boost this hormone in our body after having already pursued the basics of decreasing body weight through exercise? Here are 5 ways you can boost your testosterone levels and make greater gains both in and out of the box.
- Eliminate sugar - Sugar is notoriously one of the worst things you can put into your body. Although processed sugars are the worst kind, even an excess of natural sugars can stunt your body’s natural production of testosterone. Find healthier alternatives to your sugar cravings and gain some extreme anabolic benefits.
- DON’T cut out the fats- Traditionally, many diets recommend a low-fat approach…be careful! Extremely low fat diets can crush your natural testosterone production. Choose healthy options of dietary fats - fatty fish, avocados, meats, oils, nuts and seeds.
- Squat everyday - The value of heavy weightlifting to boosting testosterone levels can almost go without saying, however, heavy squats specifically are one of the most beneficial exercises to anabolic hormone release. The increase in muscle mass that results through heavy squatting is responsible for a flurry of testosterone rushing through your body. Although it’s recommended to squat heavy at leastonce a week, some coaches and athletes even program for squats every single dayand have seen tremendous results.
- Try some herbs - Ashwaganda and Macca root, specifically, are a few quality herbal sources that have been shown to combat stress and increase overall energy, associated with increased levels of testosterone. Although many “proprietary blends” of dietary supplements include some amount of herbal ingredients such as these, you can also find these herbs in pure form so that you can know exactly how much you are getting.
- Set sleep goals - In a culture that parades lack of sleep as somewhat of a badge of honor to busyness and financial success, we too often undervalue or entirely neglect sleep. Few things are as critically important to our body as getting adequate rest - some sleep studies have even shown that onenight of sleep deprivation can cause damage to our brain, much like that seen in those suffering from PTSD. Approach your bed time as seriously as you do your workouts and your body will benefit dramatically.
Sarah Loogman is a trainer and athlete of Northstate CrossFit in Redding, Ca. With a strong athletic background in collegiate sports, Sarah transitioned to CrossFit in 2013 and has since been familiar to the podium in fitness events such as Femme Fit and Northstate’s Fittest, among others. Sarah competed in the California ‘Super’ Regional in San Diego in 2015 with the Northstate team and is hopeful to qualify among California’s top women in 2016. You can find Sarah on Instagram at @sarahloogman.