ABUNDANT LIVING: Be a man! Increase your testosterone naturally — Part 2

WRITERS NOTE: This article is for educational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for individual health and fitness advice.

Just a quick recap: Testosterone is a sex hormone that is produced naturally in the body. Though this hormone is produced by women in small amounts, it is produced in significantly higher amounts by men. Testosterone is critical in the development of muscle mass, sex drive, energy, mental health, overall wellbeing and much more.

In Part 1 of this three-part series, I discussed the basic decline of the body’s natural testosterone production as a person ages. I also mentioned there are a handful of things that can be done to slow down this decline, and improve testosterone production. So, if you’re like most men that are on the back side of 30 and you are interested in boosting your testosterone naturally, there is hope.

The first three methods we will discuss to boost testosterone naturally and thus overall manilness, are:

Controlling your weight: There are numerous studies that show decreased levels of testosterone are associated with obesity. Research has show that obese men that lose weight not only increase testosterone but also insulin sensitivity.

The bottom line is when a man carries excess body fat his body produces less testosterone and gains even more fat with increasing ease. To reverse this trend, drop those unwanted pounds.

Optimize your sleep habits: My philosophy in college was “I’ll sleep when I’m dead.” Well that was probably more true than I wanted to believe. According to the National Institute of Health there are five stages of sleep: Stages one, two, three, four, and REM (Rapid Eye Movement). Peak testosterone levels are associated mainly with REM stage sleep.

With the prevalence of chronic sleep deprivation, especially as we age, are bodies are not only not getting enough sleep, but they are not getting enough deep sleep.

Simple tips to improve sleep are: follow a regular sleep schedule, darken the room completely, keep temperatures cool, avoid napping, no electronics before bed (this type of light tells your body it’s time to be awake), avoid caffeine late in the day, avoid alcohol before bed, and exercise regularly (which we will go into greater detail below).

Exercise: Everyone knows exercise is beneficial but its benefit goes well beyond burning a few extra calories. Exercise by itself does help with weight loss by expending calories and, as mentioned above, aid in obtaining a good night’s rest, thus indirectly helping to boost the body’s natural testosterone production.

If that isn’t awesome enough, exercise, when performed a couple of very specific ways, can also directly boost testosterone. Standard strength training is good but research has shown that by using high intensity interval training (HIIT), a method involving short intervals, with very brief rest periods where the heart rate reaches very high levels produces great results (Tabata training is a good example for you hardcore workout fans).

The second type of exercise involves using moderately heavy weight with large muscle group exercises such as squats, deadlifts and power cleans. Repetitions should be in the eight to 12 range and fatigue should be almost complete. Rest breaks should not exceed 1-2 minutes. Five-pound dumbbell curls won’t cut it. Like HIIT, it’s not going to be pleasant.

Consult your physician before starting any kind of rigorous exercise program and talk to a professional trainer for programming and technical advice.

Part 3 will explore how proper nutrition, avoiding environmental toxins, and managing stress can affect testosterone levels and what action steps can be taken.

Bellomo has a master’s degree in exercise science and health promotion, is a certified strength and condition specialist and performance enhancement specialist with 24 years in the fitness and wellness field. For more fitness tips contact him at dbfitnesslab@gmail.com or visit Bellomo Online Training on Facebook.

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