Many athletes consider testosterone to be the be-all-end-all hormone: it increases our muscle mass, decreases our fat mass, makes us sharper, and helps us be stronger. That applies to both men and women who are athletes.
Typically when we’re younger, we tend to have more of it, and it increases sex drive and helps us feel vibrant and alive. There are so many benefits to testosterone that many people are looking for ways to increase it without turning to pharmaceuticals.
1. Eat a High Fat Diet
Fats are mostly demonized in the bodybuilding industry, especially if you’re trying to lose body fat. Often bodybuilders and weightlifters select very low-fat diets, thinking that this will help them lift more and stay lean.
However, while you might be able to digest your meals easily on a low-fat diet, did you know that low-fat diets make your testosterone levels plummet? Alternatively, if you’re on a high-fat diet, such as a ketogenic diet, you’ll typically see an increase in testosterone levels.
Both saturated and monounsaturated fats that are found in foods such as avocados have been shown to raise testosterone levels. If you’re really trying to increase your testosterone by eating a high-fat diet, it’s important to not let your fat intake fall below 20% of your diet, and ideally it shouldn’t fall below 30%.
What if you’re eating a lot of carbs? We recommend doing a carbohydrate cycling diet in tandem with a higher fat diet, where you’ll have lower carb days and on those days you’ll have a higher fat diet.
In fact, if your testosterone levels are already super low, you might try going on a ketogenic diet to kickstart your testosterone-increasing journey. If you do that, you’ll have optimized testosterone levels.
2. Periodize Your Training
Studies in Finland have shown that every time weightlifters drastically changed their entire training regimen, their testosterone levels would increase. This changing up exercise routines is called periodization.
When studying Olympic athletes, researchers found that the athletes saw massive gains every time they switched their exercise routine, which occurred every 6 months. This is called traditional periodizing.
But what we’re talking about is modern periodization. It means that at least every month, you need to completely change your workouts, whether that’s changing the exercise selection or changing the repetition scheme.
If you only go to the weight room and do the traditional bench press, military press, and isolation exercises, you’ll never raise your testosterone levels (or make many gains) so you need to consider periodizing your training.
Don’t forget to change your rest periods as well. The most important thing is that your workouts in any given month should not be the same as the month before. If you do this, you’re guaranteed to raise your testosterone levels.
3. Do Compound Movements During Training
All of what we’ve been talking about so far have been ways to increase chronic testosterone levels. But there is actually an acute testosterone response that you get through training, and it’s driven by the training stimulus itself.
The ultimate combination for increasing that acute testosterone response is to do compound movements such as squats, deadlifts, and bench presses. The rule of thumb is that the more muscles you use in any given exercise, the more you’re going to increase your testosterone levels.
Couple that with moderate repetitions, such as 8-12 reps in order to activate the lactic acid system. Studies show that lactic acid seems to increase our testosterone levels, so combine all of the above for the maximum effect.
Do compound movements, combined with 8-12 rep schemes in order to maximize your testosterone response. If you’re really trying to go above and beyond, try for shorter rest period lengths and make sure you’re only resting around 60-120 seconds (try timing yourself).
We hope this article helped you understand the top 3 ways to increase testosterone. Try applying these 3 techniques and see how your testosterone levels respond.