Testosterone has long been demonized by society as the rage-inducing hormone that makes guys massive, covered with zits, and filled with aggression. Testosterone is associated with cheating, largely thanks to guys like Barry Bonds and Mark McGuire.
The truth, however, is very different from the perception that surrounds this hormone that literally makes men, men.
Not only does testosterone not correlate to higher levels of aggression and rage in men, as shown by a study of men with testosterone deficiency by Christina Wang, M.D., of the University of California at Los Angeles. Where, after two months of testosterone replacement treatment to bring T to normal levels, the subjects anger and agitation decreased and their sense of optimism and friendliness heightened.
The myth surrounding testosterone is abundant. Yes, high natural levels of testosterone will help you build more muscle (which is a great thing), but it will also help you reduce body fat, and your risk of cancer, disease, and depression.
Testosterone is at the core of what makes men, men. And with each generation, and with each decade, men are producing lower and lower levels of this powerful hormone. The causes aren’t singular, but with a reduction of fat consummation (which we’ll talk about later), an environment not conducive to high testosterone levels, and an increasingly inactive population, it makes sense that men would produce lower levels of testosterone.
I’ll show you how you can raise your natural levels of testosterone through simple and healthy lifestyle and diet changes. By raising your natural levels of testosterone, you’ll not only increase your body’s ability to gain lean, athletic muscle, but also your ability to live a healthier, more energetic life – both physically and mentally.
How to Naturally Enhance Testosterone Levels in Men
1. Consume More Fat
Fats have been vilified by nutritionists, doctors, and the health and fitness industry as the cause for obesity in America. This is not true. Saturated, monounsaturated, and polysaturated fats won’t make you fat. Sugars and carbohydrates – and trans fats (man-made fats) – contribute more to your waistline, and heart disease, than natural, healthy fats.
Fats also naturally raise testosterone levels in men. Testosterone is produced in the testes by converting cholesterol in to testosterone. We get cholesterol from the fats previously mentioned.
What to do: eat more eggs, red meats, fish, fruits (avocado), and nuts. Eat more fat sources that are natural, that you can either kill, pick, or harvest.
What not to do: don’t consume carbs with your fats. Carbs have their place in your diet, but not when paired with fat. When you consume high-glycemic carbohydrates with fat, the spike in insulin makes you store more fat as body fat, and carbs as body fat as well. Also, stay as far away from trans fats (man made), found in packaged and fried foods, as possible.
2. Get more sleep, and have less stress in your life
Cortisol is a hormone that opposes testosterone. One of the ways we can measure testosterone levels is in relation to cortisol levels. A lack of sleep can result in higher cortisol levels, and lower testosterone levels. Aim to get 6 or more hours of sleep a night, as your bare minimum; 8 hours is more ideal.
Cortisol is a stress hormone involved in our fight or flight response mechanism. The more stress we have in our lives, the higher our cortisol levels we’ll be. What’s more is that the less sleep we get, the more we stress, which again, raises our cortisol levels.
Find ways to de-stress. Take mini vacations, read, start your day off in reflection, with exercise, and in silence. Bring perspective in to your life that will help you lower your stress levels by journalling, exercising, and spending time with family (unless they compound your stress).
3. Avoid plastics
Our environment can be very destructive to our testosterone levels. The chemicals you find in most plastics (namely BPA), are filled with chemical estrogen So all those bottles of water you have been buying, unless it states (BPA FREE) is cull of chemical estrogen A quick way to solve this problem is to stop drinking water from plastic bottles, and never heat your food in plastic containers.
Make it simple; avoid plastics and allow your body to naturally produce testosterone at healthy levels.
4. Lift weights
Exercise, like training with weights, will increase your muscle mass and lower your body fat levels.
Lower body fat correlates to higher testosterone levels, just like inactivity has been shown to lower your testosterone levels. Stand more. Walk more. Run more. And get in the gym and start a weight training program.
You Need Higher Levels of Testosterone
This isn’t about aesthetics (at least not completely); weight training, eating more fat, less sugars, and surrounding yourself in a healthy environment is about being at your best. It’s about being optimal. Make the changes I’ve mentioned in this article to not only feel better about how you look, but be a better, more successful guy.
Supplement with Vitamin D3 and Zinc
D3 unbinds hormone from the protein it’s attached to. This “free” form of testosterone is believed to be the only form of the hormone that matters with relation to repairing tissue (like muscle). Take a minimum of 3,000 IU daily.
Zinc blocks the hormone aromatase from producing estrogen. In other words, zinc lowers your estrogen levels, which in turn maximize your testosterone output too what it should be
Feature Image by: Patrik Giardino/Courtesy Men’s Health
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Working alone at home might sound like a nightmare to some, but as a fully signed up introvert, working alone at home is an absolute dream. No energy-draining small talk, no noisy distractions, just peace and quiet to complete deep and focused work. Well not quite. Working alone at home has more challenges than you might expect. Boredom, lack of focus and lack of motivation to name a few.
When you start working for yourself, you quickly realise that one of the biggest problems you face isn’t the job itself. Maintaining your motivation poses a potentially huge difficulty. Much of that difficulty stems from working alone, rather than in a traditional office setting. There is also the challenge of staying focused on the task at hand. With no boss or supervisor looking over your shoulder, social media can distract or cat videos interrupt you.
But the greatest problem by far is a simple lack of motivation. There doesn’t seem to be a pressing need to finish this project right now, making it far too easy to put it off until later. Left unchecked, a lack of motivation can cripple the work you are trying to accomplish. Over the past few years I’ve developed a few go-to tactics to improve my lone working motivation.
Here are some of the tools I’ve used to stay motivated and on-task.
These first few tips focus on using different tweaks in your personal work schedule to provide some variety and maintain your focus.
1. Include short breaks
My eye doctor once told me that for every 20 minutes of staring at a computer screen, you should look away and focus on something across the room for 20 seconds. This gives your eyes a chance to reset. Do something similar with the rest of your body; don’t just look across the room, walk, jog, or run across the room. Give your body a break, and try to reset your thoughts. If you don’t have the discipline to take regular breaks, use an app to remind you.
2. Block out an afternoon for social activities and networking
Set aside one afternoon a week for your social life. Friday afternoon works best for me. If you feel guilty about not working, think of it as a chance to network. Either way, be sure to spend this section of time with other people. Socialise and network.
3. View your personal schedule as your work schedule
A 9-to-5 job requires getting up every morning, preparing for the day, leaving the house, and commuting to your workplace. In other words, it requires going to work. You want to recreate the same rhythm at home. You may not actually need to leave your house in order to work, but try to stick with the schedule. Filling the old job timeslot with your new work helps to keep you motivated – you can’t clock out early!
These next few tips are little things you can do to trick yourself into staying focused!
This tip may sound cliché, but try listening to an upbeat song loudly whenever you feel unmotivated. It’s a simple trick, but a surprisingly effective one!
2. Have somewhere else to work for a change of scenery
When procrastination sets in, sometimes a quick change of scenery is all you need. If you work at home, going to your favourite café can be a huge help. Other freelancers I know have even gone so far as to hire office space outside the home, and rotate between the two to help stay on-task.
3. Love what you do
This is arguably the most critical point on the whole list. If you don’t love what you do, it will be hard to keep yourself motivated – particularly long-term. Sure, you may be able to push on through sheer force of will for a while, but sooner or later you’ll lose motivation entirely. Do something you genuinely enjoy, and you’ll find it much easier to stick with it for the long haul.
These last few tips are Industry-related!
1. Make sure you have fun projects
Not all of your work projects will be fun, but fight to make at least a couple of them fun. These might even be personal side projects, not particularly related to your main job. Or they might be in the same general field, but not your specific focus.
2. Attend industry events a couple of times a year
Nearly every imaginable industry has an organising body of some kind. Find the local branch, and use it to keep tabs on industry-related events. Attend some seminars, network, and maybe even glean some new tips and tricks from industry insiders.
3. Schedule at least one call a week to learn something within your industry
View this as an opportunity for personal development. At least once a week, try to learn something new about your industry. For me, this might mean calling a new tool provider to demonstrate their gadgets. Whatever your industry, try to expand your horizons a little bit every week. You’ll learn new methods and make new connections at the same time.
These tips worked for me, hopefully, some of them will help you out as well. Above all, strive to enjoy what you do, stick to a “work schedule,” and look for opportunities for constant self-improvement. With those ideas in mind, you’ll find staying motivated much easier to do alone or in a group!
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