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
How to Stay Motivated to Achieve Your Goals
Time is the raw material of our lives. How we choose to spend it, shapes our life accordingly. So having the motivation to spend it on achieving goals is crucial to creating a life we want.
What is Motivation?
The Oxford dictionary defines motivation as the desire or willingness to do something – our drive to take action.
Scientifically, motivation has its roots in the dopamine pathways of our brains. When we do something that feels good, that’s dopamine kicking in. Our actions are driven by the desire for that reward (the good feeling).
Author Steven Pressfield describes motivation more practically. He says we hit a point where the pain of not doing something becomes greater than the pain of doing it. He sees motivation as crossing the threshold where it’s easier to take action than it is to be idle. Like choosing to feel awkward while making sales calls over feeling disappointed about a diminishing bank account.
However you choose to think about it, we all want to harness motivation to achieve our goals.
How to Get Motivated
James Clear, the author of Atomic Habits, says that most people misunderstand motivation. They think that motivation is what gets us to take action. In reality, motivation is often the result of action, not the cause of it. Once we start a task, it’s easier to continue making progress. Like Isaac Newton’s first law: objects in motion stay in motion.
This means most of the resistance when working on your goals comes right before we start. Since motivation naturally occurs after we start, we need to focus on making starting easier.
4 Ways to Make Starting Easier
1. Schedule it
One reason people can’t get started on things is that they haven’t planned when to do it.
When things aren’t scheduled it’s easier for them to fall by the wayside. You’ll end up hoping motivation falls in your lap or hoping that you’ll muster enough willpower to get it done.
An article in the Guardian said, “If you waste resources trying to decide when or where to work, you’ll impede your capacity to do the work.”
2. Measure something
It’s easy to feel uninspired when you don’t know if you’re making progress or what you’re even working towards. That’s why you need to make your success measurable in some way. Starting is easy when you know exactly how much closer your current actions will bring you to achieving your goal.
3. Extrinsic motivation
This type of motivation is from external factors. It can be either positive or negative. Positive motivation consists of incentives like money, prizes, and grades. Negative motivation consists of deterrents like being fired, having a fight, or being fined. Extrinsic motivation doesn’t work effectively long-term, but it can work well in the short term to get you started on something.
4. Make it public
Keep yourself accountable by telling friends and family your goals, or even sharing them on social media. This makes it easier to start something because you’re pressured to not let others down.
How to Stay Motivated Long Term
When we say we want to feel motivated to do something, we don’t want to be pushed or guilted into doing a task. We want to be so attracted and drawn to the idea that we can’t resist not taking action. That’s why it’s important to build a foundation that will set you up for consistency.
These are 5 techniques that will help you do just that:
1. Stay in your goldilocks zone
The goldilocks zone is when a task is the perfect level of difficulty—not too hard and not too easy. In this zone, we reach peak motivation and focus.
For example, let’s say you’re playing a serious tennis match against a 4-year-old. On this level of difficulty, you’ll quickly become bored and not want to play. Now let’s say you’re playing a serious tennis match against Serena Williams. On this level of difficulty, you’ll quickly become demotivated because the match is too challenging.
The Goldilocks zone is in the middle of that spectrum. You want to face someone with equal skill as you. That way you have a chance to win, but you have to focus and try for it. Adjusting your workload and goals over time to stay within your Goldilocks zone keeps you engaged and motivated long-term.
2. Pursue intrinsically motivated goals
Being intrinsically motivated to achieve a goal is when you want to achieve it for what it is. There are no external factors like a reward or the risk of being fired. The drive behind your actions is coming from within.
For most intrinsic goals we pursue them because they will enrich our lives or bring us closer to fulfillment. That makes these goals extremely sustainable long-term because they directly affect our quality of life and the things we care about.
3. Use “chunking”
Chunking is the technique of breaking down a goal into smaller short-term targets. By doing this you achieve multiple successes in your pursuit of the main goal. This triggers the brain’s reward system and drives you to keep going.
Traditionally, you may set a goal that you expect to achieve in one year. That’s a long time to commit without seeing any results along the way. By chunking your goals into monthly or quarterly targets, you get the consistent positive reinforcement you need to stay motivated long-term.
For example, instead of trying to lose 50 pounds in one year, try to lose 4 pounds every month for 12 months.
4. Be flexible
We’re all victims of circumstance. Things happen along our journey that we can either adjust to or quit because of. That’s why it’s important to have leeway and flexibility when you’re pursuing a goal. If you expect everything to go perfectly, the inevitable failure can make you disengaged and desireless. When you plan for things to go wrong, you make sure you can keep up for the long haul.
5. Pursue your goals in a sustainable fashion
Don’t lose hope when you’re not an overnight success. Overnight successes are the 1%—for the most part, they don’t exist. What we see as an “overnight success” is actually countless hours of work behind the scenes finally hitting a tipping point. Pursuing goals is a story of patience, persistence, and unseen effort.
Don’t compare yourself to others. Comparison is a recipe for a drop in self-confidence and satisfaction. It also cultivates a mindset where you think you haven’t done enough. As a result, you may raise your expectations and put more pressure on yourself.
This is pointless because things worth achieving take time. So we obviously won’t compare to the things around us when starting.
Mastering motivation is a superpower. With that ability at your fingertips, you can accomplish your goals and shape a life you want to live in.
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