This title is a bit dramatic, but I needed to get your attention. Why? Because over the past few weeks of talking to guys on the phone trying to figure out their next steps in natural testosterone optimization, these three mistakes have come up again and again. In this article, I will give you the scientifically proven action steps to fix them fast.
Mistake #1 – Thinking traditional cardio is the best way to lose fat
Michael Shelly is an endurance athlete who regularly competes in long distance marathons. Judging by his body composition, he’s not exactly a high testosterone man. why is this the case? Well, a study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that men who regularly ran long distances (>64km or 40 miles per week) had significantly lower testosterone levels than the non-athlete control group.
Let this sink in for a moment: men who ran long distances had lower testosterone levels than a couch potato.
Long-distance running puts stress on the body in the form of high cortisol levels. High cortisol leads to a decrease in testosterone. How much of a decrease? Well, in this Brazilian study, researchers analyzed blood samples from 20 men before and after a 42.2 km (26.2 mile) run. After the race, the men’s cortisol levels doubled and testosterone levels halved (673 to 303 ng/dL).
Does that mean you should ditch cardio altogether? Traditional Steady-State Cardio, yes. But high-intensity cardio can be awesome. This is Harry:
Harry Aikines-Aryeetey is an English sprinter and his physique is lean, muscular and strong, all signs of high testosterone. Did he build all that muscle by sprinting alone? Of course not. Sprinters lift weights. That being said, high-intensity sprinting has been shown to induce short-term spikes in testosterone.
Take-out? Ditch traditional steady-state cardio. Instead, go for short bursts of high-intensity cardio like sprinting, high-intensity interval training, jiu-jitsu, or any other martial art.
Mistake #2 – Being Chronically Sleep Deprived
You already know that sleep is important, but are you really making it a priority? Probably not. Chances are you regularly watch TV in bed and browse emails and social media after dark. But here’s something that might make you reconsider:
In this study, men who slept for 4 hours had half the amount of testosterone the next morning compared to men who slept for 8 hours.
You could say:
But Mo, I sleep over 8 hours every night and still wake up groggy and tired.
Well, the reason is that the quality of sleep is just as important (if not more important) than the quantity of sleep. According to leading sleep researcher Dr. Kulreet Chaudhary:
Planning your sleep is like planning an investment in the stock market – it doesn’t matter how much you invest, when you invest matters.
And as Shawn Stevenson writes in his book Sleep Smarter:
Humans have been shown to get the most beneficial hormonal secretions and recovery from sleeping between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. This is what I call “Money Time”. You get the most rejuvenating effects during this time, and any extra sleep you get is a bonus. This is based on the seemingly lost awareness that we humans are part of nature, and when the lights go out on the planet, it’s a signal from the universe that it’s time for us to also refuse.
Research by the phone companies themselves reveals that the more time you spend on your phone before sleeping, the longer it takes you to enter a deep sleep state and the less time you spend in that state as well. I’ve written a 3,500+ word guide on how to optimize sleep (which you can read here), but if there’s one thing you take action on after reading this article, do it this. :
Keep a gap of 30 minutes between the last time you look at a screen and the time you intend to go to bed. This one thing will drastically improve your sleep quality and increase the testosterone surge you experience during the night.
Mistake #3 – Having a micronutrient deficiency
Micronutrients are the vitamins and minerals your body needs in trace amounts to maintain optimal functioning. Vitamin D and magnesium are especially important for testosterone. It turns out that these two micronutrients are the most common micronutrient deficiencies in developed Western countries, with about 74% of Americans deficient in vitamin D and 43% in magnesium.
The bad news is that you can’t have optimal testosterone levels while having suboptimal levels of vitamin D and magnesium. The good news is that optimizing your intake of them may be the easiest way to bring your testosterone level closer to where it should be.
Your skin synthesizes vitamin D when exposed to the sun, but most of us don’t spend enough time outdoors. Dark leafy greens like spinach, broccoli, and kale are a great source of magnesium, but most of us don’t eat them.
What to do? Opt for a quality multivitamin supplement. I emphasize the word “quality” because most popular products are junk food. Consider the fact that 52% of Americans take a multivitamin daily, but a large portion of the population is deficient in vitamins A (35%), C (31%), D (74%) and E (67%) as well than calcium (39%) and magnesium (46%).
Before buying a multivitamin supplement, read the label to make sure it provides adequate amounts of essential vitamins and minerals.
Listen, raising your testosterone levels and regaining your masculinity involves nothing more than simple changes in your diet and lifestyle. You already know most of the things I wrote in this article. Why, then, do you continue to make decisions that are against your best interests?
Having asked myself this question in the past, the answer came down to identity. Consciously, I knew my life was not where I wanted it to be. Subconsciously, however, I was preventing myself from taking the right steps. That changed when I realized the fundamental truth that beliefs follow behavior. Once I started doing the things I knew I had to do, whether I felt like it or not, everything changed.
Your identity is nothing but your evaluation of the actions you have taken. Start taking the right steps and notice your inner alpha beginning to emerge.
Questions about optimizing natural testosterone? Let’s talk.
Read more: The Ultimate Morning Routine for Higher Testosterone Levels