When your personal goal is to stimulate muscle growth, there are several factors you should take into account. This is not only about the intensity of your workouts, but also about your diet, supplementation and resting. Let us just emphasize that among these variables, there’s another supplement that stands out and that will eliminate the amount of muscle you’ll build: your body’s natural testosterone levels.
Testosterone is produced by the body and it is an essential hormone when it comes to the growth of muscle mass, because its biochemical reactions stimulate the increase in strength, protein synthesis, performance, decrease bad cholesterol levels and improve humor.
The male body is able to produce about 10mg a day, whereas the feminine body produces, on average, 0.25 to 1.0mg/day. However, as you get old, it is normal that this hormone’s release stops being as constant as it is in ages between 18 and 35.
What should I do to stimulate testosterone production in my body?
1. Avoid excessive aerobic workouts. Give preference to short-term, high-intensity aerobic workouts because these workouts, besides bringing more benefits, increase testosterone production.
2. Do intense workouts. If you want to see significant results, you’ve got to be willing to defy your own limits. The bigger the effort, the more testosterone your body will be able to produce.
3. Add more weights. A good way to stimulate testosterone production is to use heavy loads and do fewer reps. There are studies that prove that the best option is to use 85% of your MR.
4. Focus on complex exercises. Complex exercises should be the biggest priority in your workouts: squats, bench press, rowing, bar push-ups, parallel bars, dips and military press.
5. Don’t work out more than you should. You should have enough sleep to be able to recover and avoid going into overtraining. Overtraining may lead to a 40% decrease in testosterone levels. If you need to, take a break from your workouts during one or two weeks. Sleep deprivation may be good for cortisol release, a catabolic hormone that lowers testosterone levels.
6. Eat healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats (omega-3 and omega-6). You can find them in foods like: peanuts, nuts, almonds, avocado, fish and healthy oils like linseed, olive oil and canola.
To make sure you are taking the recommended daily dosage, we recommend:
7. Take vitamin C. This vitamin has the ability of controlling cortisol levels. You can find it in foods like: lemon, orange, maracuya, acerola, strawberry, tomato, etc.
To make sure you are taking the recommended daily dosage (1g, minimum), we recommend:
8. Make sure you take the right amounts of zinc. The lack of this mineral makes it hard for testosterone to be released. If this hormone is not available in the blood stream, it won’t be able to do its job, like muscle anabolism. You can find it in these foods: nuts, chestnuts, meat, salmon, liver, etc.
To make sure you are taking the recommended daily dosage (10-20mg, minimum), we recommend:
9. Increase vegetable intake: broccoli, cauliflower, radish, turnip, cabbage and Brussels sprout, etc. These vegetables stimulate the reduction of estrogen levels, increasing testosterone.
10. In order to increase testosterone levels and build muscle mass you should take protein. You should try to take protein in adequate amounts, according to your body weight, and preferably a high quality protein. Learn how to choose the best Whey Protein to increase muscle mass.
11. Avoid alcohol consumption. Alcohol has a negative influence on testosterone levels, so that’s why you should drink with moderation.
12. Reduce stress. Too much stress stimulates cortisol release. Use alternative physical and emotional relaxation activities (body massage, yoga, etc).
We suggest other supplements that help stimulate testosterone production to add to your supplementation plan:
10 tips to attain an incredible muscle definition
7 foods that help to increase muscle mass and that stimulate your body’s performance
12 effective strategies to overcome stagnation in your muscle development
N/d, Aumentando a produção de testosterona e ganhando massa muscular, n/d, translation and adaptation of the original version.
N/d, 9 Ways to Naturally Increase Testosterone Levels, 2013, translation and adaptation of the original version
Roney Ferreira, Testosterona e o Aumento de Massa Muscular, March 2012, translation and adaptation of the original version
Steven Stiefel, 13 Ways to Boost your testosterone, n/d, translation and adaptation of the original version