Competition with other guys is a great way to work on fixing your low T naturally. Guys – our brains are wired to compete, no matter how simple the game- racing, golfing, fishing or fighting. To your T levels, it’s all the same. That’s me in the green shirt as my buddies and I took 3rd in the men’s division of an off-road triathlon relay. There weren’t exactly a ton of men’s teams, but we still competed hard. That’s what it’s all about. So get out there and try to kick a buddy’s ass at something!
In a 2011 study, researchers determined that just a week of getting 5 hours per night of sleep can drop Testosterone levels 10-15%. In just one week!
“After 1 week of 8-hour bedtimes (from 11 PM to 7 AM) at home, the participants spent 11 days in the laboratory for 3 nights of 10-hour bedtimes (from 10 PM to 8 AM; rested condition) followed by 8 nights of 5-hour bedtimes (from 12:30 AM to 5:30 AM; sleep restriction).”
After measuring Testosterone levels in these guys, the study goes on to say: “Daytime testosterone levels were decreased by 10% to 15% in this small convenience sample of young healthy men who underwent 1 week of sleep restriction to 5 hours per night, a condition experienced by at least 15% of the US working population. By comparison, normal aging is associated with a decrease of testosterone levels by 1% to 2% per year.”
This means that if you are a guy in his 40’s to 50’s and you’re working your ass off, stressed to the gills, and sleeping 4-5 hours per night- you have a big problem. So before anything else, start figuring out how to get 7-8 hours per night at least 5 times per week. You might assume that you can bump your Low T levels up naturally by doing this.
Want the study reference?
One of the simplest fixes that I give to my clients who want to fix their Low T naturally is to turn off the computer, turn off the phone, turn off the TV and go outside.
This past weekend I was up in the mountains for an off-road triathlon race, Xterra Winter Park. It was pouring down rain and the organizers decided to postpone until next week. It would have been pretty easy to just hang around the hot tub, watch tv and stuff our faces all weekend. But that’s not my style.
I try to encourage all of my clients to get outside for long stretches on the weekend, whether it’s a high intensity activity like mountain biking or something less intense like fishing or golf doesn’t matter.
The point is to unplug from the stressors and get out side in to bigger spaces and away from the usual routine. This can really help lower those stress hormone levels that will drive testosterone levels down. Try it. You’ll see.
Just remember this – guys over 40 need something to get away from the stress. The stress drives T down, the hobbies bring it back up. For me, it’s racing off-road triathlon (even if I’m not great at it). For you it can be whatever you want. But it does matter.
That’s me in the picture, running as fast as I ever have. You see, when I go in to these races, my main goal is to beat my time from the year before. And I knew it was going to be close this year.
Maybe getting up at 4:00 AM to drive up to the race was a mistake, but didn’t want to spend $400 for a hotel room I’d be in for just a few hours. Anyway, I had that 4:00 AM feeling the whole day and knew I was in trouble.
The swim went well, around 17:00 minutes to do my 800 meters, including the barefoot run to where the mountain bikes were. Then onto the bike, which felt steeper than it ever has before. 2200 feet of climbing in the first 3 miles. I finished the bike in 1 hour 23 minutes. Onto the trail run, where I knew it was going to be close. More steepness. I trudged up the 600ft climb as best I could and then ran as hard as I could on the downhill. Total time for 2016 2:24:56. Last year was 2:25:45. Very close, but I’ll take it. Next up is Xterra Winter Park on August 6.
That’s me yesterday, taking a break from riding my mountain bike in the 100 degree weather that we had in Denver this past weekend. The question is, “Why?”
For me mountain biking, and off-road triathlon are hobbies, and in the interest of full disclosure, I am not particularly good at either one. But I don’t care.
One of the biggest reasons that guys suffer from low T (testosterone) levels is stress. I see it all the time on the labs that I run on my patients. The stress hormone cortisol goes up, the testosterone levels go down.
Money, relationships, and work are the 3 big external stressors that drive this (we’ll talk about the internal stressors like diet later). Since most guys can’t just dump their jobs or trash their finances or fix their relationships to easily, the best thing to do is to find something to let you get away. Whether it’s fishing, mountain biking, hitting golf balls, brewing your own beer or collecting stamps, you need something to get away.
This is the quickest path to getting stress under control. So find something you like, even if it’s something you’re not good at, and do it.
Brief and intense strength training (assuming you are cleared by your doctor to do it) is the cornerstone of a program to fix low testosterone levels naturally, and improve symptoms like fatigue, fat gain, and low sex drive.
This simple workout, which I did in my basement this morning, can be tweaked to suit your needs. But here is it:
- 10 Kettlebell Swings, 10 Dumbbell Presses, 5 Pull-Ups.
- Do as many rounds of the above in 7 minutes
- 3 minute break
- Repeat 10 Kettlebell Swings, 10 Dumbbell Presses, 5 Pull-Ups for 7 more minutes.
This particular workout hits every muscles in your body, and will send your heart rate through the roof. This trains pretty much every thing you want to for raising T levels in just 17 minutes. You can sub pushups for dumbbell presses. You can use a band with handles for rows if you don’t have a pull up bar. You can sub burpees or body-weight squats for the swings. You get the idea, right?
My buddy Mike and I rode some steep hill intervals in Sedalia, Colorado this past Sunday. While we happen to love riding mountain bikes, it takes a little work to love riding up steep hills. You kind of need to convince yourself that pushing hard is fun.
But the truth is, this type of intensity is important for guys as they get older. Most of us rarely do anything that’s physically intense anymore. But letting that red-line stuff go is what starts the drop in testosterone that a lot of guys experience as they move into their 40s.
So right now, you need to think of some kind of exercise that you’d enjoy doing intensely, even though it kind of feels like it sucks when you’re doing it – whether it’s heavy lifting, riding a mountain bike up hill, a steep hike, even driving golf balls (you need to try to hit them far). These things will help you fix your low T naturally.