Testosterone is the number one sex hormone for men and women. While women have substantially less of it, testosterone management is for the ladies, too. Before we talk about how to have healthier testosterone numbers, let’s understand a scary fact:
The normal range for testosterone varies depending on the source from the low 200 ng/dL range to nearly 1200 ng/dL.
Keep in mind that this range is set observationally. This means our population determines what is “normal”. As we know, what may be common might not be “normal” or healthy. Furthermore, the normal range includes an array of other factors, including age. Age is a massive factor as reports show that testosterone drops by 1% each year after 30 on average.
The tricky part of this broad range is that is doesn’t say much. You can find yourself at your 40th birthday at the bottom of this range, unhealthy with body composition issues, libido issues, compromised athletic performance, and low energy and be considered “normal”. Conversely, you could test out near the top at, say, 800 ng/dL and also be considered “normal”. Meanwhile, at 800 ng/dL you’re holding lean tissue well, you look like a statue with your clothes off, and you could carry your entire family out of burning building without breaking a sweat.
To me, there’s only one of those versions of “normal” to be interested in. But, how do we do it?
This isn’t a steroid article. It’s a lifestyle performance article. Here are the three most basic ways to increase your testosterone for free, naturally:
Sleep. Stay with me. One night of sub-optimal sleep can inhibit testosterone by 30%. Do I have your attention? If you’re not sleeping eight uninterrupted hours in a cool dark room, you’re getting sub-optimal sleep. That leaves you significantly compromised. And, no.. you aren’t special and just “do well on four hours”. As odd as it may sound, if you want to get strong you’ll need to sleep better than the next guy or gal.
Weight Training. There’s an important hormone response available to you under heavy loads. This can’t be weightlifting choreography, however. The load must be relatively heavy. No, not heavy for strong people, heavy for you. Still afraid of the barbell? Extremely heavy sled pushes make “heavy” available to all!
Breath. In the era of the grind, you either need strategies to cope with daily stress or suffer the low testosterone consequences. To understand the 10,000 foot view of stress, you’ll need to understand two basic “states”. First, there’s the parasympathetic state known as a low stress recovery state responsible for rest and digestion. The second is the sympathetic state which fuels our ability to fight, flee, hunt, and have sex. With artificial light, low level chronic stress, and endless external stimulus, we are all tasked with increasing the parasympathetic state in our lives. You can imagine that during the hunt/sex/fight, you’ll be gasping for air (out of your mouth). We can convince the body to adopt a more parasympathetic state, then, by simply breathing through the nose. As a bonus, having a longer exhale than inhale is a sure fire way to shift towards a more parasympathetic tone, which can allow you the recovery you need to keep your hormones in check.
Control for these lifestyle factors before you let yourself think that healthy testosterone is about needles, people. Let’s make the upper end range the new normal for testosterone, shall we?
Find a Heavy Single in the Push Jerk…
Then, AMRAP 1
Max Push Jerks (50%)
Then, AMRAP 9
10 DB Front Squats (50/35)
10 DB Deadlifts