7 Steps to Bring Out the MAN Within
The rising interest in male physique improvement demands an intelligent approach to testosterone production
Fitness Column by Matt Kay Photography by Andy Barnham
Men are caring more about their bodies than ever before.
We have seen a dramatic increase in men making enquiries to join our studios. They are not enquiring to ‘get a bit fitter’, the modern man is much more specific. More and more males want to get strong, more muscular and athletic.
I guess this could be due to the rising pressure from social media or improvements in education and interest in developing a strong male physique… Whatever is the reason, it has caught our attention.
As a consequence we now have a specific line of male focused conditioning programmes within our studios called ALPHA. I have spent the last 18 months studying and visiting strength and conditioning experts to better understand what the modern man is looking for and how to achieve the best physique in the quickest, most efficient way.
Just last week I took a trip to meet one of Britain’s strongest men. In fact he is the current British record holder for the bench press; a chap called Chris Baker. I hired him for an afternoon to teach me everything he knows about getting strong.
Other than talking about technique, exercise selection, training methods and a whole host of other things that fascinate me but would send most people to sleep, we fairly quickly got to the topic of natural testosterone boosting aids.
As you will know testosterone is the male sex hormone that is critical for a host of health benefits, one of which being a males ability to put on muscle and lose fat. In a nutshell testosterone is one of the key hormones that helps men achieve a strong, lean physique.
So how can we males ensure that we are maximizing our natural levels of testosterone?
Here are 7 strategies that will help you produce more testosterone to bring out the alpha within.
- Lift weights and do explosive training
Strength training induces testosterone release, regardless of age (Journal of Mechanisms of Ageing and Development). The rise in testosterone in those that are new to strength training is even more dramatic. However, the strength movements you choose can make a big difference to the amount of testosterone you produce. It is important to always perform multi joint movements like deadlifts, back squats, pull ups, military press and bench press. Our favourite form of explosive training for testosterone production is sprint training and short form HIT workouts that involve strongman movements like prowlers, battle ropes, farmer caries, tyre flips etc, all of which will lead to higher levels of testosterone production.
2. Eat clean
This term is so often used and abused. We refer to eating clean or ‘eating legal’ as we say at FITISM as eating from natural sources and balancing your meals to a ratio of 40 per cent carbohydrates, 40 per cent proteins and 20 per cent fats. However, when looking to boost testosterone you want to increase that fat percentage by 10-15 per cent and reduce that carbohydrate percentage by 10-15 per cent. Fats help to make hormones in your body and a study in the Journal of Steroid Biochemistry found low fat diets lead to lower testosterone levels in men. When increasing fat and reducing carbohydrates make sure you do not reduce the amount of fruit and vegetables you consume. The vitamins and minerals found in fruit and vegetables support the body’s ability to use testosterone to grow muscle and drop body fat.
Getting enough sleep is essential for your natural production of testosterone. Technically speaking your sleep-wake cycle is called your circadian rhythm. Your circadian rhythm is affected by many factors including food, water intake, stress levels, exercise timing etc. Many research papers including a paper published in 2012 in the Journal of PsychoneuroEndocrinology shows that sleep quality is directly linked to higher testosterone levels. Here are some tips to get a better testosterone boosting night’s sleep:
- Avoid caffeine, alcohol and other stimulants
- Fit blackout curtains
- Turn all electrical devices off at the plug/remove them altogether from the bedroom
- Have a technology detox from 7pm
- Sleep in a cool room – windows open
4. Do more of what you enjoy
For many years I have tried to help our clients overcome the monstrous epidemic that has taken over society; stress. However, it wasn’t until recently that a strength coach said something to me that really clicked. He said not to focus directly on stress and instead focus on what makes you happy. Yes, that does sound incredibly obvious but I think it’s a great way to approach stress reduction. The stress hormone cortisol, often referred to as the fat storing hormone, is incredibly toxic and has massive negative implications to testosterone production. So do things that make you happy and less of what does not.
Magnesium is one of the most depleted minerals in humans due to poor soil quality yet it is essential for testosterone production. A study publish in 2011 (Biological Trace Element Research) found that athletes taking 750mg of magnesium daily for four weeks raised testosterone by 26 per cent from baseline. The best way to absorb magnesium is through a spray applied to your skin. Apply it to large areas like legs, stomach and back of arms in the evening and preferably after an Epson salt bath, which also contains high levels of magnesium.
Just like magnesium, zinc deficiency is prevalent pretty much throughout the world and is incredibly important for testosterone production as well as supporting other antioxidant processes for healthy cells throughout the body. A paper published in the Journal of Nutrition found that zinc supplementation in zinc-deficient (otherwise) normal elderly men for six months resulted in an increase in testosterone levels and in some cases doubled their level of testosterone.
- Have Sex
We haven’t really evolved much as a species for the last 10,000 years. For a healthy level of testosterone you need to satisfy some basic human needs and for a natural boost in testosterone having regular sex is one of the key needs of a healthy functioning male. It is a fairly simple message so I think that maybe enough said about that particular topic!
In summary, to create a lean, strong male physique in the most efficient way possible do not look to protein shakes and performance supplements before solidifying the fundamentals. 90 per cent of your testosterone production and changes to your physique will be achieved by following these seven steps.
FITISM run 28 day ALPHA courses to help males take this to the next level. Our next ALPHA (ALPHA16.2) course is starting November 2016. If you live in or around the Bakewell (Derbyshire) area and you are ready to bring out the ALPHA within, get in touch.
Enquiries: FITISM K7&K8, Riverside Business Park, Bakewell, Derbyshire, DE45 1GS / 01629 814803 / email@example.com / www.fitism.co.uk/
Matt is a BSc (Hons) exercise and health science graduate, ex British athlete and founding owner of www.FITISM.co.uk. Matt and his team of Trainers and Nutritionists work with hundreds of people every week throughout his FITISM studios to make body transformation possible. He is a big fan of taking the complexity out of nutrition and exercise by deconstructing the science to offer highly effective yet simple strategies and tactics to have the biggest impact on body shape in the shortest amount of time.