Time to stir the pot with today's blog post. Before you get your panties into a bundle, understand that everything is anecdotal, and only a hypothesis- but I think it's a damn good one!
*Low testosterone levels
The healthy adult range for a male*(ages for males might be helpful) is roughly between 250 – 900 ng/dL. Low T is classified as having levels under 250 ng/dl.
In Sept of 2013, I had a bet with my roommate to see who had higher Testosterone levels.
Similarities: Same age, we lifted weights three times a week, low stress levels, slept 7-8 hours a night, and according to doctors, we both “drank excessively” because we consumed more than five drinks per occasion, which is HOGWASH or maybe it's HOGWARTS, whatever! It's called growing up in Chico. Seriously, who came up with that number? My liver is calling you out, “you're soft!” (enter flexing arm emoji).
Differences: He was a little fluffier than I (5-8% more body fat), ate more red meat (I was an idiot and stuck to “lean fats”), and he was single.
Outcome: His T levels were 537 ng/dL, whereas mine were a measly 350 ng/dL (nanograms per decilitre); he won $50 bucks. My levels were a smidge above Justin Biebers, or most LA guys. How could this be? I felt fine. My energy levels and sex drive were normal- I still wanted to do the naughty daily (at least). Something wasn't adding up. What could be the separating factors? Genetics? Red meat? Those are possibilities, but I'm going to point the finger at the ball and chain; he was single, and I was in a relationship. DAMMIT (enter red faced emoji).
High testosterone levels
July 25th, 2015, I went in for my quarterly check-in to see how my blood lipids, CRP (inflammatory markers), testosterone, and make sure I didn't have gonosyphiltierpesaids. Lucky for me, everything came back positive, so that's good right? Wait a second, that's right, positive is bad, I mean negative, yes, negative. Much to my surprise, my T levels had almost doubled- 667 ng/dl. What the hell have I been doing? Seeing these levels made me reflect and analyze. Here's the differences between the two years, and what I'm calling THE TESTOSTERONE BUILDING LIST. In order for you to increase your T levels, the following suggestions are offered (but always check with your doctor before implementing any nutrition or exercise plan, and make sure your S.P.I.N.E. is in alignment first):
1. More eggs
2. More red meat
3. Less cardio
4. More leg workouts
5. Supplementing d aspartic acid
6. More vitamin D from sun exposure
7. Being single
Before I get into why I think my T levels increased, let's take a closer look at what has worked to increase your testosterone levels: Optimizing nutrients (cholesterol, zinc, vitamin D, and fish oil) decrease body fat, limiting alcohol consumption, HIIT & heavy weight lifting (85%+), low stress levels, and sleeping 7-8 hours.
Bay Area Chris vs Santa Monica Chris; what's the difference?
Ever since I moved to Southern California, I have switched to a diet higher in fat (specifically, more red meat, 2-3x / week, more eggs, coconut oil, and cheese.) I also supplement with ZMA (zinc and magnesium) before bed, and cycle d aspartic acid (two weeks on, two weeks off). D aspartic acid is a natural occurring amino acid that may increase T levels ONLY during the time of supplementation. *Let it be noted, that when I was tested, I was on a two week off cycle.
In the Bay Area, I did a more cardio, and in Santa Monica I do more sprints. My body fat percentage is 2-3% lower here in SM, and I'm getting more sun- 70's year around doesn't hurt. Here's the curve ball, when I was tested, I was sleeping six hours a night, and my alcohol consumption was probably at an all time high (Thanks Jimmy)! Beer is GREAT at lowering T levels, so why were my levels peaking? After the age of 30, males can expect roughly a 1% decline in T levels annually. Why the hell are mine raising like the first time I saw a boob (booiiiinnnnnng)? Wait for it&. SINGLE LIFE! To juxtapose, when I lost my gonads, my T levels decreased. Since then, I've been going out more, dating, and having fun with no obligations to check-in – my inner animal wanted to conquer the world! My sex drive has been off the charts – the Promenade during the summer is like a strip club and it's FREE! additionally, my goals to grow and expand personally and professionally have never been higher.
Relationships tame the inner caveman
In the movie The Breakup, Vince Vaughn (who we partied with at our favorite bar The Bungalow) breaks up with his longtime girlfriend played by Jennifer Anniston. He and his brother go out for some drinks and gets called out for being too soft; he's forgotten how to hunt. When you're in a relationship, the inner hunter begins to fade. Physiologically, once you're off the market, the fire to find a partner is gone – you become comfortable, settle, and your balls basically fall off. Your drive to hunt and conquer dies, and with it, so does your Testosterone.
But Chris, I don't want my balls to fall off to be placed in my GF / wive's purse.
Now before I get lambasted by my new lady friend, I want to make it clear that this is purely observational. For the record, let's say I'm drunk so I can blame it on the booze. If you don't want your T levels to drop while in a relationship, you need to find something to keep you motivated. Start a foundation to help others (next on my laundry list of To Do's). Join a competitive sports league. Enroll in classes at the local junior college. When your drive is halted, with it goes your Testosterone. Men need challenges, without them, our inner caveman begins to die.
In conclusion, I do find it interesting that my T levels have nearly doubled in two years. I eat more red meat, eggs, am in better shape, lift legs 2-3x a week, get more sun, and overall, am happier. As with our obesity epidemic, it's hard to pin point what may be the overall contributing factors.
My piece of advice, If you're looking to increase your testosterone levels, start by implementing 1-6 on THE TESTOSTERONE BUILDING LIST. If that doesn't work, dump your nag of a GF / BF and give the single life a try! Kidding, remember, I've been drinking.