Four days after taking this photo, I had testosterone on par with a man in his 60’s, not the 29 years I had under my belt.
Sure, I was on the heels of a fat loss cut, training hard and pushing myself to the limit at work…
But blaming any of those points for how I was feeling and performing was a mug’s game.
I was constantly lethargic and run down.
The focus and ambition that powered me to grow two businesses in my 20’s flickered like a dollar store candle.
My mojo was gone.
I’ve had firsthand experience and can tell you this: Low testosterone is no joke.
You can be doing everything “right” as it comes to training and nutrition, but if your chemical make-up, aka hormone levels are jacked up, you’re going to struggle to build muscle, lose fat, and stay motivated.
Men with lower testosterone have higher levels of anxiety, depression, and suicide.
Men with lower testosterone have a higher risk of dying from all causes, based on a 4-year study with 12,000 men.
Put simply, if your hormones are out of whack, you need to get them back in order to look great naked and optimize your body and your mind.
Luckily, I’ve been able to get them, and keep them back on track after learning an important lesson:
Fitness must improve your life, not consume it.
If done correctly, having a strong, muscular, and healthy body can be a force multiplier to help you become more successful in every facet of life from health and wellness to business and personal development.
You’ll have the energy to push through difficult days and succeed at work.
You’ll have the confidence to take control of the room and leave an impact.
But none of this happens without taking control of your health and wellness. Here are some lesser-known (or ignored) keys to look great naked without living in the gym. Heck, I’m no doctor, but each of these *may* help you get your hormones back on track, accelerating the process.
For years I ignored what I knew to be true: getting enough sleep is the most crucial component of hormone health.
Studies have shown even moderate sleep deprivation — like getting just 5-6 hours per night as I did for a decade – -can decrease testosterone production to that of a man 15 years your senior in only a week. Compounded over time, you’ll become a fraction of the man you could be.
Sleep deprivation goes hand in hand with poor dietary choices, less discipline, decreased cognitive function and increased inflammation and cortisol. Getting more sleep is the simplest thing you can do to improve every component of your health.
Sleeping eight hours per night is the most important, non-negotiable way to optimize hormone levels, improve recovery, and boost cognitive function.
Reduce Endocrine Disruptors
There is mounting evidence to suggest synthetic chemicals and environmental toxins mimicking estrogen cause a cascade of health issues from increased illness and cancer to low testosterone.
You can’t be bubble boy, but you can make changes to reduce your exposure.
- Avoid cooking with Teflon pans
- Eat organic veggies, grass-fed meat, and wild-caught fish whenever possible.
- Avoid using and especially heating styrofoam and plastic
- Use natural soaps, detergents, and products. I use Every Man Jack
All stress acts on the same system, causing a spike in the stress hormone cortisol, which works in the opposition of testosterone.
Getting cut off in traffic, comparing yourself on social media, and an argument with your spouse all trigger the same kind of hormonal response as running from a saber tooth tiger.
In other words, high stress = high cortisol. Chronically high cortisol = low testosterone.
Given we’re all more stressed than ever, you need to destress daily.
- Mediate, even for 2-3 minutes per day: I use HeadSpace
- Use a gratitude journal
- Go for walks in nature
- Get natural sunlight (and supplement with vitamin D-3)
- Avoid negative people (and umm…the sensationalist panic-inducing news)
- Laugh more. I catch Joe Rogan or Bill Burr every day for some politically incorrect humor and gut-ripping laughter.
Stop Crash Dieting
If you’re like most people struggling to lose weight and build muscle, you’ve tried some form of aggressive dieting. Sure, this works in the short-term, but chronic aggressive dieting wreaks havoc on your body, especially when you misapply a “short term” cut into a long-term lifestyle.
Cortisol increases to keep you “wired” and aware but decreases testosterone.
Over time, hormone production slows down from a sprint to a crawl, leaving you weak, lethargic, and unmotivated.
If hormone levels get too low, you’ll end up eating less while still gaining fat and getting weak. This is also known a hell.
While being lean is important for long-term hormonal and health, proceed carefully. I’d reckon 60-70% of the men and women I work with have some form of significant hormone dysfunction. It often takes months to get back on track.
A better solution than crash diets? Having a practical, proven, and customized plan to improve your life, not consume it, and the guidance to steer clear of the B.S. polluting the fitness industry.
Do Shorter Workouts
Your workouts should improve, not consume, your life.
I don’t say that because it’s catchy. I say it because taking every set to failure and pounding yourself into the ground with crazy workouts does more harm than good.
A better option?
Fortunately, after making some changes to my diet and training around these principles I was able to come out of the fat-loss cut and get my hormone levels back to normal. But many people diet and never pull out of the tailspin.
Fortunately, that doesn’t have to be you. The best course of action is to follow the coaching program designed specifically to help you build muscle, lose fat, and do so without living in the gym.
Grab your copy of Minimalist Muscle today.