5 Testosterone killing habits that are lowering your hormone

Habits are very important because we are what we do most of the time.

The thing is this, there are no magical remedies to increase your testosterone. Everything is a process determined by what you do most of the time.

If you have healthy habits, a binge weekend of pizza and beer won’t do anything in the long term and won’t mess everything up. On the other side, if you have poor habits and make bad choices every day, that magical pill that promises to melt your fat or increase your testosterone won’t save you, because (if it works at all) it will be a drop in a sea of lousy decisions. It won’t make a difference.

So, as the testosterone book states, this is a matter of lifestyle, not isolated maneuvers and tricks. And many times, if you want to run faster, the most intelligent thing to do first is dropping that bag of rocks that you carry. That is, ditch the bad habits first.

When I was a college student I had the poorest diet as my belly showed. When I tried to lose some weight, the best move was just don’t buying more snacks and sodas. I did not even try to buy more vegetables and the like, just cut the worst offenders. And it worked, if I don’t have temptations around, I just don’t eat them. Letting go that metaphorical bag of rocks that I carried with me every day started to make all the difference.

I lost pounds fast, without even trying. So, in order to increase testosterone, before taking active measures, the first clever thing to do is ditching our worst habits. Stop these five first and you will see an automatic improvement.

So, without further delay, let’s see the worst offenders, the things that you must stop right now in order to increase your testosterone naturally before doing anything else.

1. Sleeping too little

I know how it is, because I’m a victim too, you work a lot, you go to bed too late and wake up too soon. On top of that, we try to “relax” staring at stupid videos on Youtube on our phones or tablets just before we turn off the lights.

Well, with all those things we are hitting our testosterone between the legs, badly.

It’s a well-proven fact that staring at screens alters our sleeping patterns. The blue light that they emit messes with our production of melatonin and that means poor sleep and restless nights.

That alone will lower our testosterone because we must remember that most of our testosterone is manufactured at night. Besides that, sleeping is paramount to put stress into check.

If we don’t sleep well, the next day our cortisol levels (the stress hormone) will rise significantly as we saw in the testosterone book. In fact, those levels can increase between 37% (partial sleep deprivation) and 45% (total deprivation).

As some athletes know, sleeping is an anabolic activity.

When we have restful nights, our hormone production is fine-tuned, testosterone is high and, in fact, if you sleep well, you will get fitter and thinner or, better said, if you sleep badly, you will get fatter because the balance between hormones will be messed up and you won’t torch fat as you should be if you were getting all the hours of sleep that you need.

Getting fat is a big no-no if we want as much testosterone as we can possibly produce, in fact, as we will see, eating too much is another habit that lowers testosterone.

2. Sitting all day

I know this is easier said than done because many of us have sedentary jobs (I sit too much indeed) but the reality is this: we are made to move and when we sit all day, very nasty things happen.

Some interest about the dangers of sitting is surfacing now, it turns out that it’s really bad on several fronts, but for what matter most to us: being physically inactive lowers your testosterone.

In this 2014 study [1] they enrolled 30 sedentary young men in a 12-week exercise program. What did they found? That testosterone levels rose in addition to other very good things like better bone density, weight loss, more fertility, heart health and sexual prowess.

No, really, you must move and you must make a daily habit of it. So get up from your chair, join a gym and walk every day, your testosterone will thank you.

3. Eating too much

I quote endocrinologist Frances Hayes, MD: “Waist size has a much bigger impact on testosterone than aging”.

Do I need to say more? Although we can not stop getting old, we can lose weight. In the testosterone book, we saw that the diameter of your gut is inversely correlated with your testosterone levels. [2] and [3]

Visceral fat, that fat that stays stored between your important organs and make your gut a hard round sphere, is the worst offender. Love handles are not helping either, but they are even preferable.

Now, there are a lot of diets and theories about why we get fat in the first place, but they tend to run around the main issue. You can not break physical laws, so if you eat more energy (calories) than you spend (burn) you will get fat, period. Eating too much is the primary driver of getting fat. Besides that, processed food tend to be nutritionally poor (full of sugar and nasty fats, devoid of good fats and important micronutrients) and full of calories.

4. Eating too little

On the other end of the spectrum there are the eternal dieters, always caloric restricted, always struggling and eating low fat, fake, nutritionally poor food also. And it tastes like crap because it’s basically crap.

It seems like a given, but balance is key. If you are chronically underfed and caloric restricted, you will wreak havoc in your hormones. Cortisol will be chronically elevated, suppressing testosterone, for example.

Testosterone, on the other hand, has a reproductive role (among many others, like creating muscle and melting fat) and, let’s face it, reproductive capacity is not vital to living another day, like breathing or moving your heart.

So, if you eat very little for long periods of time, your body will think there is some kind of food shortage out there, so better if he saves resources, starting with your testosterone because it’s not vital to short term surviving and, until a more benign time with more food around, better if we don’t breed some new children.

Chronical dieters tend to suffer, in time, of slow metabolism. Our bodies try to cope with so little food all the time, and they slow things in order to preserve energy. Don’t become one of those, diets just don’t work, they are not sustainable. You have to eat healthy whole food in enough quantity, keeping a caloric balance if you reached a good weight.

5. Not finding time to disconnect and relax

It’s not only about sleep, stress can plummet your testosterone on his own as well.

If you are always anxious and stressed, cortisol (remember, the stress hormone) is chronically elevated, and, as we saw in the testosterone book, cortisol and testosterone tend to be antagonistic hormones.

If one is elevated, the other tends to be suppressed. In times of need and stress, like in times of apparent food shortage (remember not to be a constant caloric-restricted dieter), our body thinks again that there is no room for reproduction and the precious resources must be used to that constant fight or flight response in what we live when we are stressed.

Play, disconnect, have hobbies and don’t take life so seriously, as the adage says: you are not going to get out of it alive.

Studies referenced

[1] Effect of short-term physical exercise on serum total testosterone levels in young adults. Devi S, Saxena J, Rastogi D, Goel A, Saha S.

[2] Obesity-Related Hormones and Metabolic Risk Factors: A Randomized Trial of Diet plus Either Strength or Aerobic Training versus Diet Alone in Overweight Participants. Geliebter, Ochner, Dambkowski, Hashim.

[3] Age-associated changes in hypothalamic-pituitary-testicular function in middle-aged and older men are modified by weight change and lifestyle factors: longitudinal results from the European Male Ageing Study. Camacho EM1, Huhtaniemi IT, O’Neill TW, Finn JD, Pye SR, Lee DM, Tajar A, Bartfai G, Boonen S, Casanueva FF, Forti G, Giwercman A, Han TS, Kula K, Keevil B, Lean ME, Pendleton N, Punab M, Vanderschueren D, Wu FC; EMAS Group.