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Put Down the Cake, Lift Weights

By on August 11, 2013
Man Lifting Weights

Put down the cake, cookies, and fried food and pick up the weights fellas. Your diet and your level of physical activity does impact your testosterone levels. In men, testosterone helps create muscle bone density, bone mass and body hair. It is the hormone that helped some of us change our voice during puberty.

Your Diet

The concept of eating better can be as simple as sleeping better, but diet is probably the most difficult lifestyle change for most men. But this one change will make or break any or all of your other efforts regarding exercise and sleeping. Brothers, we need to do better. Part of doing better is knowing better.

For example, many years we’ve been told that a low-fat diet is the optimal diet for men. But in the last 10 years or so we’ve found that this is incorrect information.  A low-fat, high-fiber diet actually reduced free testosterone levels in middle-aged men. We now know that we need fat in our diet if we want optimal T production.

“Let me make myself clear, I’m not talking about the fat that you get in eating fried or processed foods. I’m talking about naturally occurring fats such as in avocados, nuts and animal-derived foods.”

The other way diet affects testosterone levels is through the hormone insulin. When your body is producing too much insulin, your body can’t produce an optimal amount of testosterone. And the best way to keep your body from producing too much insulin at one time (therefore helping promote the production of testosterone) is to keep your blood sugar levels stable and low. The best way to do that is to choose foods that have a low glycemic level. Basically, you want foods as natural as possible. No processed stuff, just basic fruits, vegetables and meats. Your goal is to keep your body from having insulin spikes, so you need to avoid any extreme eating and as always talk to a doctor or dietician for guidance.


Next, let’s look at how exercise can change your levels of T. There is a direct relationship between consistent exercise and testosterone production. Not all exercise is equal in terms of what it can do for your body; the best results come from highly focused, intense exercise, that is, lifting (heavy) weights and intense cardio training. The kind of exercise that only sadistic people like myself tend to do.

wessmurrayStudies have shown that exercising intensely increased the secretion of testosterone. They also discovered that even your rest intervals between your sets can have a direct impact on T production. One study found that a rest period ranging from 90 seconds to 120 seconds between heavy sets tended to produce the most amount of testosterone.

The bottom line is this. With more intense exercise, the production of testosterone in your body will rise. And by eating a diet with enough fat and low levels of processed foods, you can keep your insulin levels in check and thereby increase your T levels.


Wess Murray is a NASM certified trainer, a Wellness and Nutrition coach and master trainer based in New York City. He is the host of ‘The Essentially Fit Podcast Show’ on iTunes.


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  2. James Molet

    August 11, 2013 at 6:10 pm

    Two keys, diet an exercise, to being physically fit that cannot be stressed often enough. For me, avocados and edamame are two fairly recent additions to my diet.

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