Category Archives for "Testosterone"

depression man

The Cause of Your Low Testosterone Symptoms

Back in late 2018, a young man in his early 20s contacted me because he felt stressed, depressed, anxious, lacked motivation and suffered regular panic attacks. His libido was low, and he had to take cialis to feel any sexual desire at all.

In short, he was not in a good place. And he was convinced this was due to low testosterone:

He was desperate in a desperate state, so we did a consultation to see how best I could help him.

Before the consultation I asked him to send me any previous blood tests along with detailed breakdown of his current lifestyle.

Context is everything. You can’t truly help someone until you can see the full picture.

A Verdict of Low Testosterone?

His prior blood tests revealed that he had low testosterone. I don’t put a lot of stock in the total testosterone number alone. This is because symptoms are the most important factor when it comes to hormonal balance.

However, his total testosterone ranged from 400-500 ng/dL (13.9 nmol/L – 17.3 nmol/L). This is very low for a man in his early 20s.

He also had low gonadotropin levels – luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle stimulating hormone (FSH). Gonadotropins are hormones sent by the pituitary gland to the testes to produce testosterone.

This indicated that he likely had secondary hypogonadism. In secondary hypogonadism, the signal sent from the brain to the testes (via gonadotropin hormones) is weak. So because the testes don’t receive a strong signal, they fail to produce sufficient levels of testosterone.

In addition, he had low estradiol (a form of estrogen), which you would expect because his testosterone was so low. In men, estradiol is made predominantly from the conversion of testosterone. This process is known as aromatization. Essentially, the less testosterone you have, the less estrogen you produce.

Contrary to what many believe, estrogen is not a “female hormone.” Estrogen is crucial to male health and contributes to memory, mood, and libido among other things.

But that wasn’t all.

He also had elevated prolactin > 20 ng/mL (450 miu/L). Prolactin is another hormone produced in the pituitary gland. Elevated levels of prolactin can indicate a tumor in the pituitary gland, leads to the hypersecretion of prolactin.

High prolactin levels in men can also lead to erectile dysfunction, mood swings, low libido and even vision disturbances in some cases. However, his prolactin levels weren’t high enough to indicate a pituitary tumor (adenoma).

The Sickcare Solution

This young man was very exasperated. He had seen leading doctors, taken multiple blood tests, and even took an MRI scan.

His blood tests mostly “normal” (i.e. within range) and the MRI scans showed nothing wrong.

Yet he still felt like crap.

So due to his low testosterone symptoms and high prolactin levels, his doctor prescribed him clomid (a drug to elevate testosterone and maintain fertility) and cabergoline (a dopamine agonist) to bring prolactin down.

I’ve written extensively about clomid in my book Optimized Under 35. Research suggests clomid is a relatively safe and effective treatment option for hypogonadal men who want to elevate testosterone and maintain fertility.

One study looked at the effect of clomid treatment in young obese men with low testosterone aged 18-21. Eleven subjects were given 25mg of clomid every other day for three months.

Testosterone and gonadotropin hormones were measured before and after treatment. The average baseline testosterone levels were 233 ng/dL (8.1 nmol/L) and increased to 581 ng/dL (20.1 nmol/L) post treatment. Luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle stimulating hormone levels (FSH) also increased.

Studies also show that cabergoline is effective at reducing high prolactin levels. One study gave a single dose of 300 mcg of cabergoline to 15 patients with hyperprolactinoma (i.e. a pituitary tumor). Prolactin levels were taken several hours before treatment and up to seven days after.

cabergoline

The authors of the study noted a significant reduction in serum prolactin levels; ranging from 49.2-55.2%. This occurred quickly – within two-five days of treatment.

These medications are clearly effective at treating low testosterone and high prolactin in men. Nevertheless, this young man wasn’t sure whether taking medication was the right thing for him.

Now, it’s not my place to advise on medications or give medical advise because I am not a doctor. However, I am a firm advocate of improving your health through diet and lifestyle changes.

The modern medical system is preoccupied with treating symptoms. I call this the Sickcare Solution. I believe we should aim to fix root causes instead.

I told him to be truly healthy and avoid long-term medication, he needed to find out what led to the low testosterone, high prolactin, and other symptoms.

So to investigate further, I needed to understand more about his lifestyle:

Sleep, diet, exercise, supplements – the whole shebang.

Living a Clean Lifestyle?

His symptoms of anxiety, depression, low motivation, low libido and lethargy are all linked with low testosterone. And his blood work showed that his testosterone was on the low end.

Nonetheless, that doesn’t necessarily mean he needed to undergo testosterone replacement therapy.

As a mentor of mine once told me:

“When you’re a hammer everything looks like a nail.”

This man was under a lot of stress running his business. He was under extreme pressure every day, and this was clearly taking its toll on his health.

stressed man

That’s not really extraordinary, because who among us doesn’t deal with stress?

Now apart from this, he lifted weights 2-3 times a week, meditated daily, drank minimal alcohol, and slept at least eight hours a night. Although in spite of sleeping a lot, he never felt well rested and frequently woke up in the night to urinate.

I also asked him to record everything he ate. It looked something like this:

Breakfast: Eggs, fresh green juice, and an espresso.

Snacks: Nuts, fruit, or a fresh juice.

Lunch: Vegetables, a form of protein such as chicken, and some cheese.
Mid-afternoon: Same as before or a protein shake.
Dinner: Salmon and salad or a healthy takeaway
He also typically drank a breakfast smoothie consisting of spinach, kale, MCT oil, protein powder, greek yoghurt, and coconut water.

On the surface, it appears as though he led a healthy lifestyle. His diet was low-carb, and included good protein sources and green vegetables.

But something was not adding up. And as we’ll see in a moment, his diet isn’t as great as it appears.

After he filled me in on his lifestyle, I asked him to get a comprehensive blood panel done. At first, he was reluctant, as he’d done so many tests already.

I understood his reticence. However, here’s what I told him:

The tests I do for my 1on1 coaching clients are NOTHING like a normal doctor’s test. Let’s take a closer look…

A Normal Range For Normal Health

Taking a blood test is great for one main reason:

It gives you a clear and objective assessment of your current state of health.

A typical blood test will have a reference range for each marker of health. So if you’re within that range,  then as far as modern medicine is concerned you’re normal!

Normal health

However nowadays, “normal” is a byword for mediocre or failing health. And for the most part, blood tests in this format are deeply flawed.

Reference ranges are often arbitrary, or conjured up based on population averages. They’re rarely, if ever age-adjusted, so everyone gets lumped into the same range.

For example, the reference range for total testosterone is taken from the entire population. That means a 25 year old man is comparing his testosterone levels to an 80 year old man.

Subsequently, if a 25 year old man has 300 ng/dL (10.4 nmol/L) of total testosterone (comparable to an 80 year old); he is considered normal. This is simply because his testosterone is within the “normal” reference range.

Furthermore, no distinction is made between normal and optimal levels of testosterone. Yet surely, we should all be striving for optimal when it comes to health? Nope!

When it comes to hormones, and health in general, average doesn’t come into it. We are all biochemically unique, and this requires a more tailored approach.

Sadly, it appears modern medicine is utterly obsessed with averages.

Optimal is the Only Option

The blood tests my clients take have multiple reference ranges. This includes:

  • Below standard
  • Below optimal
  • Optimal
  • Above optimal
  • Above standardVitamin D optimal range

The aim for my clients is to get the majority of their markers into the “optimal” range.

For context, the doctor’s range is from below standard to above standard. So, he’ll only be concerned if your result comes back outside of those.

That leaves a whole lot in between!

Moreover, many lab tests don’t test enough markers. As a result, they fail to give you a comprehensive and accurate picture of your overall health.

Seldom do I see tests for folic acid (vitamin B9), zinc, free T3 (a thyroid hormone), progesterone (a precursor to testosterone), or even inflammatory markers like homocysteine.

These markers such as these are critical to your health, yet they’re completely overlooked.

Finally, even though blood tests have reference ranges, the data is only useful when interpreted properly.  Typical lab tests offer no interpretation of the data, i.e. the trends and what it could mean in the future if you don’t address them.

For example, if your blood tests show a trend toward cardiovascular disease, you can take preemptive action to prevent it. Modern medicine is extremely reactive and has no interest in preventative care.

Not Just Low Testosterone…

When this young man’s blood test came back, it was immediately clear there was more to it than just low testosterone.

This is why I always want to know about a client’s lifestyle factors, such as sleep, diet, exercise, and stress levels. They can have a dramatic impact, not only on your testosterone levels, but the rest of your health.

The trends on his blood test showed not only sex hormone dysfunction (which we knew), but also immune, cardiovascular, and blood sugar issues.

Today, there is a lot on the internet about low testosterone. More and more men are starting to understand its critical role to their health. Indeed, part of what I do is to educate and bring awareness to this topic.

However, there is also a tendency to compartmentalize things. As a result, people jump to the conclusion that low testosterone automatically means you need to undergo testosterone replacement therapy.

The body does not compartmentalize though. Everything in your body is linked. So if one area of your health isn’t optimal, this has a knock on effect elsewhere.

In this man’s case, there’s no doubt his low testosterone was partly explained by his blood sugar regulation, thyroid and immune system issues.

The Hormone Panel

First, let’s take a look at his hormone panel. As with previous tests, his testosterone was on the low side. Most doctors would likely say his testosterone was “OK,” simply because he was within the reference range.

However, if you’re in your early 20s then you are in the prime of life. You should not have 542 ng/dL (18.8 nmol/L) of total testosterone. Even for an older man, this is still pretty average.

His progesterone was very low. Low progesterone is often a sign of underlying inflammation. We’ll see more of this trend shortly.

In addition, his DHEA-S levels were slightly low – suggesting adrenal stress. He didn’t drink that much coffee, but his day to day life business work was highly stressful. Decreased DHEA-S levels are associated with low sex drive and low mood.

low testosterone

 

All Roads Lead to Insulin Resistance

One major thing that stood on his test was his elevated glucose (blood sugar) and fasted insulin levels.

His levels are high given the test was done fasted first thing in the morning. This indicates he has poor blood sugar regulation. And for some reason, he’s not metabolizing carbohydrates effectively.

These are the first signs of insulin resistance and the road to type 2 diabetes. Indeed, studies indicate that low testosterone is associated with insulin resistance and an adverse lipid profile.

We’ll see later that his lipid profile (i.e. cholesterol markers) is not great. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that he had low testosterone, as cholesterol is a necessary precursor for testosterone production.

fasted glucose levels

fasted insulin

High blood sugar and insulin resistance is the genesis of many disease states. In addition to low testosterone and diabetes; it’s also associated with obesity and heart disease. Evidence even suggests that high blood glucose levels correlate with tumor malignancy in cancer patients.

Dehydration and Low Stomach Acid

The blood test also indicated his kidneys were under stress. Specifically, he had elevated urea levels.

When the body breaks down proteins, they turn into carbon dioxide, water, and ammonia. Ammonia is toxic to the body, so the body converts it into urea. This urea is then transported to the kidneys and excreted through urine.

This young man’s urea was on the high side. Urea can be elevated in the presence of high dietary protein intake. However, his protein intake was not dramatically high.

High urea can also be due to dehydration and low stomach acid. And given he had immune system issues; low stomach could have been a possibility

Stomach acid is vital to kill pathogens in foods. This stops you from getting bacterial infections and viruses. So if you have low stomach acid, this can compromise your immune system. Evidence suggests that up to 70% of our immune system is found in our gut – so this makes total sense.

He also had elevated hemoglobin, further demonstrating that he was likely dehydrated.

elevated hemoglobin

I also had reason to believe that he had digestive tract issues due to decreased globulin levels. Globulin are proteins in the blood that serve as the body’s antibody system.

Decreased globulin levels are associated with digestive system inflammation and immune deficiency.

total globulin

As part of his diet, he mentioned that he was taking protein shakes every day. Protein shakes can work well – but they aren’t for everyone. In some individuals it can lead to inflammation in the digestive tract. This is especially true if you’re lactose intolerant. This can cause bloating, stomach cramps, and diarrhea.

Vitamin Deficiencies

The report indicated he had low alkaline phosphatase (ALP). ALP is a group of enzymes found in bone, liver and the intestines. Decreased levels are associate with zinc deficiency.

zinc deficiency

Zinc contributes to numerous vital functions in the body. Zinc deficiency is associated with low testosterone, low sperm count and immune system dysfunction.

Low zinc levels can also lead to sugar cravings. This means more you’re more likely to binge on sugar and junk food. Therefore, zinc’s importance cannot be overstated.

As part of his metabolic panel, we also did a test known as the “anion gap.” Basically, the anion gap checks the level of acid in your blood. Elevated levels are associated with metabolic acidosis and thiamine (vitamin B1) deficiency.

Vitamin B1 is essential for glucose metabolism. Remember his glucose and fasting insulin levels? Among other things, thiamine deficiency may help explain why his glucose was high.

anion gap thiamine deficiency

We also discovered he was low in folic acid (vitamin B9). Folic acid deficiency can lead to fatigue, lethargy, and irritability. And guess what? He suffered from all these symptoms.

Now that’s not to say folic acid deficiency was solely responsible for how he was feeling. Nonetheless, it’s important to note it’s not just low testosterone that could contribute to the way he was feeling.

low folic acid

 

Cholesterol and Inflammatory Markers

Chronic inflammation is the underpinning of all disease. Although not all inflammation is bad. Acute inflammation is key to muscle growth, because it helps them grow back bigger and stronger.

This man’s lipid panel (cholesterol markers) and inflammatory markers pointed once again to high inflammation. Low testosterone is associated with high levels of inflammation.

When you’re inflamed, the last thing your body wants to do is produce testosterone.

His inflammatory markers showed elevated levels of c-reactive protein (CRP). Increased levels of CRP are associated with heart disease, diabetes, and stroke.

In addition, he also had high homocysteine levels. Homocysteine is an amino acid found in the blood. Elevated levels can increase the risk of heart disease, as it can damage the endothelial lining of the arteries.

High homocysteine is associated with vitamin B deficiency. And as we know in this case, he has multiple vitamin B deficiencies. Therefore, it’s no surprise that homocysteine is elevated.

high sensitivity c-reactive protein test

elevated homocysteine

The blood test showed he had low cholesterol. Low cholesterol is a strong indicator of inflammation and oxidative stress.

lipid panel

Decreased levels of HDL cholesterol are considered to be atherogenic, leading to the accumulation of fatty deposits in the arteries. This is the prelude to heart attack and stroke.

For most people, the elevation of LDL cholesterol, also known as “bad” cholesterol, is the issue. In this case however, LDL cholesterol is on the low side.Low LDL cholesterol is associated with anxiety and depression; two symptoms he also struggled with.

Due to a high saturated fat western style diet, many people have high levels of triglycerides. Interestingly, his triglycerides were on the low side. Triglycerides are a storage molecule for fat.

This points to a few possibilities. It could be the result of liver dysfunction, however his liver markers were good. It may also be the result of not enough dietary fat.

it appears he gets adequate levels of fat through his diet. The remaining alternative is guess what? Excess inflammation.

Inflammation is a recurrent theme with this gentleman. And if he doesn’t get it under control, it will lead to serious health problems.

Arguably, you could say he already has serious problems. But I contend this is just the tip of the iceberg. Remember, this guy is only in his early 20s!

Immune System Issues

The blood test pointed to issues with his immune system function. His monocytes and eosinophil levels were both elevated.

monocytes

eosinophils

Monocytes are a type of white blood cell. They act as the body’s second line of defense against infection. They also facilitate healing and repair. High levels of monocytes can point to the recovery phase of an infection.

For example, if you have the flu a few days prior to taking the blood test, then this may elevate monocytes. Alternatively, this could mean you have a chronic infection.

Eosinophils are another type of white blood cell. They fight disease and are typically elevated in the presence of a parasitic infection, allergies, or cancer.

It’s possible something in his diet is aggravating his gastrointestinal tract. He may have an allergy or sensitivity to the food he’s causing, which may require further testing.

But given he has elevated monocytes, eosinophils AND low white blood cells, it’s possible he has a parasitic infection.

Many people suffer from parasitic infections without knowing it. H.pylori is the most common type of bacterial infection, and can be tested for via a stool test.

In my book Optimized Under 35, I wrote about how parasites and infections can actually disrupt hormone production:

Research suggests that, in addition to fungal infections, parasites such as roundworm and tapeworm can cause endocrine disorders. Multiple animal studies have shown parasitic infection to affect sex hormone production (i.e., lower testosterone) and dramatically affect sexual behavior. Anecdotally, in humans it can cause fatigue, joint pain, and anxiety.

This individual would require further testing to determine whether he had a parasitic infection.

Most stool tests check for h.pylori only. However, there are a whole host of parasitic infections out there. So it’s better to spend money on getting a thorough test done to rule out other possibilities.

Oxalates Are No Bueno

Remember how I said earlier that his diet looked great but it really wasn’t? Well, he was taking in raw spinach every day from a green smoothie. Most people think this is a great idea, because green veggies right?

Actually, eating raw spinach is a bad idea because it’s full of oxalates. These are natural pesticides produced by plants to ward off pests. However, research suggests that oxalates can have a very negative effect on your health, which include:

  • Neurological issues, leading to sleep disruption and memory loss
  • Increased calcium excretion

To find out more on the hidden dangers of oxalates, I recommend you read this excellent article: Health Dangers of Oxalates.

According to nutrition and functional health expert Paul Burgess, eating spinach every day with its oxalate content could do considerable systemic damage. This is potentially what’s happening here.

Research suggests oxalates can also impair mitochondrial and monocyte function. As we saw above, he had elevated monocyte levels. It could be a parasitic infection, or it could be due to his oxalate intake.

Final Thoughts

We didn’t cover every single blood test marker here. Many of this man’s results were very good. However, he had multiple underlying issues.

He had low testosterone, but as you an see, low testosterone was the least of his problems. And it was likely a result of everything else going on in his body.

Taking a medication like clomid or testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) would not have fixed things for him. It would have only masked the underlying problems he had.

This is why I say TRT is only for those who need it.

Time and again, I’ve seen guys go on TRT, only to still struggle with fatigue and other symptoms that they had before it.

Instead of worrying about TRT, this man needed to spend time on reducing the inflammation in his body. His stress levels need to be managed better, because that’s clearly having a profound impact on his health.

Similarly, we would have to look into what causing his immune system issues.

He would also need to address his probable low stomach acid, which would lead to malabsorption of nutrients. Even if your diet is immaculate – ultimately you aren’t what you eat, but you are what you absorb.

Getting this man into a good place could take anywhere from 6-12 months – possibly more. We’d have to overhaul many aspects of his lifestyle, including his nutrition, exercise regime, and improve his sleep.

But 6-12 months of getting this right is far better than the alternative:

Lifelong medication.

Taking medication isn’t going to fix you if you don’t address what got you into that state in the first place.

In the end, he chose not to work together with me. I understand he was very busy at work – and that’s fine. Although I dread to think how his health is going to be in the near future unless he changes something.

If you can relate to this story and recognize many of the symptoms, get in contact with me about my 1on1 coaching. We can take you through a comprehensive blood test and find out what’s really going on inside your body.

References

Ferrari C, Barbieri C, Caldara R, Mucci M, Codecasa F, Paracchi A, Romano C, Boghen M, Dubini A.”Long-lasting prolactin-lowering effect of cabergoline, a new dopamine agonist, in hyperprolactinemic patients.” J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1986 Oct;63(4):941-5.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3745407

Sachin V. Bendre, Pamela J. Murray, and Shehzad Basaria. “Clomiphene Citrate Effectively Increases Testosterone in Obese, Young, Hypogonadal Men.Reprod Syst Sex Disord. 2015 Dec; 4(4): 155. Published online 2015 Nov 13. doi: 10.4172/2161-038X.1000155.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4734653/

Vakkat Muraleedharan and T. Hugh Jones. “Testosterone and the metabolic syndrome.” Ther Adv Endocrinol Metab. 2010 Oct; 1(5): 207–223. doi: 10.1177/2042018810390258.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3474619/

Ge Cui, Ting Zhang, Fan Ren, Wen-Ming Feng, Yunliang Yao, Jie Cui,Guo-Liang Zhu, and Qi-Lin Shi. “High Blood Glucose Levels Correlate with Tumor Malignancy in Colorectal Cancer Patients.Med Sci Monit. 2015; 21: 3825–3833. Published online 2015 Dec 8. doi: 10.12659/MSM.894783.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4677694/

Patel M, Yarlagadda V, Adedoyin O, Saini V, Assimos DG, Holmes RP, Mitchell T. “Oxalate induces mitochondrial dysfunction and disrupts redox homeostasis in a human monocyte derived cell line.Redox Biol. 2018 May;15:207-215. doi: 10.1016/j.redox.2017.12.003. Epub 2017 Dec 15.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29272854

 

 

 

 

 

how to tell if you have ow testosterone

How to Tell If You Have Low Testosterone

how to tell if you have ow testosterone

How to Tell If You Have Low Testosterone

With the advent of the internet, people are becoming increasingly conscious about their health. And one topic in particular that has become popular among men is testosterone.

In the past, the word “testosterone” was stigmatized. This was because the media ran a long campaign demonizing testosterone, claiming it was the devil incarnate.

However, many now recognize the importance of testosterone to male health. Testosterone improves mood, immune system function, blood sugar regulation and brain function to name a few.

Therefore, it’s safe to say that when you have low testosterone, you won’t be at your best. But how can you tell if you have low testosterone?

In this article, I cover the main signs and symptoms of low testosterone, plus what you can do about it if you do have them.

Brain Fog

One hallmark symptom of low testosterone is brain fog – also known as mental fatigue. It appears brain fog isn’t necessarily a condition in itself, but rather a symptom of an underlying condition.

In this case, low testosterone.

Brain fog means you struggle to focus and concentrate for sustained periods of time. You may also have memory problems, and an inability to think clearly.

When I suffered from low testosterone in my 20s, I was persistently dogged by brain fog. I was working in investment banking at the time, and I needed to be at my desk every day by 8AM – sometimes earlier.

I recall that when I arrived at my desk it took me several hours to concentrate fully. Regardless of how much I slept, I struggled to feel alert alert first thing in the morning.

I had to chug down more than one cup of coffee to feel anywhere near “normal.”

It’s hard to describe exactly how brain fog feels. All I can say is that my brain felt like a kind spaghetti soup. Thoughts and ideas were in there, but it was like I couldn’t pick them out.

If my mind was a vault, then I was locked out with no access codes.

brain fog low testosterone

Suffice to say that my creative energy was sapped.

Around this time I also began to write. And as with any endeavor, in the beginning you are always going to suck.

That being said, whenever I sat down to write, I struggled to organize my thoughts in a coherent way. As a result, it often took days on end just to write a single blog post.

After this experience, I’m convinced “writer’s block” has more to do with physiological imbalances, rather than mental hurdles.

Fatigue and Low Energy

Feeling low energy and fatigued are also signs of low testosterone. And when you feel this way, sometimes all you want to is lie on the couch.

Even basic things like reading a book or going for a walk can be a major effort. Therefore, the prospect of doing something like going to a restaurant or the gym can feel overwhelming.

This fatigue can affect your life in a number of ways.

First, it can affect your performance at work – because you no longer have the energy to see things through. As a result, you may find yourself going from one thing to the next; unable to finish projects.

low testosterone low energy

Second, it can have a negative impact on your relationship with your partner. Simply because you don’t feel like doing anything! No self-respecting woman wants to be with a miserable, listless man.

Finally, it robs you of the enjoyment of life. When you have no energy, you quickly realize how many things in life require it.

But aside from this, low energy makes you feel like shit and a passenger in your own life.

Fatigue and Low Energy

Emotional imbalance is another symptom of low testosterone. Obviously, as men we have our own emotions and feelings to deal with as do women. However, we tend to express them in a different manner. Or as is often the case, don’t express them at all.

Is this down to societal conditioning or simply part of being a man? I would say a bit of both. That being said, men are meant to be able to keep their emotions in check. Indeed, there is a fine line between mastering your emotions and suppressing them.

But that’s a topic for another day…

Until you’ve been on both sides of the fence, you don’t realize how dramatically low testosterone can affect your emotional state.

Low testosterone can make you feel extremely emotionally imbalanced. And it can lead to mood swings and depression.

When I went through the misery of low T, I was snappy and irritable. My moods were sombre and I struggled to see the positive side of things.

depressed man

Trying to remain positive was akin to climbing a mountain every day.

Nonetheless, it’s not just lack of testosterone itself that leads to emotional imbalance.

Estrogen, another sex hormone, is as important as testosterone when it comes to emotional balance. Men produce estrogen through the conversion of testosterone via the aromatase enzyme – a process known as aromatization.

Therefore, often in men low testosterone levels will lead to low estrogen. And this can exasperate the emotional imbalance many men feel with low testosterone.

Research underlines the importance of estrogen, suggesting it mediates the mood-enhancing effects of testosterone. One interesting study looked at the anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) and antidepressant-like effects of exogenous testosterone and estrogen on castrated male rats.

The authors of the study found when testosterone was administered alone and estrogen was inhibited, this also blocked protective effects of testosterone. But when estrogen isn’t blocked, it promotes the mood-enhancing and well-being effects of testosterone.

Indecision and Hesitancy

Studies show that low testosterone levels are associated with reduced cognitive abilities. Cognitive abilities include judgement, decision-making, evaluation and memory.

And multiple research papers show men with low serum testosterone levels perform below normal on verbal fluency, spatial awareness and memory. I discuss this topic at length in my book Optimized Under 35.

In many men, low testosterone leads to indecision and hesitancy. But you don’t need a scientific study to verify this one.

The average man today struggles to make a firm decision on virtually anything. Instead of drawing a line in the sand, he is wishy washy.

He prefers to sit on the fence, afraid to polarize opinion or to “offend” people. So he takes the easy way out and opts to make no decision.

Most men struggle to decide what to have for lunch. So getting them to make life-changing decisions is impossible.

I see this first hand with men who ask me for advice on improving their testosterone levels. They may even contact me about my coaching.

At which point, we’ll have a discussion about their lifestyle and nutrition habits. Often, I recommend that if they want to raise their testosterone and get their life back, then they’ll need to make big changes to their lives.

Many will go away to “think about it,” knowing all they won’t do anything about it. And unwittingly, due to their low testosterone, they live in a state of perpetual hesitancy.

As a result, they struggle to make decisions that really matter. A year later I’ll speak to them again, and discover they’re still in the same place.

In the end, these men rarely, if ever, address it, because of their indecision.

Now, this is not to say low testosterone renders you unable to make a decision. Because often guys with low T do make positive changes to lies.

This may mean undergoing testosterone replacement therapy, or reducing stress and improving sleep to boost their testosterone levels.

In my experience, if you are prone to indecision and hesitancy to begin with, low testosterone will only exacerbate it.

Anxiety

Anxiety is a further symptom of low testosterone. From what I’ve seen, most men with low testosterone suffer with anxiety to some extent.

Prior to testosterone replacement therapy, I used to suffer badly with anxiety. I would obsess endlessly over the most trivial things – sometimes for days and weeks on end.

My stomach would be in knots and I would struggle to sleep because I was so anxious.

Now, the anxiety may occasionally subside, but it would always be there lurking in the background.

anxiety

It even got the point where I had full-blown panic attacks. My breathing became shallow, my airwaves constricted, I felt dizzy and my chest tightened.

On more than one occasion I went to the hospital. It seems silly in hindsight, but at the time I was genuinely worried.

They did x-rays and all sorts, but they would NEVER find anything wrong with me.

This would reassure me for a while, only to through the same process a few weeks later.

Ultimately, I went to see a therapist about my anxiety, which helped a lot. It helped get the panic attacks under control, but the anxiety never really went away.

In addition, I had regular heart palpitations. It was a strange sensation; and to be honest, it freaked me out. So much so that I went to a doctor to get an electrocardiogram (ECG) test done to check my heart was OK.

It was fine, of course, but these regular heart palpitations were really debilitating. I’m positive the palpitations were due to low testosterone.

And after I underwent testosterone replacement therapy, the palpitations disappeared altogether – along with the anxiety itself!

Low Libido

Having a low libido or poor sex drive is also a sign of low testosterone.

Once more, I can verify from first hand experience that low testosterone really does affect your sex drive.

You can go weeks without feeling any sort of sexual desire. It makes you feel like a shadow of yourself; especially if you had a strong sex drive in the past.

And on the rare occasion you do have a libido, the sex is not enjoyable. It’s almost to the point where sex feels like a chore, because it drains what little energy you do have.

I’ve consulted with hundreds of men with low testosterone, and many went through the same experience I did with low libido.

Studies show a correlation between testosterone levels and sexual desire. One study looked at the relationship between libido and testosterone levels in aging men. In total, 1632 men aged 40-70 years participated, with follow-ups at 9 and 15 years after the study.

The researchers found there was a significant association between testosterone levels and libido. Subjects that reported low libido had an “increased, but modest” possibility that they would also suffer from low T.

Erectile Problems

Aside from the fact low testosterone results in low libido, it can also lead to erectile dysfunction. Testosterone isn’t responsible for creating erections, but it has a direct effect on nitric oxide synthesis in the brain – a necessary precursor to erections.

Now, you may be able to get erections when you have low testosterone. However, it’s unlikely the erections will be firm. This can make for disappointing sexual encounters and unsatisfying intimacy with your partner.

One study looked at how testosterone levels alter erectile function in 47 castrated male rats. The authors of the study concluded that erectile function is dependent on testosterone levels, and mediated via nitric oxide.

As a side note, from research there appears to be a correlation between erectile dysfunction and cardiovascular risk. In other words, if you struggle to get a boner, that could be an early indicator of heart disease.

The Massachusetts Male Aging Study was a random sample observational study that included 1290 men aged 40-70 years old. The researchers took blood samples, psychological indexes, medication details and other information about participants’ health. Overall, they found diabetes and heart disease to be strong indicators for erectile dysfunction.

I don’t think erectile dysfunction is always an indicator of heart disease among low testosterone men, especially young men. However, it could indicate that not only do you have hormonal imbalance, but you also have poor circulation.

Therefore, in addition to investigating the possibility of low testosterone, it’s worth taking steps to improve your lifestyle. That means eating a better diet and doing more exercise to promote blood circulation.

Increased Body Fat and Low Muscle Mass
Another common symptom in men with low testosterone is an increased body fat and low muscle mass.

It’s like a double whammy.

Before I was diagnosed with low testosterone, I trained like a demon in the gym. I really wanted to get stronger, so I spent a lot of time squatting and deadlifting.

And at one point I was even squatting three times a week! Yet, for all my hard work and effort, I saw meager results.

Now, I didn’t have low muscle mass per se. But I simply couldn’t gain any muscle mass no matter what!

But I couldn’t figure out why. I concluded that I had maxed out my “genetic potential” at the ripe old age of 28. I

I also had a layer of belly fat that I couldn’t get rid. This was in spite of how much I dieted or how much cardio I did.

You only have to look at my picture below to get an idea. The picture on the left was me just before I started testosterone replacement therapy. I was nervous AS HELL (and it shows on my face)!

The picture on the right is me six months later. My body composition has changed dramatically; I have more muscle mass and less body fat.

But here’s the thing. I didn’t drastically change the way I trained, dieted, or how I lived my life. The difference? Optimal testosterone levels.

If you have low testosterone, a hardcore workout can leave you beat for DAYS. Whereas once you optimize your testosterone levels, it’s amazing how quickly you can recover from a brutal workout.

before and after trt

Furthermore, ever notice how elderly people tend to have low muscle mass (also known as sarcopenia)?

Not only do they fail to do any kind of resistance training to retain muscle mass, but they also have low testosterone levels. That means any muscle mass they do have gradually disappears.

And guess what? Low muscle mass and high levels of body fat are strongly associated with all cause mortality.

The Only Way to Tell If You Have Low Testosterone

So aside from the symptoms we discussed above, how can you tell if you have low testosterone?

In truth, the only way to tell if you have low testosterone is to take a blood test.

The main benefit of taking a blood test is that it never lies. By comparison, saliva test kits are not as accurate as blood test, and may provide false readings from food or drink.

Your blood work is a snapshot at any given time into the state of your health. However, hormones can fluctuate depending on stress levels, the time of day, how much you slept and other factors.

Therefore, at any given time you may get a varied reading on your blood test. That’s why it’s worth getting regular blood tests to get a benchmark of your health.

As a minimum, I recommend you take a blood test with the following markers:

  • Serum or total testosterone – this is the total amount of testosterone in your blood. In most labs, the reference range is typically between 250-1000 ng/dL (8.7-34.7 nmol/L).
  • Free testosterone – this is the bioavailable testosterone in your blood that is available for your body to use. This is typically between 2-4%.
  • SHBG – Sex hormone binding globulin or SHBG is a carrier protein responsible for controlling levels of sex hormones in the blood – hence the name. It's important to measure because it can directly affect your free testosterone levels.
  • Estradiol – Estradiol is a form of estrogen and is the main estrogen found in the male body. As mentioned earlier, estrogen is key to male health, so it’s a good idea to understand where your level is at.

If you’re in the UK, I recommend you take the Male Hormone Check. The test includes all of the above markers and is very reasonably priced.

In addition, as a patient you get a cool online dashboard with a breakdown of your test and what it all means. Use the discount code OPTIMIZE10 at checkout to get a 10% discount!

The Results

If your serum or total testosterone is below the reference range above, then you are classed as hypogonadal. However, in recent times doctors have become fixated on treating patients based on lab tests only.

This means that even if you have the symptoms of low testosterone

But your blood results are within the reference range, you don’t qualify for treatment.

Your doctor should treat you based on a combination of symptoms AND blood work. Indeed, emerging evidence suggests that men can have the symptoms of low testosterone between 500-600 ng/dL.

Whereas, if you have a testosterone level of 250 ng/dL; you’re basically on death’s door. At least in terms of the way you feel.

Final Thoughts

This article covers the main signs and symptoms of low testosterone. But you don’t necessarily need to have all of them to class as low T.

Personally, I had most of them. However, I’ve met men who only have some of these symptoms.

For example, their performance in the gym might be good, but their performance in the bedroom is dire.

Ultimately, low testosterone goes by symptoms FIRST – not by a lab test. Any numbers on a piece of paper come to secondary to how you feel.

If you identify with many of the symptoms described in this article – fear not. The realization that you have low testosterone may come as a surprise.

It certainly did for me at the age of 28 years old. In truth, it made me feel hollow inside.

But it was also a blessing in disguise.

I had been living with the symptoms of low testosterone and didn’t even realize it. It forced me to take action and change the course of my life.

There are a few ways to restore your testosterone levels to normal. One option is to undergo testosterone replacement therapy as I did.

Although I feel nowadays many men are quick to jump on TRT – a lifelong medication – without understanding the consequences.

TRT is incredible and changed my life – but it’s not for everyone.

The vast majority of men can boost their testosterone levels by taking steps to improve their nutrition, exercise routine, and overall lifestyle.

If you’re sick of struggling with the symptoms of low testosterone and want to get your life back, get in touch with me about my 1on1 coaching. We’ll come up with a customized strategy for you to regain your health – without the need for medication.

The Anti-Aging Blueprint: How to Beat Aging [Review]

It’s a sad indictment of our society that as many people enter their later years, they end up in care homes. That doesn’t mean I have anything against care homes. Because for some people, that’s the right option.

However, growing old doesn’t mean you need to retire to a care home and lose your health and your mind.

Far from it, in fact. Yet because so many people end up like this, we think it’s the norm.

There are several anti-aging strategies that you can follow to ensure this doesn’t happen to you. And in this article, I’ll share some of the strategies I learned from PD Mangan’s Anti-Aging Blueprint.

Man vs Machine

A machine can’t repair itself.

At the beginning of his course, PD Mangan poses the following question:

What’s the difference between a machine and a person?

It’s a great analogy and one that makes you think about the traditional view we have of aging. Many people think the human body is like a car that gets rusty and eventually gets worn out. A

However, what people fail to recognize is this:

Human beings get worn out too. But we can repair ourselves through mechanisms such as autophagy.

Although the key point Mangan emphasizes is that you must allow yourself to do so. And living an atypical couch potato, Netflix-binge lifestyle actually ages you faster.

Whereas the opposite (and you’d do well to do EXACTLY the opposite of mainstream health advice); i.e leading a fit and active lifestyle, protects against aging.

Indeed, the aging process can be likened to a computer that needs servicing. The components are faulty, and may need repairing or replacing. If nothing is done, eventually the system ceases to function entirely. In your case – that means death.

Mangan refers to this as the “Garbage Catastrophe of Aging.” That is, the detrimental effects has on the body if left unchecked.

Keep this idea at the forefront of your mind whenever you think about not taking care of your body. Because the less you do about it, the worse it gets.

Inflammation is necessary mechanism for the body to be able to repair itself. However, chronic low-level inflammation is terrible for your health.

What do most diseases have in common? Inflammation. And it’s also a characteristic of aging.

Mangan says that chronic Inflammation is: “like driving down the road with your feet on the accelerator and the brakes simultaneously.”

To reduce your chances of age-related disease, it’s important to reduce inflammation. And in a moment, we’ll see some of things you can do to reduce inflammation.

According to Mangan, in addition to inflammation, to fight aging, we must also stop oxidative stress. That means damage induced by free radicals.

There is no doubt about it that oxidative stress leads to the many of the diseases we find in aging.

In my book, Optimized Under 35, I wrote about the effect of oxidative stress on the testes. It appears that oxidative stress can be induced by poor lifestyles – not merely the result of “aging.”

And I believe this is why we have an untold epidemic of young men with low testosterone. Because their poor lifestyles (among other things) result in oxidative stress and damage to their sexual organ function.

Our bodies have their own protection to oxidative stress in the form of antioxidant. And among these antioxidants, one of the most noteworthy being glutathione, which declines with age.

The Big 5 of Long Life

In the Anti-Aging Blueprint course, there is a segment called, “The Big 5 of Long Life.” These are 5 basic anti-aging principles you should follow to ensure a long and healthy life.

  • No smoking
  • Lean and not overweight
  • Moderate alcohol consumption
  • Regular exercise (and being strong)
  • Eat a healthy diet

And by following these basic rules; both men and women can several years to their life span.

You might be thinking: “These 5 anti-aging measures are obvious!” But ask yourself this – how many people actually apply them?

Very few.

And that’s exactly why so few people remain in good health as they age.

Instead, the vast majority of people (in the west at least) age horribly. Walk around any shopping center and you’ll see elderly people struggling to walk. Many are keeled over their zimmer frames and don’t even know their own name.

Now, is it simply because of their age? Or perhaps it has something to do with how they took care of themselves?

Want proof? Check out PD Mangan’s physique below. He’s in his 60s, an age when most people are retiring, ready to go quietly into the night. Yet he has a better physique than most men in their 20s.

How many people do you know in their 60s that are in that kind of shape? Likely none.

pd mangan physique

It comes as no surprise then that most people are in terrible condition when they enter their twilight years.

Make no mistake, following these principles will put you into the top 1% of people. This way, you’ll avoid the disastrous fate many find themselves in during old age.

As I’ve always said; maintaining good health is not difficult. It simply requires consistent, applied discipline.

We all grow old – that’s a fact of life. But it’s up to you whether you do it gracefully or in sickness.

And as Mangan says:

Average people have average lifespans.

They also have average health. And today, “average health” means sickness and dependence on multiple medications.

That’s no way to age gracefully.

So if you want to age well and avoid the disease of average; follow the Big 5 of Long Life.

Does Alcohol Age You?

Another interesting part of the course concerns alcohol and aging. This is a big topic for most people, particularly because our culture glorifies alcohol.

Drinking alcohol in our society is so widespread, that it has become a religion unto itself. Alcohol is so ingrained into our culture that expressing a desire to abstain is almost akin to heresy. I call this: “The Cult of Alcohol.”

alcohol and aging

I’ve written in the past about my own experience of quitting alcohol. Suffice to say, I gave up drinking alcohol altogether and this had a positive on both my health and quality of life.

However, many are simply not ready to give up alcohol. Now, we know that excessive alcohol consumption is bad news for your health.

But the question here is – does alcohol age you?

According to Mangan, low to moderate alcohol intake is associated with longer life. He cites numerous studies that show that those who drink 1-2 drinks a day have a lower death rate than those who don’t drink at all.

And if you didn’t know already, excessive drinking is bad news for your health and is associated with:

  • Higher death rates
  • Fatty liver disease
  • Low testosterone
  • Low sperm count
  • Depression

Mangan says that moderate alcohol drinkers is have up to an 18% lower death rate. That’s pretty big. Although he is quick to point out here that association doesn’t necessarily mean causation.

He goes on to say that maybe health causes drinking, not the other way round. In other words, healthy and intelligent people choose to drink alcohol in moderation.

What’s more, there is a broad definition as to what constitutes “non-drinkers.” Indeed, non-drinkers may be less health conscious and simply don’t drink. A non-drinker may also be a former alcoholic that damaged their health through excessive drinking.

However, in the studies once former alcoholics were removed the category of non-drinkers, there was still a positive association with alcohol intake and good health.

It appears that moderate alcohol consumption can improve a number of health markers. These include; lower cholesterol, increased insulin sensitivity

This all comes back to hormesis – fascinating concept that PD Mangan discusses at length in the course. Hormesis basically means toxins in small amounts can actually be good for you. And in this case alcohol.

Another example is broccoli. It contains a substance called sulforaphane, which in large enough amounts can lead to cancer. In small amounts, however, it can be very beneficial to your health.

Alcohol and Aging: My Grandfather’s Story

My grandfather Bill was born in the 1930s before the outbreak of WW2. Like many of his generation, the events of those times became etched deep into his psyche. I fondly remember him telling stories of those times, such as the Battle of Britain.

He was definitely a child of his time. And at that time in post-war Britain, regular alcohol consumption was the norm.

My grandfather had a lifelong career in large British firm (imagine that today!). Eventually, he worked his way up to management, and was fortunate enough to retire in his 50s.

This was great in many ways, because it meant that he could travel and enjoy life to the fullest. But that also meant he had a lot of time on his hands.

And what did people from his generation do to pass the time? Drink alcohol.

does alcohol age you?

Now, my grandfather was by no means an alcoholic, but he drank daily. As I recall, he drank 2-3 drinks – maybe more. And doing this over the course of several decades did serious damage to his body.

By the time he reached his 70s, Bill already had type 2 diabetes and cirrhosis of the liver. I’m convinced that his daily alcohol habit made him age significantly and played a big part in his poor health

Indeed, alcohol does age you, but as PD Mangan points out in the course; the type of alcohol you drink matters. My grandfather drank beer and whiskey. Whereas from the scientific literature, it appears the protective effects of alcohol derive mainly from red wine.

Nonetheless, it wasn’t just alcohol that contributed to the demise of his health. In his younger years, my grandfather was a fit and active man and often went cycling.

While he didn’t smoke, as he grew older he exercised little and paid scant attention to his diet. In short, he failed to follow the Big 5 of Long Life.

As a result, in 80s and in his final year of life Bill admitted himself to a care home. Mentally, he was still sharp, but at this point he had sarcopenia (muscle waste) and was very frail.

He was also on a laundry list of medication that he needed to manage his diabetes and other conditions. And I’m positive he had low testosterone, which contributed to his low muscle mass and sombre moods.

It was sad to see a proud, kind and intelligent man reduced to such a poor state of health. And he passed away in 2015. Yet his health had nothing to do with his age and everything to do with his lifestyle.

I am convinced that had he followed the Anti-Aging Blueprint, he would still be here today.

Aging: A Modern Phenomenon?

There is no doubt that today, if you want to avoid the Garbage Catastrophe of Aging, you MUST follow some sort of anti-aging strategy.

There are no two ways about it.

Our environment is full of toxic chemicals and endocrine disruptors (EDCs) that conspire to lower your testosterone, lower sperm count and keep you in a poor state of health.

Poor nutrition choices – such as the western diet – and lack of exercise have led to an obesity epidemic. Yet this is in spite of all the information and technological advances we have made.

So what went wrong? We forgot how to take care of ourselves.

If you’re not convinced that aging in its current form is an entirely modern phenomenon, check out the pictures below.

These images are of veterans from the Napoleonic wars in the 1800s. When the photos were taken, these men were in their 70s and 80s. Yet they still manage to fit into their original uniforms. And they look as fierce as when they marched with Napoleon.

Does it look like “age” was a problem for these men?

Final Thoughts

There are two things that I enjoyed above all in both about this course.

Mangan backs up his assertions with scientific evidence. However, he like many “evidence-based” people today, he doesn’t simply take the studies at face value. He interprets them in an intelligent manner, tells you how they may be flawed and crucially; how they apply to you.

In addition, he breaks down complex scientific subjects and makes them easy to understand. And even as someone who had good understanding of anti-aging prior to the course, I got plenty of new insights.

The best thing about the Anti-Aging Blueprint is that it makes anti-aging interventions available to you from the comfort of your own home.

And that’s the incredible thing about the time we live in. Knowledge that was once only accessible to the rich and famous is now available for all.

No longer do you have to go to an expensive anti-aging clinic in Beverley Hills or Harley Street, and pay thousands of dollars for the privilege.

The quality of information contained in the Anti-Aging Blueprint is well worth the admission price alone. And what’s more, the bonuses in the course are fantastic. They include three of his best selling books, as well as a fascinating interview with physician Leo Zacharski.

This makes it an offer, you simply can’t refuse.

Remember, if you want to remain in average health, do what average people do. I believe in paying it forward when it comes to your health. Either way, you’re going to pay.

You can either do it now by paying for a gym membership, expert coaching, eating organic food or education.

Or you can pay for it later with care home fees and medication.

Invest in your health today by signing up for the Anti-Aging Blueprint here.

The Truth Behind Your Lack of Motivation

The Truth Behind Your Lack of Motivation

Motivation is one of the biggest buzzwords on the internet. Indeed, the whole concept of motivation has spawned an entire industry in itself. Countless motivational speakers and books tell us that we need to be “motivated” to accomplish anything in life.

As a result, when you experience a lack of motivation, you conclude something must be wrong. You look at successful people on the internet who appear highly motivated. And so you say to yourself:

“Why do I have no motivation to do anything?”

Most people think that motivation is purely psychological. Now, there is a mental element to being self-motivated. However, the physical aspect is just as important.

In this article, I’m going to show you the truth behind your lack of motivation. I’ll also show you why your low motivation has as much to do with your physical fitness as it does your mindset.

No Motivation to Do Anything: My Story

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a go-getter. Energy has never been a problem for me. I always knew that if I wanted to achieve something, as long as I had enough energy I could do it.

This was the case throughout my life until I reached my late 20s. I was 28 years old and had everything going for me. I was in a fulfilling relationship, and had a promising career in London at an investment bank.

On the surface everything seemed great. But in the background of my life, something was not quite right. Over the course of a year I gradually became less interested in life.

Things I used to feel passionate about were no longer enjoyable for me. Before, I was a very sociable person. I enjoyed going for meals and drinks with friends. Whereas now, I preferred to stay at home and be alone.

The worst thing about the whole thing was that I couldn’t explain where my low motivation came from.

I recall lying in bed one Saturday morning with my girlfriend. We had made plans to go into London for the day, and she was trying to motivate me to get out of bed. But I didn’t want to. All I wanted to do was lie there.
I felt so listless and empty; as though I had been enveloped by a black cloud.

This feeling stayed with me for months on end. It followed me around everywhere I went. And it got to the point where I was just going through the motions in life:

The standard existence for most city dwellers goes something like this:

Wake up, go to work, go to the gym, go home, eat dinner and sleep.

Except in my case, I was living, but I didn’t feel ALIVE; I felt like a passenger in my own life.

I was a shadow of my former self, and I desperately wanted to go back to who I was – the happy go lucky, driven man I knew myself to be.

Yet, I had no motivation to do anything and felt powerless to change the situation. I did have moments of drive and inspiration. However, they never lasted long enough for me to harness and make meaningful change.

Low Testosterone: The Cause For My Lack of Motivation?

I had resigned myself to my situation. I concluded I was just not a “motivated” person. Perhaps I was simply a negative person and this was my default state of mind?

But that didn’t stop me from trying to change it.

I had felt this way for several months, and couldn’t carry on living like this. Although now it was not just the lack of motivation that was the problem – I felt utterly depressed about the whole situation.

I spent countless hours reading books and trawling the internet to find out why I lacked motivation. Maybe I was depressed? Nevertheless, I knew what depression felt like and this wasn’t it. It had to be something else.

One thing that came up during research as a potential cause for my low motivation was hormonal imbalance. Specifically; low testosterone. Apparently, low testosterone (low T) or hypogonadism, could cause you to feel depressed, unmotivated and feel like you no longer enjoy life.

That was me down to a tee.

Although part of me secretly hoped this wasn’t the issue. I mean, how could a young man in the prime of life possibly have low testosterone?

Testosterone Replacement Therapy For a Guy in His 20s?

In the end, I decided to take a blood test to find out if low testosterone was the cause of my problem. I went to the local hospital and got the results back a few days later.

But I wasn’t prepared for what came next…

I had the testosterone levels of an 80 year old man!

I was dumbfounded and lost for words. Nonetheless, to make sure it wasn’t an anomaly, I went and took another blood test.

A similar result came back. I knew it was likely I would have to go on testosterone replacement therapy (TRT). In fact, I was sure it was the only way I could regain my motivation for life once again.

I simply had no motivation to do anything – I needed to do something.

Subsequently, after much deliberation and soul-searching, I decided to undergo TRT. It wasn’t an easy decision, but it was the right one ( I go into more detail about the process in my book Optimized Under 35).

Suffice to say, I had exhausted all other options available to me. My diet was good, I didn’t drink alcohol, smoke, nor take drugs. I also lifted weights multiple times a week.

Yet here I was with low testosterone.
Eventually, I went to see a doctor and got a prescription for testosterone replacement therapy at the age of 28.

To say that undergoing TRT was life-changing would be an understatement.

My libido, strength in the gym, overall energy levels; pretty much EVERYTHING improved.

But one of the main things that improved once I optimized my hormonal profile was my motivation. I felt alive once again and driven to go out and accomplish things.

No longer did I want to stay in bed and bemoan my situation or pity myself. I was energized from the moment I woke up until my head hit the pillow at night.

Of course, like any human being, I still had my down days. That’s simply a fact of life. However, they became few and far between. Loss of motivation couldn’t hold me back anymore.

Ever since then, my life has gone from strength to strength.

Your Lifestyle is Killing Your Motivation

There is absolutely a physiological component to motivation. For example, if you have low testosterone; no matter what you will have no motivation.

However, I want to stress while TRT was the right choice for me, that doesn’t mean it’s right for you. I get messages daily from guys who want to take testosterone because they think it’s going to change their lives.

But here’s the thing:

Taking testosterone, or any other pill or supplement for that matter is not some magic bullet that will make all your problems disappear.

What these people don’t realize is that their terrible diet and lifestyle habits are the reason they lack motivation. Your body was not designed to consume sugar-laden, processed crap.

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that you’ll feel unmotivated and depressed if you put garbage in your body.

Eating natural, whole foods is the key to feeling energetic and motivated.

Your health is your currency and determines your source of, or lack of motivation.

Similarly, if you’re not exercising regularly and generally looking after your body, I guarantee you’re going to feel like shit.

If you haven’t looked at your eating habits and lifestyle as the source of your low motivation, do so now.

The Cold Truth Behind Your Lack of Motivation

We’ve looked at the hormonal, dietary and lifestyle aspects behind lack of motivation. Now let’s take a look at the psychological component to motivation.

Nowadays, people use “lack of motivation” as an excuse for why they’re not doing the things they want.

However, in truth, motivation is not the source problem. Instead, people who complain they have no motivation are often busy playing victim.

They want to blame circumstances for their problems. Therefore, “lack of motivation” becomes a ready made excuse.

But the thing about motivation is this: it comes and goes. You can never rely on it, because often you may not have any at all.

Therefore, you must learn to act in spite of motivation. For example, if I relied purely on “motivation” to go to the gym, then I would never go. In most instances, I simply don’t feel like working out.

Most people are under the illusion that people who are fit have limitless motivation. But that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Even when I don’t feel like training, I make myself go anyway. Because I know the rewards are far greater than giving into the whims of my body.

And what’s the alternative? Stay home watch Netflix or jack off to some porn, then feel depressed like 95% of the population?

No thanks.

Here’s another thing. If you lack motivation, you need to stop trying to find it in external sources. Reddit motivation and YouTube motivational videos may give you a short boost for an hour.

But then what? You’re back to square one. The burning fire and drive that makes you go after the things you want in life comes from within.

Not from some magical motivation elixir. 

If you have time, I recommend you take 25 minutes out today to watch the video below. It may change your life. That is, if you take action on it.

The video is by Andrew Tate, a three time world kickboxing champion. He goes into detail about what it takes to develop a successful mindset. And that means a mindset doesn’t rely exclusively on self-motivation.

Tate’s message is not for everyone, because he talks in an extremely direct and unfiltered manner.

In my opinion, people are only turned off by it because he tells the truth. And that’s life – most people simply don’t want to hear the truth.

Final Thoughts

By now you should have a clear understanding that your lack of motivation is as much physical as it is mental.

Your level of motivation to succeed and accomplish things in life is directly correlated with your health and fitness.

That means, if you don’t take the time to look after your body through proper nutrition and exercise, you will be depressed and have no motivation.

In addition, you must cultivate the kind of mindset that means you can act even when motivation is not present. And most of the time it won’t be.

But when it does appear, it will be like a shot in the arm for you. Because you’re already used to operating and succeeding without it.

If you think that low testosterone, brain fog, low energy are holding you back in life and you want to fix it without resorting to medication, contact me about my coaching.

We’ll come up with a strategy to get you motivated and back on track through diet and lifestyle changes.

P.S. Check out my 28 Day Transformation Program to help you get your motivation back.

6 Reasons to Avoid Low Testosterone Treatment on the NHS

6 Reasons to Avoid Low Testosterone Treatment on the NHS

The National Health Service, also known as the NHS, is one of the UK’s most cherished institutions. It was the brainchild of Aneurin Bevan, who launched it in 1948.

His vision was to unite medical professionals such as doctors, dentists, nurses, etc. all under one umbrella. Financed by taxation, it would be free for people to use.

The original vision of the NHS was a noble one. As an institution, it has served the UK with distinction for decades. However, one of its downfalls is its highly centralized model.

As a result, it tends to use a “standard model of care” for most conditions. This may be OK for some things. But when it comes to a highly individualized treatment, such as testosterone replacement therapy, the NHS is completely out of its depth.

I myself have been through the NHS grinder seeking treatment for low testosterone. And overall, I found the NHS to be completely out of its depth when it comes to treating hypogonadism.

In this article, I give 7 reasons why you should avoid treatment for low testosterone on the NHS.

#1 Dismissive Doctors

When seeking treatment on the NHS for low testosterone, one of the problems many patients come across is dismissive doctors.

Indeed, I recall the first time I went to see an NHS doctor about low testosterone. Despite having all the hallmark symptoms of low testosterone, he told me I was “too young to worry about low testosterone.”

He did no further investigation on the matter. Although he did prescribe me medication, but I never took it because I knew taking pills wouldn’t solve anything.

I’ve seen this happen time and again to other men. They suffer with depression, anxiety, low libido and a host of other symptoms.

After doing research, they conclude it might be to do with low testosterone. As a result, they take their low testosterone symptoms to an NHS doctor in the hope of finding someone sympathetic to their plight. But more often than not, they’re told their symptoms have “nothing to do with testosterone.”
dismissive doctor
How dare a patient speculate on what’s wrong with their own body! A preposterous idea indeed…

Doctors are held in high because they spend years studying medicine. Yet this doesn’t excuse the “holier than thou” attitude and disdain they have for patients who come to see them about low testosterone.

#2 Patients Treated Like Criminals

Often, men seeking low testosterone treatment with the NHS are treated like criminals. Doctors and nurses alike accuse them of wanting to take testosterone for bodybuilding purposes.

There is a small minority of men who try to get a prescription for testosterone for vanity purposes. But the vast majority of men seek treatment simply because they feel like SHIT.

When a woman seeks treatment for hormonal imbalance they are applauded for “taking control of their health!” Yet when a man does it, many doctors take an accusatory tone…

How dare you think about testosterone replacement therapy on the NHS! The fact you’re breathing is enough and you should be grateful!

If you’re a man over 50 years old, it’s more than likely doctors will tell you that low testosterone is “part of aging”. And you’ll simply have to get on with it.

And if you’re a young man with low testosterone? Forget it! You have a better chance of voyaging to Mars and getting a prescription there.

But is it a crime that a man should care about his own health?

Or should he live in the abject misery of low testosterone?

Apparently, being a man and looking after your health is a crime

I know men who have been turned away by NHS doctors. So they self-medicated with black market testosterone because they felt they had no other choice:

It was either self-medicate or suffer the anguish of low testosterone.

Many of these men use testosterone therapy diligently and in therapeutic doses. later when they try to get a prescription legally, because they chose to self-medicate doctors treat them like criminals.

However, doctors need to drop their self-righteous tone. And instead of accusing patients, they should consider why patients feel compelled to self-medicate in the first place.

#3 Obsessed with Numbers

Nowadays, instead of actually treating the patient, it seems doctors are more concerned with chasing lab numbers. And this is definitely the case with the NHS guidelines for the treatment of low testosterone.

In medicine, guidelines are there to ensure a high level of patient care and prevent malpractice.

The problem here though is that the existing guidelines are a joke. As far as the NHS is concerned, a “normal” level of testosterone is between 8-29.6 nmol/l (230 – 830 ng/dl).

So for example, if your blood test shows you have a serum testosterone level of 9 nmol/l, then congratulations – you are “NORMAL!”

These “clinical guidelines” are arbitrary numbers that have no basis in optimal health. But then again the NHS is in the business of treating the sick, and doesn’t care much for optimal health…

The guidelines dreamt up by CLUELESS academics and researchers who have no first hand experience of low testosterone. They do not understand the torment of low testosterone. If they did, they would not create ridiculous guidelines that condemn men to misery.
crazy doctor
As a result, doctors prefer to treat patients based on lab numbers rather than symptoms.

Here’s a typical scenario:

A patient might their doctor complaining with the symptoms of hypogonadism (low testosterone), i.e. depression, anxiety, low sex drive, etc. However, if the patient has a “normal” level of testosterone, then the doctor will send them away.

Because guess what? His testosterone level is absolutely normal! Although if he’s lucky, he’ll the patient some antidepressants for his troubles!

The patient goes away confused. He knows something is not quite right, but the doctor insists everything is OK. He suffers with terrible symptoms. And yet the one person he looked to for answers tells him nothing is wrong.

This only adds to his pain and despair. Eventually, he gives up hope and concludes there’s nothing he can do about it.

#4 Lack of Knowledge

The United States is the world leader in testosterone replacement therapy. There you can find the most progressive doctors and the best research on the topic.

In recent years, American treatment protocols have evolved considerably and have become more patient-centric. Leading American doctors, such as Dr. Keith Nichols and Dr. John Crisler recognize the importance of frequent injections (as a minimum 1-2 x weekly). Dr. Nichols has even developed his own protocol of scrotal application of testosterone cream with outstanding results.

These doctors developed these protocols, and adapted their approach after treating thousands of patients first-hand.
However, this patient-centric and approach has not yet filtered down to the UK. The knowledge and experience is simply not there.

Doctors still adhere to textbook guidelines from the 70s that say patients must inject once every 2-3 weeks.Even endocrinologists – “experts” in the human endocrine system – follow this approach.

However, injections once every 2-3 weeks result in an initial elevation of blood testosterone, followed by a significant drop. These are known as “peaks and valleys.”

The first week after the injection you feel great; energetic and positive. But in the second week you start to feel lethargic; your sex drive diminishes, and you feel depressed.

In contrast, frequent injections maintain stable levels of blood testosterone. This allows patients to receive the full benefits of testosterone replacement therapy, avoiding the rollercoaster ride when testosterone levels drop.

If your doctor tells to inject any less than once as a week; at MINIMUM, change doctor immediately.

The fact is, most doctors know nothing about hormone optimization or testosterone replacement therapy. Whether in the US or the UK. So expecting them to help you is like your car braking down and asking your grandma to fix it.

You need to find a specialist to treat you – I’ll address this at the end of the article.

#5 Bureaucracy and Micro Management

However, this patient-centric and approach has not yet filtered down to the UK. The knowledge and experience is simply not there.

Doctors still adhere to textbook guidelines from the 70s that say patients must inject once every 2-3 weeks.Even endocrinologists – “experts” in the human endocrine system – follow this approach.

However, injections once every 2-3 weeks result in an initial elevation of blood testosterone, followed by a significant drop. These are known as “peaks and valleys.”

The first week after the injection you feel great; energetic and positive. But in the second week you start to feel lethargic; your sex drive diminishes, and you feel depressed.

In contrast, frequent injections maintain stable levels of blood testosterone. This allows patients to receive the full benefits of testosterone replacement therapy, avoiding the rollercoaster ride when testosterone levels drop.

If your doctor tells to inject any less than once as a week; at MINIMUM, change doctor immediately.

The fact is, most doctors know nothing about hormone optimization or testosterone replacement therapy. Whether in the US or the UK. So expecting them to help you is like your car braking down and asking your grandma to fix it.

You need to find a specialist to treat you – I’ll address this at the end of the article.

The NHS is highly-centralized. As a result, patients have to go through a kind of chain of command in order to receive low testosterone treatment. Or any treatment for that matter.

First, the patient must make an appointment with their local GP. Depending on the area, he may have to wait several weeks to see the doctor.

Prior to treatment – that’s if his GP lets him take a blood test and he qualifies for it – he must be referred to an endocrinologist. It may take weeks or even months to see an endocrinologist.

I myself qualified for treatment on the NHS because my testosterone was akin to an 80 year old. But the waiting list to see the endocrinologist was up to five months.

I didn’t want to suffer the anguish of low testosterone for that long. So I decided to seek treatment privately instead. It was one of the best decisions I ever made, because I saw a doctor and got treated almost immediately.

Even if you do manage to get an appointment to see an endocrinologist – there are no guarantees. I have lost count of men who told me their endocrinologist turned them away because their testosterone was “normal.” (What the hell does normal mean anyway?).

This is despite the fact their GP originally referred them because they had SYMPTOMS of low testosterone.

If you are fortunate enough (debatable) to be treated by an endocrinologist, you may have to wait weeks for approval of your treatment by a panel.

Testosterone is so dangerous to men – because who knows, it might even make them healthy! Subsequently, any low testosterone treatment with the NHS must be approved by a special commission.

#6 Limited Resources

What a JOKE.

Despite its drawbacks, the NHS does the best it can be with its limited resources. Many doctors surgeries are bloated with too many patients. Therefore, appointment times may be limited to 5-10 minutes max.

Do you think that’s enough time to make a thorough diagnosis for low testosterone?

Of course not.

But it’s enough time to prescribe to antidepressants to cure the ‘depression’ you’re suffering from!

What’s more, limited resources mean doctors try to save money where possible. This means patients don’t get blood tests because their case is not “severe enough.” And when they do receive treatment, they don’t get proper treatment protocols – because that costs money!

For example, one form of treatment that the NHS favors for testosterone replacement therapy is Nebido/ This type of treatment means a big dose of testosterone, followed by another 12 weeks later.

It’s great in theory, as patients need to inject less frequently, meaning they use less resources. But what happens is; patients see an initial surge in blood testosterone, and they feel great for a few weeks.

But then testosterone levels start to drop off… And by week five or six they feel terrible. However, they still have to wait another six weeks until the next injection! I wouldn’t wish this kind of treatment protocol on my worst enemy.

To me, this is cruel and bordering on medical malpractice. But hey, it’s testosterone right? These men should be lucky just receive it!

Final Thoughts

After reading this article you may be forgiven for thinking I have an axe to grind with the NHS. But that’s far from the truth.

I respect the medical professionals within the NHS. They do the best they can, despite being let down by the political class.

Staff are underpaid, overworked, and expected to perform miracles. And with the way they’re treated, it’s a miracle they work at all.

But the fact is, the NHS remains in the STONE AGE when it comes to testosterone replacement therapy.

Everyday countless men suffer, because the NHS has no idea how to diagnose and treat low testosterone effectively. There is an epidemic of low testosterone, not just in the UK, but worldwide. And it isn’t going away any time soon.

Until the NHS chooses to drop its arrogant “know it all” attitude and becomes more progressive, you must avoid low testosterone treatment with the NHS.

Does this mean private treatment for TRT is far superior to the NHS? Not necessarily. In fact, because most doctors train in the NHS; they take this attitude with them to the private sector. Hence why it’s imperative you find the right doctor.

You’ll have to pay for private treatment. But nothing in life worth having comes without some kind of cost.

Sadly, many UK men are so indoctrinated with the idea of the NHS. Therefore, they simply cannot fathom paying toward their own health. Imagine that – investing in your own health.

Yet they pay for the NHS via taxes, but that doesn’t count right?

The private sector is by no means perfect. However, it’s more likely you will get the type of treatment you want.

The doctor is likely more experienced and specializes in hormone replacement therapy and low testosterone treatment. And what’s more, they can be more flexible in their approach to treatment. Whereas an NHS doctor will typically stick rigidly to treatment guidelines.

However, low testosterone does not necessarily mean you need testosterone replacement therapy (TRT). In my experience, many men are able to boost their testosterone levels through nutritional and lifestyle changes.

But the problem is, most guys have no clue where to start…

If you’re in the UK and are convinced that TRT is the right option for you, I recommend you get in touch with my friends over at Balance My Hormones.

However, if you want not only to testosterone treatment on the NHS, but also lifelong medication, get in touch with me about my coaching today.

I work 1-on-1 with clients to help boost their natural testosterone levels through nutrition and lifestyle changes.

P.S.

If you haven’t already, sign up to my email list to get the first chapters of my book, Optimized Under 35, for free and daily emails on how to become the CEO of your own health.

What Causes Low Testosterone in Young Men?

What Causes Low Testosterone in Young Men?

You’re a young man in your 20s or early 30s and your in the prime of life. You feel energetic, motivated, positive and your sex drive is great. You’re ready to take on the world.

But there’s something that’s holding you back. Although you’re not quite sure what is. You’ve done plenty of reading and conclude that it could have something to do with low testosterone.

Low testosterone, also known as hypogonadism or low T, can turn even the most enterprising young man into a hollow shell of his former self.

The symptoms of low testosterone include: tiredness, depression, anxiety, low libido and decreased enjoyment of life. Testosterone is demonized to great extent by the mainstream media. Yet as a man, testosterone is your life blood.

Among other things, testosterone is vital to the cardiovascular system, bone health, cognition and immune system function. Therefore in light of this, every man should ensure he has optimal testosterone levels.

What is Low Testosterone?

Before we talk about the causes of low testosterone in young men, let’s clarify by talking about what low testosterone actually is.

Simply put, low testosterone is a condition where you are unable to produce sufficient levels of testosterone. As a result, you may have one or more of the following symptoms:
man depression low testosterone
In addition to these symptoms, to classify as “low testosterone” you must have blood tests that show your total or serum testosterone levels are outside the “normal range” for men.

For most labs, this range is typically between 250 – 1000 ng/dl, or 8.7 – 34.5 nmol/l for the UK. In other words, you would have to have total testosterone of 250 ng/dl or lower to be diagnosed with low testosterone.

However, this traditional method of diagnosing low testosterone is inherently flawed.

In fact, it’s a joke.

Most doctors simply chase lab numbers when it comes to diagnosing low testosterone. Therefore, if you present to them with symptoms, if your blood test says you’re normal then there is nothing wrong with you.

Even if your doctor is sympathetic to you, then what? Your only option is to undergo testosterone replacement therapy. And while I am a big advocate of TRT because it changed by life, it’s not for everyone.

Your best bet is to find out what caused the hormonal imbalance in the first place and take steps to fix it. But this begs the question:

What is the cause of low testosterone in young men?

Although I believe real question here is: Why would a young man have low testosterone in his 20s? You’re in your physical prime. So in theory your testosterone levels should be as high as they’ll ever be right?

Unfortunately, we live in an environment that is toxic to our bodies. We are under daily assault from chemicals that disrupt our health; not least testosterone production.

In my experience, the following are the main causes of low T in young men:

Poor Lifestyle

It was normal to spend all day outdoors when I was growing up. I would play football (soccer) for hours on end, cycle around, and simply enjoyed being outside. And most kids my age were the same way.

But a lot has changed since then. Technology has advanced at breakneck speed, making our lives easier and more efficient.However, this has come at steep cost.

We live increasingly sheltered and sedentary lifestyles. We can do almost anything with the click of a button. In my opinion there is one type of technology that is more responsible for low testosterone among young men than any other: Video games.

In fact, there are so many men in western society in their 20s and 30s playing video games, I worry how the future will look.
video games
Look, say what you want about gaming. But sitting in the house all day long looking at a screen and not doing exercise isn’t helping your hormone levels.What’s more, I suspect the constant dopamine hit from video games wreaks havoc with brain chemistry.

As a result of all this is that young men are getting fatter by the day. Obesity is bad news for testosterone production. And the excess estrogen produced from fat tissue actually disrupts testicular function. This leads to lower testosterone levels.
It was normal to spend all day outdoors when I was growing up. I would play football (soccer) for hours on end, cycle around, and simply enjoyed being outside. And most kids my age were the same way.

But a lot has changed since then. Technology has advanced at breakneck speed, making our lives easier and more efficient. However, this has come at a steep cost.

We live increasingly sheltered and sedentary lifestyles. We can do almost anything with the click of a button. In my opinion, there is one type of technology that is more responsible for low testosterone among young men than any other: Video games.

In fact, there are so many men in western society in their 20s and 30s playing video games, I worry how the future will look.

Bad Diets

The typical western diet is rich in processed meats, refined sugars and low in fruit and vegetables. This type of diet is devoid of vital micronutrients such as zinc and magnesium. These are essential not only to testosterone production, but to overall health. In short, it’s trash.
western diet
The western diet lacks saturated fats vital for health; including those found in avocados and olive oil. Research indicates these fats can have a positive effect on hormone production.

One study looked at the effect of virgin Argan oil (a type of oil found in Morocco) and olive oil on the hormonal profile of healthy adult men. The study took a group of 60 male volunteers aged 23-60 years and divided them randomly into two groups. One group consumed virgin argan and the other virgin olive oil for three weeks.

Testosterone levels were measured before and after. The researchers saw a 19.9% and 17.9% increase in testosterone levels in the respective groups! Those are BIG increases. So what can we conclude from this? That virgin olive oil and Argan oil are the magic elixir we’ve all waiting for to boost testosterone? No, it simply means you need to get quality fats and stop being afraid of them.

Most people use vegetable oils, such as sunflower and palm oil for their cooking. However, vegetable oils are like kryptonite to your testosterone levels. So make sure you avoid them.

Endocrine Disruptors (EDCs)

Endocrine disruptors can be defined as anything that disrupts normal endocrine function. In other words, things that lower your testosterone production. These usually come in the form of man-made chemicals such as phthalates found in plastics, or pesticides used to kill insects.Endocrine disruptors can be found virtually everywhere you look.

Indeed, research suggests that 93% of Americans have BPAs – a powerful endocrine disruptor – in their bodies. And much like the rest of the population, young men are exposed to these endocrine disruptors every day.

It still amazes me to come across so many young men with low testosterone. It truly is an untold epidemic. Often times, these men are living a “fit lifestyle.” They look after their health; they train diligently and diet consummately.

Yet they still suffer with testosterone in the 200 or 300 ng/dl range. The issue? I believe it’s down to endocrine disruptors.

Where possible, (and it’s almost impossible today) aim to avoid products are free of synthetic chemicals, or that have a minimal amount. That includes household items such as detergents, or toiletries such as deodorant and shampoo.

Products free of harmful toxins tend to be few and far between and more expensive. But for the positive effect it can have on your health and testosterone levels, the investment is worth it.

Hormone optimization physician, Dr Keith Nichols, believes that endocrine disruptors are a leading cause of low testosterone in young men. He has even coined a term for it: “Testosterone Resistance Syndrome” (TRS).

Final Thoughts

In this article, we’ve only scratched the surface on what causes low testosterone in young men. The entire situation is complex and multifaceted. I go into greater depth on it in my upcoming book, Optimized Under 35. And inside the book, I give you concrete strategies on what you can do to combat low testosterone.

In some instances – as in my case- the only solution to your low testosterone may be a medical intervention. That means you need to undergo testosterone replacement therapy.

However, in my experience, the primary cause of low testosterone in young men is poor lifestyle choices. If exercise and eating clean are not high up on your priorities right now, you need to change that quickly.

Otherwise, you’re likely to become a victim of low testosterone and live a life of quiet desperation. Sadly, this is exactly the kind of life most men live.

They become locked in their own self-made prison. One that they created through their own lifestyle choices. But here’s the thing. If you created it, then you can get yourself out of it.

As a young man, you still have plenty of time to address this. That means taking action right now.

Don’t delay.

P.S. If you’re suffering with the symptoms of low testosterone and need advice on getting your lifestyle and diet in order, get in contact with me about my coaching.

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” – Ancient Chinese proverb

P.P.S And if you’re looking for an exercise program to boost your testosterone with a straightforward diet and exercise program, check out my 28 Day Transformation Bootcamp.
get stronger 2019

18 Ways to Get Stronger in 2019

get stronger 2019

18 Ways to Get Stronger in 2019

It’s the start of a brand new year. That means you have another 12 months to make some serious changes in your life. And there’s a lot you can achieve in that time frame with consistent, concerted effort.

If you’re like most people, one of your goals this coming year (or at least it should be) is to improve your health. However, as I’m sure you know, most people make a big push in January, only to fall off the bandwagon come February.

Why does this happen? Mainly because their goals are not specific enough, and they’re aren’t emotionally invested in the outcome. As they say, emotion is really energy in motion.

And if you’re going to get specific on one aspect of your health and fitness, let it be this:

Get stronger.

You won’t believe how many things in your life will improve once you become stronger. To that end, I’ve come up with 18 ways you can stronger this year.

Now get to it!

#1 Focus on getting stronger in compound lifts

If you only focused on basic compound movements such as the deadlift, bench press and military press, you’d be very strong by the end of 2019.

You want big arms? Pick up a lot of weight off the floor.

Another benefit of compound lifts is that they train multiple muscle groups simultaneously. That means you get more done in less time. For example, the bench press not only trains your pectorals, but your triceps and anterior deltoids.
deadlift

#2 Train less

Most guys spend way too long in the gym. They 5-6 days a week, and train for up to 2 hours a time. This is both inefficient and counterproductive.

The reason they spend so long in the gym is because they believe more is better. However, more often than not, these guys could cut their training time in half.

In fact, you could get exceptional results by training 2-3 x 30 minutes a week.

That’s it.

Mike Mentzer, arguably one of the greatest bodybuilders of all time, narrowly missed out on winning Mr.Olympia (losing to Arnold Schwarzenegger no less), by training a few hours a week.

If it works for a guy competing in the Olympia, rest assured it will work for you too.

#3 Stop obsessing over “bulking and cutting”

The bulking and cutting mindset is an outdated bro myth that needs to go already. What happens with this kind of approach is that you go from one extreme to the other.

When you bulk you may put on size, but because you bulked too hard you got fat. And when you cut, oftentimes you it’s at the expense of hard-won muscle mass.

Instead, focus on cleaning up your diet that allows you to gain muscle without gaining too much fat in the process.

For most guys, this means eating a few hundred calories over maintenance. It’s more of a slow-burn approach. You may not get the extreme muscle gain, but you don’t also get the body fat that comes with it.

#4 Overhaul your training

Most guys spend far too long doing the same training program. Then they wonder why their gains have stalled. Following the same routine for months on end is akin to banging your head against a brick wall.

As the saying goes, “The best program is the one you’re not doing.”

And while we’re on sayings, here’s another one from Albert Einstein:

“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

Is your training the definition of insanity? The human body adapts quickly to new stimulus, and so must constantly be challenged to encourage new growth.

In the context of strength training – this means switching up your program every 6-8 weeks. On some occasions you can go longer. But in most cases you would do well to stick to this time frame.

#5 Don’t think in terms of isolation movements – think in terms of accessory lifts

When it comes to training, most people think of isolation movements, e.g. bicep curls for biceps or tricep pushdowns for triceps.

Of course, it would be silly to suggest these exercises don’t work these muscles – because they surely do.

However, I want you view these exercises from a different perspective:

Instead ‘isolation movements,’ view these exercises as accessory lifts. That is, how can this exercise support a compound exercise such as deadlifts or bench press?

Because more often than not, getting stronger in the main lifts will lead you to your goals anyway.

What secondary lifts will bring up your main lifts? E.g. pull-ups will assist your bench press AND deadlift. Push-ups will assist your military press.
bicep curls

#6 Do bodyweight exercises between sets

This is one of the easiest ways to keep your heart rate up, add more conditioning into your workouts and improve your strength endurance.

Although if you are going to do bodyweight exercises between lifting sets, aim to use a different muscle group. Otherwise, you’ll be too fatigued for your next set.

For example, you can do pull-ups between bench press and military press sets.

Similarly, you can do push-ups between squats or crunches between deadlifts. With so many bodyweight exercises out there, the only real limit is your imagination.

#7 Find a new gym to train at

Just like a change of scenery can be good for the mind – if your results have stalled, training at a different gym can help. This is especially true if you’re at one of those gyms where everyone goes through the motions.

They turn up to the gym because they know they’re “supposed to.” But the truth is, they hate going and it’s written all over their face.

Not the best type of atmosphere to train in. You can argue that should just focus on your own training instead. And I would agree with you. However, when you’re surrounded by people who are motivated to train, it makes a HUGE difference.

It energizes you in new ways:

It makes you do that extra rep or extra set – where before, you would have called it a day.

This is one of the reasons I recommend everyone train at least once in a hardcore bodybuilding gym. They usually don’t have best locker rooms or the nicest paintwork.

But what they lack in that department is more than made up for in the attitude of people who train there.  Contrary to popular belief, these trainees are some of the friendliest you’ll ever meet.

#8 Squat more often

Whenever I plateau in the gym, something that’s always served me well is squatting more often. I don’t know what it is about squatting. It seems to bring up lagging body parts and lifts in ways that other exercises don’t.

Perhaps it’s the increased growth hormone release from squatting, or the recruitment of multiple muscle groups. Or perhaps it’s the sheer force of will and intensity required to complete a set.

Whatever it is, it works.

And as long as you do it safely (don’t squat like an idiot), you could do worse than squatting more often.
squats

#9 Ditch the “new year, new me” bullshit

Every time January comes around, hordes of people jump onto the fitness bandwagon. “This time will be different!”

They convince themselves that this time they’ll get into shape. But as I mentioned at the beginning, most people don’t make it beyond January.

This is because they adopt a short-term mindset. They want to lose weight or get into shape as quick as possible.

As a result, they go on extreme, fad diets. Or they train in a way that’s totally unsustainable; 2 hour marathon workouts and training 5 days a week.

#10 The foundation of all gains in the gym is sleep

If you haven’t done so already, make sleep a priority. I talk about this subject at great length in my book, Optimized Under 35. Not getting enough sleep can interfere with your training in a number of ways.

Sleep deprivation is associated with insulin resistance and low testosterone levels to name a few. Insulin is one of the most anabolic hormones in the body. And insulin resistance basically means you need a LOT of insulin for it to work.

Not only is this terrible for your health – eventually leading to type 2 diabetes and worse. It’s also not great for your fitness goals, because it wreaks havoc with blood sugar regulation. Poor blood sugar control means you’re not going to have the necessary energy levels to fuel your workouts.

Finally, when you train you break down your muscle fibers. As a result, in simple terms they grow back bigger and stronger. However, if you can’t facilitate this process if you don’t get enough sleep.

#11 Optimize your hormones

Your hormones have a dramatic effect on your lean body mass. If your hormones are out of whack and you have low testosterone, there’s a good chance your results in the gym have stalled.

If you didn’t know by now, testosterone is crucial to your results in the gym. Testosterone contributes to muscle protein synthesis (i.e. ensures your workouts are productive) and you maintain muscle mass.

So if you care about your health; it’s in your best interests to lead a testosterone-friendly lifestyle. That means, eating properly, lifting weights regularly and getting plenty of rest.

Hormone replacement therapy, or HRT for men, is becoming more widely accepted and used to treat men who have low testosterone.

Now let’s be clear – HRT or testosterone replacement therapy is only for those who truly need it. That means, you’ve taken the time to optimize your lifestyle and lose body fat. But despite this, you still have low T – as was the case with me.

In this instance, undergoing testosterone replacement therapy might be the right choice for you. To learn more about hormone replacement therapy and whether you need it – especially if you’re a young man – check out my book Optimized Under 35.

#12 Stop switching programs

Nowadays, because of the abundance of training programs on the internet, many guys suffer from “shiny object syndrome.” They go from one training program to the next. They convince themselves that a new training program is the KEY to their newfound gains.

However, these guys miss the point entirely. The reason why their gains have stalled is because they lack consistency in their training. Indeed, one of the main principles of strength and muscle is growth is progressive overload.

Progressive overload means the gradual increase of stress placed on the body. So if you change up your routine every week, you might have the stress but you don’t have the progression.

Progression can come in many forms. This can be less rest time between sets, more reps or more weight.

The bottom line: Find a routine and stick with it long enough to get some progression.

#13 Train with guys stronger than you

You’re probably familiar with the term, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” And here’s why this is so powerful: You adopt the mindset and attitude of these people, simply by osmosis.

So you may as well use this to your advantage, especially when it comes to training. If you want to get bigger and stronger, then find people who are already where you want to be.

Some of my best gains; both in terms of strength and knowledge, came from training with guys far ahead of me. I’ve trained with world class athletes and champion bodybuilders. And each time I trained with them, I learned something new.

Whether it was a new exercise, technique or different attitude toward training. It leveled up my training in more ways than one.

#14 Up the ante in your workouts

You don’t have to train balls to the wall every time you workout. But at a minimum you must make yourself UNCOMFORTABLE.

In order to ensure some type of progression, your must make your training more difficult than the last time. Most wander aimlessly around the gym without any type of focus or intensity.

#15 Do more pulling than pushing movements

You don’t need to devote an entire day to chest and shoulders. Most guys overdo it when it comes to these exercises. As a result, they have imbalances that lead to poor posture and shoulder pain.

Instead, focus on doing more pulling than pushing movements. Pulling movements such as pull-ups or rows emphasize your back muscles. A strong back will improve your shoulder health, posture and increase your strength in other lifts.A good ratio 3 pull exercises for every push.

#16 Train your legs already

If you’ve been putting off training legs – now is the time to start.

I’ve seen plenty of guys with a HUGE upper body, and yet they have chicken legs. But rarely have I seen a guy with a big set of wheels and a small upper body. Let’s face it:

Most of us train simply because we want to look good. Ain’t nothin’ wrong with that.

Strong, powerful legs will upgrade your physique like nothing else. What’s more, stronger legs will actually transfer into better strength all round.

For example, when training the squat or leg press, you need to develop a strong core. And a strong midsection will absolutely improve your upper body lifts.

#17 Prioritize recovery

Recovery can include a number of things. From long walks in the country, to long sessions in the sauna and steam room, or even a light swim.

And of course, how can we forget sleep? Prioritizing recovery will do several things for you. Above all, it will improve your performance in the gym.

Because if you’re tired and banged up all the time, how are you ever going to perform at your best?

It will make a dramatic difference to your training and mental state.

#18 You don’t need to have a perfect workout every time

Guys think when they go to the gym that they need to hit PRs and kill it every time. Then when they don’t do this, they get annoyed.

The fact is, some days will be better than others. And you’ll have plenty of off days when you train. Days where a weight you can normally lift for fun feels heavy. Or you just feel tired and crappy.

That’s normal and part of life. But as long as you get plenty of rest, these days should be few and far between.