Category Archives for "Testosterone"

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.