Artwork by RJ on exhibit at the Piscataway DMV.

It’s R.J.’s birthday today. R.J. isn’t sure if he’s 56 or 57. Whatever it is, happy birthday bro. Now that R.J. is a man of a certain age, as am I, he may be wondering why those gains at the gym are a little harder to come by.

Testosterone levels in men decline by 1-2% per year starting around age 30. I’m no scientician, but I believe this occurs because nature is a bitch. Also, can you imagine what life would be for your grandmother if your retired grandfather had his full complement of testosterone?

The good news for us *cough* middle aged *cough* men is there are ways to naturally increase testosterone levels.


Exercise and Lift Weights

A large review study found that people who exercised regularly had higher testosterone levels. In the elderly, exercise increases testosterone levels, fitness and reaction time. Resistance training, such as weight lifting, is the best type of exercise to boost testosterone in both the short- and long-term. High-intensity interval training (HIIT) can also be very effective, although all types of exercise should work to some extent. Taking caffeine and creatine monohydrate as supplements may further boost your levels when combined with a training program


Eat Well

Constant dieting or overeating may disrupt your testosterone levels. Eating enough protein can help maintain healthy levels and aid in fat loss, which is also associated with your testosterone.

Carb intake also plays a role, with research showing carbs can help optimize testosterone levels during resistance training. Healthy fats are also beneficial for testosterone.

A diet based mainly on whole foods is best, with a healthy balance of fat, protein and carbs. This can optimize both hormone levels and long-term health.


Minimize Stress

Research is always highlighting the dangers of long-term stress, which can elevate levels of the hormone cortisol. Unnatural elevations in cortisol can quickly reduce testosterone. These hormones work in a seesaw-like manner: as one goes up, the other comes down. Stress and high cortisol can also increase food intake, weight gain and the storage of harmful body fat around your organs. In turn, these changes may negatively impact your testosterone levels.


Get Some Sun

Get outside during the day. Sunlight on your body gets it to produce Vitamin D. Failing that, take a Vitamin D supplement. A 12-month study found that supplementing with around 3,000 IU of vitamin D3 per day increased testosterone levels by around 25%.


Get Some Sleep

The ideal amount of sleep varies from person to person, but one study found that sleeping only 5 hours per night was linked to a 15% reduction in testosterone levels. One long-term study observed that those who slept only four hours per night had borderline deficient levels. Other long-term studies support this. One study calculated that for every additional hour of sleep you get, testosterone levels rise 15% higher, on average.

Keep those T levels up, R.J. Mrs. R.J. is counting on you.

This week’s music.