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How I Naturally Increased My Testosterone Levels 100x (Yes, 100x…)

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How I Naturally Increased My Testosterone Levels 100x (Yes, 100x…)

Christopher Walker naturally increased his testosterone from 11 ng/dl to over 1,000 ng/dl. This is his story.

I stood next to my bags on the sidewalk, looking down at the ground.

Humiliated and confused.

As my parents pulled up in front of my dormitory, I picked up my stuff and carried it over to the truck, shuffling awkwardly from the exertion as 30 lbs of foreign body fat tried to squeeze its way out of my clothes.

I smelled funny, I was a sweaty, anxious mess, and I had no idea what was wrong.

24 hours earlier, my academic dean explained to me how medical leave works.

You simply take a year off from school to address a medical issue, then return when you’re feeling better.

Sounds simple enough.

I sure as hell wasn’t feeling great, and I had no idea why.

Heck, I was damn near non-functional, spending most of my time holed up in my dorm room, depressed and lonely. I was missing homework assignments and skipping class. And it wasn’t because I was some ‘cool kid’ truant – I just could. not. think.

It was as if my body and brain were broken.

So I made the decision to go on a leave to try and figure things out – away from the incessant stress of university, the classes, the social interaction, the drinking and partying.

I was headed home and I didn’t even know why.

Fast Forward 8 Months…

Everything in my life is great. I’m lean and fit, with the body of a Greek god, I qualified for two national championship races – one in duathlon and one in triathlon – I’m sleeping like a baby, and my brain is functioning again.

And no more depression.

But something still isn’t right.

For a 21 year old kid, I had a problem. I had zero libido – no sex drive or interest whatsoever.

Zilch.

So since everything else was feeling great, I figured I may as well go in for a routine checkup with my primary care doctor to see if he could figure things out.

I went and got my blood drawn then returned to his office for the results.

He looked at the numbers for a minute or two, then looked up at me and said, “something’s wrong – I need to send you to a specialist.”

Three days later I saw a hematologist/oncologist in Potomac, VA. He ran comprehensive blood and hormone panels on me. One look at the results and he said, “I think you have a brain tumor.”

Boom. There you have it.

One MRI later and I had the verdict.

The silent source of all my misery.

A tumor, sitting in my pituitary gland – the “master gland” of the endocrine system – blocking the secretion of a handful of major player hormones. The big takeaway (or at least the only thing I cared about as a guy)… I hadn’t produced testosterone in years.

My levels were literally next to nothing (11 ng/dL at the time of diagnosis, where 300-1100 is the normal range for men).

After making the decision not to operate and to shift the monitoring of the tumor’s growth activity to a local endocrinologist in Durham, NC near my university, I was written a handful of prescriptions and sent on my way.

Just like that.

It only took me a few weeks on the medications before I made the decision to throw it all in the trash. I felt like a zombie. The doctors didn’t seem to care a whole lot beyond just giving me a diagnosis and writing a script, so I made the decision to stop playing the victim and to figure this out on my own.

Without medications.

By the time I’d returned to school that fall I declared neuroscience as my degree and began down my intellectual warpath, devouring textbooks and research papers on the brain and the endocrine system. I was (and some could say, still am) obsessed with the pursuit of truth when it comes to natural hormone optimization.

So what happened?

Where do I stand today?

Since that diagnosis I’ve naturally raised my testosterone levels above the medical reference range (1192 ng/dL at last check-up), using nothing but the knowledge I’ve accumulated over the years (via experience and lots of reading) with regards to proper training, nutrition, and lifestyle.

Heck, I didn’t even use “T-Boosting herbal supplements.”

Just training, nutrition, and lifestyle tweaks, when combined and executed over a period of time, ended up overriding the tumor’s effects on my endocrine system to the point where I was naturally able to raise my T to gorilla status.

And I still have the tumor.

Technically it should be functioning in the same manner, but since learning about how the endocrine system really works, in a complex series of positive and negative feedback loops, I was able to continually reinforce enough of the right feedback to first loosen, then overcome its effects.

And I’m really pumped because that means I can teach others to do the same.

If I can do it, any guy can do it.

So that’s what this article is about… how I did it.

The fitness industry is a barren landscape of scams and shams, glitter and polish but no substance. Most of the claims and recommendations made by ‘professionals’ are really nothing more than hearsay, or the viral spread of “the one magic pill to rule them all.”

C.S. Lewis puts it best when he says, “The task of the modern educator is not to cut down a forest, but to irrigate a desert.”

The “hormonal health” landscape in the health & fitness blogosphere is that desert, especially with respect to testosterone enhancement. And I’ve got the hose.

Don’t waste your money on another pill or herb. It’s all pointless. You can do this naturally, with training, nutrition, and tweaking your lifestyle.

Want a workout program and flexible diet plan that will help you build muscle and get strong? Download my free no-BS “crash course” now and learn exactly how to build the body of your dreams.

How to Increase Your Testosterone With Training

Over the years, I’ve learned to challenge conventional wisdom, especially when it comes to fitness.

As an overtrained triathlete, I prescribed to the old-fashioned “more is better” formula of chronic cardio training and a sugar-and-grain heavy diet.

While I appeared fit and healthy on the outside, my endocrine system was completely ravaged, and my sexual health and overall well-being suffered greatly because of it.

This outcome may not surprise Muscle For Life readers today, but just a handful of years ago, the common paradigm in fitness involved high volume training, for both endurance athletes and weightlifters.

Thankfully, that paradigm has shifted mightily in the opposite direction for most savvy lifters and trainees, but when it comes to optimal endocrine system training, there is still very little knowledgeable prescription in the fitness landscape.

In terms of optimal training for testosterone production, information is usually regurgitated from one blogger to the next, or links to Pubmed findings are shot around forums. But nothing new has been insightfully drawn from the body of research beyond generic “lift heavy” prescriptions.

Now, the first thing to understand in terms of testosterone training is that MANY different types of training will stimulate transient testosterone production in men. High reps, low reps, sprinting, jumping, even some endurance training.

When these findings are not viewed in the context of an overall goal, they can be misleading, and quite confusing, considering most fitness bloggers will take an isolated finding and run with it as fact, as dogma.

Context is everything.

In my own health journey, as I tried to figure out how to both optimize my T and not lose my entire life to training and “perfect” eating strategies, I noticed that, at first, rejuvenative movements were very effective.

When the body is overtrained and chronically stressed, it really just needs rest – not necessarily some super-advanced, scientific training paradigm. So I gave it rest, for several months, in the form of a daily walk for anywhere from 30 minutes to a couple hours, depending on how I felt, and some calisthenics exercises several times a week.

As I dropped fat (I ended up gaining an additional 50 lbs of body fat while on the meds and transitioning back into my university environment – quite the rollercoaster), I began feeling more athletic so I decided to sprint one day per week.

And as I got even lighter, calisthenics became a major, and very fun, part of my overall fitness regimen.

Coincidentally, as I dug further into the research on training for endocrine response, I began to notice how effective calisthenics really were for triggering testosterone production, based on some standard principles that I unearthed when looking at the body of knowledge on the subject of training and testosterone.

Within a few short months of rejuvenative movements, coupled with a solid nutrition strategy, my T levels noticeably jumped back out of nowhere. I first realized the positive change upon waking one morning (any guy knows what happens below the belt every morning when you wake up and have normal T levels).

So at my next check-up I got my hormones tested and sure enough, my T was around 400 ng/dL. Wow. Just a few short months and some minor, but important changes, and my testosterone jumped into the normal range, albeit still on the low side.

Being a competitive person, I naturally wanted to increase it even more, and to see how high I could get it.

Looking at the research on training, I noticed that the vast majority of training for testosterone-induction was neuromuscular-style training. Neuromuscular training is designed to specifically illicit a response from the motor neuron units and their corresponding innervated muscle fibers.

Being a neuroscience geek, I was all over this idea.

Looking at the body of research, I noticed a gap in what researchers have found to be optimal, and what the fitness industry prescribes. The discrepancy is small, but important.

The first thing to understand is that a training threshold exists.

As the neuromuscular (NM) system adapts to certain training stimuli, hormonal responsiveness becomes less sensitive. Research in elite sprinters shows us that average Joes will elicit a larger testosterone response to the same intervals, despite the fact that the elite sprinters will output more power over the same distance.

When the power output is measured relative to the neuronal adaptation and desensitized hormonal response, the average Joes end up eliciting a far higher testosterone response. This is because their bodies react to the training bout as a foreign stimulus that needs support, so androgen receptors are increased in concentration and sensitivity to compensate.

This tells us that beyond a certain threshold of training adaptation, the body becomes desensitized to androgen receptor activity and/or has increased sensitivity to glucocorticoids (stress hormones, which act antithetically to testosterone), which is incredible news if you are not an Olympic level athlete – with the correct training you will see a noticeable T response rather quickly.

Secondly, in terms of the threshold, considering the interplay between cortisol and testosterone, the training stimulus must not be chronic; it needs to cause just enough stress on the system to stimulate positive NM adaptations and elicit androgenic activity, but not so much that it becomes stressful.

This is where prolonged endurance training completely screws the pooch. Chronic training exposure skews the cortisol:testosterone ratio to the left, allowing cortisol to exert suppressive effects on testosterone production.

The same can happen for any type of training stimulus (not just endurance exercise), both during the session itself (transient influence) and over the course of a periodized program or competitive season.

To make sure cortisol stays low enough to not hamper testosterone production, the optimal way to train is in explosive movements that cannot possibly be carried out long enough to cause long-term stress. Intensity needs to be high, but controlled.

The prescription is to train with fatigable bouts of resistance movements, but in low enough quantity to keep cortisol elevation at bay.

So now we understand: explosive resistance training is optimal, as long as it is performed under the training threshold, which is the point after which negative adaptations occur in terms of glucocorticoid receptor sensitivity.

But that’s not the entire picture, and not entirely different from what pop-fitness promotes (though, they mostly just say “squat more”).

There’s another element.

And that’s the idea of workload and its relationship to muscle volume activation (MVA) relative to intensity.

It has been demonstrated that the magnitude of the hormonal response to training is proportional to the size of the muscle volume activated. This is why we hear the old paradigm of “squat, squat, squat” to increase testosterone. Big leg muscles = more muscle tissue activated.

However, this MVA-dependent hormonal response is relative to the intensity of the movement performed.

Researchers have also found that the hormonal response to training is dependent on the amount of work done in the session, with work defined classically as W = Fd (magnitude of the force x displacement).

So when we combine MVA and its relation to intensity with the work principle, and respect the importance of the training threshold, we’re left with the following algorithm for optimal testosterone-inducing training…

W (MVA * i) < Training Threshold

… where W is work, MVA is muscle volume activated, and i is intensity.

The takeaway: High workload, with a high proportion of muscle volume activated relative to intensity of the stimulus on said muscle volume, which should be performed via explosive resistance training done under a performance threshold (ie. self-limiting) = optimal.

This might seem complicated at first. It really isn’t, luckily.

It’s the principle upon which we can build a sensible training program, either with calisthenics (and weighted calisthenics, my preference) or weight training.

Let’s break it down quickly:

MVA:

Since we’re looking to activate a large volume of muscle tissue, we need to perform compound movements, not just movements that isolate large muscles. The big lifts like deadlift and squats work quite well, along with muscle-ups, weighted pull ups and chin ups, weighted dips, weighted box jumps, and levers.

Explosive intensity:

But it’s not enough to just do compound movements. You can take it to another level and add the appropriate intensity to those movements to optimize your hormonal response to the training.

This is where I prefer calisthenics, though I am sure experienced lifters can elicit good responses with deadlifting and squatting. You just need to be rather well-trained as a heavy squatter or deadlifter in order to get the intensity super high, but the fact that you are very well-trained may, as pointed out previously, indicate a desensitized effect of the training stimulus.

Calisthenics, however, and especially the muscle-up and weighted muscle-up, give you the opportunity to apply a large force and displace it over a sizable distance, along with keeping the fatigable effort under a self-limiting threshold (for example, if you cannot do another muscle-up then you have to stop, unlike barbell lifting where you can take a plate off the bar and lift a lighter weight to exhaustion).

When I began taking calisthenics seriously, I also noticed a sizable increase in my testosterone levels over the following months.

My T level was at ~600 ng/dL when I first learned to muscle-up. Within 6 months it was just under 1200 ng/dL.

During this period of time I trained with muscle-ups, calisthenics, and wind sprints, and ate according to the rough nutrition principles I’m about to outline.

This was the period of time during which I also saw the major changes in body composition, eventually dropping back into single digit body fat.

How to Boost Your Testosterone With Nutrition

Nutrition is arguably just as important as training in the testosterone equation.

And interestingly enough, what I’m about to tell you is probably going to fly directly in the face of any assumptions you might have about it.

Protein is not that important. Fat and carbohydrate consumption are.

Adequate protein consumption is necessary only to support your muscle tissue and the training load you place upon it. Beyond that, extra dietary protein comes at the cost of neglecting either fat or carbohydrate intake, or both.

High protein diets are notorious for resulting in low testosterone in men. And that’s because the excess protein causes the individual to eat too little fat or carbohydrate.

Low fat diets are synonymous with low testosterone. And low carb diets have also been found to decrease testosterone levels.

Macronutrient profile of the diet matters quite a bit, and men need to be sure and get adequate levels of carbohydrates and fats, along with sufficient protein to support the training load on their muscles.

They also need to be sure and consume enough calories, as low calorie diets have also been shown to decrease testosterone. If you are dieting with the aim to lose body fat, I recommend a small weekly deficit of 10-15%, which is enough to not cause physiological stress from too much restriction.

Micronutrients matter, but in the same way that getting adequate vitamins and minerals always matters for general health and overall well-being.

I consume a diet wherein I get my vitamins and minerals and fiber from fruits and vegetables (just don’t eat too much fiber), and get my protein and much of my fat from animal sources (meats, cheeses, butters, etc). My carbohydrate sources are potatoes, white rice, and sweet potatoes.

The type of fat you consume matters a lot as well. You should aim to get most of it from saturated animal fats and monounsaturated fats (like from avocados and olives) and limit the amount of polyunsaturated fats you consume, as the PUFA:MUFA ratio has been shown to correlate with testosterone levels.

Animal protein is superior to plant protein when it comes to testosterone production. With routine consumption of meats and animal products, you get the added benefit of cholesterol, quite possibly the most important molecule for your reproductive health, along with plenty of B-vitamins, zinc, and magnesium.

Also, a key element in my nutrition habits is intermittent fastingAnd over time, I truly believe that IF played a major role in bringing my health from mediocre, to very solid.

In nonobese men, the effects of a short-term fast were staggering, with a 67% increase in LH (luteinizing hormone) response and a 180% increase in testosterone.

With this in mind, doing a short-term fast daily may have profound, almost immediate effects on your endocrine balance, especially because LH pulsing needs to spike regularly in order to have a noticeable effect on your overall T levels. This is something that regular daily intermittent fasts can have a positive effect on.

I’ve fasted daily since beginning this journey back to health, and I credit the habit with much of my success and with helping to rejuvenate my endocrine system.

Usually the fast ends up being quite simple: I just skip breakfast and I limit my late night eating. Sometimes I train fasted, sometimes I train fed.

Optimizing Your Testosterone Levels

All-in-all, if you put all of this simple knowledge into action, and take your program seriously for the next 3-6 months, you could very likely double your testosterone levels, depending on where you begin.

Your current body fat level, training experience, exposure to chronic stress and environmental toxins, nutrition habits, and training style all have a profound impact on your endocrine system, so you need to take it all seriously if you want to be hormonally healthy into your old age.

If you’re interested in learning a bit more, I’ve got a free video series on natural T production here, starting with a tutorial on body fat and how losing body fat is the most important thing you must do before anything else to increase your testosterone levels.

I’m also launching a step-by-step program in October about how to naturally increase your testosterone, complete with training plans, menus, an audiobook version, videos, and a complete pdf guide. It’s available for pre-order currently, until 9/22/2013.

Endocrine health is horribly under-addressed in the fitness industry, yet it is of utmost importance: without a healthy endocrine system, nothing else functions properly.

And you can optimize yours naturally with smart training and nutrition. There is no need for gels and injections.

So take a look in the mirror and ask yourself if you want to rely on a pharmaceutical for your overall well-being and sexual health.

If not, put these training and nutrition principles into practice in your life right now and within a few short months you’ll see some encouraging, and possibly profound, improvements.

chris walkerChristopher Walker is a blogger at NoGym.net and author of Testosterone I/O, the guide to naturally increasing your testosterone. He loves startups and calisthenics and is the co-host of the Road To Ripped podcast.

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  • ADTS

    Inspiring story. I hope for the best for you.

    • Christopher Walker

      Thanks ADTS – appreciate it!

  • Clay

    Awesome article! I have constantly struggled (I’m 30, so the last 18 years) with a few ‘trouble spots’ (in body comp, not to mention my random bouts of depression, anxiety, and addiction) and have dabbled in almost every exercise/diet program out there. Until recently, I never really truly focused on my hormones when I should have been focused intensely on them all along. I’ve found my niche with a modified paleo diet, IF and John Romaniello’s workouts and this piece did a great job in summing up everything I have been practicing. I’ll be adding in muscle ups tonight! Thanks!

    • Christopher Walker

      Awesome! Glad to hear, Clay. You’re gonna love muscle ups – they’re by far my favorite movement.

      I wrote a tutorial on Kinobody.com for them if you need help learning at all. Just search ‘kinobody muscle up’ in google.

      C

      • Clay

        Thanks Chris! I’ll check that out.

  • Lance Craig

    For protein consumption, what would you say is the ideal amount? I typically do an average of .8 g of protein per pound of bodyweight. Sometimes less…rarely more than that.

    • Christopher Walker

      Hey Lance, .8g should be fine. All I do is keep an eye on my muscle development (via the mirror) and training performance on a weekly basis in my important movements and increase or decrease from there, depending on how I feel about my progress. See my answer to Mark E. for some more info.
      Hope this helps!

  • Mark E.

    I take it the focus of your efforts was to increase your testosterone rather than your muscle gains? When it comes to intermittent fasting doesn’t it affect your muscle gains and cause your body to break down muscle fibers? I guess the fasting seems to be a foreign idea to me if I’m trying to add muscle. Would HIIT training boost testosterone just as effectively if added to your normal workout and balanced diet? Any formula for dieting? IE 2g protein per pound, 4g Carbs per pound, .4g of Fat per pound. Any changes with that general formula we should consider?

    • Christopher Walker

      IF doesn’t breakdown muscle… just take a look at leangains.com and/or rippedbody.jp to learn more.

      I did focus on T production, though, yes. My philosophy is that my endocrine health comes before something like muscle gain in terms of priority bc it lays the foundation for health for years to come.

      However, I am pretty happy with the level of muscle I’ve gained so far just by focusing this way. I’m currently 200lbs and 9% bf and can still fit into stylish clothes (I’m a model). This style of training and eating helps build power as well, and as you increase your training load your muscles compensate with growth when necessary, which makes all of the muscle mass functional. It happens to look aesthetic as well, a nice bonus.

      Based on what I’ve read, and piecing it together, I think moderate protein in a macro split like [pro/carb/fat] 20/40/40, 30/35/35, or 40/30/30, depending on your goals (and also depending on your total calorie intake) works well. Remember, you need to make sure you don’t sacrifice carbs and fat. Keep protein to just high enough to support your training goals.

      • Mark E.

        Thanks for sharing your story! Very inspiring!

    • Michael Matthews

      Just to chime in, you might like this article:

      https://www.muscleforlife.com /the-definitive-guide-to-intermittent-fasting/

      And HIIT is definitely the way to go for cardio, all things considered:

      https://www.muscleforlife.com /high-intensity-interval-training-and-weight-loss/

      And for dieting, it depends what you’re trying to do. You might like these articles:

      https://www.muscleforlife.com /what-is-if-it-fits-your-macros-and-does-it-work/

      https://www.muscleforlife.com /build-muscle-lose-fat/

    • http://aboutlifting.com/ Ironthumb

      As a family man, Starvation (or fasting) is not planned but is an inevetable part of my life. Miraculously – I have still kept my gains (even better). So it makes no sense to worry about losing muscle if just you missed your shake or if you starve a little, Not training for too long – that will indeed take away your gains.

      • Michael Matthews

        Yup, very true.

  • Arti Radani

    Great article Christopher. I’m also a big proponent of IF.
    I’m glad to hear that you got your life back in order. Thanks for sharing your story it was very inspirational.

    • Christopher Walker

      Thanks Arti

  • Angelos

    thanks Christopher…
    what about smoking tobacco and pot?do they have any effect on testosterone production?
    Also is it possible that high levels of testosterone can make you too aggressive and violent?
    thanks again

    • Michael Matthews

      Not sure on pot affecting test, but the belief that higher test levels makes you more aggressive has been disproved.

      • RonnieTrollman

        What high testosterone does, is to make you want to climb the social hierarchy. Now in certain environments such as prison often who is the most agressive and violent is who is at the top. I guess pretty much the same was the situation in prehistoric caveman times.

        However, obviously in our civilized world, being too agressive is not always beneficial as we are more social, so high testosterone does not always results in being agressive, but could contribute to attributes such as feeling empathy and caring for others.

        I don’t know either about pot, but there wwere studies on tobacco that found that men with high testosterone are much more likely to be smoking, but my bet would be that it is the testosterone that causes someone to indulge in smoking and not the other way around.

        • Michael Matthews

          Thanks for the comment.

  • http://aboutlifting.com/ Ironthumb

    I am a nursing graduate (I was about to use that as a pre med) anyways I agree with your conclusions. Even with the sprinting part whihc I wrote about as well before.

    http://aboutlifting.com/high-intensity-interval-training-hiit-positively-affects-testosterone/

    study is here: Journal Endocrinology Investigation 35:947-950, 2012

    Sprinting or HIIT leads to greater testosterone turnover basically. And you are correct – as studies also say that long time marathon runners have lower testosterone that SEDENTARY people.
    Cheers

    • Michael Matthews

      Awesome, thanks for sharing!

    • Jer

      This why Christopher Walker (the author) had such a dramatic increase in T. he was a competitive (top 10) long distance runner prior to diagnosis with the tumor. Even admits being obsessed with competition and overtraining himself, which also lowers T. I’m not saying that the techniques presented won’t increase T – just don’t expect the 100+ magnitude that he claims it will do.

      • http://aboutlifting.com/ Ironthumb

        Sounds like he took two steps forward and one and a half step back

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  • vroom

    Mike, I’ve read numerous times that test therapy can inhibit your body’s natural ability to produce testosterone. Can you link me to any studies that prove this?

    • Michael Matthews

      Yes, it definitely does. I don’t have any studies to hand but if you use anabolics to boost T production, your natural production declines.

  • Samuel Sander

    Very, very informative article! Thanks! I recently stumbled upon a guest post from Chad Howse on one of the fitness blogs. Quoting his blog post, “You shouldn’t consume your fats with your carbohydrates. It’ll make you store more fat as body fat. But you do need both.” So what his saying here is that we shouldn’t consume fats and carbs together for optimal testosterone levels? Can you possibly elaborate a bit more on this subject?

    Many thanks in forward! :))

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks! I’m really glad you liked it.

      Don’t worry about food combining. It won’t cause any problems so long as your daily numbers are correct.

      • Samuel Sander

        So there’s no truth to it? Glad to hear that! Thanks again! :))

        • Michael Matthews
          • Samuel Sander

            Nice, so no additional loss in weight or bodyfat when it comes to food combining – makes life a bit easier :))

            I wonder what Chad meant though – either he’s got his facts wrong or his basing it off on some other study linked to testosterone. PubMed didn’t give anything for “food combining testosterone” though :D

          • Michael Matthews

            Haha yup.

            In this case I think Chad is just misinformed. Total daily intake is what matters not how you combine food…

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  • Sean O

    So is taking supplements and vitamins permitted during the time you’re fasting or is it complete avoidance of everything except water, black coffee?

    • Michael Matthews

      You need to keep your calories under 40 or so, so if the supplement is 0-cal, that’s fine.

  • http://anabolicmen.com/ Ali Kuoppala

    So inspirational piece of text, and reflects my own story quite much! Although I never was at 11 ng/dl, I still have managed to naturally triple my levels from 420 ng/dl which I assume is a achievement of a kind :D This post just gave me some extra motivation!

  • Your Nuking it.

    Wow you danced around the most basic tenets. Hmm Go fucking sprint is all you had to say. Goddamn mane. You overshot the point by flying over the head of everyone here. Just because I understand all you said in here. Let me break it down for you High Intensity Interval training elicits a anabolic effect in everyone but especially a untrained athlete. High fat, moderate protein with a low carb approach is a good diet..Good god im nearly falling asleep and could say that in what a paragraph. Jesus help us all.

  • Gary M

    There is lot of good things in there, but i would have let out this hype about 100x your testosterone levels. That just takes away some of the credibility from the text, which is other than that mainly good. However there is one fluke that i would like to mention. That is the effect of fasting to testosterone and LH. You say that intermittent fasting could raise ones LH and T-levels and you refer to this study: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2686332. Thats too early conclusion, because, yes subjects LH and T-levels really raised (T-level 180%) after adminstering GnRh (LH releasing hormone). But if you look closely the testosterone values of fasted subjects you see that they are really low after fasting (111). And the GnRH only brings the to normal levels. So could fasting instead cause low testosterone? I think yes, if you look this study http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3106181
    So i would say that IF is NOT good for your testosterone levels. Otherwise i would agree that what you have said about training and nutrition.

  • Jack

    Those “muscle ups” are pretty impressive. I can do a good number of chins but not yet any those. That’s now my goal.

  • Jay mans

    Quite a number,I would have to see the results on paper with his name on both papars to believe this.What he is saying is pretty true for the most part,I’ve been IF for a while now,feel pretty good.That’s at 16 hrs a time.

  • abhinav

    Sir,
    I am 22M and I too have low levels.
    I just do very small things
    first a minor swift walk(150m) followed by minor running(300m) then sprint(50m)
    running (50) and so on alternate sprint and running till I become tired

    then a small break then repeat
    1 set- squats, lounge, push ups( till I feel a minor difficulty in doing more)
    it is the superset which i repeat 3 times

    Can this be done….

    • Michael Matthews

      Yes that’s totally fine.

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  • Tim in London, UK

    Thanks Christopher, for sharing your research in such an openhearted way.
    Will be doing lots of squats together with push ups I have already started. Yours is an amazing story and I think this info will help many people – practical, condensed advice – excellent!

    Cheers, Tim

  • Vince R

    Can this be used to add muscle if you have gotten to a lean starting base and want to bulk with minimal fat gain ?

    • Michael Matthews

      Not exactly. I address how to best do this in my next book, which will be out soon.

  • noelle federico

    Thanks for sharing this information but natural testosterone supplements can also be helpful to improve natural testosterone levels.

  • Billy Shelton

    So if you increase your T levels by powerlifting, what happens when you stop lifting?

    • Michael Matthews

      I’m sure there will be some residual effects but you’ll obviously lose some of the “boost.”

  • Mohammed

    Hi I am Mohammed i am 22 year old I reduced my testosterone level by over training it was around 251ng/dl I felt lot of depression anxiety and many problems will it get back to normal level naturally or I have to take a testosterone injection .do reply me ..:)

  • Sergio Pizana

    about the calisthenics though. what would be a recommended rep range and how many times a week should I be doing calisthenic type exercises? your help will be greatly appreciated. thanks!

    • Michael Matthews

      You generally go to failure unless you’re adding weight…

  • Dan

    Whats the minimum length of time you should follow the program to see results?

    • Michael Matthews

      It depends what you’re doing with your diet but you should definitely see results in the first 3-4 weeks.

  • jake

    Just curious, does masturbation,( not sex with a woman) go into play for any of this, does masturbation reduce or increase androgen/testosterone.

    • Michael Matthews

      It won’t have any significant effect, no.

      • Jay

        Sorry man but I have to disagree with you. This is something I’ve read quite a bit on.

        I’m gonna keep this short because I’m at work.

        You’d be quite surprised at the different effects masturbation has on your body in comparison to actual sex.

        I’ve read numerous studies which show your testosterone dropping right after ejaculation (from both sex and masturbation) and then it gradually rises for about 7 days where it peaks. They found that after about 10 days (I could be wrong on the exact number) or so it declined slightly but not significantly (IMO at least), so don’t go thinking you’re going to go celibate to increase your test.
        (Interestingly enough, I’ve found Buddhist Monks are only allowed to have sex once a week).

        Ejaculation most likely brings your testosterone down to the lowest point it will be throughout your life, other than illnesses and other health issues.

        Also you need to consider the amount of nutrients you expel when ejaculating.

        My findings on masturbationover-masturbation:
        * Increased cortisol levels
        * decreased testosterone
        * decreased muscle size (most noticeable in the calves and forearms)
        * increased irritability
        * weak bones
        * increased DHT – once you ejaculate, the test converts to DHT, hence the rise and fall between the two.
        * hairloss
        (these are but a few from an extremely large list, but you shouldn’t suffer from any of these unless your frequency of ejaculation reaches MULTIPLE TIMES DAILY or if you have a bad diet coupled with zero exercise or illnesses – there are lots of factors).
        This doesn’t even start on the effects on mood and personality, relationships etc..

        It’s important to note that increased DHT in the blood, along with increased cortisol levels causes DHT receptors to form on certain areas of your scalp which then causes DHT to attach to your hair follicles, choking it, reducing blood-flowoxygen to the hair, ultimately resulting in hairloss.

        You will notice that physically attractive males (because of the likelyhood of more sex) are more prone to lose hair in the standard M-Pattern way (ie from the front of the scalp; hairline, rather than the back of the head).
        This is because certain areas of the scalp are immune to DHTDHT-receptors forming. If I remember correctly this has to do with the shape of the Galea( check spelling ) muscle on the skull.

        • jay

          not so short, I know :P

        • Michael Matthews

          Yes that’s true but if I remember correctly the effect is mild. It’s not like your T is dropping 50% because you jerked off, you know?

          • jay

            Most definitely. The effects mentioned above are likely to affect males who ejaculate multiple times daily, but then there are multiple factors coming into play.

            Anyway, love your site, so much info on here.
            Just got your book, Beyond Bigger Leaner Stronger, and Christopher’s book 101 Ways to Increase Testosterone naturally.

            Will get some of the others once finances allow, but is there any order you would recommend I read them in?

          • Michael Matthews

            Haha yeah obsessive masturbation could be an issue.

            Thanks so much man. I really appreciate it.

            BLS -> Muscle Myths -> BBLS will give you everything you need to know. Add in the cookbooks if you like cooking. :)

  • http://www.actionanddrive.com Rob

    Chris, this is a very inspirational story. I have had lots curiosity before I got my levels checked:
    http://www.actionanddrive.com/an-introverts-guide-to-checking-your-testosterone-checked/

    Thanks for the solid information.

  • T guy

    i just wanted to know how smoking affects T production since it boosts cortisol production and if depression can lower testosterone .

    • Michael Matthews

      You know I’m not sure. I’ll have to look into it.

    • Jay

      I’ve read a study that suggested smoking cigarettes increased T-levels by up to 9% and DHT-levels by up to 13%. That was years ago and I wouldn’t recommend you smoke as a means of increasing T

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  • john haggle

    I’m 65 & was on crutches with severe arthritis and other health problems 35 years ago. Because I was only 30, I didn’t buy into the Medical explanations of “your just getting old,” “it runs in the family (It didn’t)”, etc. I got tired of the artritis medications so I got lucky & some “health-nut’s (that’s what conspiracy theorists were called back then!) … got me fasting, eating MUCH healthier, and exercising. Today I get out of bed with no aches or pains, no medications, haven’t been to an M.D. in 20 years, and can do hundreds of pushups, lots pullups, etc. etc. No problem at all with the sex stuff. SO….. fasting was an integral part of my initial recovery. I got out of it because I wasn’t disciplined enough. This article really motivated me to be disciplined, focused, and self-responsible enough to fast again. I really like the idea of skipping breakfast as a short daily fast. That’s an easy doable fast. Thanks!!!

    • Michael Matthews

      That’s awesome man. Really glad to hear it.

  • http://besttestosteroneboosteronthemarket.com/ Maxwell Smith

    I am using a herbal formula testosterone booster containing ashwagandha, mucuna pruriens, gokshura, Chlorophytum borivilianum. I find fascinating the idea of herbs working together in synergy, my mood is better and I have great stamina and energy to get my work done and to make my wife happy

    • Michael Matthews

      That’s great.

      I’m going to look into creating a male vitality product because I think I can reliably deliver results along these lines. I won’t sell it as a “test booster” though because that’s fundamentally misleading.

  • Beebop

    Great article. What are your thoughts on eggs as a source of protein and fat and pasta as a carb?

    • El Niño Muertes

      Why haven’t I heard any of this before? Awesome piece of work dude it all makes sense to me. Kinda. I’m gonna put it to the test. Calisthenics and IF sound like the way forward to me.

      For nutrition I’m thinking I’m gonna stick with my usual diet of raw fruits, raw veg (as much as possible), potatoes, whole meal bread, pasta, rice, butter, cream, eggs, fatty meat and fish, nuts, oils, spices, herbs and salt and that’s pretty much it. Anything on there you disagree with or anything missing? I think eggs and pasta are great staples personally

  • Michael Matthews

    Thanks for stopping by and checking out this article! I hope you enjoyed it.

    Feel free to comment below if you have any questions. I do my best to check and reply to every comment left on my blog, so don’t be shy!

    Oh and if you like what I have to say, you should sign up for my free weekly newsletter! You’ll get awesome, science-based health and fitness tips, delicious “guilt-free” recipes, articles to keep you motivated, and much more!

    You can sign up here:

    http://www.muscleforlife.com/signup

    Your information is safe with me too. I don’t share, sell, or rent my lists. Pinky swear!

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  • Luke

    I am a 22 year old male with low T (Lowest score (july 2014) = 81 highest score (august 40th) =264, on TRT (axiron – 2 pumps per day for 5 months) = 990!! – had the chest acne to prove it..

    Inititally MD’s thought is was a tumor on my pituitary, but after an MRI it was negative, but they did however discover a partially empty sella, meaning I had an abnormally small pituitary gland. My FSH levels are normal, but my LH levels have been measured at .8 and 1.0 on a scale of 1.5 – 9.
    As a young kid I was very chubby. I struggled with weight and ridicule for having “man boobs” which was pretty rough for a 13 year old.
    Junior year of HS I finally lost weight – through high a very low calorie diet. Since then I have been on an endless journy to figure out why i gain fat so easily and have never been able to gain muscle. I have the same strength now at 22 as I did at 15, and I have been weight training consistently 4-6 days a week. I also got into endurance training and ran a half marathon at one point, and did very well. My best 5k was under 17 minutes. I have lab measure VO2 Max of 61. So from a cardio performance end I do well. But, I still have belly fat and cannot put on muscle.
    I tried bulking when I was 19, I ate “clean” and trained heavily, yet still only put on body fat. I fluffed up pretty bad :/ So again I went on a quest to lose the wieght. i did lose the weight, but I also lost even more muscle.
    Finally, i decided to get a blood test. the PA I got a physical with when i asked for the test looked at me like I was crazy, but he humored me and gave me the order. sure enough. LOW T (81).
    Although the endo i see is convinced it is my pituitary issue, i still feel like it just can’t be. After thinking about it, i feel that i may be overtrained. I maybe have the male versoin of the female athlete triad. When weight training I feel I may use “failure” too much. I had also been shyed away from Carbs because they seem to make me gain body fat. I do eat oatmeal bread sweet potatoes rice and other complex carbs. but I definitely stray away from simple carbs.
    However, what makes me think this is something that I was born with is that I have had struggles since I was a little kid with my weight (belly fat) and have always been self consious of myslef.
    I have a great family and support system. I was incredibly successful in college. I am starting Doctor of Physical therapy school in may, but I am still so lost when it comes to this issue. I have stopped taking TRT because I really want to think this is something I can naturally mend..
    Any thoughts anyone?

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  • http://anti-aging-today.us/ Reese2015

    Very
    informative. Want to know your testosterone level? Take this 5minute
    testosterone quiz.

    http://bioidentical-testosterone.com/testosterone-men-5-minute-quiz/

  • kamil

    Gud job bro i am m 23 i lost my testosterone by over training my total testosterone is292 ng/dl i lost it by over training caloric deficiency and by stress and i am feeling like shit now what could u sudjest for me “trt” or can i get it by changing my life style? help me bro !

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  • JamesWilliams

    Hi

  • JamesWilliams

    I am being treated by wellness physician. My labs csme back with 295 total testosterone ans 67 for free testosterone. Hevsaid for age 44 I was low. Felt pressured to start injections and took first liading dose in office. Got home and read side effects and felt there has to be better way. Am I too late to go all natural? By taking 1 shot in dr.s office have I screwed up my dndocrine system….I have been on and off low carb and high protein diet for years and takin cholestetol meds for 2 yrs??? Any insight?

    • http://www.muscleforlife.com/ Michael Matthews

      There are plenty of things you can do to naturally raise T levels. I wouldn’t jump right into drugs…

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  • Ramitran

    Just to clarify did I get this right (don’t have access to full article). Does fasting really increase testosterone? I mean the test was just short overnight fast of 8 hours which EVERYONE goes through when they sleep. And testosterone will peak in the morning hours regardless?

  • Chris

    Hi Mike,

    I’m 28 years old and I’m not a couch potato, I weight train with intensity 3-4 times per week since I’m 22. I’m 80 kilos and 13% bodyfat.
    My nutrition is in check. I eat a lot of fruits and vegetables. Enough protein and lots of good fats.
    I sleep 7-9 hours per day.
    I do IF 16/8 5 days per week.

    And I’ve been feeling like shit for the past 9 months. And my libido has dropped like crazy. I’ve gone to the doctor and my test levels are 123ng/dL

    I mean, I’m doing everything right and my test levels are ridiculous.
    I’m thinking of starting trt, because all the natural remedies that I see online and in this article are already implemented in my day to day routine.

    I know maybe is a life-long treatment, but I’m freaking out and I don’t know what to do.

    What are your thoughts?
    Thanks man.

    • Dominique Roberge

      My opinion( which is nothing more than what I have read on the web about increasing T with supplement(not t booster) is that somehow you are exposed to too much estrogene. I would consider stuff like plastic, beer consumption(more than 3-4 a night 3 times a week can really mess with your t), shampoo. To fight high estrogene levels you can take reservatrol, its a natural supplement check it out online its worth it. Anyway thats my two cents basically I think you should check for estrogene exposure.

    • http://www.muscleforlife.com/ Michael Matthews

      Doh I missed this somehow. Sorry.

      I need to write an in-depth article on T and T boosting. It’s on my list.

      Do you know where your cortisol was at? High? Normal?

  • Steve Berube

    This dude is totally bullshitting about his tumor. People love a good comeback story. This guy is using that to make his money. Pituitary tumors are actually very common and most don’t really affect anyone. If Chris did have a tumor it was one of those. Of course if you diet and exercise you’re going to raise T and feel better. But you don’t have to use an embellished tumor story to do it.

    • http://www.muscleforlife.com/ Michael Matthews

      Thanks for the comment Steve. Honestly I don’t know enough about it to add anything of any value. I’ve known Chris for a bit now and do like his content.

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