Chapter Four Boost Your Energy Low testosterone levels are notorious for sapping your strength and energy. Not surprising since men need testosterone for muscle strength, healthy bones, positive mood, and vitality. While age is the biggest factor in falling testosterone levels, other things that can lower your “T” include weight gain, alcohol consumption, medications, and stress. Weight gain can be a sign of low testosterone. On the other hand, low testosterone can fuel weight gain too. Because testosterone plays a critical role in metabolism, multiple studies have shown men with low levels of the hormone have a higher percentage of body fat than men with higher testosterone. Some men find that simply losing weight by changing their diet and exercising help raise testosterone levels. This, in turn, reduces fatigue. And then there’s stress. Physical or mental stress can affect the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland and reduce the amount of testosterone that’s produced. Stress also increases levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which, as stated earlier, reduces testosterone production and also increases sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG). When SHBG is elevated, even if you have adequate testosterone, it is bound up and cannot be utilized by the body. As a consequence, stress can have a negative impact on your reproductive, cardiovascular, and metabolic networks. While you can’t eliminate stress from your life, you can take steps to reduce its testosterone-dampening effects. 3 Ways to Instantly Raise Your “T” Get enough sleep. Men produce most of their daily testosterone when they sleep. Set a regular bedtime and wake time, and watch the amount of caffeine you consume. If sleep apnea is a problem, seek out professional help. Drink moderately. Alcohol has been shown to lower testosterone levels and inhibit the release of nitric oxide. Limit yourself to no more than two drinks per day. Break a sweat. Exercise naturally increases testosterone levels. Strive to get at least 30 minutes of exercise daily. Doing what you enjoy, whether it’s walking, playing sports, or riding a bike, can help you stick with it. And don’t be a stranger to the weight rack. Trials have shown that compound weightlifting workouts increase your testosterone levels most of all. As a bonus, exercise effectively lowers stress levels and improves mood. Combining these healthy habits with the testosterone-raising supplements discussed in this booklet can help you regain your youthful vitality and enhance your health from head to toe. MEN’S HEALTH 11