Testosterone is the sex hormone that causes men to want to compete with and conquer other men. Or put in a more scientific way, testosterone increases a man’s motivation to defend his status in the dominance hierarchy. Many people believe that testosterone increases aggression, which is not exactly correct. It is more correct to say that testosterone increases one’s desire to engage in any activity that brings status. So if you live in a society where status is determined by generosity, testosterone increases your desire to be generous. As the neuroendocrinology researcher Robert Sapolsky said, "if you shoot up Buddhist monks with a bunch of testosterone, they will compete with one another to do the most random acts of kindness."
As a practical matter, however, testosterone is most often linked to increased aggression because for most of our evolutionary history, humans would compete for status by physical combat. Specifically, testosterone reduces your trigger point at which you will start to show aggression, so a man with less testosterone will put up with more bullshit before he fights back.
To me, this indicates that testosterone is nothing more than a weapon to motivate yourself to compete in a dominance hierarchy, but you must first determine which hierarchies are worth competing in. The modern world is complex, and if you make the wrong decision you will end up wasting your time moving up a hierarchy that does not matter. If you boost your T levels and then spend your time fighting losers at your local bar, you are misdirecting your cannon.
Testosterone is also related to dopamine, which is the neurotransmitter that brings feelings of pleasure. But dopamine is not released after you get the pleasurable thing, but rather as a motivator to cause you to pursue the pleasurable thing. Therefore, testosterone increases motivation, energy, alertness, and focus. In other words, testosterone makes putting effort in feel good. Lab rats will even repeatedly press levers to get shots of testosterone because it feels so good.
Testosterone makes you more confident, which promotes novelty seeking and competitive behaviors, but this confidence also makes you less cooperative and more likely to make bad decisions. The human threat detection system is based in the amygdala, and testosterone binds to the amygdala and reduces stress and anxiety (anxiety is the opposite of confidence). Studies show that testosterone makes one cocky and impulsive, and more likely to take stupid risks.
In most animals, individuals with more testosterone get more access to women. This could be because women can sense who has the most testosterone, but it is more likely the case that individuals with more testosterone forage more and fight harder to win sexual access to females.
In humans, it makes sense why women would be more attracted to men with higher testosterone. Women want all the trappings of status (acceptance by the tribe, access to the tribe’s resources, power over others), but they are just not as motivated to fight for status as men because women have about 1/14 the testosterone of men. Women are therefore attracted to high-status men because they provide the one thing women cannot get on their own. And as you can imagine, in the tribe the alpha male has the most testosterone, so he gets the most women.
It is interesting to note that testosterone has been shown in studies to only cause one to defend their status, not to seek a higher status. For example, if there is a dominance hierarchy of five apes, with the alpha at #1 and the lowest at #5, if you shoot up ape #3 with testosterone he will increase his aggression at apes #4 and #5, but he will still be submissive to apes #1 and #2. You can see this in the human world as well: a lot of “alpha” males and high-T guys are still submissive and supplicate to men they see as above them. The practical advice here, I think, is that you need to change your mental models to believe you can compete at higher levels; just boosting your T is not enough.
Here are ways to increase your testosterone.
Warning: Boosting testosterone may cause you to engage in more competitive and risky behaviors. If you are not used to these emotions you can get yourself in trouble. Just like roid rage is a real thing, “doing stupid shit because you just boosted your T levels” is a real thing too.
1) Lift heavy weights
The neurons in your brain make the decision that your body needs to make more testosterone, so you need to lift heavy weights that tax yourself to the point where your brain decides you can only go on like this with more testosterone. I recommend compound lifts that hit all the major muscle groups, so exercises like squats, deadlifts, overhead press, clean and jerk, etc… Studies show that testosterone production is maximized when training with heavy weights, but not to failure, and doing sets of 1-8 reps at 75-90% of your max weight. Lifting to failure may decrease testosterone production because of increases in cortisol.
If you want to mix in endurance exercises with your workouts, you should do them after the exercise rather than before. Studies have shown that endurance activity, if performed first, decreases testosterone produced during the weight training session, as opposed to the same endurance activity being performed after the weight training session.
High intensity interval training (like sprinting) increases testosterone. Endurance exercise that extends beyond 75 minutes starts to decrease testosterone production, probably because of increases in cortisol.
2) Get enough sleep
It is well established that going into deep sleep and optimizing slow wave and REM sleep will lead to an increase in sex hormones. Deep sleep also increases testosterone by decreasing cortisol.
Light viewing, dopamine, and testosterone levels are interconnected. Increasing light viewing through the eyes (not through the skin) increases dopamine, which in turn increases testosterone. This is why many people feel elevated mood in the winter and why many animals, including humans, reduce testosterone production during wintertime.
Therefore, the protocol is to get at least 2-10 minutes of bright line exposure early in the day, which will limit cortisol increase, increase dopamine, and boost production of testosterone. You should also avoid bright light exposure to your eyes in the middle of the night. Bright light in the middle of the night will suppress dopamine and testosterone levels. As Andrew Huberman says, a major result of sleep deprivation is the reduction of testosterone.
3) Have sex
Studies have shown that men who observe sex (watching porn) will have a slight (10%) increase in testosterone, and when people participate in sex they have a significant (70%) increase in testosterone. Ejaculation itself does not reduce testosterone levels, but abstinence and sex without ejaculation increases testosterone up to 400%.
4) Eat well
Testosterone is made from cholesterol so you need some amount of healthy fat in your diet. You should also get lots of animal protein and avoid soy-based foods, such as tofu. Try to avoid alcohol, drugs, sugar, and processed foods. Obesity also destroys your testosterone levels.
5) Breathe through your nose instead of your mouth
Breathing through your nose, as opposed to your mouth, improves the gas exchange of carbon dioxide and oxygen in the body, which increases sex hormones. There is a consistent literature that apnea (poor efficiency of breathing) leads to a buildup of too much carbon dioxide in the body and a reduction in the sex hormones. When apnea is reduced in sleep, there are significant increases in testosterone. If you have sleep apnea, you may need a CPAP machine or other treatment. Other people, however, put tape over their mouth during sleep to help them shift over from being mouth breathers to nose breathing.
During the day, the best way to become a nasal breather is to just breathe through your nose, especially when you are working out (except when you are in maximum effort). It may be difficult at first, but the more you nasally breathe the more your sinuses expand and the easier it is to nasally breathe.
Breathing through your nose also improves your facial features. Mouth breathers have changes in their mouth and jaw that reduce attractiveness. Mouth breathing makes the chin drop, the face lengthen and the eyes droop. More efficient breathing also decreases cortisol levels.
6) Engage in competitive behavior
Winning increases dopamine, which in turn leads to more testosterone. But competition by itself, whether you win or not, also increases testosterone.
7) Hot and cold
Just as light viewing, time of year, and testosterone are connected, so is temperature. Things like ice baths, cold water swims, and cold showers can increase the production of testosterone. Normally coldness is associated with reduced testosterone production, but it seems like ice baths and cold showers increase testosterone production because there is a rebound in vasodilation after cooling. Cooling creates vasoconstriction (narrowing of your blood vessels) but afterwards your body vasodilates again to compensate for the previous vasoconstriction, which increases blood flow to your gonads, stimulating production of testosterone.
8) Minimize stress and cortisol levels
High cortisol levels are devastating for test levels. Cortisol and testosterone are like a see saw – when one goes up, the other goes down. Some things that you could consider doing to lower stress are:
Meditation (scientifically proven to lower stress)
Forming deep relationships with people who care about you
Activities you genuinely enjoy
9) Supplements that have been scientifically proven to increase testosterone in humans:
You can go on examine.com to figure out dosages that are right for you.
Things that decrease testosterone:
- Becoming a father: Expecting fathers have over a 50% decrease in testosterone and their estrogen levels double. This is determined by how much contact with the baby the father has.
- Illness. Inflammatory cytokines lower your testosterone.
https://examine.com/nutrition/increase-testosterone-naturally/ (most of the studies referenced can be found here)
The Andrew Huberman podcast on testosterone
The Andrew Huberman supplement list: https://brainflow.co/index.php/2021/11/21/dr-andrew-hubermans-supplement-list-the-complete-guide/#Supplements_for_Increasing_Testosterone1
TheRedArchive is an archive of Red Pill content, including various subreddits and blogs. This post has been archived from the blog Woujo.
|Title||How to Increase Your Testosterone|
|Date||January 3, 2022 8:37 PM UTC (9 months ago)|
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