August 13, 2015
How do you want to age?
There are two distinct paths.
On One Hand: You can follow the path of most of your peers. You don’t need to look very hard to find guys around you getting older, fatter, less happy, and less fulfilled.
• Man Boobs
• Flabby Arms
• Memory Loss
• Cognitive Decline
• Decreased Sex Drive or even erectile dysfunction
• Less Motivation
• Low Creativity
On The Other Hand: You can choose the path less traveled. One of POWER. One of HEALTH.
You can choose to be:
• Full of Peace and Joy
• An Inspiration to Others
• A Rock for your Family
As men age we have hormonal shifts, just like women, only our shifts don’t get as much attention. Most men (just like women) aren’t overly fond of the physical or mental changes that seem to come with aging. If you want to remain youthful (in the body AND the mind) and hold onto your power you need to harness your genomic potential and optimize your hormones.
The following hormones all decline as men age. (1)
• Testosterone: total and free testosterone
• Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEA-S)
• Growth hormone and insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1)
• Other hormones including triiodothyronine, renin and aldosterone
Let’s look at some of the ways you can Reclaim Your Power Right Now.
7 Tips To Naturally Build Muscle, Enjoy Better Sex, and Feel Great
In this post, I’m going to give you 5 tips, any of which if you implement now, will lead to increased testosterone, improved growth hormone, and/or another similarly positive hormonal shift to help you build muscle, have better sex, and feel great! I don’t go into great depth into any one of them, but if you search my site, you’ll find more in-depth implementations strategies.
1) Lose Fat
Aromatase is an enzyme that can take testosterone and convert it to estrogen (think man-boobs and crying at movies). This is normal and healthy, but everything in moderation. Aromatase is found in adipose tissue (fat) so losing excess fat will help you hold onto more testosterone, leading to all the goodies we’re talking about including laying down more rock hard muscle mass, super-charging your brain function AND your sex life. (Note: It’s funny how this is all inter-related. Men usually think more muscle and semen production equals better sex. Most women will report better brain function will actually lead to more frequent and more enjoyable sex. Either way, lose the extra fat, and you’re covered.)
2) Optimize your Insulin and Blood Sugar Levels
According to the CDC 1 in 10 people in the US have diabetes! (We’re talking diabetes mellitus type 2 here) Even more insane – 1 out of every 3 people have pre-diabetes! WHAT!?! That means those people are likely to become diabetic. Furthermore, your risk for heart disease and other degenerative diseases go up as your fasting blood sugar levels rise BEFORE you even get to the prediabetic state. When I was doing my clinical rotations in nursing school, I spent hundreds of hours in hospitals, nursing homes, and the like. I was shocked at the amount of people that were on insulin because they couldn’t control their blood sugars without it. This is a huge issue because the more insulin you produce (or take) the faster you age. We are literally killing our elderly by giving them insulin when we should be showing them how to manage their insulin and blood sugar through diet and lifestyle. This would be cheaper on the health care system, lower taxes for all, and bring these poor wretches back to life so they can enjoy their golden years. If you want to build muscle, enjoy mind-blowing sex, and feel great, then you MUST optimize your insulin response.
Tip #5 is about eating higher levels of fats. If you optimize your blood sugar and insulin, you’ll avoid most of the damaging, inflammatory effects commonly associated with too much fat. (6)
3) Manage your Stress
It’s super important to get enough rest and recovery from your physical training, your work, and everything you do. Balance is key. Work hard. Play hard. Rest often. When you’re stressed (it doesn’t matter what the cause, a hard workout, a long day at work, relationship stress, whatever) your adrenal glands will secrete cortisol, the stress hormone. This causes all sorts of problems ranging from working on your testicles to decrease testosterone production (3), encouraging your body to hold onto fat, especially around the middle section, and messing with your sleep cycles (which also causes all sorts of problems in its own right).
4) Get to Know Your Circadian Rhythm
The human body is set up to do some things better at certain times of the day than others. You will get your best sleep from about 10p-6a for example. This can be another huge discussion in and of itself about why this is the case. But it has to do with what hormones tend to want to get secreted and which times. For example, melatonin tends to spike in the middle of the night, testosterone and cortisol both tend to spike in the morning (if they don’t, your rhythm is off and is causing problems). There are plenty of studies that look at these rhythms (2) and how to reset them if they get out of whack. One of my favorites for men is to have sex in the morning around 9 or 10 am. This is when your testosterone should be spiking and having intercourse will stimulate this to reset if you’re off. Some studies dispute this and some support it, but I believe if you pay attention to your body and do the things that your body wants to do, you’ll be swimming with the current instead of against it.
Another important strategy here is to make sure you do what you can to promote healthy sleep at the right times for the proper amount of time. For 95% of people, sleeping 10a-6p is best. There are a lot of ideas about how to set yourself up for optimal sleep. A few of the biggies, are make sure your sleeping area is cold (or cool), dark (I mean VERY dark), and silent (or maybe a little white noise). Also, a good trick for most people is to turn off all screens by 8p. There are a ton of benefits to this… no incoming emails for one. One of the biggest is the effect it’ll have on your brain. Remember, we’re trying to reacquaint you with your natural rhythms. So if you’re watching something that stimulates a bunch of dopamine and adrenaline minutes before it’s time to turn the TV off, that’s not going to help the cause.
5) Optimize your Fats, Proteins, Vitamins, and Minerals
One of my top concerns about vegans is that it is extremely difficult to get optimal levels of certain nutrients. One of the top players is cholesterol. Cholesterol needs to be available in order to make all the steroid hormones, including all the sex hormones and vitamin D. Cholesterol is super important in immune system function. If you want to build muscle, have better sex, and boost brain power, make sure you have adequate levels of cholesterol. One of the easiest ways to achieve this is simply to eat high-quality, organic, free-range, grass-fed meats, especially red meats. Of course, this same type of meat will give you all the protein you need as well as those healthy fats.
On the flip side, it’s super important to have proper amounts of many different minerals. Two of the biggest players here on are zinc and magnesium. (4,5) It’s a great idea to measure these levels in your blood because minerals often compete with each other. For example, if you start taking a lot of zinc without knowing what your levels, you could push your copper levels down which can lead to other problems. It’s pretty darn safe to eat foods that are high in these minerals though because they often have a balanced amount of minerals. Eating tons of veggies, nuts, and seeds is a good approach.
*Optional to-do: If you want to go beyond eating the above healthy foods, many people benefit from appropriate nutritional supplementation. In order to know which nutrients you should supplement with, the best approach is to do a test such as a NutrEval.
6) Play aka Train aka exercise
I know it’s probably obvious but I can’t write a post about increasing muscle mass, improving your sex life and boosting brain power without saying that a consistent physical movement program will benefit all these things and more. There are a million and a half benefits to exercise through a myriad of mechanisms of action. Proper exercise programs decrease inflammation (7,8) which will create an environment in which your body will be able to lay down more muscle, optimize your hormones production and brain function. Exercise also increases your insulin sensitivity (9) which helps with tip #2. It’s also tons of fun, can optimize neurotransmitters and hormones, and helps with all mood disorders like depression and anxiety. (10)
7) Know your Relationship Code
This is the only tip this won’t give you more muscle. It is so HUGE with the best sex of your life AND improved brain function though that I am including it in the list. Everyone’s brain works differently. Some people need physical touch in order to be emotionally fed. Because sex and your brain are both intimately connected to being in an emotionally healthy place knowing your brain’s preferences and needs will improve your sex life and will make it much easier to for your brain to function at peak levels.
1) Tan, R. S., & Pu, S. J. (2001). The andropause and memory loss: is there a link between androgen decline and dementia in the aging male. Asian J Androl,3(3), 169-74.
2) Kanaley, J. A., Weltman, J. Y., Pieper, K. S., Weltman, A., & Hartman, M. L. (2001). Cortisol and Growth Hormone Responses to Exercise at Different Times of Day 1. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 86(6), 2881-2889.
3) Cumming, D. C., Quigley, M. E., & Yen, S. S. C. (1983). Acute Suppression of Circulating Testosterone Levels by Cortisol in Men*. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 57(3), 671-673.
4) Kilic, M. (2007). Effect of fatiguing bicycle exercise on thyroid hormone and testosterone levels in sedentary males supplemented with oral zinc. Neuro endocrinology letters, 28(5), 681-685.
5) Cinar, V., Polat, Y., Baltaci, A. K., & Mogulkoc, R. (2011). Effects of magnesium supplementation on testosterone levels of athletes and sedentary subjects at rest and after exhaustion. Biological trace element research, 140(1), 18-23.
6) Pradhan, A. D., Manson, J. E., Rifai, N., Buring, J. E., & Ridker, P. M. (2001). C-reactive protein, interleukin 6, and risk of developing type 2 diabetes mellitus.Jama, 286(3), 327-334.
7) Lira, F. S., Yamashita, A. S., Rosa, J. C., Koyama, C. H., Caperuto, E. C., Batista Jr, M. L., & Seelaender, M. C. (2012). Exercise training decreases adipose tissue inflammation in cachectic rats. Hormone and metabolic research= Hormon-und Stoffwechselforschung= Hormones et metabolism,44(2), 91-98.
8) Petersen, A. M. W., & Pedersen, B. K. (2005). The anti-inflammatory effect of exercise. Journal of applied physiology, 98(4), 1154-1162.
9) Hughes, V. A., Fiatarone, M. A., Fielding, R. A., Kahn, B. B., Ferrara, C. M., Shepherd, P. E. T. E. R., … & Evans, W. J. (1993). Exercise increases muscle GLUT-4 levels and insulin action in subjects with impaired glucose tolerance.American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology And Metabolism, 264(6), E855-E862.
10) Blumenthal, J. A., Babyak, M. A., Carney, R. M., Huber, M., Saab, P. G., Burg, M. M., … & Kaufmann, P. G. (2004). Exercise, depression, and mortality after myocardial infarction in the ENRICHD trial. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.