ben greenfield

32 Natural Ways to Increase Testosterone – A Lecture from Ben Greenfield on The Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast

Check out the Ben Greenfield Fitness Episode Page & Show Notes

Key Takeaways (And Products Mentioned)

  • Workout & Exercise Strategies to Raise Testosterone
    • Do brief sprints
    • Lift heavy weights
    • Take longer rest periods when weight training
    • Do forced reps (assisted reps after you’ve reached failure)
    • Never skip leg day
    • Avoid chronic cardio
  • Nutrient Strategies for Increasing Testosterone | Supplement With (Or Make Sure You’re Getting Adequate Amounts Of):
  • The Optimal Diet (Macronutrient Ratio) for Increasing Testosterone
    • O.55-0.8 grams of protein per pound of body weight
    • 30-40% of your calorie intake should come from fat
    • The rest, fill in with carbs
  • Herbal Supplements for Increasing Testosterone & Libido
  • Biohacks for Increasing Testosterone
    • Electrical Muscle Stimulation (on the legs)
    • Red Light Therapy (directed at the testicles)
    • Cold Therapy (applied to the testicles)
    • Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Therapy
  • Mistakes That Lower Testosterone & Fertility
    • Under-estimating the harmfulness of plastics
    • Being too sedentary
    • Eating too often
    • Think you’re immune to electromagnetic fields (EMFs) (frequent exposure to EMFs lowers testosterone)
    • Ejaculating too frequently
    • Ignoring the power of sex

Books Mentioned


Microdosing Testosterone?

  • Ben has been experimenting with microdosing a transdermal testosterone cream in both the morning and evening (linked is the brand from Ben’s show notes)
    • Why the morning and evening? – It mimics the diurnal variation in testosterone that occurs daily (compared to an unnatural surge in testosterone you’d get with an injection)
    • Where does Be apply the cream? – His scrotum

Workout & Exercise Strategies to Raise Testosterone

  • Do Brief Sprints
    • This up-regulates androgen receptors (which bind to testosterone), testosterone itself, and growth hormone 
    • Whether on a bike, rowing machine, or with running – all it takes is 6 seconds
      • A perfect protocol: 4-6 6-second sprints with 30-36 second breaks in between
  • Lift Heavy Stuff
    • This up-regulates androgen receptors
    • Great exercises: Hex bar deadlifts, squats, and the bench press
      • Ben keeps a hex bar loaded with weights near his desk and makes sure to deadlift throughout the day
  • Take Long Rest Periods When Weight Training
    • “This idea of concurrent strength and endurance training, CrossFit, Spartan training—most of that flies in the face of building testosterone” – Ben Greenfield
    • How long? – At least 120 seconds after a weight lifting set
  • Do Forced Reps
    • The idea: Do a weight lifting set, but towards the last 2-4 reps, get a partner to assist you through the movement (after you’ve reached failure, even if you only move through a partial range of the motion)
  • Use Your Legs
    • “Any type of leg day is incredibly beneficial for testosterone” – Ben Greenfield
  • Avoid Chronic Cardio
    • “I competed in Iron Mans for ten years, and that was the lowest that my testosterone ever was. I saw a steep rise in my own blood testosterone values after I quit racing Iron Mans.” – Ben Greenfield
    • Why does chronic cardio lower testosterone?
      • Think about it evolutionarily: If you’re constantly running from a lion, the body wants to down-regulate fertility (why would you want to bring children into the world during times of stress?)

Nutrient Strategies for Increasing Testosterone- Supplement With (Or Make Sure You’re Getting Adequate Amounts Of):

  • Magnesium & Zinc
    • Caveat: Most of the studies show these micronutrients only increase testosterone in men who exercise frequently and sweat often
    • Black ant extract is particularly high in zinc
      • Taking it pre-sex, Ben finds, boosts his libido 
    • Shellfish are also high in zinc (clams, oysters, etc.)
  • Vitamin D3 and K2
    • “In smaller amounts, Vitamin D3 has been shown to up-regulate androgen receptors and cause a favorable hormone response.” – Ben Greenfield
    • Note: It’s best to take vitamin D3 with vitamin K2 for optimal absorption and to reduce the risk of arterial calcification
      • For more on this, check out the book, Vitamin K2 And The Calcium Paradox
      • Your vitamin D3 needs will vary based on sun exposure, but the general rule is that 1,000 IU increases your blood levels by 5 ng/dL
      • Aim to get 100-200 micrograms of vitamin k2 with your vitamin D
    • Ben’s preferred vitamin D supplement: Thorne Vitamin D/K2
  • DHEA
    • Although banned by most international sports sanctioning bodies, DHEA is something you can pick up at any pharmacy
    • The optimal dose for increasing testosterone: 25-50 mg/day
  • 🎧 Creatine Monohydrate
    • “Creatine is one of the most studied, safe supplements known to man for staving off sarcopenia. It’s a known nootropic.” – Ben Greenfield
    • The optimal dose: 5 mg/day
      • Your body can only absorb 1.5-2 grams at a time, so space out your doses throughout the day
    • Creatine is best absorbed when taken with warm water
    • “There’s no loading that’s required. That’s a myth from the bodybuilding industry.” – Ben Greenfield
  • Boron
    • The optimal dose: ~10 mg/day
    • You can supplement, but boron can also be found in raisins, nuts, fish, and dairy products

The Optimal Diet (Macronutrient Ratios) for Increasing Testosterone

  • On average, you need 0.55-0.8 grams of protein per pound of body weight
    • On active days, make sure you’re getting more. On rest days, you need less protein.
  • 30-40% of your calorie intake should come from fat
  • The rest, fill in with carbs

Herbal Supplements for Increasing Testosterone & Libido

  • Maca Powder
    • It’s been shown to increase androgen receptor density, reduce the risk of prostate cancer, and raise both testosterone & libido 
  • Cacao Powder
    • (Or just eat more dark chocolate)
    • This won’t increase testosterone much organically, but it will increase nitric oxide and thus enhance libido 
    • Most mornings, Ben will drink cacao tea (which he says is an excellent replacement for coffee):
  • Eurycoma Longifolia (AKA Longjack)
    • This specifically enhances libido (and once you enhance libido and have more sex, your testosterone also increases)
  • Fenugreek 
    • Fenugreek is another libido enhancer
    • A weird side fact: Ben says fenugreek makes your semen taste like maple syrup
  • Pycnogenol 
    • This acts similar to cacao in the way it enhances nitric oxide
  • Tribulus Terrestris
    • This herb “significantly enhances sexual drive”

Biohacks for Increasing Testosterone

  • Electrical Muscle Stimulation
    • Where? – On the legs (where there’s a high androgen receptor density)
    • There are a few electrical muscle simulators you can buy, but Ben’s favorite is the 
      • His protocol: 2x a month Ben will attach the to his legs and go through a series of squats and lunges
  • Red Light Therapy
    • To learn more about the benefits of red light therapy, check out these Podcast Notes
    • (Specifically light in the wavelength range of 600-700 nm)
    • The protocol: Use something like a Joov and direct the light on your testes for 10-20 minutes a day
  • Cold Therapy
    • This is an old powerlifting/bodybuilding strategy used for increasing testosterone and growth hormone
      • The easiest way? – By icing your testicles 
  • Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Therapy
    • First, know that cell phones kept in front pockets have been shown to reduce sperm count and quality (frequently using your laptop on your lap or continually being around Wi-Fi routers can also have a similar effect)
      • But, exposing the body to low-intensity/low-frequency/long-wavelength pulsed electromagnetic fields can reverse some of this damage
    • Products:
  • Other methods:
    • Platelet-rich plasma injections
    • Stem cell injections

Mistakes That Lower Testosterone & Fertility

  • Under-Estimating the Harmfulness of Plastics
    • Perhaps the best book on this topic: Estrogeneration by Anthony Gay
    • Parabens, phthalates, and PCBs found in shampoos and conditioners are easily absorbed into the body and unfavorably affect testosterone/estrogen ratios
    • Easy tip: Avoid drinking bottled water
  • Being Too Sedentary
    • You know the type: The guy that sits for 10 hours at work, 2 hours on his commute home, and for another 3 hours while he watches TV at night
    • MOVE throughout the day
    • Sitting too often raises the temperature of your testicles, which is harmful to testosterone production
  • Eating Too Often
    • During longer fasts, testosterone and growth hormone levels drop. But, after re-feeding, they rise significantly (above normal levels).
      • Intermittent fasting (and then re-feeding) also has a similar effect
  • Thinking Your Immune to Electromagnetic Fields (EMFs)
    • To learn more about the dangers of EMFs, check out these Podcast Notes
    • As mentioned above, frequent exposure to EMFs lowers testosterone
    • Easy hacks:
      • Use a DefenderShield case on your phone
      • Don’t keep your cell phone in your pocket
      • Avoid using your laptop on your lap
      • Avoid frequent Wi-Fi router exposure
  • Ejaculating Too Much
  • Ignoring the Power of Sex
    • It’s a positive feedback loop: More sex increase libido and testosterone
    • Ben’s advice: Block off time for sex, just like you’d do so for a workout

The Best Ways to Measure Testosterone

  • With a blood test
    • The con: It’s a snapshot in time (and hormone levels fluctuate throughout the day)
  • With a salivary panel
    • The pro: This is superior to a blood test as it involves multiple readings throughout the day
    • The con: It doesn’t provide the downstream metabolites (AKA what testosterone is getting broken down into)
  • With a urine panel
    • The pros: It involves multiple readings AND provides data about downstream metabolites

Additional Notes

  • 🎧 “We forget about the low-hanging fruit… Everybody’s interested in their MDMA, going on their 38th ayahuasca retreat, and microdosing with psilocybin… I think everyone who wants to go off and do a deep plant medicine journey should go fast and isolate themselves camping in the wilderness for 3 or 4 days. I bet they would probably discover themselves in a very similar way had they gone out and done plant medicine.” – Ben Greenfield

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