Do You Need TRT?
It seems like everywhere you look on social media, another guy in his 30’s or 40’s is singing the praises of testosterone replacement therapy, or TRT, talking about how it’s changed his life, made him look and feel younger, gave him the libido of a high schooler, made him look as though he’s chiseled from stone… and on and on. Sounds great, right? Should you ride the TRT train?
Probably not. Definitely not if you’ve not pulled all of the natural growth hormone and testosterone optimization levers available to you, none of which are a lifelong commitment like taking exogenous testosterone, and the majority of which are free.
Slow Wave Sleep is a Performance Enhancing Drug
If you’re sleeping sub-optimally, simply getting better sleep will raise your natural hormone levels drastically. That whole modern, entrepreneurial, I’ll sleep when I’m dead, burn the midnight oil attitude that’s so popular these days, is giving you the dad bod from which there is no escape. When you disrupt a strict circadian rhythm with garbage sleep habits, you’re doing a number of things that are kicking your ass. You’re not producing optimal amounts of melatonin. Your cortisol levels are remaining high, meaning you’re not synthesizing cholesterol properly, which is essential for production of Vitamin D as well as testosterone. You’re not getting adequate REM sleep which is paramount for brain repair. You’re not getting enough slow wave sleep, which is essential to repair the body from your (hopefully) blood burning efforts in the gym. Slow wave sleep is where the vast majority of your growth hormone production takes place.
So if you’re not getting adequate sleep, there’s no way you should be thinking about TRT until you’ve fixed this deficit. For more information on how to optimize your sleep, refer to our sleep page.
One thing the TRT pushers on Instagram rarely talk about is their food intake. Some foods serve as major hormonal levers while others will kill your dreams of a six pack faster than you can say, “soy latte.” So what is the optimal diet for hormone optimization?
- First, timing is everything…
- Chronic intermittent fasting isn’t ideal. Save the fasts for 1 to 2 weekly 24 hour spans and a quarterly or every 6 month 5 day fast.
- Don’t eat late. Eat your last meal at least 3 hours before bed. This will allow the blood flow to redirect from the digestive process to the brain for optimal sleep preparation, like the production of melatonin. We just discussed the importance of sleep.
- You can drink your 6-pack or wear your 6-pack. It’s hard to do both.
- Alcohol consumption affects the Leydig cells in the testes in an adverse manner. Any man knows the countless euphemisms for the subpar sexual performance associated with heavy alcohol consumption. This is no coincidence.
- Consuming alcohol regularly can increase visceral fat (beer gut) in the abdomen. This leads to very poor hormone regulation and production. The ideal candidate for medical intervention for erectile dysfunction is one with the body type that results, in part, from excessive alcohol consumption.
- Your body treats alcohol as a poison. This means it gets digestive priority as your body tries to filter and expel said poison as quickly as possible. The snowball effect is that the nutrients from any food you’ve eaten within a reasonable window of time before and after consuming alcohol are not as readily absorbed by the body, negating the positive effects.
- Let’s face it… you’re not going to work out when you’ve been drinking. Enough said.
- Not all food is created equal.
- Some foods are much better than others when it comes to hormone optimization. Eating nutrient dense foods like meat and organs will prime your body for proper hormone production. Likewise, eating empty calories that are void of nutrition will do the opposite.
- Get adequate protein. Eating 1 gram of protein per pound of desired body weight will allow for proper muscle growth and repair, priming your systems to operate efficiently and properly.
- Fat is your friend. Contrary to what you may think, or may have been told in school in the 80s, dietary fat is not only not bad, it’s necessary. Your body needs enough fat to carry key fat soluble nutrients from your nose to tail diet to your fat cells for absorption. Getting proper amounts of dietary fat (and corresponding cholesterol and collagen) will do wonders for your hormone production and turn you into a fat burning, muscle building, masculine machine. Just make sure that the fat you’re consuming is not in the form of seed oils. Ideal sources are tallow, lard, butter, suet, avocados…
- Eat carbs. A ketogenic diet has its benefits, but long term this can wreak havoc on your testosterone levels. Just make sure you’re earning your carbs and staying away from refined sugars and gluten. At The Fittest, we like fruit and sweet potatoes. Check out our meal plan page for more.
- You’ve heard the term “soy boy.” It’s a term used to describe less than masculine, overemotional, high-estrogen males, and it’s not a coincidence. Heavy consumption of soy, especially oils, leads to all sorts of digestive issues, estrogen production, stomach discomfort, and a host of other issues. This isn’t unique to soy, however. Eating other legumes and foods with excessive fiber and very little nutrient density do the same thing.
- Sugar… We don’t really need to get into this one, do we?
- It probably goes without saying, but your workouts are of ultimate importance when it comes to optimizing your hormone levels. But how should you work out?
- Lift heavy. Heavy movements that activate several muscle groups at once are shown to have a positive impact on testosterone levels. Squats, deadlifts, power cleans, pullups… these types of movements are paramount. For The Fittest Workout Programming, click here.
- Don’t just go through the motions. If you always do what you always did, you’ll always get what you always got, so push yourself. We don’t call them blood burning workouts for nothing. Take yourself to a place of discomfort in order to get results.
- Excessive cardio will kill your gains. You need cardiovascular exercise for optimal heart health, but slow, boring, steady state cardio on the treadmill, elliptical, or whatever machine you choose is aiding in weight loss, but a lot of it is in the form of muscle. Just like your weight lifting, your cardio should be blood burning. Intensity is important. Sprint. Row. Get on the assault bike.
Let Us Help You
If you haven’t pulled these EEEAAASY levers, then TRT shouldn’t be a consideration. Chances are you don’t need to get on an expensive medication that you really can’t ever come off of. You just need to make some effort. For more EEEAAASY hormone optimizing levers, email our jacked performance experts.