If you’re a man, you’ve probably seen commercials or ads warning you of impending doom: Your testosterone levels are falling!
Relax: You’re not doomed, and neither is your manhood. But the commercials are right about one thing: As men approach age 40, their testosterone levels start to dip naturally at a rate of 1 to 3% per year. Carrying extra weight can make this decline even more dramatic.
Once you’ve hit the age of 45, chances are you’re suffering from low, or at least lowered, levels of testosterone. That doesn’t make you less “manly,” but actually means some much more important things: Lower testosterone can make it harder to concentrate, lower your libido, caused depressed moods, mess with your sleep, and make it harder to build muscle and recover from physical activity. It also puts you at higher risks for certain diseases like coronary artery calcification or neurogenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s.
Low testosterone, in combination with age-related muscle loss, can also make it harder to lose weight. You’ve got less energy to exercise, and reduced lean muscle mass could mean you’re burning fewer calories at rest.
In recent years, research has shown that lifestyle factors play a much bigger role in testosterone levels than we previously thought. That means that you may be able to support your testosterone levels through things like nutrition and resistance training. Here are five science-backed tips that could help!
1. Eat Testosterone Supporting Foods
Red meat and whole eggs are two high-protein, muscle-building foods that may also support testosterone production.
Red meat provides zinc. When you’re deficient in this mineral, you could have lower sperm quality and lower levels of free testosterone in your blood. Other foods rich in zinc include oysters, pumpkin seeds and lamb.
Eggs are also correlated with higher testosterone levels. In one study, young men who ate whole eggs after training for 12 weeks had higher testosterone levels than another group that was only given egg whites.
If you’re on a weight loss plan like Nutrisystem, be sure to stick to the portion sizes in our Grocery Guide. Check with your doctor if you’re worried about adding these foods to your weekly diet. For more foods that can help boost your testosterone, click here! >
2. Get More or Better Sleep
Sleep deprivation increases your risk for a variety of diseases. But did you know that it can also affect your testosterone levels? In a study, researchers found that after one week of sleeping for five hours per night, participants’ testosterone levels had fallen 10 to 15 percent compared to when the same guys got 10 hours of shuteye.
So get to bed! Try to go to bed at the same time every night—yes, even weekends. Make sure to also turn off your phone. Multiple studies have connected the use of smartphones close to bedtime with insomnia.
3. Resistance Training
According to the American Council on Exercise (ACE), resistance training can increase anabolic (muscle building) hormones, including testosterone, growth hormone and insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1). These help to repair muscle during your workout. They explain further, “Regardless of your age, strength training can help your body become more efficient at producing the hormones that help build and repair muscle.”
Resistance training causes a temporary or acute increase your testosterone levels. It’s not known if temporary increases in testosterone boost your base level over time.
Here’s what is known: Having less fat in your belly is associated with higher levels of testosterone. And men who do 20 minutes of daily weight training have less age-related fat gain around their middles.
Bigger increases in acute testosterone levels come from exercises that use heavier weights and bigger muscles. For a big-weight move that doesn’t require a lot of skill, start with farmer’s carries: Hold heavy dumbbells (or buckets … or loaded suitcases) at your sides. Keep a proud chest and your shoulders back, and walk forward with the weight—for 20, 30, 40 or 50 feet. Put them down, and rest for 20 seconds. Turn around, pick them up again, and repeat. Try for 2-4 lengths with the weights to start.
4. Weight Loss
A dip in testosterone has been found to increase the amount of fat men retain … and having more body fat is associated with lower testosterone. So it’s not clear which causes which, but one thing is clear: Men with higher waist sizes have lower testosterone.
In fact, research shows that men with waists of 39 inches or more have significantly lower levels than men with 37-inch waists. And the lowest testosterone levels are found in guys with higher waist circumference.
Losing weight can help: Research shows that weight loss can potentially boost testosterone levels in overweight, middle-aged men. In one study of 900 middle-aged, prediabetic men, subjects who lost an average of 17 pounds boosted their testosterone levels by an average of 15 percent.
As we mentioned earlier, muscle also declines with age. But while weight loss may support testosterone levels, it doesn’t always prove to be the same help for muscle mass. In fact, restricting calories too low, along with insufficient protein intake and lack of resistance training during weight loss, may further reduce muscle mass.
It’s important to ensure you’re consuming enough calories to maintain muscle, yet they should still be low enough to promote weight loss. Consuming more protein is also essential, as it becomes more difficult for the body to break down and create new proteins.
The Nutrisystem for Men® Max Vitality Plan
All of these changes can feel overwhelming if you’re trying to lose weight on your own. That’s why you need a solid game plan. The Nutrisystem for Men Max Vitality plan can help you stay on top of your health while you achieve your goals.
Designed for men 50 years or older, this weight loss plan is high in protein and provides personalized calories for a man’s needs. With the power of NuMi SmartAdapt®, you’ll get the greatest number of calories designed to still provide meaningful weight loss results!
Speaking of protein, the plan provides an average of 145 grams of daily protein. It’s spaced out throughout the day to help support lean muscle. We make reaching your daily protein requirements easy with our ready-made meals, delicious high protein shakes and recommended grocery add-ins.
With this plan, Nutrisystem breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks are shipped to your door every 28 days. It is a phased approach to weight loss, focusing on the most structure in month 1 and adding more flexibility to the plan over time.
This plan also includes daily Nutrisystem for Men® FUEL™ Protein Shakes with Velositol®, a unique ingredient that doubles the power of protein with fewer calories. These shakes are designed to help maintain lean muscle mass, improve body composition and significantly improve strength along with daily exercise*.
Created just for men, FUEL™ shakes provide 20 grams of protein, no added sugar or artificial sweeteners and 7 grams of fiber. It’s also lower-glycemic to help sustain energy levels and fight hunger. FUEL™ shakes help you start your day with protein. They are enjoyed along with a Nutrisystem Breakfast as part of a high-protein breakfast in the Max Vitality plan.
Ready to get started? Learn more about the Nutrisystem for Men Max Vitality Plan! >
*Supports lean muscle mass in combination with diet and exercise. Along with resistance training, a clinical study shows a significant increase in strength after 8 weeks.