My testosterone was fine and dandy in my teen years. I was horny24/7, gaining muscle, and driven to succeed in every domain.
A young man of strength and vitality overall.
Then in 2018, I crashed my endocrine system with my lifestyle. Sunscreen. Drugs. Porn addiction. Anxiety. My testosterone fell to the bottom end of the normal male range, and even below it at one point.
I lost my strength and 20 lbs of muscle.
I lost my drive to move forward in life and sharply penetrate the world.
Girls were NOT responding to me with signals of attraction like they’d used to, no matter what game I’d pull around them. And my sexual anxiety went through the roof.
I spent a while after that with a shot endocrine system, testicles the size of raisins, and being a shell of the high-testosterone young man I used to be. Even getting fully sober from drugs and alcohol, eating a clean diet, and working out regularly didn’t get my balls working right again.
I was scared I’d permanently chemically castrated myself. But I wasn’t going to settle for that. I experimented with foods, supplements, and health practices, trying to find SOMETHING that’d make me feel like a man again.
Now I’m in ever better shape, feeling more like a man, feeling more like MYSELF than before I crashed my testosterone.
Here’s what I looked like when my T was shot:
And here’s what I look like now:
If checking my physiognomy wasn’t enough testimony for ya, here’s how I’m doing these days:
I get PRs every time I work out, and am even beating the numbers I’d do back in my aspiring powerlifter days.
I’m uncomfortable if I’m too idle, and have regained the sharp, masculine, vital energy I had as a teenager.
My sexual anxiety is gone. I feel like a man around the ladies. I attract them with my body alone.
The perks of having high testosterone as a man.
This article isn’t a prescription, nor a list of foods, supplements and health practices that may or may not actually work for you.
It’s a piece about principles to apply as you use your own judgement in bettering your health.
My testosterone didn’t crash for only one reason. My holistic lifestyle and the way I was treating my bodymind decayed it over time. Therefore, restoring my endocrine system to its former glory (even surpassing it. fuck living in the past) was also a holistic process.
Now yes, some supplements have been game-changers for me, out of all the ones I’ve experimented with. I’ll tell you all about those, the ones that somewhat worked, and the duds.
Magnesium glycinate: Fixed my sleep issues + adrenal fatigue and enhanced my body’s cellular/mitochondrial energy production.
L-Carnitine: Enhanced the function of my body’s testosterone receptors, enabling more testosterone to be absorbed into its tissues.
Vitamin D: I talked all about it here.
Iodine: Detoxification and overall vitality.
Olive oil and/or coconut oil: This was the biggest game-changer for me. Take a spoonful or a shot of it with each meal. Gives your body more cholesterol to create testosterone from. I’ve turned around many sluggish days with these. There is NO MAGIC PILL for male hormonal optimization, but these oils are the closest thing to it.
The ones that KINDA worked:
Ashwagandha: It helped me feel like myself again when I had a bout with REALLY low testosterone at one point. And it’s helped me relax/destress when I’ve taken it acutely. If you’re immensely stressed, ashwagandha works. However, I do NOT recommend taking ashwagandha daily, or when you’re under minimal stress/frustration. It has gotten my cortisol detrimentally low, to the point where I’ve lost my strength during workouts. I’ve gotten anhedonia from it. And I once crashed my thyroid taking it alongside iodine.
Cortisol is not your enemy. Your goal with it should be to keep it in a healthy window, not to lower it as much as possible.
Mike Mahler’s Aggressive Strength Testosterone Booster: It’s legit. Does exactly what it says on the tin. Though it only made a difference for me when my testosterone was sub-optimal. I stopped seeing a difference from it once I dialed in my game-changers. Plus, I didn’t want to deal with the side-effects of ashwagandha anymore. It works, so feel free to take it, but it’s not a magic pill. There are simpler ways to boost your T that don’t involve ordering bottles online.
Forskolin + Artichoke: This was more for my cognitive function than for my testosterone. It’s a somewhat effective nootropic and testosterone booster. I felt the difference in my balls and my brain, but it didn’t make enough of a difference for me to consider it a game-changer in either domain.
The ones that didn’t do shit:
Maca, boron, black seed oil, ginger, turmeric, black and red pepper, raw onions, raw garlic. I have no idea if any of these made a difference in my testosterone. All of these tasted good, but they made no noticeable difference in my virility. Black seed oil is the only thing in this list I highly recommend for holistic health, not simply for making your cooking taste better, but it was never a game-changer for my testosterone. Ginger, raw onion, and raw garlic are good for the immune system too, but I wouldn’t call them testosterone boosters.
Maca and boron made no noticeable difference.
What else works?
A diet of mostly meat, animal products, and vegetables. Getting 8ish hours of sleep every night. Getting sunshine (I lived in Miami Beach for the last couple months of 2021, so that was easy for me). Talking to pretty women. Associating with masculine, competitive men.
Obvious stuff. Again, this article isn’t a prescription. I don’t want you obsessing over your lifestyle’s minutia.
Here’s the one principle that got me feeling like a MAN more than anything else I’ve tried:
Acute stress + recovery time
Acute stress and chronic stress are two very different things.
Acute stress is healthy. It fortifies you. You adapt to it hormetically. Low doses of a stressor experienced intermittently over time cause an adaptive, self-fortifying response in your bodymind.
Chronic stress is unhealthy and it decays you. It denies your body the proper recovery time and recovery environments/fuel to produce a hormetic response.
Think of the last time you’ve gotten a sunburn after getting too much sun too fast when your skin wasn’t adapted to sunlight. And the times you’ve spent hours in the sun with no issue, because you’d already adapted your skin to the sun through short, intermittent exposure.
The reason I crashed my endocrine system in 2018 is because I was subjecting it to chronic, daily stressors and energy drains. Vitamin D deprivation. Sexual energy loss. Caffeine addiction. Abuse to my holistic bodymind. My endocrine system adapted to this by limiting testosterone production.
My endocrine system only regained its former glory once I fortified its tension-carrying capacity, once I gave it energy and REASONS to produce higher levels of testosterone. In response to acute stress.
Exercise/training/working out is an acute stressor. Your body adapts to it, and assuming proper recovery time is taken, progressive overload and hormetic adaptations do their thing.
My favorite acute stressor back in the day was alcohol. I made the fastest strength/muscle gains of my life back when I was addicted to alcohol, though conventional wisdom states that alcohol is detrimental to testosterone production in men. Which it is, as a chronic stressor. Using it as an acute stressor, having <10 drinks in one go once in a while, has shockingly led to better gym performance for me.
Smoking is another acute stressor. I have a cigarette or a cigar once every few days, and I’ve hit some of my best PRs in the gym recently after a smoke.
I’ve worked out and performed fantastically sleep deprived, on a ton of caffeine (after hydrating myself well), and even hungover. It’s counterintuitive, yes.
But the more I’ve cleared chronic stressors out of my life, and the more I’ve embraced acute stressors, the better I’ve performed in the gym. The more I’ve woken up with morning wood. The more confident, the more like a man I’ve felt moving through the world. The more female attention I’ve gotten.
I’m holistic. Not dogmatic. I’m only telling you what specific acute stressors work for me. They may or may not work for you too. You may enjoy a few drinks or a smoke sometimes, or prefer to abstain entirely.
The point I’m making here is:
Hormesis against acute stress is the most effective testosterone booster I have found.
Do things with your life that force your body to produce more testosterone against acute stressors and challenges, and your manhood will sharpen.
What exact acute, hormetic stressors should you add to your life?
No “one size fits all” prescriptions here.
We’ll put your holistic health together, in ways that align with YOUR wants, needs, values, and individual path in life.