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36 best ways to naturally boost testosterone

Written by John Davis

Last updated: November 27, 2020

Testosterone is the foundation of men and plays a critical role in their health. Research shows that it improves libido, muscle building, heart health, motivation, immunity, and brain health.

Today, low testosterone is on the rise, and it’s even more common to see it in young males. Low testosterone is detrimental for your health, correlated with anxiety, metabolic syndrome, depression, fatigue, and low sex drive.  

This decline in testosterone is for numerous reasons, including lack of exercise, a bad diet, stress, and environmental endocrine disruptors. Thankfully, it can be mostly solved with a few lifestyle tweaks.

Below, you’ll find the 36 best science-backed ways to boost testosterone and maximize your health.

1. Lose Excess Weight 

It’s no surprise that being overweight has negative consequences on your body’s ability to support high testosterone levels (1).

One of the big reasons is because fat cells have a special enzyme called aromatase, which turns testosterone molecules into estrogen. In one study, normal weight men can reduce their chances of having low testosterone by up to 50 percent (2). 

Another study involving wrestlers showed an improvement in serum testosterone levels after losing weight (3). 

Getting into a healthy weight range is arguably the most important factor you have control over for naturally optimizing  your testosterone levels. Do not take this lightly. 

2. Lift Weights

Strength training has a host of benefits for your body, and it’s one of the best ways to naturally increase your testosterone.

The exertion of your muscles to push or pull weights releases a flood of anabolic hormones into your bloodstream, including testosterone. This helps improve your body composition, build more muscle, and lose more fat. 

Although general resistance training has shown to increase testosterone, strength training will boost it even more (4). A 4-week 2007 study showed that strength training increased testosterone (5). 

In fact, research also shows that physical activity has a much stronger testosterone boosting effect in overweight men than your diet (6). 

It’s important to make sure you’re lifting heavy weights and are in the right rep range to get this surge in testosterone. For optimal results, perform 3 sets of 4-8 reps of big compound movements. 

3. Supplement With Testosterone Boosters

With the rise in testosterone decline over the past decades, the market for natural testosterone production has dramatically shot up. In fact, the market is now with billions of dollars. Unfortunately, this leads to many sub-par products, promising false results.

Thankfully there are a few testosterone boosters that are effective and safe. One of the best is Testofuel, which contains everything your body needs to push natural testosterone production to the max. There are no fillers, synthetic additives, or other harmful chemicals to worry about either.

4. Perform Big Compound Movements

Lifting weight is excellent for increasing your testosterone, but performing big compound movements, such as squats and deadlifts, work the largest muscles in your body and require the most energy output. According to research, complex compound movements like deadlifts increase your testosterone levels more than other exercises (7).

This is because they tend to work multiple muscle groups at once, demanding a higher anabolic output from your body. For example, squats will work your gluteus maximus, aka butt, the largest muscle in your body, along with a variety of other large muscles in your lower body. While an isolation movement like curls, will only work your biceps and release a much smaller amount of testosterone than squats will.

5. Eat a Balanced Diet 

Processed foods are filled with bad chemicals and ingredients that lower your testosterone, making what you eat imperative to your testosterone production. Certain foods, like soy and mint, can even decrease your testosterone levels (8, 9). 

If you’re eating too much processed food and not providing your body with the right nutrients, you’re going to lower your T. Eating a healthy diet consisting of lean meats, greens, fruits, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats will help your body support testosterone production. 

It’s also important that you make sure you’re eating enough of each macronutrient. Most of your food should come from natural carbs, fats, and protein. Eating too much of one and not enough of the other is harmful to your testosterone. 

6. Sprint 

Sprinting works your legs and glutes (the largest muscle in the body), and are an amazing explosive exercise to lose weight and increase your speed. Sprinting can also significantly increase your testosterone (10).  

According to research, testosterone production increases when sprinting because of the explosive and aggressive nature of the exercise (11). 

Also, sprinting is great at elevating your heart rate for stellar cardiovascular health, burns more calories in a shorter amount of time, and may cause you to keep burning calories after your workout. 

7. Eat Enough Calories

Reducing your calorie intake and getting into a caloric deficit is important to lose weight and shed fat, but you should be wary of how low you go. If you don’t eat enough calories, your body can’t produce adequate amounts of testosterone. In fact, long-term calorie restriction is connected to lower testosterone levels (12).

If you aren’t eating enough calories, your body shuts down its reproductive health to give more vital processes more attention. In other words, if your body is lacking energy, the last thing on its mind is increasing its testosterone production for good sexual health. Instead, it’s conserving its energy for survival.

Of course, be careful not to eat too much all the time, as the additional weight gain can have negative effects on testosterone production as well.

8. Perform High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

HIIT training is intense full-body workouts that require a lot of your muscles to work together simultaneously. When multiple muscle groups work together, the anabolic response is that much greater.

In 2012, an article concluded that high-intensity interval training produces more free testosterone than steady-state cardio (13). Another 2017 study examined the effects HIIT training had on male athletes and concluded it to increase free testosterone and muscle power (14). 

Compared to steady state cardio, HIIT training burns more calories in less time and increases your muscular and cardiovascular endurance.

9. Reduce Your Cortisol Levels

Cortisol is your stress hormone, and too much of it lowers your testosterone levels (15). High cortisol levels can cause you to gain weight, which hurts your testosterone levels (16). Lowering your cortisol levels will make you feel more calm and relaxed and improve your anabolic hormones.

The best ways to manage cortisol are by reducing stress, exercising, and eating a balanced diet. Getting quality sleep and meditation are also good ways to decrease stress and lower cortisol. 

10. Supplement With Magnesium

Magnesium is a micronutrient that many men are deficient in and plays an important in nerve functioning, regulating blood pressure, and supporting your immune system. It also plays a vital role in testosterone production, and increasing the levels in your body has been shown to increase your testosterone production (17). 

One article published in 2011 found that both athletes and sedentary individuals can increase their testosterone levels with magnesium supplementation (18). 

Of course, you can supplement with magnesium, but the best way to get it is from food. Some of the best food sources include dark chocolate, avocados, nuts, black means, and bananas.

11. Supplement With Zinc

Zinc is another powerful micronutrient that has been proven to boost testosterone and improve libido (19). Zinc also plays a vital role in your immune system and metabolism function. Unfortunately, zinc deficiency is prevalent throughout the world, and this article shows how important it is for regulating serum testosterone levels.

Research shows that people who consume 30 milligrams of zinc a day increase the free testosterone in their bodies (20).

Supplementation with zinc is a great option, but you can also find high levels in certain foods like oysters.

12. Reduce Alcohol Intake

It’s well known that consuming a lot of alcohol is bad for your health. However, it also wreaks havoc on your natural testosterone production. 

Alcohol damages your endocrine system and affects your testes’ ability to produce testosterone. It’s been shown to decrease plasma testosterone levels, and be harmful to male reproductive health (2122).  

Alcohol will also kill your gains in the gym and disrupt your sleep, which is imperative for muscle growth, recovery, and testosterone production.

The bottom line is this: Control how much you drink or don’t drink at all. 

13. Eat Plenty of Healthy Fats

Although too much body fat isn’t good for your natural testosterone production, eating healthy fats have been proven to boost testosterone levels. Healthy fats are also beneficial for lowering the risk of heart disease and bad cholesterol. 

Various types of fats, such as monounsaturated and saturated, are a key component to high testosterone levels (23, 24). Coconut oil, olive oil, dairy, and grass-fed beef are all good sources of these types of fats.

For optimal results, make sure that 20-30% of your daily calories comes from fat, and that you’re consuming both monounsaturated fats and saturated fats. 

14. Don’t’ Skip Out on Carbs 

Carbohydrates have a negative connotation when it comes health, especially with the rise in low carb diets like keto that tend to demonize them. However, carbs are your body’s primary source of energy and one of the most important macronutrients you should be consuming – especially for optimizing testosterone. 

Carbs provide the building blocks for testosterone production. They also help you push longer and harder during workouts, which can, in turn, maximize the anabolic, and testosterone response (25). 

With that being said, low carbohydrates are popular for losing weight, which can be important for your testosterone levels. However, the amount of weight you lose is more about how many calories you eat, not how much carbs you’re consuming. 

15. Don’t Eat Too Much Protein

Eating adequate amounts of protein is good for building muscle, and therefore good for your testosterone levels. Research  supports that to build muscle, you only need to eat about 0.82 grams of protein per pound of body weight (26). If you go over that, you risk not eating enough carbohydrates or fats, which are essential for optimal testosterone production. 

One study showed that men who ate a high protein diet for 10 days had 36% less free testosterone than their normal protein counterparts (27).

The Journal of Applied Physiology examined resistance training subjects with different macronutrient ratios to examine their hormonal changes. The study found that the higher the subjects went in total protein intake, the lower their testosterone was (28). 

16. Get Some Sunlight 

Sunlight contains vitamin D, which is important for the absorption of calcium and helps strengthen your immune system. Unfortunately, vitamin D deficiency is common among adults (29). 

Research also suggests that vitamin D boosts testosterone levels and plays a crucial role in sperm quality (30). 

If you can’t get enough sunlight due to where you live or your lifestyle, consider taking a vitamin D supplement. Milk, eggs, and fish are also excellent sources of vitamin D.

17. Cut Back On Caffeine

Coffee in moderation can improve your testosterone levels when combined with resistance training (31). However, too much caffeine can have a detrimental effect on your cortisol levels (32). 

If you spike your cortisol levels, you decrease your body’s ability to support testosterone. Too much caffeine can also lead to other testosterone thieves, such as anxiety. 

It’s best to consume caffeine earlier in the day and avoid having anything in the evening. By the evening time, your cortisol levels will have dropped, and you won’t disrupt your sleep. Stick to caffeine in moderation and don’t have any more than 400 mg per day.

18. Try Some Tobacco 

Smoking is horrible for your health, especially cardiovascular health. Surprisingly though, some research has proven it to be beneficial for increasing testosterone production (33).  

It turns out men that smoke have slightly higher testosterone levels than men that don’t partake in this vice. Ironically, smoking does have a reverse effect on erectile health. Smoking can damage your blood vessels and impede nitric oxide production, which is imperative for blood flow for a healthy erection. 

Although some research has claimed tobacco to be an alternative for boosting testosterone, it’s best that you don’t smoke since there are other lifestyle changes you can make that aren’t a detriment to your wellbeing. If you want to try tobacco, chewing it very infrequently can be a mildly healthier alternative (although that does come with its own health risks).

19. Get Adequate Sleep 

Several studies have linked not getting enough sleep to lower testosterone levels. One study demonstrated that guys who slept 4 hours had testosterone levels around 200-300 ng/dl, while the men who slept 8 hours had testosterone levels around 500-700 ng/dl (34). 

Another study found similar results and reported a 60% serum testosterone drop for men who slept 4 hours compared to those who slept 8 hours (35). 

Getting enough sleep will also give you the energy to do physical activity, which has a profound effect on your testosterone levels. 

20. Play a Sport 

Testosterone plays a huge role in athletic performance and how successful athletes are in sports. Research shows that competition also seems to spike testosterone levels (36).

Sports are a great form of exercise, giving them even more testosterone boosting benefits.

21. Supplement with B12

Vitamin B12 is an important nutrient for keeping your body’s nerve cells healthy, making DNA, and increasing energy. 

Taking a B12 supplement also reduces your cortisol levels (37). Cortisol has an inverse relationship with testosterone, so lowering your cortisol will increase your testosterone. 

22. Retain Your Semen

Semen retention is an ancient Tao sexual practice and requires you to abstain from ejaculation for a while. One Chinese study found that men who retained from ejaculation for 7 days had a 45% increase in their testosterone levels (38). 

Another 2001 study reported elevated testosterone levels in men who abstained from masturbation for three weeks (39). Frequent masturbation can lower your testosterone levels by reducing your androgen receptors in your brains (40). 

23. Have More Sex

According to studies, having sex is beneficial for boosting your testosterone. One study looking at men in a sex club who just watched and masturbated only had an 11% increase in their serum testosterone levels while the men who had sex increased their testosterone by 72% (41). 

A similar study found that older men who have more sex have more testosterone than other men their age (42). 

24. Practice Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting is a popular diet that helps people control their calories to lose weight. It also has an array of other benefits, one of them being increased HGH (human growth hormone) and testosterone (43). 

Since fasting helps you lose weight and body fat, it increases your testosterone levels even more. Research supports that eating two larger meals a day is better for losing weight than eating six small meals (44).

25. Become Successful

The more successful you are, and the more confident you are, the more testosterone you’ll produce. More successful people tend to have higher testosterone levels, so success and testosterone are positively correlated. 

In fact, just believing you’re a winner is correlated with higher testosterone (45). 

26. Avoid Long Distance Training 

Although endurance activities are a good form of exercise and excellent for your heart health, too much endurance harms testosterone. Endurance training especially has a negative impact on your T levels (46). 

One study in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism performed showed that endurance training decreases serum testosterone levels in men (47). 

Long distance training places too much stress on your body for you to produce healthy amounts of testosterone. This style of training is also lengthy and rigorous, leading to overtraining, which reduces your T levels. 

However, you don’t have to skip cardio altogether. Moderate intensity endurance training leads to increases in testosterone (48). 

Omit long distance training, and instead HIIT train or play a sport for your cardio.

27. Be Less Than 15% Bodyfat

It’s no surprise that having too much body fat is damaging to your overall health and testosterone production (49). However, having too little body fat is bad as well. This is common in bodybuilders when they’re prepping for a show who achieve drastically low levels of body fat (hovering around 5%). 

Of course, on the other end of the spectrum, you have men with body fat that’s 30% ore more, which isn’t doing any good for your testosterone either. In the end, both extreme ends cause your testosterone to plummet.

Make sure you’re at a healthy body fat level that’s not too high or too low. For most men, this will be somewhere between 10-20% body fat, ideally closer to 10%.

28. Take Creatine 

Creatine helps you build muscle by increasing the ATP your muscle produces. This gives your muscles extra energy to perform 1-2 extra reps or lift five pounds heavier on an exercise. Naturally, this leads to strength and muscle gain, and thus more testosterone. 

Another component of creatine is that it contains the compound DHEA, which is what testosterone converts into (50).

29. Manage Your Stress Levels

Stress is bad for your body because it releases too much cortisol, which destroys your natural testosterone levels. Exercising, eating healthy, and meditating are all great ways to decrease your cortisol and feel more calm and relaxed. 

One 2016 study found that students who are stressed have increased salivary cortisol and anxiety, while their salivary testosterone decreases (51). 

Harvard researchers also discovered that mindfulness meditation could decrease depression, a testosterone thief in most people (52). 

30. Avoid Prescription Medication (When Possible)

Certain prescription drugs are tied to negatively impacting your testosterone levels and libido. Specifically, SSRIs (serotonin reuptake inhibitors) are bad for your reproductive health and decrease androgens (53). 

Many people revert to taking prescription medication for any problems they have, but living an active and healthy lifestyle does wonders for your health. Improving your testosterone levels and making healthy lifestyle changes may help you avoid taking the prescription drugs that could negatively affect your testosterone and health as a whole.  

Of course, never stop taking your prescription medication unless directed by your doctor.

31. Quit All Recreational Drugs 

Recreational drugs are not only horrible for your body and mental health, but destroy testosterone production as well (54). Abusing substances are also linked to hypogonadism, testosterone deficiency (55). 

 They may feel good at the time, but they affect everything from your cognitive function, anxiety levels, and testosterone. Ditch the drugs and reward yourself with more natural rewards, such as exercising and eating healthy.

32. Supplement with Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha is a herb that’s classified as an adaptogen, which helps manage stress levels. It improves brain function, lowers blood sugar levels, lowers cortisol levels, and decreases symptoms of anxiety and depression. It has also been linked to higher testosterone levels (56).

Ashwagandha improves your sleep by significantly improving non-rapid eye movement (57). In addition, ashwagandha can reduce your cortisol levels by as much as 30 percent, leading to a further boost in your testosterone (58). It’s also known for improving your libido and treating sexual dysfunction (59). 

33. Eat Spicy Foods 

Surprisingly, eating spicy foods can have a positive effect on boosting your testosterone levels. Research shows that men who like spicy foods are proven to have higher levels of testosterone (60). 

Capsaicin, a common spice, can also help you lose weight, further supporting optimal testosterone production. Eating foods such as red peppers, which contain capsaicin, leave individuals feeling full and satisfied (61). 

34. Supplement With Cinnamon

Cinnamon tastes great, and according to research, it can elevate your testosterone levels (62). Cinnamon is also good for regulating blood glucose levels and reducing bad cholesterol levels, making it perfect for diabetics.

35. Consume Foods High In Cholesterol 

Although too much cholesterol is bad for your heart health, consuming too little of it can cause a drop in your testosterone levels. This is because cholesterol is a foundation building block of testosterone, and higher testosterone levels are associated with consuming more cholesterol (63).

Of course, not all cholesterol is created equal, which is why you want to consume foods high in healthy HDL cholesterol such as eggs, which also contain healthy fats and protein.

36. Improve Your Posture

Research shows that good posture increases your testosterone. In fact, posing in a power position for 2 minutes can lead to a 20% increase in your salivary testosterone and a 25% reduction in cortisol (64).

One way to improve your posture is through resistance training, which also increases your testosterone levels. Improving your posture also has a metal component to give you more confidence. 

Related Articles


Testosterone is a hormone produced by your body that is responsible for male health. Without high testosterone levels, your motivation, body composition, and even success take a plunge. 

While injecting yourself with testosterone is an option, it can often come with negative side effects. The best ways to improve testosterone are through natural means, that work in conjunction with your body.

Testosterone boosting supplements, like Testofuel, are also a great option for optimal testosterone production.


John Davis

John Davis is a Minneapolis-based health and fitness writer with over 7 years of experience researching the science of high performance athletics, long-term health, nutrition, and wellness. As a trained scientist, he digs deep into the medical, nutritional, and epidemiological literature to uncover the keys to healthy living through better nutrition.