Whether you want to put on muscle mass, become stronger or have a higher sex drive, the answer lies in one main hormone – testosterone. Every gym has at least one guy promising to give you something that will magically boost your testosterone, but when it comes to your own body, you need to look to science for the answers. Here’s what actually works and how to use it.
#1. What Testosterone Boosters Actually Do?
A lot of things get better the more they age – wine, jeans and spirits come to mind, but getting older also brings about certain changes to your body. The more we age, the more we lose muscle mass and become weaker, losing strength as well as soon as we hit the middle of our 30s. The loss of testosterone is the main cause of these phenomena, seeing as the quantity of testosterone in the body gradually drops after this point.
Modern testosterone boosters are herbal supplements which aim to boost the levels of the hormone in your body. They have two methods of operation – one is where they support your testosterone levels and the other is when they boost the amounts of the hormone in a normal operating range. In the long run, testosterone boosters will still give you more meat on your bones and speedier recoveries.
#2. What Are Their Ingredients?
A lot of products have an even greater number of ingredients in them, so if you want the best attainable results, you’ll need to be familiar with the ones that are effective, but also the ones that are not. Here are the best ingredients that can actually bring about change in your testosterone levels.
D-Aspartic Acid (D-AA)
D-Aspartic acid is an amino acid that occurs naturally in your testicular leydig cells. This acid relays messages between your leydig cells and your central nervous system, transforming cholesterol into testosterone in the process. If you take D-AA, your testosterone levels will go up as the message relay system between your testicles and your brain becomes better and more efficient.
Italian scientists discovered that if you take 3 grams of D-AA for 12 days, your testosterone levels would rise up by over 42 percent! Also, the group subjects had 22 percent more testosterone than the placebo group, and over three days later, after they stopped taking D-AA. There was also an article in Nutrition Research which denoted no significant increase in testosterone in professional lifters after taking 3 grams of D-Aspartic acid for 28 consecutive days.
As you might notice, there is a significant difference in these studies and this difference is a result of the base testosterone levels of the subjects as well as their previous training. D-AA needs a lot more research, but it still remains one of the leading testosterone boosters in tests and this applies very strongly to older men, whose age results in declining testosterone levels.
Even though this plant isn’t actually Greek, it’s still considered to be very effective. It’s found mainly in India, and it’s usually used to prepare various curry powders, pastes and pickles. Researchers at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor in Belton, Texas are studying the fenugreek plant for its anabolic traits, and they’ve tested it on experienced lifters, trying to determine its effect on their strength and size.
This experiment showed that the placebo group as well as the fenugreek group experienced great progress in the first four weeks of the study, but the placebo group stopped there while the fenugreek group kept on pushing throughout the full eight weeks of the study, which consisted of exercising and consuming the fenugreek supplement. This means that fenugreek can boost your strength after you’ve already plateaued, and it can even increase your lean muscle mass, as was shown in the study.
ZMA is a combination of three ingredients – zinc monomethionine aspartate, magnesium aspartate and vitamin B-6. This supplement has been found on all sorts of labels, such as sleep aides and testosterone boosters, but it has also been used for recovery so that you can hit the deeper stages of REM sleep. Supposedly, ZMA also boosts your strength and even your hormonal profile.
Many athletes experience deficiencies in zinc and magnesium because they don’t replenish their stores after working out, and these deficiencies can ‘reward’ you with a weak anabolic hormone profile, an increase in cortisol and reduced immune function, which will eventually lower your performance and strength as well.
27 Division II football players took part in a study where they either took a ZMA supplement or a placebo for seven weeks during spring practice. When the seven weeks were over, the players that took the supplement had a 30 percent increase in their testosterone levels, and the placebo group had actually lost about 10 percent! The ZMA group also had a 11.6 percent boost in strength, as opposed to the placebo group which only improved by about 4.6 percent.
#3. How to Test Yourself in the Gym?
If you want to pack on more meat as well as become stronger, you can use testosterone boosters, but you have to complement that consumption with heavy resistance exercises. This is the most important part of taking testosterone boosters – without the proper exercise regimen, taking the boosters is useless. You should already be training hard, but this is just taking it to a whole new level. Here’s how to do it:
- Big to small! If you begin training with compound lifts such as squats, bench presses and overhead presses and then follow up with isolation exercises, your body will elicit a bigger anabolic response!
- Cut your time short! Your testosterone levels rise higher when you train under 60 minutes, with resting periods for 30-90 seconds. Don’t reduce your training volume though!
- Know what you can do! If you use negatives, dropsets and forced reps, not only will your intensity stay high, but your testosterone will as well, getting you some awesome gains.
When you’ve completely fleshed out your training regimen, you can boost your gains with the right supplement, but this often means that you might do better for yourself if you take a product with a number of ingredients, instead of the ones with the pure ‘one ingredient’ composition. When you start using any testosterone booster, do so with the right mentality. Throwing a testosterone booster into your diet can help you break through a plateau quickly and efficiently, but not if it isn’t compounded by a lot of hard work and discipline in both training, eating and afterwards, resting.