As I sit here watching Expendables 2 for the millionth time, I can’t help but think that in another 10 years there will be no more action heroes left. It really is hard to believe that the combined age of the 9 stars is over 500, and the average age is 56. Obviously Chuck Norris’ Lone Wolf cameo skews the numbers, but it is well worth it for the “cobra joke”. However, despite all the breakthroughs in hormone replacement therapy in 10 more years these guys will not be able to kick as much ass, if any.
So my question is, who is going to replace them? Not just Hollywood, but the world in general seems to be running short on men. What does this have to do with a Strength & Conditioning site? Well that’s the beauty of having your own site, you get to write about whatever you want. However, this does have a direct relation to the health and fitness of our society as a whole.
If you hang out at the local watering hole, and see men acting like idiots you may question the research. However, the studies show that men in general are running short on testosterone. And we are not talking about a small difference either.
“Two major studies have confirmed the phenomenon, one in U.S. men and another in Danish men. In the U.S. study, the total testosterone levels measured in men’s blood dropped approximately 22% between 1987 and 2004.”
And as you can see those studies are almost 10 years old, they happened well before the whole meterosexual craze really got much traction. I would venture to guess that if I could find more recent studies the numbers would be even worse. So what is causing this?
Obviously some of the lack of manliness is a cultural problem. And part of it has to do with how we are raising our children. These days we are taught from an early age, not to keep score. We want everyone to feel good about themselves. We make sure that everyone gets a participation trophy and a juicebox. The problem with that is that generation is starting to reach adulthood, and they are realizing that life doesn’t really give a shit about how you feel. There actually are winners and losers, and you should do something worthwhile before you feel a sense of accomplishment. Everyone wants to be on Sportcenter, but nobody wants to practice.
However, the actual physical changes (besides shaving your chest which is voluntary) are a direct result of our environment. We grow up exposed to so many chemicals and toxins, and most people never think twice about what they put in, on or around their bodies. If you walk through the supermarket a majority of the foods we eat are filled with soy and other unmanly things that rob us of testosterone. And while in years past it may have been manly to not care about the food you put in your body, that ignorance is now starting to come at a cost. So many of the issues faced by the modern man such as low libido, fatigue, erectile dysfunction, watching Dr. Phil on purpose are all a direct result of lower testosterone.
“You’re short on ears and long on mouth.” -John Wayne-
So what can we do to fix this epidemic, so our children don’t have to settle for Shia LaBeouf and Tobey Maguire as their version of John Wayne? Is it possible for modern men to increase their testosterone levels naturally. To be honest, we are fighting an uphill battle because the environment we live in is trying to rob us of our manhood. Having said that, there are some things you can do to save yourself.
How To Get Your Balls Back
- Lose Weight – With all the extra estrogen that is flowing through your veins from external and internal toxins it is now harder than ever to get lean. Which is ironic because of all the advances that we have made in Strength and Conditioning. That still doesn’t change the fact that carrying around extra weight significantly reduces your testosterone levels.
- Do HIIT – While I know we all hate cardio, HIIT is the more manly version of cardio and it gets better results in less time. Not only that, but it increases your EPOC. EPOC stands for excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, and it can really increase you overall metabolic rate. Not only does it increase your metabolic rate during the workout, but anywhere from 10-25% for up to 48 hours. Obviously this equals hundreds of extra calories burned, when you aren’t even training.
- Supplement with Zinc and Magnesium – Again we are fighting against our environment here and zinc and magnesium both play important roles in testosterone production. Coach Poliquin points out that “a 1996 study found that young men with normal T status who avoided getting zinc in their diets for 5 months experiences a dramatic drop in total T of more than 50 percent. Giving Zinc Gluconate over the same period to older men who had low T resulted in doubling the men’s T levels” With regards to Magnesium a recent study found that giving athletes roughly 750 mg of Magnesium daily for 4 weeks raised their free Testosterone level 26 percent at rest. So if you wanna get your balls back, you need to pick up some quality ZMA.
- Strength Training – Do I really have to explain this? It doesn’t matter which program you pick. Just make sure you cover Dan John’s 6 Basic Human Movements (Push, Pull, squat, Hinge, Loaded Carry, Turkish Get Up). If you do that, and you bust your balls, then your balls will start to grow back.
- Increase Your Vitamin D Intake– Several years ago the recommended level was between 40 to 60 ng/ml, but more recently the optimal vitamin D level has been raised to 50-70 ng/ml. We all know we spend too much time inside. Get outside and get some sun, or if you have, to go to a tanning bed and fake bake, just don’t tell anyone I sent you. As a last resort you can take Vit D3 supplements. However to get the same effect as sunlight you would need to megadose in the 10,000-15,000IU’s range. The sun works much better, and it’s free.
- Get Some Freaking Sleep-Again this really shouldn’t be something someone has to tell you. You know the importance of adequate rest. If you think staying up late at night watching cute cat videos on youtube is more important than your health I doubt there is anything to say to change your mind. Just know that there is a direct correlation before adequate sleep and optimal testosterone production. So basically all those hours you waste at night NOT sleeping is resulting in you slowly castrating yourself. Still think it’s worth it?
- Act Like a Man – Seriously the attitude of entitlement and wanting something for nothing has got to be costing you a few notches on the testosterone scale. Do what you say you are going to do, and if you want respect then go out and earn it before you expect it. And while we’re at it, RESPECT WOMEN (even if some of them don’t deserve it)
Obviously this is not an extensive list. There are many more things plaguing the modern man. At least Jersey Shore was finally canceled. Now if we could just do something about the food supply, the air we breathe, and Justin Beiber. Be very careful of the foods you eat, and the chemicals you come into contact. The game really is rigged against us, and the numbers speak for themselves. If we aren’t careful we are only a few generations away from having no Real Men left. In the meantime, get off your ass, eat high quality food, add a few supplements to your diet, get some sun, bust your ass in the gym, and get some sleep. Again, sometimes life is as simple as we make it. Just these few tips could increase your testosterone significantly. And once your T is back to optimal levels it is amazing what other little health problems clear up as a result. Not to mention, a little extra swagger isn’t a bad thing.