How To Raise Testosterone Levels

how to raise testosteroneI recently got a question from a reader about whether it’s possible to naturally raise your testosterone levels. The short answer is: YES.

Since the 1970’s the average male testosterone levels have dropped significantly. A man in 1970 would have 30 % more testosterone in his body than a man today. This significant drop has resulted in a huge amount of guys that have low testosterone levels. Unfortunately I’m one of those guys, and I believe that a lot of skinny-fat guys have low testosterone levels.

In this article I will teach you exactly how to raise testosterone levels (naturally):

Signs of Low Testosterone Levels

  • Lack of muscle mass and difficulty to gain muscle
  • Feminine fat distribution (hips and love handles)
  • Low libido
  • Low energy levels
  • Low stamina
  • Depression
  • Weak joints

I had most of these symptoms for the majority of my life, and I could never explain why, however I got it confirmed by getting my testosterone levels checked. Since I got rejected TRT by two different endocrinologists, I had to try and increase my levels naturally.

3 months later I increased my testosterone levels by almost 100 %:

  • 27 September 2010: 297 ng/dl
  • 20 December 2010: 593 ng/dl

Eventually, I managed to increase my testosterone levels all the way up to 651 ng/dl on 27 July 2012, achieving an overall increase of 119.19%.

This increase put me close the median total testosterone level of a young man around the age of 25, which is much better than my starting point.

See proof below:

testosterone results 2010-2012

Note: My testosterone level results are in nmol/l, but you can convert them yourself by using this tool.

To check whether you have low testosterone levels, simply get blood work done by your doctor and compare the result with the chart below.

average testosterone levels

Source: Mens Hormonal Health

This chart shows the average male testosterone levels broken down by age groups. If you have levels that are significantly lower than the mean total testosterone in your age bracket, then you have low levels (especially if you are in the 5th or 10th percentile).

I got my testosterone levels tested in 2011 (1 year into training), and I discovered that my testosterone was 294 ng/dl which puts me below the 5th percentile of a 55-59 year old man, and my levels were roughly half of the average levels for that age group.

I also got a bunch of other hormones in my body tested along with a scan of my testes and my brain. Everything was optimal, but for some unexplainable reasons my testosterone levels were low!

This was obviously not optimal, so I asked my endocrinologist for testosterone replacement therapy (TRT), however I was denied that because I’m a young guy. So… I tried another endocrinologist, and got the same answer.

I was unhappy with this, because optimal testosterone levels are key to male vitality, just take a look at some of the symptoms of low testosterone levels.

How To Raise Testosterone Levels

  • Make sure you get plenty of sleep
  • Add more fat to your diet

To increase my testosterone levels naturally, I added a lot of fat to my diet (fatty fish, fat cuts of meat and natural peanutbutter). Also, I decided to not use an alarm to sleep more.

Those are simple lifestyle changes that paid off, and I feel much better now than I did before. My training results have also been a lot better than in the past, since I’ve been able to shed a lot of unwanted fat.

I definitely recommend everyone to raise them naturally first and if you are a skinny-fat guy you should go and get a blood test to get your levels checked.

The Effects of Higher Testosterone Levels

In 1996 a study was done on 4 groups of people

  • Group 1: Didn’t train, and didn’t inject testosterone, however they received a placebo.
  • Group 2: Didn’t train, but injected testosterone.
  • Group 3: Trained, but didn’t inject testosterone, however they received a placebo.
  • Group 4: Trained, and injected testosterone.

All groups had the same diet, and the two groups that trained, did it 3 times a week by using the same program. Here are the results of this study:


Source: N Engl J Med 1996;335:1-7

The graph shows the groups starting from the left 1-2-3-4. The interesting finding in this study is that the group that injected testosterone but didn’t train gained almost twice the amount of fat-free mass as the group that trained but without testosterone injections.

Finally, the group that trained with testosterone inejctions gained 3 times as much fat-free mass as the group that trained without.

So how does this relate to low testosterone levels? Well, it clearly shows that increasing your testostone levels has a HUGE impact on your ability to gain fat-free mass.

I’m not saying you should get testosterone injections, however I recommend you to check your levels, and try to increase them naturally if they are low.

If you previously had low testosterone levels and managed to raise them naturally, please let us know in the comments how you succeeded at doing so.

– Oskar


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  1. Hi,

    I bumped into your thread by coincidence. I used to lift moderately for 6 years. I started cutting last year and dropped from 76 kg to 68 kg in a year. I am 5’8″ and I estimate my BF around 10%. For the past three months My libido was going down. I did a blood test and my testosterone level was 388. How fast can I increase it back to normal levels? Do I need to bulk up or eat at maintenance level with more fats (I was focusing on protein before and did not eat a lot of fat)

  2. Hey, I’m a 14 year old guy and i have puffy nipples, not necessarily big boobs but my nipple are heaps puffy, and i have a little bit of love handles. I train everyday and lift weights. I have a fair amount of muscle mass and im not fat. How do i reduce my love handles and nipple puffiness? Please reply.

  3. As being a women i am always tired and i can do my daily work, am i suffering for low testosterone??
    its usually said for women it is less required than males.

  4. I’m a 33 year old man and have suffered all my life with all of these symptoms. I just got my levels checked and I’m at a 296. My Doc asked me to start taking DHEA to helps raise my T levels. I will be doing your advice as well. At the current time I weigh in at 250 pounds and have been going to the gym for almost four months now and haven’t lost anything.

  5. Rey Singhania says:

    Hey,man I think I have man boobs….I have checked it by the process you told…I felt a why should I do??? Please tell me its very embarrassing for me to go to the college hang out with my friends..I always use two there any risk in the surgery ??? Is it painfully??? Can any kind of medicine or lotion can’t fix it??? Pls reply……

  6. Please reply

  7. Also Oskar have you noticed a change in your behavior? Does increasing testosterone make you more assertive? All other hormones were normal except raiswed cortisolMy total testosterone level is 699 but I’ve always been unassertive. At 21 I have a babyface and lack the ruggedness in looks. What do you think?

  8. Hi Oskar! I just subscribed to your very helpful site today.My question is if my total testosterone is 699.4 ng/dl, why am I suffering from the symptoms of low T such as lack of libido, Lack of morning wood, Fat gain on hips and lower chest mainly, And also have a more hourglass shaped body. Even though my facial hair and chest hair seems good.? I’m a 21 year old. Please help.

  9. I suffer from a lot of low T symptoms and am thinking about going to check it out soon…. I’ve been training seriously for two years but am not getting the results I want (still skinnyfat, and strength hasnt increased except squats). but I’m also just 19 so I think i’ll get denied TRT/HRT…..

  10. TheOneFromTheFuture says:

    What percent of your diet was from fat to increase your Test Level? Mine came back in mid 400s. Want to increase them natty

  11. I sir
    I am sanjay from india. I am very thin 45kgs only and age 26 and my voice also like girl voice I testosterone level also very low. what to do . I can’t able to gain weight as well as I can’t change my voice also please help me what to do in my condition. pleas

  12. Jaya Pravin says:

    I can’t eat beef and pork
    what are the other food sources would you recommend for people like us?

  13. Great Article man! I have the same issue of puffy nipples. Altough i have been constantly progressing in the gym. But i have fat distribution in ny love handles. I have an immense sex drive LOL. But the only problem seems to be puffy nipples. BTW i am 18 5″10 152 lbs. Any advice will be appreciated.

  14. I just got my levels checked and they are 305 which my doctor says is normal but obviously very low. The main question i have is how did you manage to lose the excess body fat (cutting fat from the skinny fat) and still raising testosterone? Did you raise testosterone and then cut?

    • Oskar Faarkrog says:

      That is very low Vik.

      The key to increase testosterone while losing fat is to implement 1-2 days a week where you refeed your body through a caloric surplus, and to never starve yourself. Also, you want your diet to be full of high testosterone foods such as red meat, eggs, beef and peanuts.

      In other words, you want to cut slowly while eating the right foods. I lost about 4lbs. a month during my cut.

  15. I was looking for information on how to naturally increase testosterone and bumped into your website which I found very interesting! I suspect that I have low levels of this hormone for a some weird reason. I have all the symptoms of low testosterone: depression, low energy levels, low libido, non-manly body composition (tiny bones, narrow shoulders, girly looking face, poor growth of facial hair). I’m 20 years old Asian guy, 6 ft 0 inches, 150 lbs and have a hard time gain muscle mass even though I work out as much as other muscular guys in the gym and eat more than enough protein. For the last few months I am experiencing sleep deprivation due to my study and work load, which made things even worse. I become very anxious, have almost zero libido, my mood can change rapidly throughout the day, have fog in my head most of the time and other nasty things that are related to low testosterone. Until around two years ago I didn’t pay a lot of attention on this problem but recently I feel that I can’t stand it anymore.

    • Oskar Faarkrog says:

      Hey Lee, you should get your levels tested, since the symptoms of low testosterone are similar to those of other medical conditions.

      • Hey Oskar ~
        I just got my results from blood test. Total T – 262 ng/dl (270-1000 is norm), free T – 5 ng/dl (normal range 10-30) Estradiol – 2 pg/dl (normal 15-50). Looking at this paper makes me think that I am in a trouble.

  16. This is a very helpful site; I found it from reading Danger and Play. Just read your article on puffy nipples. That’s some interesting advice about eliminating gluten; I’ll have to try that!

    I had previously adopted strategies to increase testosterone naturally by eating a “mostly” whole foods diet and getting more sleep. I noticed sleep is probably the most helpful thing for me and I may up my fat intake even further after reading this article. I had been curious about my levels for a while and my biggest issue was getting myself mentally prepared to get my levels checked. I just started a blog and wrote an article on it. It may also help other guys out who have the same issue. Here is a link to it:

  17. What did you eat exactly? I just started your diet and have been eating eggs oin the morning lists of broccoli and Brussels sprouts to remove estrogen natural steak with brown rice natural black beans natural guac with hot salsa natural sour cream and natural cheese

    • Oskar Faarkrog says:

      My staples currently are natural peanut butter, beef, eggs, spinach and white rice.

      I ate similar foods (minus the spinach) to increase my testosterone.

  18. Interesting. You are suggesting increasing fat. That sounds about right. You need fats as they are precursors to steroid hormones in the body. What i like about your website is that it gets to the point. No bs just straight up front on what you have to say.

    It is motivating me to do the same for all my websites. Shows that you do not need long articles to grab readers. You need good honest content.

  19. Had my testosterone checked and it’s pretty high relative to that chart.

    Mine is 827

  20. Hey Oskar. Were you in a deficit of calories when you were trying to raise your testosterone levels. Or a surplus? Thanks

    • Oskar Faarkrog says:

      Mostly in a caloric deficit, although I cycled my calories. My deficit was never big though, and I started off with a high body-fat level.

  21. Bravery Ritual Hoshiguma says:

    I started out skinnyfat when I began lifting, but I have a lot of body hair and I’m pretty sure the origin of any low test I might have had was a poor diet during my teenage years. Now that I’m lifting and bulking, is my test still low? I’m confused since my gains, as far as I know, have been pretty consistent.

    • Oskar Faarkrog says:

      As long as you don’t have the symptoms, don’t worry about the number. Feeling and looking healthy is much more important than the number. You’re progressing consistently, so it seems like things are working as they should.

  22. What were you levels initially because you say 11 n/mol and then 280ng/dl which are two different readings just curious to know as I have been refused trt with test levels of 276ng/dl or 9.6 n/mol I’m trying to raise them naturally cheers Ben uk

    • Oskar Faarkrog says:

      Sorry for the inconvenience, I have updated the article with the correct conversions and used the same unit for all now. I initially had 10.3 nmol/l (1 year into training). Later on I had 11.66 nmol/l, and that’s when I decided to get serious about increasing my levels. After doing that, I had 24 nmol/l. Today, I have no idea what they are, but the last 2 or 3 tests have been between 19-24 nmol/l, which is quite low for my age but way better than before.

    • Do you think it will be possible for me to raise my levels naturally

  23. I know you don’t like many supplements but I’ve found that Supplementing with zinc really helps. Especially if you are dietary deficient in zinc and don’t even know it. I didn’t really know it. In the past 2 weeks that I’ve been taking it and for the first time I can see some definition in my chest and biceps. Obviously it’s not a cure all for low test but if you are deficient it’s really a great supplement. Sex drive also improved and i swear my dicks’ gotten bigger ;)

    • Oskar Faarkrog says:

      Thanks for sharing this Carlos!

      I used to take ZMA (Zinc + Magnesium) for a brief while, and I remember that it improved my sleep a lot and also increased libido.

  24. Thanks.
    I believe that difference is in you being heavyer all along, so you went through strength process at a longer and slower rate.
    I only do weighted chins once a week, but will consider more often as recuperation seems very fast from chins.
    Until I do 20 chins with 15 – 20 kilos hanging from me, i probably can’t compare with your strength.

  25. Correct.
    I did however in my past years workouts reach build up to 10, and there was once a single day when i felt mentally really strong an i did 15 of them. But this was once in a month expirience, which was never repeated.
    Whats different with your approach, is that almost every day, simetimes twice a day..morning and evening, my first set is 20 chins. I reached this past week.
    If for some reason, like exhaustion from other activities, doesnt allow 20, i still manage 17, and in 4 sets i never fall below 50 reps.
    If by a miracle somehow squeezed 20 chins half a year ago, my lats would hurt for 3-4 days.

    About workout in general…i used to be ill a lot. Had one to two bigger illnesses a year, was prone to get a cold in a draft or from other ill person.
    Cold sickness effect could last for a month, till it subsided.
    But around 4 years ago a shift occured, and i actually never got sick, except one time and it lasted measly 2 days. Same goes for herpes.
    I think testosteron, even though a person is not bulky musclular, has a great impact on CNS, health, diseaze prevention, even if things in the gym and kitchen are not done absolutely correctly for max muscle, strength gains. One just has to be persistent and work out because of workout and not for physical results. it should become a drug, like alcohol and all day sitting at office and in bars for the not so lucky people.
    I love working out alone. No competing, no pressure, no time ties, no need for plans and any time, any day can be right. You just have to warm yorself up and do it.

    • Oskar Faarkrog says:

      You’re right about illness. I rarely get ill, and when I do it goes away after a day or two.

      Your progress on chin ups is GREAT, I never progressed that fast. Keep it up!

  26. You know it is hard to say how long.
    I can say, that since 2008 I started gym more seriously, also gaining weight and size, but also midsection grew. Then came few years of erratic gym workout regimes, to 300 pushup/day, which killed right shouder, to pullup regime, all mixed & combined, no serious log tracking. Than came mehdi’s 5×5…proved too much for my skeleton or form.
    It took long to discover what ecto really means, so I ran into bony2beastly, but their split training, eat all day, fill yourself with protein and creatine didnt go with my philosophy, as i gained too much unnecessary weight from that in past, so it showed I wasn’t a real ecto, but a fat version of it.
    Then ran into the twins last year on the YT, from whom I first heard of intermittent fasting, and I instantly saw myself in it.
    Grabbed it, used it, weight came off, became really skinny, well i still am.
    But after bumping into your page, I didn’t know what to do, so I ran hills for durability, as I had a broken finger.
    I did read Stuart Mcrobert’s “Beyond Brawn”, who had different approach…more like big weights, compound moves and less training because of regenereation being slow for thin people.
    Well its true, so I do big weights once a week, and will tweak it with strength progression.
    I’m 10 kilo lighter and can almost bench the weight in my best, but fatter days, but without elbow pain. Also I can now run 3200m 1:40min faster than before, and Im still reducing the time.
    My first comment on your page is the approx date, I started seriously with minimalistic approach. (4th august / intermittent fasting)
    I began from approx 7 pullup max.
    I think that natural saturated fats aided recovery to a great extent. I rarely get sore, as in the past I could barely move after heavy training.
    For this type of training, i can keep logs in my head, as there are very few variables.
    bench and DL (3×5), number of chins in first set and combined number in now 4 sets, which is now 50 and up.
    Sometimes i do chins in superseries with diamonds, sometimes chins come first, then diamonds.
    Slowly, I’m reaching short term goals, with at least for now, big accent on strenght, hence 2 min pauses. 3min for DL and bench.
    Chins and diamond are at least 6x/week, sometimes twice a day, depending on the feeling.

    Well a long writeup, but well worth your effort of the great page, keep up the good work, a great eye opener!!!

    • Oskar Faarkrog says:

      Beyond Brawn sounds interesting, I will read that book sometime in the future.

      Am I wrong, or did you go from 7 pull ups to 20 pull ups since 4th august?

      You’re not the first guy I heard to have great success with the high frequency training of diamond push ups and chin ups. I’m glad it works for other people just like it did for me.

  27. Correct, but my ceiling is so low ;)
    I have a certain shoulder condition, which is slowly correcting with balanced front rear movements.
    This is why I avoided dips, because shoulder stress started showing on the elbow. And muscle ups have a certain degree of dip finisher.
    Do you have a plan for muscle ups? did you start with negatives or just did as explosive movement as possible to reach certain height, until you could transfer weight over the bar?

    Also, chins need a minor warmup, muscle ups need a lot as there is great deal of tension.
    Do you warmup with chinup routine and also finish off with chins after muscle ups?
    To my belief, you need to be as fresh for muscle ups as possible.

    Theres always a trick when adding new exercise to routine, while trying not to stall or neglect the similar one, in this case a chinup.

    Have a friend, who can do 10 pullups with 20 kg strapped on him. He is the same weight as me.
    But with that strength, he can also do 5 muscle ups, when fresh.
    When I work strength, I do 5 reps, and currently chin with 15kg added, 3×5.

    • Oskar Faarkrog says:

      Dips can be uncomfortable for some people. I also used to get shoulder pain on them, however I don’t get it anymore (I think it’s because I strengthened my shoulder with handstand push ups).

      If you get pain during an exercise, don’t do it – it’s not worth the risk. Wait with the dips and muscle ups until you have strengthened your shoulder and they are comfortable to do.

      About muscle ups: I have tried to do them once in a while during the last few years with no success – I simply couldn’t get through that transition point.

      Monday, last week I tried to do one because I trained outside, and I succeeded. Since then I have done them like 4-5 times and I’m already at 5 muscle ups in a row. The reps weren’t clean, and I still have about 10 lbs to lose from my visit in America, so I hope I can get to 10 muscle ups this year once my form is better and I can see my abs again.

      I didn’t have any “plan” to get my muscle up, I just trained 5-7 times a week during the last 4 weeks and got strong enough to do handstand push ups, so I guess that strength transferred to the muscle up.

      I do pretty much the same warm up everytime: dynamic stretching, stretch my wrists and a set of 10 explosive chin ups and 15-20 regular push ups.

      I’m not sure about old exercises stalling. At one point I didn’t train legs directly for over 6 months because I did a lot of sprints and explosive movements during partner stunts, but I remember that once I tried squatting again I actually did the same weight but with better form. I think the trick is to eat and sleep like you normally would, and train hard most days of the week.

      Those are some strong stats on the pull ups and chin ups. How long time have you been training?

  28. By your encoraguement, I got mine tested. I’m 36, quite typical ecto, who turned into fat one, but with now, minimalistic approach to workout, also inspired by your page and already having my own “gold’s gym”, I do flat bench, deadlifts, and weighted pullups for strength, around once a week each.
    Other than that, I do chins, diamonds and curls with pronated and supinated grip, almost on daily basis, sometimes 5 sets, someties two sets, 3 times a day…it all depend on current mood.
    I also include extra forehand work for better grip, with static bar holds, captains of crush and finger extensions with rubber.
    When I feel like, I do situps, but mosty i do hanging leg raises.
    Just recently i reached 20 chins on 73.5kg BV. I lost much unnecessary BV through intermittent fasting. (10kg), so I can now run faster. I do interval running once a week and now I also added bicycle enduro riding at least once a week. I’m also a big fan of motorcycle enduro riding.
    To get to the T levels are 22.3 nmol/L which transfers to 642.65 ng/dl
    And this is pretty much OK for my liking.

    • Oskar Faarkrog says:

      Your T-levels seem fine.

      Looks like your minimalistic approach is working, congrats on the weight loss and 20 chin ups. If chin ups are easy for you, consider adding muscle ups to your routine. I recently started doing those – it’s a great exercise for your upper body strength and explosiveness.

  29. monkeydluffy says:

    watch porn during training would help increase those testosterone,
    even at gym, you could use headset and listening to woman moan. totally work friend

  30. Found you from reading Victor Pride’s articles. I read the comment section too, so I saw you commenting there and decided to check out your story. I’m 24. so we’re close in age. Also very similar body type to the way you used to be, so I think we probably have similar genetics. I live in the USA, but from Eastern Europe (Ukraine). You seem really cool and like you really want to help people out that have issues that you had before, so I’ll keep your website in my favorites and comment from time to time. Let’s keep in touch, sound good?

    • Oskar Faarkrog says:

      I’m glad you like the site.

      Keep commenting on the site and keep us updated on your progress. If you have any questions, just ask.

  31. This site is a great resouce. I suffer from low libido, female fat distribution and weak joints.. I’ll definitely get my testosterone levels checked. I’m 26 years old, what levels are optimal for my age?

    • Oskar Faarkrog says:

      Thanks jonah, I’m glad you like it.
      According to the table in my post the mean for your age is 669 ng/dl, so you should be somewhere around that, preferably a bit higher.

  32. Great article man!
    I suffer from all the symptoms of low testosterone myself, but I’ve never checked my levels… I live in Belgium, do you know if it’s possible for a young guy to get testosterone there?

    • Oskar Faarkrog says:

      Which symptoms do you have and how old are you?
      Unfortunately, I don’t know anything about TRT in Belgium.

      • Max1337 says:

        I’m 19 years old, and I have low sex drive, low amount of muscle mass, fat on my hips and love handles and I can’t progress in the gym :(

        • Oskar Faarkrog says:

          I’m sorry about your symptoms, all I can say is to go get your levels checked and implement the advice from this article into your lifestyle to naturally raise your testosterone levels.

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