This post is about an eBook I’ve read this week: “How to Naturally Increase Testosterone” by Tucker Max.
I was instantly blown away by this book. Actually, here’s my review on Goodreads:
“Unbelievably well researched The book is all meat and lean as hell when it comes to information and resources. It’s a no BS manual to male health and one of the most useful out there because it cuts through the noise and the business models of the fitness industry. The Very Best introductory book to health I would recommend to any man.”
I meant every word. And perhaps this is all that’s necessary to say about it. Please do yourself a favor and read this book. Tucker Max nailed it right on the head. This is absolutely the best book on men’s health you could ever read and if you read nothing else on health, simply read this one.
I have known about Tucker Max for a few years now. Mainly through his associations with some of my favorite authors. It was long overdue that I read his work and man, was I in for a treat. The guy is brilliant. I almost regret that I haven’t read his books years earlier. But, all in good time and I’m really grateful I read this book at this point in my life.
I am a strong believer in the power of association and that your friends, or those who are considered your peers and partners define who you are. Highly influential heavyweights like Tim Ferriss, Ryan Holiday, Noah Kagan, and Gary Vaynerchuck often rave about Tucker Max and his prowess in the publishing world and his overall intelligence.
Tucker Max is a phenomenon more than a personality. If you don’t know who Tucker Max is you’re missing out on quite a lot. The world first learned about Tucker Max through his bad-boy years in college as a young single law student who is only interested in drinking and sex. The stories he posted regularly on his website went viral and subsequently lead him to fame and fortune, and to writing a number of outrageously funny and shocking books that sold like candy. The guy is funny. He also can really write an entertaining story. Tucker has written numerous New York Times Best Sellers that sold 4 million-plus copies worldwide and literally created his own literary genre which is called “fratire.”
I recently finished his first best-seller “I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell” and the Bonus chapters and I’ve started his second book “Assholes Finish First.” Even as I’m writing the title I’m laughing, he’s hilarious! These are some of the most insane, disturbing, and the funniest stories I’ve ever read.
All of that is behind him now, as he’s drinking and partying days are long gone and he is quite the grown-up family man now, running his own business and enjoying flourishing writing career. Things have changed quite a lot since his early days, and the Tucker everyone knows now is not the same person. In his current professional capacity, he is the co-founder of Scribe Media (formerly known as Book in a Box), a company that helps anyone to write, publish and market their own book. He also co-founded BrassCheck with Ryan Holiday. One of their most recent huge successes is the book “Can’t Hurt Me” by David Goggins. That book is phenomenal and it’s an amazing success story.
Tucker Max’s Scribe Media did an amazing job on that book. I strongly suggest you check out his company’s website and see for yourself the astonishing work he’s done in the professional publishing world. The part that I really think is powerful and valuable, is how they guide first-time authors through the emotional rollercoaster process of book writing.
Scribe Media is currently hosting a free-for-life course on how to write and self-publish your own books. It’s a brilliant marketing scheme based on the freemium business model which provides real value free of charge but sells you on the competence and world of knowledge you can hire if you engage their professional services. They even give away their entire playbook for free. The paid services the company offer are true value for money if you are a busy professional who wants to upscale your business by authoring and publishing your own book.
I am following the online program and I remember when I was going through the webinars on their YouTube channel, I took notice that Tucker is in amazing shape and that he quite obviously takes really good care of himself. That’s when I knew I had to check out his book on Testosterone and learn what he had to say about the subject. It blew me away!
As it should become apparent in the next pages, his advice comes from a deep place of experience and honest self-discovery. The secrets of his transformation are not really secrets. He attributes his now improved lifestyle to starting therapy, eating right, sleeping well, and MMA/BJJ training.
The book breaks a lot of barriers in your head and it buttresses a whole lot more. I’ve been interested in nutrition and testosterone as part of my ongoing battle to lose weight and get rid of my excess body fat. I’ve won and lost a few rounds here and there, but I have yet to achieve total victory. I hope as I delve deeper into the science and knowledge that the cascade of ensuing events will eventually get me the results I need.
With that said, I wasn’t ready for the depth of the rabbit hole in this book. There are tremendous resources that deliver solid information based on true empirical evidence and proven results. The book is dense in actionable information and the tremendous advantage to that is it punches way above its weight class with more bang for the buck than a 400-page book. Because it is easy and accessible and you know you can read a 90-page book no matter how busy you are. I actually made the attempt and successfully went through almost all of the links, research papers, articles, and videos he linked to in the context of the book. I’ve also added his suggested books to my reading list. And I honestly plan on going through all of it because, again, this is personal to me and I do want to learn everything I possibly can to regain control over my own health.
Despite Tucker’s explicit warning that there’s no such thing as a magic pill to solve your health problems, this book gets pretty much close to that job description.
He starts the book with this disclaimer:
“Treat this information I am presenting you not as inviolate fact, not as the dictates of authority to be blindly followed, but as one person findings, to be scrutinized and evaluated. In fact, you should treat ALL information from ALL sources this way.”
The story of how this book came to be is pure Tucker Max’s style: Extremely funny and extremely disturbing! Not to have it interfere with the book’s serious message, he actually pushed it to the Appendix.
The short version is Tucker was diagnosed with a reduced Testosterone count which affected his general health quite significantly. After getting medical advice to go on hormone therapy for life which was insane to him, he decided to research the matter quite extensively to regain his health. The result is the material in this book.
After he prodigiously explains that he’s not going to bother with telling you why you should increase your Testosterone levels, he proceeds to tell you the bad news:
“Your hormones cannot be fixed with pills, tricks, small changes, or supplements. If you expected that this guide would tell you to pop a few pills, or do some weird type of ab crunch, or jump in a cold shower once a week, then you’ll be disappointed.”
Well, that right there left me absolutely dumbfounded, because what else is left to do then except for using a magic wand.
But there it was:
“The ONLY safe, natural and effective way to address hormone imbalance for 99% of men is a focus on the core fundamentals of human existence; food, movement, sleep, thought, sex. Fix those first, and your hormones will follow. Especially Testosterone.”
Well, that was clear enough and if you’ve read anything about health in the last 5 years you shouldn’t expect to find some new science or any new revelations. It read like, stop poisoning your body, eat well, exercise, get enough sleep, get your head in check, and use your sex drive.
Having gone through a few books about diet and health already, I recognized the value of this book immediately. This book is quite literally the condensation of many books and articles that Tucker Max had to learn on his own, and with the help of friends, to heal himself. I’m really grateful that he chose to share his knowledge with the world. If you need some quick refresher on what’s the right thing to do when you need to get back on track, you don’t have to go looking beyond this 90-page book.
Here’s what Tucker says are the three fundamental aspects to naturally increase your testosterone: Eating, Exercising, and Sleeping.
Tucker says that once you’ve understood the basic concepts and the principle of Minimum Effective Dose (MED) you should figure out what specifically works for your body.
The book is intended as a start and it’s not supposed to be the definitive plan ending all other plans, it’s not perfect and it isn’t intended to be perfect.
“As I always tell my employees: Perfect is the enemy of good, and good actions always beat perfect plans that have no action.”
Truer words have never been said.
This is the number one thing you should care about if you are going to change your health, you be careful what you eat and stop all mindless habits. Food matters to testosterone. We are, indeed, what we eat.
Tucker reminds us of the wrong assumptions and outdated knowledge about nutrition:
“A high fiber, low-fat diet is NOT healthy. This idea is VERY wrong, especially for men and Testosterone.”
This is common knowledge now, but some people are still in the dark about this and they need to know that what they’ve known their entire lives was wrong. It was replaced by what Tucker Max calls the principle of proper eating.
The Principle of Proper Eating: Eat mostly unprocessed, natural, fresh foods that humans are biologically designed to eat.
Tucker follows the Ancestral Diet which is convincingly trying to allow people to regain their health by ignoring all sources of food that were introduced to human populations since the advent of agriculture. We all should stop eating all processed foods and mass-produced grains and vegetable oils. I tried to summarize the info in the following points.
What we should eat:
- Green vegetables.
- Good starches like sweet potatoes and beans.
- Animal protein, animal fat, and animal organs.
What we should NOT eat:
- Wheat and grains
Basically, any eating plan we should follow should adhere to these principles to achieve the following goals:
- Cut out the foods that inhibit Testosterone production.
- Increase the amount of clean protein and clean fat intake.
- Cut excessive body fat which inhibits Testosterone production.
The food chapter delivers some really important dietary principles:
I) Fat consumption is good for testosterone production.
- A diet in which over 40% of calories come from saturated animal fat has been proven to generate higher testosterone levels compared to an equivalent diet where only 25% of calories come from fat.
- Coconut oil consumption causes significantly higher levels of testosterone than olive oil, soybean oil, grapeseed oil, OR NO OIL!!!!!!
- Butter consumption as a source of saturated fat leads to 15% higher testosterone levels than low-fat diets.
II) Sugar, wheat and soy consumption is extraordinarily bad for testosterone production.
- Sugar consumption spikes up insulin levels and decreases the body’s insulin sensitivity. Sugar is also the fundamental cause for obesity and diabetes. Sugar is strongly correlated with lower levels of testosterone.
- Grains consumption is basically an indirect way of sugar consumption because they are immediately converted into sugar in your body and thus decrease testosterone levels. Grains reduce the body’s natural ability to synthesize Vitamin D which is crucial to testosterone production.
- Soy consumption substantially decreases testosterone levels.
Of course, some people who do not have an updated body of knowledge will be fearful of the effects of a high-fat diet on heart health, but the book references too many sources that clearly and unequivocally state that:
“The idea that dietary fat (i.e., the fat that you eat) is a cause of heart disease is totally, completely wrong.”
Tucker Max really tried to simplify everything. He offered three lifestyles that will eventually help you live the life of your wishes. First, he sets the guiding basic principles:
- There’s no such thing as a diet. You should think of the way you eat as a permanent lifestyle.
- Eating shouldn’t be a chore or an exercise in misery, but rather fun, enjoyable, and easy.
- Perfect is the enemy of ‘good enough’. You don’t need to eat perfectly to see results.
- “As long as you’re only eating the right things, and only eating when you’re hungry, then meal timing and meal frequency don’t matter at all.”
It can’t be explained any simpler than that really. It’s a lifestyle and it’s not a temporary fix. Eat food that you enjoy, and this is quite easy to achieve if you use only the right kind of food. Do the best you can within reason and you’ll see results really fast but don’t hold your breath for PERFECT results. Eat only when you’re hungry even if you are eating the right kind of food. It’s a beautiful recipe.
The three diet plans Tucker mentions are the absolute best. They start with the easiest plan to follow which is the Tim Ferriss Slow-Carb Diet plan, mentioned in his outstanding book “The 4-Hour Body” and it progresses to more advanced diet plans like Paleo and the Ancestral Diet. I highly recommend the Slow-Carb Diet to anyone who wishes to start getting serious results in a matter of a few months based on diet alone. It’s not restrictive as other diets, and it offers you 1 cheat day a week to splurge and eat all that you want. I personally followed the Slow Card Diet for a year and I can attest to its effectiveness. The plan is detailed sufficiently in Tucker’s book, but you should check out Tim’s book for an extremely detailed explanation of why it works.
The Slow Carb Diet ( A la Tim Ferriss)
- Avoid White carbs: Bread, sugar, rice, cereal, pasta, potatoes, soy, anything breaded, and noodles.
- Eat the same few meals over and over: Eradicate decision making to sustain compliance.
- Don’t drink anything that has calories in it: Milk, fruit juices, regular soda. Drink massive quantities of water, unsweetened tea or ice tea, diet drinks, or coffee without cream.
- Don’t eat fruits.
- Take one day off per week to eat anything you want, but restrict it to one meal only. The spiking of caloric intake increases fat loss by keeping metabolism from downregulation.
- The average meal must have 3 food groups: Proteins (Ex: Eggs, chicken, steak, beef, fish), Legumes (Ex: Lentils, black beans), and Vegetables (Ex: Spinach, Peas, broccoli, green beans).
The Paleo diet (aka the Primal or Caveman Diet and it’s the advanced version of the Slow Carb Diet)
- Eat pre-agriculture food: Meat, fish, vegetables, roots, fruits, and nuts.
- Do not eat: Grains, legumes, and dairy.
- The average meal is similar to the Slow Carb Diet but legumes are replaced by more vegetables as well as the occasional fruits and starchy vegetables.
- Examples of protein: Eggs, chicken, grass-fed beef, lamb, etc.
- Examples of vegetables: Spinach, peas, carrots, green beans, etc.
- Exampled of fruits: Bananas, apples, berries, etc.
- Examples of starchy vegetables: Sweet potatoes.
The Ancestral Health Diet is a set of principles that evolve with the most recent cutting edge science
- Eat all the meat and vegetables emphasized in the Paleo Diet.
- Eat organ meat like liver, heart, and kidney.
- Eat bone broth.
- Pay special attention to what your food ate when it was alive. The more natural the source the better.
- Dairy is good if it’s grass-fed, fermented, or both.
- Eat fermented, probiotic-rich food like yogurt.
- Eat full-fat products like butter eggs, cheese, and whole milk.
- Eat vegetables with fat, salt and acid to optimize nutrients absorption.
- Eat legumes as long as they are properly soaked and cooked.
- Eat starchy vegetables after intense workouts.
- Avoid carbs or at least keep them under 100g per day.
- Avoid vegetable oils like canola, corn, cottonseed, soy, sunflower, and safflower.
- Avoid low-fat products.
Right there Tucker puts the emphasis back on taking it easy and follow the basics and not sweating the advanced details. Restricting your diet to eating proteins, vegetables, legumes and eliminating bread and sugar will have a tremendous effect on your health even if your beef isn’t grass-fed, your eggs aren’t free-range, and your vegetables aren’t from the organic section in the supermarket.
“At the beginning, don’t worry about the source of your food. It’s hard enough to make these changes, don’t make it over complicated for yourself. Start with the Slow Carb or Paleo Diet, and see what results you get. If you get great results and you’re happy, then don’t sweat it.”
There are some other notes on alcohol which in essence says alcohol is bad for testosterone. But if you like it, then red wine is your best friend and beer is your worst enemy.
There are notes on supplements that come preceded by a warning:
“Supplements are NOT a substitute for real food, and are not the solution to testosterone issues.”
Common problems with supplements:
- Real food is ‘almost’ always better.
- Taking supplements regularly tricks people into thinking it’s a shortcut or substitute for healthy eating, while it never really is.
- There’s little regulation for supplement companies and it’s hard to tell who is selling the real thing and who’s a snake oil salesman.
- There’s little reliable information on what supplement work and what doesn’t. It’s hard to even know what you should or should not take.
- Taking the wrong supplements may affect the balance of your internal biological systems which drives your body to over-compensate on the opposite side to regain balance. Example: Bodybuilders who take steroids to increase testosterone have serious adverse reactions when they stop because the body stops creating testosterone naturally and increases estrogen production.
The book, however, mentions the Supplements that ‘almost’ everyone needs:
- Fish oil: is the best natural source of Omega-3 Fatty Acids to reduce inflammation and increase Testosterone production. Natural sources of Omega-3 are in healthy fatty foods like salmon, sardines, walnuts, and grass-fed beef. Take 3-5 grams per day.
- Vitamin D: Sunlight is the best source. If you’re unable to get a healthy daily dose of the Sun, then natural food sources of Vitamin D are salmon, tuna, sardines, and mackerel. There’s research that shows that high doses of Vitamin D (3,332 IUs) significantly increase total Testosterone. (Note: You can overdose on Vitamin D. You do not supplement for Vitamin D if you’re getting 2+hrs of sun exposure daily.) Tucker explained why in the book but he personally takes very high doses of 4000 IU to 10,000 IU daily.
- BCAAs (Branched-Chain Amino Acids): Consumed before workouts, they are proven to increase testosterone levels. The recommended dose is to take 5-10 grams right before workout.
Summary of Food Section:
- Eat mostly unprocessed natural fresh foods that our bodies are evolved to eat, like meat, vegetables, etc.
- Avoid anything with sugar, wheat and grain, and soy.
- Start with the Slow-Carb Diet.
- Supplement with Fish Oil, Vitamin D, and BCAAs.
It’s no secret: Men need to be strong to be able to regulate their Testosterone and overall health. So Tucker put it in a simple equation:
“Strength = Life.”
“Get strong and increased testosterone will follow.”
“There is no way around the fact that putting stress on your muscles and making them stronger is a key element to naturally increasing your testosterone. You have to move heavy things with a measure of intensity.”
The Four Basic Principles of any Effective Strength Workout:
- Go Heavy: Move heavy loads, not lightweights.
- Go Fast: If you can’t move heavy loads, move with very high intensity. Can do both? Even better!
- Compound Movements: All exercises should be natural compound movements that involve more than one joint movement.
- Cardio is a waste of time.
There are four suggested ways to train your body for strength in the book. They are sorted according to ease and convenience:
- Bodyweight training.
- Kettlebell training.
- Gym strength training.
- Crossfit/MMA/BJJ Specialty Gym training.
Basically, the first 2 you can simply do on your own because you only have little time available for training and/or no gym access. Bodyweight training is literally you doing some exercises with your own body without the need for special equipment. Tucker brings up many examples of this sort of training through books and resources and has a suggested starter exercise that adopts the HIIT model. In High-Intensity Interval training, you do a full out effort as fast and as hard as you can in a short time period with minimum rest between sets. All you need is a pair of shoes and a place where you can run 50 yards (approx. 50 meters). An easy workout that pays lots of dividends in the long run with no or minimal cost.
Suggested Body Weight Exercises:
- Time: 3-4 times a week, 15-20 mins per workout.
- Exercise: Sprints 10 Sets x 50 Yards – Push-ups 10 Sets x 10 Reps.
- Routine: Run 50 yards. 10 Push-ups. Run 50 yards. 10 Push-ups.
- Rest: 10-15 sec (30 max)
- Full workout time: 10-25 minutes with FULL INTENSITY
Kettlebell training is the second type of DIY training and it only requires you to have access to a single piece of equipment that will be your entire gym: a Kettlebell. Famous for being the Kind of exercises, the kettlebell swing is an exercise many people swear by its effectiveness in building strength. It’s a great investment in your health to get one Kettlebell and use it to carve up your body and shred it with muscles.
Suggested Kettlebells Exercises:
- Time: 3X per week. 5-15 minutes per workout.
- Exercise: Two-armed Kettlebell swing, 100 reps to completion. [4 sets x 25][10×10][20×5]
- No less than 30-35 pounds weight.[should be able to do at least 10 but no more than 25 perfect swings starting out] Test before you buy.
Tucker’s personal Kettlebells training regimen:
- 24Kg(53ld) for extended rep swings to a 100.
- 32Kg (70lb) for lower rep work up to 40-50reps.
Tucker advises that both training styles be combined and used alternately throughout the week between rest days.
Suggested Weekly Plan:
- Workout 3-4 times per week and alternate the exercises.
- Example: Mon-Bodyweight, Tue-OFF, Wed-Kettlebell, Thu-OFF, Fri-Bodyweight, Sat-Kettlebell, Sun-OFF.
The 2 other training types are based on going to a conventional gym with conventional gym equipment. He starts off with the basic gym strength training and he lists his personal training regimen and everything is clear details with plenty of resources on how to do it properly with maximum efficacy and proper form.
A basic strength training routine at the gym with machines and heavy weights which if followed will add great strength to a person, but it’s not convenient for many people who are just starting out. It could actually act as a psychological deterrent to think of going to the gym as a beginner and this is why this is an advanced model for those who want to take things further.
The last type of training Tucker swears by is going to a specialty training facility like Cross-Fit or similar High-Intensity Interval Training HIIT programs. This is an interactive model where you go to train in a group and you actually form a community that will assist you in your commitment. Tucker makes a comment that the types of people who go to these gyms are regularly positive types of people who care about health and who are fun to be around.
Included in the same model are MMA/BJJ training gyms. This is where you go to learn to fight. And here is where the conversation starts to get interesting with Tucker. Tucker believes deeply that fighting and competing in a martial arts sport gets a man a plethora of benefits. Tucker has been training in MMA for years and considers it the ultimate fighting technique. He links to a video and an article where he talks about it and I had to take notes because it reflected a lot of sense.
Why a Man needs to learn to fight according to Tucker Max:
- MMA teaches you about yourself.
- There are questions every man has about himself, and MMA helps answer those questions better than anything else.
- It’s exactly like the ‘Fight Club’ quote: “How much can you know about yourself if you’ve never been in a fight?”
- When you train you can either be a quitter or you can be calm under stress, fight through it, and maybe escape the position.
- You can either brave the chaos, face your fear, and come out the other side, or you can succumb to that fear and run and hide.
- You learn humility in a safe productive manner: You tap or you break your arm.
- You accept defeat every day but you learn from it, you get better, and you move on.
- You come to understand that it’s OK to fail, as long as you use it to learn to succeed.
- It gives you resilience along with humility.
- Fighting is truth.
- Everything is life is BS but not fighting. You cannot hide on the mat, the truth finds you because violence is so pure, so elemental that it strips away all artifice and reduces us down to our core. Life or death. Win or loss. No grey areas, no BS. It’s the ultimate way to see who you are as a person.
- Truly deeply held inner confidence comes from repeated, demonstrated performance. Training MMA gives you that chance to show yourself and others that you can do it.
- Because I’ve done it, because I’ve trained hard, and swam in deep waters, made a good account of myself, and come out alive, I know who I am.
- That sort of self-knowledge creates amazing confidence and calm in a person.
- I have demonstrated to myself that I can handle myself in a fight, that I can stand in the ring. And I know if I can do that, I know I’m going to be OK in almost anything else I have to face in life.
- And the cool thing is you don’t have to be the best. You don’t have to be all that good to get the psychological benefits of MMA/BJJ.
- It’s not about winning. It’s about going in, working your ass off, testing yourself as much as you can, and proving to yourself that you are who you think you are. That you can stand on that mat and face that man in front of you. If you do that, the result doesn’t really matter.
I don’t know about you, but I’m sold in. And now MMA/BJJ training has been added to my health and fitness goals.
Sleep is a priority for your general health and it’s of the utmost importance to your testosterone levels because virtually all of the body’s testosterone is produced during sleep and the lack of sleep inhibits its production.
If you could do everything about nutrition and exercise correctly and mess up sleep, you’ll severely limit your results.
“The fact is, there is no single thing you can do that is more crucial to testosterone production than getting as much quality sleep as your body needs.”
How to sleep properly:
- Sleep in a pitch-black environment with ZERO light sources. Not even your phone, alarm clock, Led light from a TV or any electronic devices.
- Avoid using any electronic device with a screen for 1.5 – 2 hours before sleep.
- Maintain a Consistent Sleep Cycle/day-night cycle/circadian rhythm. Sleep at the same time and wake up at the same time.
- Sleep at a cooler temperature.
- Use your bed for sleeping and not for work, entertainment, or anything else not bed-related. it trains your body to be in rest mode once you hit the bed.
- No stimulants (coffee, chocolate, coke) past 4 PM.
- No alcohol 2 hours before bed. And drink plenty of water not to be dehydrated.
- Don’t sleep on a full stomach.
- Napping is OK after 6 – 8 hours of waking up, usually around 2-4 PM. Don’t nap too late or too much because it will interfere with your sleep schedule. Max nap time 45 min.
- Anxiety is the reason why you can’t sleep at night. Basically, the emotions you won’t face during the day are keeping you up at night.
- Sleep Hacks: Getting a 5-10 min ice-cold shower, and/or eating Cheese and honey.
- Minimum Effective dose (MED) for sleep is 8-9 hrs of sleep in a pitch-black room, every single night. Listen to your body, sleep until you feel refreshed.
Testing and Measuring
The testing and measuring section in the book is dedicated to the ways you can use to monitor and keep track of the level of progress you achieve with raising your testosterone levels. It talks about blood tests and specific markers to pay attention to, some recommended labs and tracking services, and a guide to interpreting the results. As it’s well known in the business world “What can be measured, can be managed. –Peter Drucker” and thus it makes sense to take it to the next level if you are serious about taking charge of your hormones and your overall health.
“Progress is inspiring and compelling and tracking it makes this process enjoyable. Which is what life should be like, especially when you’re trying to make improvements to critical areas of your health.”
Minimum Effective Dose (MED)
Tucker has a specific section for what he considers to be the Minimum Effective Dose Plan. It’s the minimum you can do to accomplish real results in all the aforementioned aspects.
- Eat: Slow Carb Diet
- Exercise: Basic Strength Training at the gym.
- Sleep: 8-9 hours of sleep in a completely dark room, every single night, at the same time.
Tucker’s own Plan (Advanced Level Stuff)
This section is not for newbies. Once you’ve managed to get into a certain rhythm and you feel like you’re gaining momentum and then want to go to the next level, there is always more that you can do. There’s no limit to how strong you can become if you want to walk down that path. With persistence and consistency, the time you dedicate to health in your life will be enjoyable and fun as well as essential in your overall wellbeing.
- Tucker’s Diet: The Ancestral Diet + Intermittent fasting (eat 8 hrs, fast 16 hrs)
- Tucker’s Workout: Strength training and BJJ/MMA + cold submersion/showers
Advanced Section Supplements (Tucker’s Personal Advanced Plan):
If you’re not familiar with supplementation and you’re a total newbie, then you stick to the first section about supplements and you really can’t go wrong with proper supplementation for Fish Oil and Vitamin D. Add BCAA to your supplementation on your training days only.
As you advance in your level and gain more momentum and gather more knowledge, you learn there’s a whole lot more to supplementation and these are simple guidelines and suggestions to what you should consider, depending on your personal condition and your eating habits.
Again, the best supplements are in natural food sources if you eat healthily and watch what you put in your mouth.
- Vitamin D. (daily: 8000 IU in the morning)
- Fish Oil. (daily: 5g in the morning) Check out this Chris Kresser article.
- Raw Almonds (daily: 15-20 over the course of a normal day)
- Liver pills (2x/week on heavy lifting days)
- ZMA: (3g, right before bed, only on workout days) ZMA, or zinc magnesium aspartate, is a popular supplement among athletes, bodybuilders, and fitness enthusiasts. It contains a combination of three ingredients — zinc, magnesium, and vitamin B6. ZMA manufacturers claim it boosts muscle growth and strength and improves endurance, recovery, and sleep quality.
- BCAA: Branched-Chain Amino Acids, 5-10 g – Only on intense workout days right before the workout.
- Vitamin K2 supplement (Only on intense workout days). Vitamin K works in concert with Vitamins D and A, amplifying their effect by allowing them to bind to calcium. In an experiment by Dr. Weston Price, turkeys fed a deficiency diet were partially helped by cod liver oil (source of Vit A & D) supplementation. However, when high K2 butter was added the supplementation doubled its effectiveness. Natural sources: fermented Japanese dish called Natto, sauerkraut, pasteurized/organic egg yolks, butter, soft and hard cheese. Vitamin K2 has been proven to significantly raise Testosterone, increase heart health, bone formation, and restoration.
- Vitamin A is a big deal when it’s working with vitamins D and K. When combined with iron it was effective as a direct testosterone supplement. Natural sources: Beef liver, cod liver oil, red spices like Paprika, cayenne, chili powder, bright orange vegetables like sweet potatoes, carrots, and squash, and leafy greens like Broccoli, kale, and spinach.
- Vitamin B12 is important if you are deficient. Deficiency happens to those of long term history of alcohol consumption and vegans/vegetarians.
- L-Carnitine: is an amino acid that is suggested to play a role in boosting the body’s metabolism. It’s suggested that it helps in improving mitochondrial functions and increase cellular energy. Some athletes take it to boost their muscle recovery and to burn fat. It comes in 4 different forms in the body and it’s not exactly clear how it interacts with hormones and health. It doesn’t have a strong research backing but it’s been shown to be effective with men in their late 30’s and older.
Other Advanced Concepts Mentioned in the Book:
Intermittent Fasting (IF): it works really well in cutting fat. The basic version is to eat all of your meals in the span of 8 hours and fast the 16 remaining hours of the day. The best reference about IF is the book “Man 2.0: Engineering the Alpha.” It also says to read about Time-Restricted Eating by Dr. Rhonda Patrick.
Cold Submersion/Cold Showers: There is some research on how cold immersion has immune benefits, fat loss benefits, circulation benefits, skin benefits, and the big thing is the reduction of inflammation. It’s clearly good for you. The big benefit of rotating hot immersion and cold immersion after an intense workout is the impact it has on reducing inflammation and speeding recovery. Anecdotal findings tell us that cold showers have been shown to help increase muscle mass and decrease fat (most likely to their ability to increase brown adipose tissue) which in turn will lead to increased testosterone.
The Harmful Dangers of Plastics and Cleaning Chemicals:
Tucker says he got rid of every plastic container in his house and tries to eat and drink mostly in glass containers. He also got rid of most of the chemicals and detergents used to clean the house.
The basic theory comes from the book “The Anti-Estrogenic Diet” by Ori Hofmekler.We are exposed to a flood of unnatural chemicals that come from all sorts of sources in ur house; cleaning products, detergents, soap, deodorant, etc. These chemicals have what are called “chemical disrupters” in them, and they cause all sorts of havoc in the human endocrine system.
The largest class of these chemical disruptors are “Xenoestrogens” which are petroleum-based chemicals that act like estrogen in our body, causing testosterone levels to drop significantly. The solution seems to switch to using natural grooming products because most of the products we buy have “Parabens,” (which is a Xenoestrogen) among other chemicals.
Sexual Activity Increases Testosterone and vice versa.
Fighting and Competing:
Already mentioned in the exercise section here and how Tucker Max feels about its importance based on what he talked about in an article about MMA. There is another relationship between Testosterone and Aggression that he has expressed in the book:
“A lot of modern guys might have low Testosterone partly because they avoid conflict and can’t handle challenges; they defer to their bosses, their girlfriends, everybody, which sends their bodies the signal to reduce Testosterone levels, and as a result, they have no assertiveness or self-confidence.”
The solution seems to be that men should be engaged in a competitive sport to feed their aggressive nature. Tucker mentions John Archer’s “Challenge Hypothesis” which explains why Testosterone levels spike after you experience social/dominance challenges from other people from your own sex, e.g. insults, arguments, or rolling at BJJ or MMA classes.
The basic notion is that challenge or aggression creates a hormonal response in men, and in order to rise to meet that challenge, the body produces more Testosterone. Tucker is not calling for everyone to become violent and aggressive towards others but he puts it in a different context entirely:
“It means to find a way to channel and use your natural aggression productively and positively. Some guys play rugby. Some guys play golf. I choose MMA. It changed my life. Made me calmer, made me more spiritual, made me understand so much about myself.”
Emotions and Thought:
This is the mental and psychological aspect of the matter.
“Hormones don’t just cause behavior, hormones FOLLOW behavior.”
Tucker has his own hack into this and he shares it in the book:
“Use the same posture, movements, actions, and self-assessment as your hero, and you’ll imitate his hormone levels. Basically, ask yourself “What would [YOUR HERO] do? and then do that. The actions you will do modeling your hero will change your hormonal profile regardless of how you feel about yourself, which will then change your behavior. you can think about this as “fake it till you make it.” The simple fact is “You can change how you feel, but first changing your actions to reflect how you want to feel. And the mental shortcut to get there is to imitate and model the actions, posture, and attitude of the person who you most want to emulate or be like.”
Tucker references the important work by Dr. Amy Cuddy and Dr. Sapolsky regarding the relationship between behavior and hormones which will lead you down deeper rabbit holes regarding your own psychology.
My personal opinion is that based on what I read in this book, everything that makes a man strong leads directly to boosting testosterone production and general overall better health.
In a nutshell, we need to eat what our human ancestors ate before the discovery of agriculture.
We need to move our bodies in a way that will make them strong because our hormones are completely out of balance if our bodies are weak.
We need to sleep very deep and uninterrupted sleep to be able to recover and have full functionality.
We need to be wary of the toxins that are all around us and avoid them vigilantly.
This book is an excellent introduction into a whole lot of health, diet, training, spiritual, and mindset topics. It serves its purpose that if you follow the basic advice in its pages, your life will change dramatically.
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