We’ve always needed to know what it means to be a man. Teaching this is nothing new. The problem with our current society is that we don’t have teaching manhood programmed into how we teach everything else.
In Roman times, boys ran the streets wearing dirty clothes and had to fend for themselves. They would engage in battles, the classroom, too, was combative, they had to defend their point against a crowd, not merely in their own head or onto a piece of paper.
We’ve always taught young men what it means to be a man, but today, with fathers not sticking around, with a school system that increasingly looks down upon masculine qualities and virtues, our young men, our boys, even our middle-aged men, are now left to figure things out for themselves. Sad! (read: A Man’s Guide to Finding Freedom)
Who suffers? Everyone! The economy, women, kids, everyone. So, within this article we’ll discuss with it means to be a man, but also how to be a man. You won’t leave here with mere theory, but with steps by which you can take action.
Where We’ve Gone Wrong
Moral virtue doesn’t exist in you being harmless. The modern ideal being pushed for men is to be softer, to call yourself a feminist. You are not morally superior because you are more harmless, you are useless.
You are not perfect. You can be better than you are. This is an issue, telling kids and humans that they’re perfect just the way they are. We all have potential, but that potential is realized by improving and working hard.
What comes naturally isn’t what’s best. Easy things ‘come naturally’, the good things in life require effort.
Being a man is the ideal, it’s a pursuit. It’s not a bad thing, but a call that every male must heed. This idea of a patriarchy doesn’t exist. Men and women have worked together throughout history, never in opposition. Good men who do great things benefit everyone. Weak men who are soft, hurt those around them.
What It Means to Be a Man
Fundamentally, you cannot be useless. A useless man is weak, doesn’t earn and provide, is soft, complains, sees himself as a victim. How can you not be useless? Follow the following steps as if it were a checklist.
1. Be Dangerous.
That is, learn how to protect, to defend, to conquer. At our base, men are protectors. We’re defenders. Good men need to be more dangerous than bad men, or else we’re in trouble. You’re also responsible for others, and therefore useless if you cannot defend them. Learn to fight. Get good with guns. It’s not a choice, it’s a duty.
2. Earn, succeed, win.
Get good at something. That’s how you win. Winning isn’t a matter of getting something for nothing, but achievement. Achievement takes effort, persistence, and purposeful practice. To add to our fundamental need to be protectors, men must also be providers. If you want to know what it means to be a man, look no further than the head of a household.
Get good at something. Earn as much as you can for those who depend on you. (read: the Best a Man Can Be)
3. Improve, evolve.
Practice daily improvement. Have an actual routine set up to help you do this. Don’t leave it to chance. Every morning I’m up between 5am and 530am. I read for 45 minutes, head to the gym for 45 minutes, then sit down to work. At the end of the day I’m back reading/studying.
Without these habits in place, I don’t do what I set out to do. It’s a duty to end your life in a better position than where you started it. Be ambitious, be daring. Your ambitions are insights into why you’re here, listen to them, add fuel to them, and hunt them down. (read: 15 Signs You’re an Alpha Male)
4. Aim high.
Again, be ambitious. One aspect of manhood is competition. We need it. We actually see increases in our testosterone levels when we compete, and again when we win. It acts like a reward system, rewarding our participation in life.
Life is a competition. Too many men degrade what they aim at because they believe they are what they’ve done to this point. If you want to know what it means to be a man, it means pursuing something, moving forward in a focused direction.
Men cannot wander.
5. Finally, accept MORE responsibility, not less.
Bring more onto your shoulders, don’t avoid the work, the responsibility, the difficult aspects of life. That’s why you’re here, to bear burdens that others can’t bear. That’s your ‘cross’, and one that should be carried with pride and honor, not with complaint.
Men cannot complain, it’s not our nature, it’s not something we should have in our minds or within us. Define your job, and do it well.
What it Means to Be a Man
Women are born women. Men must become men. We need to be useful, and usefulness comes from developing skills.
You need skills like strength, being able to fight or developing a martial art, to be able to protect. You need to develop skills to be able to earn. Thus, if you want to know what it means to be a man, you can confine it to something so simple as being as useful as you possibly can be. The more dangerous, successful, ambitious, driven, disciplined you are, the more useful you are, and you will know what it means to be a man.
Life sucks. For no identifiable reason that we can come up with, life sometimes just absolutely sucks.
Maybe we’re working hard but not getting the results that we want, and maybe have never gotten the results we want.
Or, we just lack clarity. We don’t know what to do, and not knowing what to focus on is as bad as not getting the desired results.
Maybe we’re just down, we don’t know why, or we just can’t seem to create the life we want no matter how hard we try, and we’ve come to the realization that life sucks and all we can do is deal with it or end it.
While life does suck, as it’s filled with failure, disappointment, loss, tragedy, and evil, the ‘suckiness’, however, even of these horrible things, the failure, disappointment, loss, tragedy, and evil, is subjective nonetheless.
There is good, there is nice, and there is good for you.
Bad things often do you more good in the form of acquiring knowledge and toughness, resilience and grit, than those things we’d deem as good. (read: 15 Steps to Become a Better Man)
Life Sucks. How to Make it Suck Much, Much Less
When everything is going wrong. When you feel like a failure, like you’re doomed to fail for eternity, and you’re lost and discouraged and depressed, detach.
The other day I saw a video of an extremely large lady fist fighting with her ex-boyfriend. The video’s hilarious. I sent it to a buddy of mine, we laughed our asses off, and broke down the video’s contents, the hilarity of an extremely fat lady chasing a guy she was mad at for not wanting to be with her.
I made the comment, “Imagine how important these idiots think this moment is.”
Yes, they’re idiots. We’re all idiots in some ways, myself as much as anyone.
One of the worst things we do when everything is going wrong is we view the situation as vital, important, even the most important moment in our lives. It doesn’t matter if it truly is a moment, or if the ‘moment’ has gone on for a couple years now. At some point, if we continue to make incremental improvements, we’ll forget this feeling of despair running through us right now.
It will soon be insignificant. It will be forgotten by space and time because life goes on, because it doesn’t care about our feelings.
The best thing to do right when depression kicks in or if you just feel like crap, is to detach both from space and time.
View your problems from 100 feet above, then 1,000 feet above. You’re a speck. You’re one of 8 billion people, and you’re one of the most fortunate of those 8 billion people. At the least you’re not one of the most unfortunate. And, there are people going through worse than you are right now, that are happier than you are right now. Man up. Take your emotions out of the equation and situation and deal with it.
View your problems from 10 years in the future, then 20, then 30. This is the most helpful to me. I view myself as the man I want to become, will become, in the future. With everything I’ve achieved and accomplished and I am him looking back on the moment, barely remembering it, but attributing it to my eventual success because it, like all ‘bad things’, made me better.
About these bad times…
They are not actually bad, when you think about them. Within every moment there’s opportunity. In that light, the struggle is good. Within struggle is where you build character, where you’re forced to adopt better principles, become more disciplined, and even artificially stay positive.
Ray Dalio, in his book, Principles, wrote this:
“Most of life’s greatest opportunities come out of moments of struggle; it’s up to you to make the most of these tests of creativity and character.”
Dalio is a self-made billionaire, one of the world’s most financially successful humans. He’s worth listening to.
2. Act as that thing you want to become.
Winners act like winners before they become winners.
Just because life sucks in this moment, doesn’t mean that you too have to suck. In fact, you shouldn’t. You should act above your situation. Dress successful. Look successful. Act successful. Act happy. Act strong. Act calm and stoic. Act as if you are what you want to become.
Develop the habits that the winner would have. Develop the discipline. Develop the mood. Read, learn, study.
Most of all, don’t be lazy. If you think that you deserve a day off, time to sulk, you’re wrong. That will just dig a bigger hole that’ll be tougher to climb out of.
3. Win your morning.
When you win your morning you set yourself up for a great day.
You create a feeling of achievement when you have a successful morning that helps you succeed throughout the day.
For me, this requires a routine.
My routine is as follows:
Rise between 5 and 530 am.
Read for 1 hour.
Workout (5-6 days a week, sometimes 7. I need to sweat daily or I just feel useless).
Work for 2-3 hours straight without break, without answering emails or checking anything that doesn’t have to do with the one thing I’m working on.
That is a morning won. That happens every day. It’s habitual. It isn’t a decision that needs to be made, it’s just a normal morning. (Read: How to Be Successful in Life)
4. Train your body every day.
Do something physical every day. It doesn’t have to be a workout in the weight room. It can be a hike, a run, time on the bike, whatever. But you should be lifting weights at least 4 days a week. You’re a man, you need to be stronger.
Why should you opt for a natural testosterone booster? Is there even such thing as a natural testosterone booster? Or, if your testosterone levels aren’t thriving or through the roof, why wouldn’t you just get hormone replacement therapy? It’s a simple, easy way to get and maintain high testosterone levels for the rest of your life.
That’s the problem: it’s easy.
It’s also insanely expensive, it makes you dependent on monthly injections to produce testosterone for the rest of your life, and it stops your body from producing testosterone altogether.
If you just can’t produce testosterone at all, then have at it. If you’re in your 50’s and 60’s and so forth, then maybe it’s a good thing.
First, however, you should cut body fat down below 15% as estrogen is stored in body fat, if you don’t give it a place to reside it will dramatically increase your testosterone levels and lower your estrogen levels. You should also focus on sleep. Getting 7-8 hours a night of quality REM sleep will improve your testosterone levels. You produce the vast majority if your testosterone at night. If you’re not sleeping properly you’re not giving your body a chance to actually produce the hormone.
You should be active, workout, eat right, obviously follow the Man Diet, take these natural testosterone boosters below in supplement form or the natural options I give you, and you will see your testosterone levels rise.
Vitamin D3 supplementation at 3332IU/day for year raises testosterone by 25.2% (I recommend up to 8,000 IU, especially in winter months).
Vitamin D is called the sunshine vitamin because we get a lot of it from the sun. However, vitamin D isn’t actually a vitamin, but a hormone that regulates bodily functions including growth, hormone secretion, sexual function, and fertility.
This study found that healthy males who take 3332 IU’s of D daily for a year end up having an incredible 25.2% more testosterone compared to the placebo group.
This study found that men who have sufficient vitamin D levels have higher testosterone levels and lower SHBG. That’s doubly important as vitamin d ‘free’s up’ your testosterone by unbinding it from protein, allowing it to flow throughout your body and do what testosterone does.
Free testosterone is believed to be more important than overall testosterone, and because vitamin d ‘unbinds’ your testosterone while also increasing your free T, it’s as good a natural testosterone booster as there is.
Magnesium reduces SHBG which in turn raises free-testosterone by 24%.
In this study, a gram of magnesium was able to increase free testosterone by 24%.
As a note: magnesium evaporates out of the body through sweat. The more you sweat, the more you need. It’s also estimated that around 70% of Americans are deficient in magnesium. Magnesium will only help you increase testosterone if you’re deficient, but that’s likely the case, especially if you’re active.
If you’re supplementing, take around 1-2 grams a day, as the daily recommended values seem to be low.
Natural sources: Raw cacao, Himalayan pink salt, meat (eat animals!)
6-10mg/day of Boron increases free-testosterone by ~28%/lowers SHBG.
Boron is one of the most impressive and inexpensive testosterone boosters on the planet. Yet, it exists very rarely in vitamins and is especially rare in ‘testosterone boosters’.
In this study, for example, researchers gave eight male subjects 10mg of boron every morning for 7 straight days. After one week of supplementation the subjects had their blood tests compared from day 1 to day 7 and this is the incredible result of that comparison:
28% increase in free testosterone
39% decrease in free estrogen levels
10% increase in DHT
That is absolutely incredible. If you’re not supplementing with boron, you don’t necessarily have to start. There are effective ways to get this rare mineral through natural sources (check below).Natural sources: Brazil nuts, honey, raisins.
Every man needs time in the day to think about the day, to reflect on what has happened and what will happen.
I don’t smoke every day, but a few times a week I sit and work or read or just think with a cigar and the rhythmic, meditative motion that’s involved in cigar smoking.
Always seen as an escape, a chance to unwind and put things into perspective, I never fully understood the power of smoking a cigar until the last couple of years. Of course, it’s powerful if you allow it to be.
Smoking a cigar, to me, is meditating. I’m not one to sit in my pajamas and hum with my legs crossed chanting some meaningless phrase. Cigars, however, provide the opportunity to think, as a man must, without feeling like a complete goof.
Ray Lewis talks about a life lesson he received from his grandfather about this very thing. Give it a watch.
In the world of naturally boosting testosterone, most of the attention is falsely given to magical supplements that promise 400% increases in testosterone levels but can’t deliver. If you’re trying to naturally increase your testosterone levels, the focus should be your body fat (get under 15%) and your sleep (get at least 7 hours of good sleep), but there are testosterone booster foods that should get more attention than those expensive supplements.
What follows is a list of testosterone booster foods that should be a staple of your diet. None of them are expensive. All of them are available at your local grocery store, but most men aren’t aware of the fact that they are testosterone booster foods by either helping us produce more testosterone naturally, lower cortisol which is necessary for testosterone production, or block aromatase which is a precursor to estrogen, also a testosterone inhibitor.
Add these testosterone booster foods to your pantry or fridge and make sure you’re consuming each of them daily.
Coffee is an interesting one because it also increases cortisol levels. Cortisol, of course, opposes testosterone, so you don’t want high cortisol levels. That said, coffee has been shown in numerous studies to naturally increase testosterone levels in men, especially before a workout.
To add to that, a cortisol rise in the morning isn’t necessarily a bad that, as your body will counteract the cortisol level at night, helping you produce more melatonin and get a better sleep.
How does coffee increase testosterone if it also increases cortisol? The theory – or a possible explanation – is that coffee inhibits the PDE-4 enzyme, which breaks down cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP), a messenger between cells and hormones, thus, higher cAMP levels in cells may increase testosterone levels.
Much in the same way zinc blocks aromatase, preventing the conversion of testosterone to estrogen, coffee may prevent the breakdown of cAMP, which may be the reason studies show increases in testosterone even alongside increases in cortisol due to coffee intake.
On a side note, drink more coffee, not tea, especially green tea, as it increases estrogen levels in men.
I was on the low carb side for years, always seeing the benefits of fats for testosterone (though at a certain point those benefits stop yielding returns, which is why you want to cap your daily fat intake at around 30-40% of your daily calories coming from dietary fat), while seeing carbohydrates as bad, as being responsible for people being fat.
The truth is that both carbohydrates, fats, and proteins, are all necessary for testosterone production.
The right carbohydrates are great testosterone booster foods because of how they suppress cortisol. Forget about the caffeine example above, if your cortisol levels are high, your testosterone levels are low or at the very least, impeded.
One of the ways we measure testosterone is in relation to cortisol. Carbs suppress cortisol levels, allowing your testosterone levels to thrive. If you’ve ever eaten a bunch of them, you’ll experience fatigue and sleepiness afterward as well, which makes potatoes a great addition to your dinner.
Lower cortisol, don’t contain gluten, packed with minerals that help T production.
Nuts (Brazil and Macadamia only)
Saturated and monounsaturated (MUFAs) fats are ideal for testosterone production, while polyunsaturated (PUFAs) and trans fats aren’t. Most nuts are comprised primarily of PUFAs, but the make up of both Brazil and Macadamia nuts, with their high saturated fat content, make them perfect testosterone booster snacks.
On top of the saturated fat content, Brazil nuts also are very high in selenium, which has been shown to increase testosterone levels in men, as well as zync and boron, both of which have been shown to increase testosterone in men.
Avoid most other nuts.
Eggs contain almost a perfect breakdown of amino acids for human consumption. They’re one of the best foods and protein sources you can possibly consume. Their fat make up is also pretty close to ideal with 38% saturated fats, 44% monounsaturated fats, and only 18% polyunsaturated fats.
Eat eggs. They’re also filled with vitamins and nutrients making them one of the most perfect foods you can consume as a human.
For those worried about cholesterol, read this article that will put your mind at ease – second, cholesterol is THE building block of testosterone, so don’t listen to people that tell men to stop eating so much cholesterol.
Raw cacao is rich in antioxidants, that protect cells and hormones, as well as minerals like iron and magnesium. Not only is cacao good for your testosterone levels, acting like a natural mineral vitamin, it’s great for clarity, focus, and energy.
Animals (beef, bison, elk, venison)
Red meat, along with eggs, is probably the most complete and beneficial food source for humans. Numerous studies have shown that saturated fats are idea for testosterone production (1). You also need protein to maintain a good body composition, lean and muscular, as fat holds estrogen in men.
This makes meat ideal, but there’s more to meat than the proteins and fats. Meat can also contain high amounts of bioavailable zinc (lamb and veal), and carnitine.
Carnitine is important for the brain, but also possibly for your testosterone levels as it increases the density of androgen receptors that help your body actually use the hormones it produces more effectively.
Olive oil (raw shot)
Cooked heated olive oil and room temperature, raw olive oil are two different animals. Don’t actually cook your food with olive oil, but by all means take a shot of it in the morning and at night for a very reliable boost in testosterone.
In one Moroccan study men had extra virgin olive oil as their main source of fat leading to testosterone increases of 19.9% and 17.4%. Not bad. It’s likely due to the fact that olive oil is an anti-inflammatory, high in antioxidants, and has a great fat ratio for testosterone production of 73% MUFAs, 14% SFAs, 13% PUFAs.
Again, take it as a shot, use coconut or avocado oil or butter as your cooking fat.
Like olive oil, avocados have almost a perfect fat ratio for testosterone production with 71% monounsaturated fats, 16% saturated fats, and only 13% polyunsaturated fats.
Having an avocado helps you quickly get to the 30%-40% of your calories coming from the right kinds of fats for testosterone production.
White button mushrooms
Polysaccharides, which have been found to block aromatase, which is an enzyme that converts testosterone into estrogen, are abundant in white button mushrooms.
At the beginning of the article I mentioned that testosterone booster foods either help with testosterone production through their fat content, lower cortisol, or block the aromatase enzyme that converts testosterone into estrogen. White button mushrooms is high on the list for estrogen-blocking foods that you should eat a lot of.
Raisins are very high in both resveratrol and boron, both of which have been shown to increase testosterone levels in men in multiple studies.
I don’t even like raisins, but I include them in a fruit and yogurt bowl that I have every second day along with blueberries (which are also on this list next).
Antioxidants protect cells, reduce inflammation and oxidative damage that takes place in your body. While blueberries aren’t a typical ‘testosterone booster food’ in the sense that they’re not packed with the right fats and they don’t block estrogen, the insanely high antioxidant content in blueberries should result in increased testosterone production along with the protection of the testosterone molecule.
Let’s not forget, they’re also a great carbohydrate, which lowers cortisol. A cup or two of blueberries per day with any meal, or in a shake, is highly recommended for your testosterone levels, but also your overall health.
Coconut oil is very high in saturated fats – which are, again, ideal for testosterone production, so brush off any claim that you shouldn’t eat saturated fats – and has also been shown to boost testosterone (study).
Finally, oysters, which are essentially a natural multivitamin as they’re packed with magnesium, zinc, selenium, vitamin d (which free’s up testosterone from being bound to a protein so it can do what testosterone does), and copper, all minerals that have been shown to increase testosterone levels in men.
On top of that, oysters have high quality protein and amino acid content.
They’ve been known as an aphrodisiac throughout history, and we’re now seeing why. They’re one of the most potent testosterone booster foods you can find.
What to Do Next
If you want a full list of foods that are testosterone boosters, but also a diet to help you naturally increase your testosterone levels, training tips and best practices, how to clean out your house of chemical estrogens, and a fool-proof plan to optimize your testosterone levels in 3 weeks, pick up a FREE copy of my new book, the Man Diet (grab your copy here).
Non Linked Studies:
Volek J, Kramer W. Testosterone and cortisol in relationship to dietary nutrients and resistance exercise. Journal of Applied Physiology. http://jap.physiology.org/content/82/1/49. Accessed February 12, 2017.
No matter your goal, be it to cut fat, gain muscle, or boost testosterone (or all of the above), it will be 75% or more dependent on proper nutrition, and proper nutrition consists of:
Eating the right foods.
Eating the right macros in the right amounts.
Eating the right amount of calories from those macronutrients.
Rather than spending hours a day calculating the right amount of food, pick up the Man Diet Meal Plans, as we’ve done the work for you to ensure that you get the best results possible without the frustration of creating your own meal plans. If you want to build your best body while improving your hormones, meal plans are a necessity.
One of the pitfalls of our modern diet is that we lack the variety we need to get effective doses of important micronutrients that help men produce more testosterone naturally. They’re at the foundation of testosterone production, and without these gaps filled it becomes more difficult to produce the high testosterone levels you need to thrive physically and mentally.
Add this preferably to your first meal to see benefits with your testosterone production, but also energy and focus and overall health. This isn’t some gimmicky ‘testosterone booster’ founded on ingredients that haven’t been studied. This is a good multivitamin for MEN to ensure you’re not missing anything, so you can perform at your absolute best.