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 this article on ‘how to know if you’re an alpha male’? Wouldn’t you just know? That’s kind of the point, most wouldn’t. Those that think they are rarely are, and those that don’t think about it at all, are.
This article is more for those who want to be at their best, which is what an alpha male is. Think of the alpha male as your potential in life. Potential cannot be attained if you’re weak, soft, and cowardly, just like it can’t be attained if you’re lazy, envious, and too proud.
Don’t call yourself an alpha male. Don’t try to cover up weakness with arrogance. Don’t think pushing others down is what an alpha male does. The very nature of being an alpha male is leadership. The greatest leaders led by example, they lifted others up and inspired…
…But the harsh reality is that no one is inspired by a loser.
So while you may want to be an alpha male, while you may think you’re an alpha male, while you may want to be at your best, it’s a lifelong pursuit of self-improvement. It’s not something that stops, ever, and arrogance will always lead to your downfall, no matter how many things on this list you can check off.
You can fight.
When a man can’t fight, when he doesn’t have the skill nor the courage nor the mental fortitude nor the strength, he’s useless. If you have the tools, you must use those tools. If you’re injured, or unable, then use a gun, get great at using a firearm.
Regardless, the original purpose of men is one of protector. You’re at the edge of the cities gates, you’re the one who runs downstairs when a bad guy breaks into your house. Be useful in this purpose, you have to know how to fight, and it’s great if you also know how to use a gun. Bad guys don’t care if you’re ‘against guns’.
You can earn.
The other original purpose of a man was to be a provider. In past times that meant hunting for food and being a good hunter. I still think that’s necessary. We need to hunt, as men, to get back to that original purpose, to be outdoors where we’re bred to be. But today we also have to earn.
It’s a man’s duty to earn enough to take care of his family. That’s a foundation of being an alpha male and a man. You don’t have to be rich, wealthy, or powerful, but you have to know how to earn enough to care for those dependent on you.
You’re not an emotional wreck.
People look to those who are stable. You cannot be an alpha male if you’re constantly whining and bitching and moaning about your situation in life. You cannot be an alpha male if you’re always sad and crying when you don’t get your way.
You cannot be an alpha male if people don’t know who they’re going to get. They need stability, especially your lady. You cannot be the one flying off at the handle in cloud of rage every time something imperfect happens.
Control your emotions. Be stoic. You cannot control everything in your life, but you can control how you react to it.
Act from a position of love, caring, and strength. If you care for people, you recognize that, it’s tough to be such an emotional wreck.
You’re not a pussy.
Yes, you have fears, but you don’t let them deter you from action. You have struggles but you face them. You get worried but you solve the problems you face.
You also don’t quit.
In short, you cannot be an alpha male and be a pussy.
You can’t be the guy who’s afraid to back his pals up in a fight. You can’t be the guy who’s afraid to work hard, to risk to try new things, to risk failure for success, and to risk his life for a little adventure.
You lift others up.
An alpha male is a leader. Simple. That means there’s sacrifice in your life. You do not sacrifice your health or mental wellbeing, that makes you useless and unfit to lead.
Rather, you inspire. You show others what’s possible. You support them emotionally or physically. You don’t put others down – that’s never a good idea for long term success – rather, you lift them up.
You’re a protector.
This goes beyond your family. Hopefully it’s just natural that you’re a protector of your family, but you should also aim to protect those who need your protection. You see a single guy getting beat up by a group, you step in. You see a lady being mistreated, you step in.
You’re a natural protector, you’re not the prick hitting the lady or one of the many beating up on a single fella – unless that fella was the guy hitting the lady, then have at it. No, you’re a protector, defender, giver of safety where safety seems impossible.
You work hard.
Nothing is won without hard work. If you’re going to lead, reach your potential, get strong, provide for your family, you’d better be a hard worker.
You’re not arrogant.
Arrogance is a lie. It’s something weak men use to cover up their insecurities. If you’re the kind of guy who has to strut around like a peacock, be loud, obnoxious, and have all the attention all of the time, rethink whether you’re arrogant of confident.
The greatest giver of confidence is overcoming obstacles.
Boxing, and getting good at fighting, gave me a ton of confidence. It quieted me. It made me sure of whether or not I could handle myself so I didn’t have to show that I could handle myself.
Overcoming obstacles in business did the same thing. Men win confidence not by thinking magically different, but by overcoming obstacles.
Modesty is the acknowledgment that you do not know it all, and that whatever you want to achieve will require discipline and hard work, you will not be able to coast to greatness because no one can.
Modesty is the foundation of both success and confidence.
Ambitions are truths, not lies. They’re not pipe dreams that shouldn’t be listened to. They’re your soul telling you what to pursue. They’re ideas into why you’re here, what will make you feel alive, and what you should sacrifice it all to achieve.
Everyone wants to follow someone who thinks bigger, on a more grand scale. Ambition, whether it’s to live an adventurous life or to build a legacy, is vital.
You take care of yourself first.
How can you serve others and take care of yourself first? For an alpha male, for a guy who others depend on, this is necessary.
If you don’t take care of your health you won’t be there for your family for long, and you also won’t have the energy to provide for them.
If you don’t take care of your finances, again, you fail them.
You have to take care of yourself first, so you’re at your best to take care of others.
This requires planning. Structure your day so that you get your work done, your workout in, and your study time in (reading). Also schedule things in during the week that give you energy. For me this is hiking, shooting, archery. I need those things. If I don’t have them I’m grumpier, lack enthusiasm and energy.
Those things that feed your soul need to be a part of your life BEFORE you schedule family time. That way you’re at your best for those that depend on you.
You can’t depend on someone who lacks discipline. Discipline, furthermore, is a choice that everyone has access to. If you’re not disciplined it’s your fault. If you’re not disciplined you will die with regret.
More than just not being a pussy, you show courage. You go where others are afraid of going. Guys like Captain James Cook come to mind in this regard. Courage is contagious. It’s also required to live a good, full, fulfilling life.
It is better to be tough than it is to be soft.
You cannot escape that fact. Toughness comes from training, from doing the hard work, and from facing fears.
You do your thing. You have vision, focus, a plan.
You follow. You have to follow at times in your life so you can learn how to lead. But you also do your own thing, ignoring what others say or think. You have clarity and the balls to act on those plans even when others may ridicule you for it.
This takes courage, but also clarity. Too often we don’t really know what we want. I find it necessary to get out into nature simply to hike, to struggle, to hunt, and to think to find clarity.
It’s harder to find clarity in a city, amidst the noise, and amidst the familiar.
Like I mention in my book, The Man Diet (grab your free copy here), not only is your T-count decreasing generationally, meaning that you probably have less testosterone than your father did and your father has less testosterone than his father did, etc., but your testosterone levels are also decreasing as you get older – specifically when you reach 30-years old. Which is why it’s important that you don’t contribute to the decline…
If you want to keep your testosterone levels at their highest, you need to refrain from doing the following…
Here are the 30 worst things you can do for your testosterone levels after 30.
1. Watch Your Cholesterol
You’ve probably been told your entire life that you need to make sure you don’t eat too much cholesterol. After all, that was the main draw for Honey Nut Cherrios at one point in time, wasn’t it?
But when it comes to your testosterone levels, it’s essential for you to consume plenty of dietary cholesterol in the form of whole eggs, organic bacon and grass-fed beef as studies have shown there is a direct correlation between the amount of cholesterol you consume and the health of your testosterone levels.
2. Work Late
Working late probably wasn’t as destructive to your testosterone levels when you were in your early 20’s as it is when you begin to hover around the 30-year old mark.
Working late and causing your sleep to suffer is one of the top reasons why testosterone levels are low in men these days. Studies have shown a direct link between the amount of time you sleep and the amount of testosterone your body produces because, well, most of your testosterone is produced while you sleep.
Working late is one of the worst things you can do for your testosterone. Exercise some self-control and put a nightly limit on when you’ll stop working.
3. Hang Out on Your Phone
The recent rise in technology is another reason why testosterone levels are suffering, for two reasons in particular: One, you lay in bed staring at your phone, elevating your cortisol levels, and as a result you have a hard time falling asleep. Two, you spend more time on your phone playing games than you do actually living your life.
A sedentary lifestyle will kill your testosterone levels, and so will lack of sleep. Put your phone away as often as you can and live your life like a man. Your testosterone levels will thank you for it.
4. Sweat the Small Stuff
If you stress out about everything, you’ll obliterate your T-count. See, when you stress, your cortisol levels increase, which is big problem because cortisol is your testosterone’s kryptonite. When they increase, your testosterone levels decrease.
One of the worst things you can do for your testosterone levels is to sweat the small stuff. So quit getting pissed off when you’re stuck in a traffic jam. Don’t let work get to you. And spend more time appreciating what you do have instead of worrying about what you don’t have.
5. Use Products with Estrogen
Our consumer-centric world is packed with products that contain estrogen or estrogen imitators in them. Everything from plastic bottles, to cologne, your shampoo, to pesticides most likely contains an endocrine disruptor that’ll throw your hormones out of whack.
Look for these names on ingredient labels and stay away from them if you want to protect your T-count: Bisphenol A (BPA), Parabens, Phthalates, Benzophenones, Triclosan and Triclocarban.
Side Note: Zinc blocks aromatase, which is a precursor to estrogen. If you want to create optimal testosterone levels, you need the right micronutrients in your diet. You can get them – and more – with the Barbarian Manhood-Multi (learn more here).
6. Drink Unfiltered Water
One of the best things you can do for your testosterone levels (among the other 29 that I covered here) is drink plenty of water…
However, one of the worst things you can do for your testosterone is gulp your gallon or two of water through the tap. Tap water is potentially filled with chemicals that can sabotage those testosterone levels that you’re trying to increase by staying hydrated.
7. Use Plastic
Speaking of how you should drink water, plastic water bottles are not your savior from the tap.
One study involving BPA (another ingredient in the making of plastic water bottles) shows a direct correlation between low testosterone and contact with BPA in general. Instead, get yourself a multiple-use BPA-free water bottle.
8. Become a Vegetarian
Your vegetarian buddy who the ladies love is actually ruining his testosterone levels, and you will too, if you join him. You simply won’t get the amino acids, cholesterol, and dietary fat that you need for optimal testosterone levels.
This study showed that a vegetarian diet can decrease testosterone levels by almost 40%.
9. Eat Soy
Sure, keep drinking your wife’s soy milk… If you want to lower your testosterone levels.
Men who consume a lot of soy have high amounts of equol present in their bloodstream. And according to a study published in Biology of Reproduction, eqoul is a strong anti-androgen that can nearly shut down the activity of dihydrotestosterone in your body, which is your strongest androgen.
When it comes to soy, the idea of “worst things you can do for your testosterone” seems like a bit of an understatement.
10. Eat Polyunsaturated Fats
Even though you want to get plenty of dietary fat into your daily feasting windows, polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs) are not the kind of fat you want.
You’ll find PUFAs in vegetable oils, sunflower seeds/oils, flaxseed and soy.
11. Restrict Your Calories
Real men don’t worry about calories!
In an astounding study which compared the testosterone levels of men who “ate clean” (between 1350-2415 calories) vs. men who ate a standard western diet, the results showed that the men “ate clean” had 31% lower testosterone levels than the guys who ate “dirty.”
Eat like a man, don’t restrict your calories.
I had to add this little caveat right after telling you not to restrict your calories.
Just because counting calories is one of the worst things you can do for your testosterone levels, doesn’t mean that you can overeat, either.
If you’re eating good testosterone boosting foods like I have listed out for you in The Man Diet, you won’t have an urge to overeat.
Eat like a man – men don’t overeat.
13. Cut Carbs
I know that carb cutting diets are all the rage right now. But cutting carbs will kill your testosterone levels.
At least 40% of your daily caloric intake should come from carbohydrates – primarily fruits, vegetables, potatoes, beans and white rice.
14. Drink Protein Shakes
You need plenty of protein if your muscles are going to recover from your workouts and if you’re going to have optimal testosterone levels. However, you should be getting plenty of protein from whole food sources like eggs and meat.
There’s no need for you to chug 4 protein shakes a day. Double fisting protein shakes can have an adverse effect on your testosterone levels. Instead stick with beef. It’ll give you plenty of testosterone boosting fats as well.
15. Get Drunk
I’m not anti-alcohol in general. But getting drunk is one of the worst things you can do for your testosterone levels.
The most freaky of the alcohol studies was conducted on a male rat (rats have similar DNA structure to humans) and resulted in a 50% reduction in testicle size when 5% of the rat’s diet consisted of alcohol. Poor rat!
Don’t be like the rat. Getting drunk will shrink your T and possibly your balls, too.
16. Smoke Weed
A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, tested 20 men ages 18-28 who smoked weed at least 4 days a week for 6 months. The testosterone levels of these men were significantly lower than those in a control group (who didn’t smoke weed).
And another study showed the same result. Four healthy males were tested before and after smoking weed, and the study concluded that after puffing the magic dragon, cortisol levels rose and testosterone levels plummeted.
17. Watch Porn
Watching porn is one of the worst things you can do for your testosterone.
When you become addicted to it (which you will over time) you won’t be able to get hard or have sex with your lady (which actually boosts testosterone. If you want some evidence to prove that statement, check out these 39 studies on the addictive nature of pornography and its neurological effects.
Also, masturbation does nothing for your testosterone levels. The pheromone connection you have with a woman during sex does. Don’t chance it. Stay away from porn.
18. Take a Long Hot Bath
Keeping your balls in warm water for a few minutes is a great way to lower your testosterone levels. If you’ve ever stood in a warm shower for 5 minutes, you know that your balls begin to hand lower than normal. That’s because they’re trying to escape the heat.
Your balls (where your testosterone is produced) perform their best when they’re cool. So leave the warm bubble baths to your lady.
19. Sit on the Sidelines
Men were made to compete.
According to a study published in Hormones And Behavior, men’s testosterone levels increase before competition, and as an added bonus, after winning a competition. You won’t get either of those testosterone spikes if you don’t step onto the field of play… Whatever that “field” may be.
20. Chew Gum
Those Double Mint gum commercials are deceiving. Those dudes should not be chewing that gum.
Spearmint and peppermint have been shown to reduce testosterone levels, meaning that you should chewing spearmint and peppermint gum will have the same effect. Find another way to freshen your breath. Chewing gum will cost you.
21. Have Flaxseed
It seemed like the world was raving about flaxseed a short year ago. Oh that’s right, because they were.
Flaxseed contains lignans, which tend to mimic estrogen. When estrogen levels are high in men, their testosterone suffers, and the side effects of a big belly and man boobs are just around the corner. The bottom line, your wife can have flaxseed, but you need to stay away from it.
22. Use Vegetable oil
If there’s an oil you don’t want to cook in, it’s vegetable oil.
Vegetable oils are full of PUFAs, which as we discussed are testosterone killers. One of the worst things you can do for your testosterone is cook all of your meals in it, sprinkle it onto a salad or dumping it on a baked potato, thinking that you’re boosting your testosterone but really lowering it. Keep it out of the kitchen.
When your dad used to tell you to walk with your chest out, he was actually giving you some tips on how to boost your T. But if you won’t listen, you put yourself at jeopardy of losing testosterone. One of the worst things you can do for your testosterone levels is slouch.
Plus, it sends the message that you’re weak, insecure and closed off to the world – qualities that you don’t want to describe you as a man.
24. Run Marathons
Long distance running puts your muscles under stress for extended periods of time…
As a result, your cortisol levels shoot through the roof. Now, I’m not saying you shouldn’t enjoy a nice run every once in a while. I like to go for runs myself…
Just keep your 5k’s to a minimum.
You can also consider overtraining to be “under recovering.”
If you’re sacrificing a healthy amount of sleep in order to get to the gym, you’re doing it wrong. If your daily pattern is rubbing your eyes after 5 hours of sleep to get to the gym, you need to adjust your schedule so that you get more sleep at night and allow your muscles to recover.
26. Drink a Ton of Caffeine
Like I cover in my book, The Man Diet (grab your free copy here), drinking coffee is one of the best things you can do for your testosterone levels.
But drinking too much caffeine can stunt your T-count. Luckily, we have a lot of breathing room here. Cut your coffee to a few cups a day and you won’t have anything to worry about.
27. Get Dehydrated
According to studies, the more dehydrated you are, the higher your cortisol levels will be.
So if you aren’t constantly gulping down water, you put yourself at risk of low T. Drink water from a filter and through a BPA-free water bottle.
28. Pour on Cologne
Cologne contains phthalates, a chemical compound that is oftentimes unlisted in the ingredient label (because it isn’t required by the FDA) but is dangerous for your testosterone health.
Researchers have found this ingredient to be damaging to your sperm count and testosterone levels. In other words, every time you spritz on a little cologne (or dump in on depending on the kind of guy you are), your manliness shrivels up.
Deodorant will do just fine for you.
29. Rush to Work
Jumping out of bed and dashing off to work in a wild frenzy will cause your cortisol levels to spike and your testosterone levels to drop… Which isn’t a way to start off your morning.
Give yourself some time to wake up, journal, and have a cup of coffee before work. Anything comparable to a “morning rush” will sabotage your T for the day.
30. Don’t Do Anything
Hands down, one of the worst things you can do for your testosterone levels is to do nothing at all.
The increasing attractiveness of desk jobs and Netflix has begun to make men less active. As a result, out testosterone levels are dropping more and more from generation to generation. It’s going to take some activity, but we need to climb our way out of this mess before “manliness” looks more like drinking frappes at a local coffee shop than it does working hard, providing for our families, working with our hands, chasing adventure, and loving hard.
Alright fellas, the ball’s in your court.
You know the 30 worst things you can do for your testosterone. So what are you going to do about it? Are you going to keep doing those things that are making you less of a man? Or are you going to turn the tide for the sake of your T?
Don’t forget to pick up your copy of my book, The Man Diet.
It’s got everything you need to make every day one that’s optimal for your testosterone.
It is a fact that we are getting weaker and weaker as men. The military strength standards prove it.
50 years ago, the standard that it took for men to join the army would put our men to shame.
It can be said that it’s because of taking out gym class in schools, or how most jobs now are computer-based jobs instead of working with our hands or the decreasing testosterone in our generation.
Either way, we are getting weaker and its a problem.
Not only does it pose a problem for our society, its a physical problem for you as well. Weak individuals have low testosterone, lower bone density (think more bone breaks), and more back pain. It also means that you’re going to have less muscle mass as well.
In untrained individuals, meaning people who didn’t strength train, your strength and muscle mass starts to decline by 1 % every year after the age of 30. Starting with a high amount of muscle and strength will increase your quality of life not only at age 29 but also at age 85 as well.
With all that in mind, men these days need a strength standard. Something to aim for.
Instead of pissing around with useless exercises on machines and cardio devices, these exercises look like stuff your grandpa did on the farm.
Not only will these give you a strong direction for your training, You’re going to look freaking good if you achieve these strength standards.
You’re going to be lean, have a defined back, shoulders and chest, and a lower body that is strong, powerful, and free of injuries.
These aren’t meant to be absolute strength numbers. They are meant as a guide that when you can do this, you’re a capable strong man.
You might see this as a kick in the pants. If so, that’s good. Most of us need a good kick square in the behind to help us become the men we were created to be. So strap up, put on your big boy pants and time to get to work.
Strength Standard 1: 5 Pull-ups
The pull-up has been one of the military strength standards for centuries, and it’s not going to stop being a standard with us. Not only do you develop your upper back through this exercise (which is woefully underdeveloped in modern workout programs), but it also guarantees you aren’t overweight. See, if you’re carrying around too much body fat, you won’t be able to do great pull-ups. You might be able to squeeze out 1 or two, but not 5 in a row.
This shows that you own your bodyweight. You might be like many guys who feel like their body is out of their control. Even though you can keep every other area of your life under control your body always evades your grasp. This exercise is very obvious if you’re in control of your body or not.
5 pull-ups Guarantees that what you did wasn’t just a fluke.
Strength Standard 2: Dumbbell or Kettlebell Press ¼ your bodyweight for 5 reps
How many guys in the gym do you hear or see that have shoulder pain or shoulder injury?
Like the kind of pain that causes you to completely modify an exercise so it doesn’t cause any further pain.
I’d be willing to bet that 75% of dudes at a random gym have some sort of shoulder injury.
This is unacceptable.
Your shoulder is one of the most versatile, moveable, mobile joints in the world and guys treat them like they’re a fisher price toy.
They deserve the strength that they can handle. And that means getting the ability to go overhead with them again.
You might have limited range of motion when lifting over your head, and that’s to be expected.
Most guys are lacking a lot of mobility in their thoracic spine, the entire muscular system that connects to the shoulder. If this is lacking, the glenohumeral joint (the shoulder socket) takes the brunt of the force.
When you do this exercise well, it guarantees you won’t have any issues going overhead because you CAN’T.
Having full shoulder flexion is not only essential, but you’re not going to be able to do very well without it.
By doing this for 5 reps, IT demonstrates that you have adequate shoulder stability and endurance.
It ensures you go into the proper position, and are able to stay there.
Strength Standard 3: Farmer Carry for 100ft with 1.5 bodyweight
As humans, one of the things that makes us distinctly human is our ability to carry things long distances.
Carries are underrated, but one of the greatest bang for your buck exercises available. They develop a strong upper back, forearms that rival your dad’s, stable hips, and a core that doesn’t move. AKA you’ll get rock solid abs.
If you have struggled with lower back pain this exercise is for you. The core has to work overtime trying to balance and not let you keel over while carrying this massive weight.
I’ve personally seen the positive effects of this exercise. When I was struggling with lower back pain on the right side of my back in the winter of 2017, I started doing Carries consistently. Within a few weeks, my lower back pain had subsided, and I was stronger than ever.
Carrying weight is all fun and good. They have a very real life application as well.
Your grip strength is a very strong indicator of your life expectancy.
In this study, they showed that Grip strength was the best indicator of life expectancy and mortality rate.
No better way to improve your grip strength than by carrying heavy objects for long distances.
Strength Standard 4: Barbell reverse lunge with Body weight for 5 reps
This lower body strength test does not include a squat. And that’s because a squat often becomes a test of lower back and core strength, not leg strength.
Not saying that’s a bad thing, but we want a test that determines leg strength independent from your back, and one another.
In life, there are so many times you are doing things that require strength from one leg.
Bending down to play with your son.
Hiking a mountain with your girlfriend.
Walking your local golf course with your buddies on Saturday morning.
Lunges not only build leg strength, but they make sure that you have equal leg strength. In a squat, it’s easy for your dominant leg to take over from what your non-dominant leg.
With a lunge, there is no hiding. If your leg isn’t strong enough, it isn’t strong enough.
Lunges also develop hip stability, which also aids in decreasing knee and back pain, and making you an absolute boss.
These suckers are essential to lower body training and testing.
After reading this list, you might be thinking,
“So. Where do I go from here?”
There are either two options.
You rocked this test. You passed all of these with flying colors. You’re a strong dude. If this is you, then keep doing whatever you’re doing, because obviously, it’s working. Keep getting stronger, and becoming the man you were created to be.
You missed the mark on this test, and decide to do nothing. You feel that this is a useless test, and decide not to do anything at all. You keep banging your head into the wall with your training, and you get weaker, more in pain, and fatter.
You missed the mark on this test, BUT you do something about it. Maybe your shoulders aren’t able to press up the kettlebell. Maybe you laugh at me when I suggest the farmer walk. Pull-ups might not have been your jam.
If you weren’t 1, you have some work to do.
It might mean spending time working on your weaknesses.
You might hire an online coach to help you get better and stronger.
You decide to adjust your diet to make these tests a little easier.
Either way, if you failed on these tests now, it doesn’t mean that in 3 months time you’ll do the same thing.
Focus on building your strengths, and also bringing your weaknesses so that there is no area of strength that you can’t master.
Linden Ellefson is a personal trainer and online coach out of Calgary, Canada. He helps 30-40 year old get leaner, more athletic and in better shape than they were in college.
Thoreau said, Most men lead a life of quiet desperation.
I remember when I was there. I was waking up every morning, eating horrible foods, working away at a job that I knew I had no future in.
I was wandering, lost, not in any way living a story worth reading.
Average is the enemy of every man on this planet, and it’s an enemy that almost none of us will defeat.
In fact, we’re actually becoming biologically more average than we’ve ever been. The average guy today has 20% less testosterone than a guy at his same age only a decade ago.
When I was wandering, I was a shell of what I could be and thank God I had the wherewithal to understand that my hormones could have something to do with this steady state of quiet desperation.
Testosterone is much more than just a fat loss or muscle building hormone, it’s at the core of what makes you a man.
You get a surge in testosterone when you compete, another when you win, another when you make a bunch of money.
Testosterone acts like a hormonal reward system, rewarding the winners and punishing the losers.
To be the man you first have to act like the man, and your hormones will reward you for doing so.
Stay soft and sedated, and you’ll experience atrophy, regression, you’ll become something, someone smaller and more insignificant than you were created to become.
Act ambitiously, audaciously, and you’ll grow and evolve.
When I was in this state of average I found out that my hormones were low, that I was in the low end for my age, and while I was told I can take shots, I instead sought ways to force my body into creating more of this powerful hormone by changing how I acted, what I ate, and even how I trained.
While the vast majority of literature I read pushed a pill, potion, or powder, I saw the truth, that the optimal diet for testosterone is simple…
2 meals and a shake. One carbs meal, one fats meal, both meals contain protein.
I saw that men actually need a balanced diet, as carbs help lower cortisol and fats help us produce testosterone, and protein helps us maintain low body fat.
I saw that how I was living was ‘low T’ in itself.
I had finished boxing, so I was no longer competing. I was working a job that really didn’t push me. For the first time I lost the ambition that I’d had my entire life.
So, I changed what I could control.
I fixed my diet. Focused on strength training. And I started acting as the guy I wanted to become.
I started a business that helped other guys fix their training and nutrition and lifestyle issues as well.
My ‘turn’ wasn’t found in a program, but in research, in trial and error, and now, in the Man Diet.
Too many men are living lives of quiet desperation.
They’re living beneath what they’re capable of and this massive decline in testosterone is being almost entirely overlooked by the mainstream.
Certain things act as a foundation from which we can build upon and propell from, being a healthy, optimal ELITE man with ELITE testosterone levels is one of them.
We’ll cover other methods and ways to escape average in the coming weeks, but if you haven’t yet, ensure that you get your free copy of the Man Diet here.
I’m working my way through Tim Grover’s, Relentless, right now.
Tim is Michael Jordan’s strength coach, and Kobe Bryant’s. He’s spent a lot of time around guys who are killers, winners on another level, they’re beyond competitive.
It’s a great book, one that dives into the darkness of victory, the instinct of it.
Instinct is something many of us have lost. We were born with instincts. I remember being a kid, wanting to beat anyone and everyone at anything.
I’d fight all the time. I loved it. Slowly, however, we all confuse being good with being nice. We see this desire to kill, to do
minate, to hunt, as bad, and we soften it, let it go in an attempt to civilize.
You cannot ever become fully civilized if you want victory. Something within you has to remain true to those instincts and sometimes advice can cloud that inner voice, that ‘gut feeling’ that a man should always listen to first.
While I’m a guy who gives advice, who shows guys how to eat, train and become more disciplined, the advice is something you have to watch out for. Too much of it can lead you to live someone else’s life and lose those instincts that we all need to thrive.
So take advice from people who actually have your best interests in mind, but don’t take advice from everyone. Don’t seek advice from everyone either.
Years ago I stopped seeking so much damn advice and started doing my thing, whether it was business or life, and it’s helped me live life on my terms and build a business on my terms.
Listen, who do we admire, the man in a crowd, one of many, or the original, the man who stands on his own, who leads, who goes his own way?
We’re a tribe here, but no man can lose his ability to listen to his gut, to thrive off instinct rather than advice.
My dog, Teddy, doesn’t for a second think about chasing a deer, he just does it, and it’s nearly impossible to hold him back.
A lion doesn’t think about killing, that’s just what lions do.
Men should spend less time thinking about doing what they know deep down they need to do, and just do it.
When you have a decision to make, make it, follow the first thing that came to your mind and deal with the consequences later.
If you’re wrong, pivot, and fix the mistake, but stop living the safe life, the life led by the advice of others, where the tough decisions of your life can be pawned off on someone else so that, in part, they can share the blame if it’s the wrong decision.
Trust your gut.
It takes confidence to trust your gut. And if you don’t have confidence, and you want to develop it, start there.
Start by making fast and firm decisions, then follow through on them.
Be the lion, do as lions do. React, forget if everything is perfect. Forget about thinking about every scenario and outcome.
In 1911, three men set out on the adventure of a lifetime. They wanted to trek the unknown territory of Antarctica and link it with other known portions of the desolate continent.
The three men were ages 33, 30, and 29 respectively. They were ambitious, strong, courageous, and unwaveringly committed in their endeavor, so much so that two of them died along the way and one barely made it out alive. He was all alone on the ice.
This is a far cry from the 30 year olds that walk in our midst today.
Instead, they have traded their ambition for something far less virtuous.
Men have become soft, emasculated, and lazy.
This is due in part to real men having become reclusive and passive, and our culture becoming impervious to masculinity.
Look around and you will see that men are more concerned about the pants that they wear and the way their hair looks than how to make ambitious goals, and pursue their dreams. They have become afraid of their own shadow and doomed themselves to a life of mediocrity.
Chances are, that if you are reading this, then you go against the status quo, that you as a man have found yourself on the other side of society. You have been called “rough around the edges” or “insensitive”.
Take this as a compliment
Unfortunately, our culture has deemed men who are passive, and relinquish their manhood virtuous, and esteemed.
What men really need is self-awareness, mastery, and other men to learn from.
“As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another” – Proverbs 27:17
Men need to pursue mastery and be in constant pursuit of huge ambitious goals. They must constantly challenge themselves and push themselves to learn new skills and to grow in strength, endurance and mindset.
These things can only be developed if they are done with discipline and consistency.
The Lost Virtues of a Man
Men need to have some sort of consistent physical activity that they do, whether it’s lifting weights, martial arts, running, swimming, biking or a combination of all of them.
When men don’t do this, they get fat, injured, or have health issues. Don’t believe me, look around.
They also need to have a why, a reason for existing. They need to know their why, so that they can work in their Strengths and become who they are made to be.
Socrates said it best: “No man has the right to be an amateur in the matter of physical training. It is a shame for a man to grow old without seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable.”
If you are not pushing your limits or putting your body under deliberate physical stress every day, you are denying your very essence.
Men need to know what they are capable of. When you lift weights, move heavy objects, destroy your goals and win, then you become confident and more alpha minded.
Lifting weights just to lift weights is not enough. You have to train. Life is going to come at you from all angles and you need to be prepared to handle whatever it throws at you. The more you exercise your body and your mind and put it under good, deliberate stress, the easier the problems will seem.
Learn how to do heavy Lifts like the Deadlift, Squat, and Olympic Lifts. Get a trainer, or go to a fundamentals class to learn these lifts. Proper form is key.
Men don’t play the victim. They take ownership.
Your mind will tell you that you can’t do something. You have to be able to tell it to shut up.
You have to build your mind by repeating positive habits. There are two very important ways that this can be done.
Lift Weights and Exercise: Lifting weights boosts testosterone, builds confidence, and leaves you with a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction long after the workout. I quote Jocko Willink “If you want to improve mental toughness, try this: BE TOUGHER“
Read Good Books: You have to read books that set your dreams on fire, and grow your library of manly books .If the only time a man is getting information is from Social media, Netflix or the TV, then he must just like being useless. Every great man in history was a reader, Marcus Aurelius, Themistocles, Teddy Roosevelt, Solomon, and many more.
I’m not talking about hippie yoga crap. I’m talking about shutting up and listening to what is going on around you. Take five minutes every day to sit, breathe deeply and remain quiet. Focus on who you want to be, and your ideal day. Then go out and do your best to be that man.
Do these things every single day.
Men need a battle to fight, and a challenge to face
John Eldredge in his book “Wild at Heart”, said that men need three things.
A Battle to Fight
An Adventure to Live
A Beauty to Rescue
If a man wants to know what he is made of, I would urge him strongly to take on some sort of endurance event. Triathlon, Spartan Race 13+ miles, Biking, Marathon, Ultra-Marathon, go-ruck event, being away from your family or loved ones for an extended period of time.
A man will find out a lot about himself by physically and mentally challenging himself. The thing you don’t think you can do. That’s the thing you need to do.
Men need to continually learn new skills and become proficient at the ones already developed. If you want to build a website but don’t know how…then learn. If you don’t know how to bench press…then learn. If you don’t know how to shoot a gun, then go learn. Do manly stuff!
Men know that there is never an arrival point, there is never a destination. This life is asymptotic. Meaning you will continually come closer and closer to perfection, but never reach it. This should be encouraging because the sky is the limit.
Once you have a skill, work hard to hone it, and incorporate it into your daily life.
Every day you have a choice as a man, you can settle into mediocrity and passivity that this culture nurtures and cultivates, or you can set yourself apart and be the man you are made to be.
Being that man isn’t easy, because doing things the right way is not popular, and others will go against you because they are shallow scared little boys.
Boys hide and do what feels good, they don’t take responsibility or ownership. They are cowards, afraid of the success they can achieve, afraid to be dangerous and harsh.
It takes a man to make men.
How to obtain Mastery
Don’t look for shortcuts. First, say to yourself what type of man you want to be, then be that man. No one is going to push you more than yourself. A man doesn’t wait for things to be perfect, he takes action.
Stay Consistent. Don’t give up because something gets hard. Becoming the man you are made to be, takes time, effort and practice. Lots of it. Epictetus said: “No great thing is created suddenly, any more than a bunch of grapes or a fig. If you tell me that you desire a fig, I answer that there must be time. Let it first blossom, then bear fruit, then ripen.
Remain Teachable and Humble. These go hand in hand. Humility leads to being teachable. When you realize that you don’t know anything that is when you are ready to learn anything. Remember that you are a warrior and that you were made for greatness. Warriors are teachable, and always ready to learn.
Be willing to adapt. Things don’t always go as planned, but if you remain strategic in your approach and are developing your skill and strength then you will be able to adapt and change as new opportunities and openings arise in your life.
Challenge Yourself. Never think that you have arrived. That you have reached your destination. A man’s journey lasts a lifetime, and you can’t do things because you think you are going to get noticed or because you want accolades. Do the things you need to do because they will make you better as a man, not because you think you will be rewarded for doing them.
Don’t ever settle into mediocrity. Always choose the higher road. You will be a better man because of it, one that is born hardship, pain, discomfort, and grief. Life is never guaranteed to be easy, and as a man, this is the first step in developing a warrior mindset and a never quit attitude.
Be Legendary, Be Authentic.
Do Manly Stuff, Create goals and then conquer those big audacious goals that you set for yourself.
Kick ass. Ever. Single. Day.
Be the man that you were made to be.
Stephen Dull is a Navy Veteran, Cross-fit Enthusiast, Blogger, Podcaster, Engineer, who loves to lift weights in his garage, and help men be the men that they were made to be.
You’re one of the lucky ones. You’ve made it to your 90’s or even 100’s and it’s that time. You lie down for your final nap and never wake up.
If you’re a man of faith – and I am – you don’t think life stops there. Your soul, the essence of who you are, not just your physical form, lives on.
You’re dead but your consciousness still exists. I don’t think we take the same form, I think heaven is in the presence of our Maker and hell is in absence of Him. But for argument’s sake let’s say you go up to the pearly gates and see God.
Standing next to him is a fella that looks exactly like you. He’s a little stronger, more muscular, leaner. He looks like he’s lived more. He has scars on his face and hands and his skin is a lot tougher than yours is.
God says to you, Well done, you lived a good life, but you could have lived a far greater one. This guy is who I created you to be, this is your destiny.
In a glimpse, you see everything that this man, YOU, did. You see that he lived a HARD life. An arduous one. He didn’t compromise his values. He didn’t set small goals. He didn’t quit or cry or whine about his circumstances.
In this glimpse, you’re exposed to what you could have done, who you could have been.
You see the land you could have owned, the thousands of people you could have helped because of the millions and billions of dollars you could have earned.
You see the adventures you could have had and the scars they could have left.
You see the leader you could have been.
It hits you like a punch to the gut. You lived SMALL. You lived quietly. You lived a life of FEAR compared to what you could have done.
You were lazy, weak, afraid, envious, and cynical.
You could have been so much more.
If you have faith – and even if you don’t – compare yourself to this ideal, this potential, this man you can be, this man you’re created to be rather than comparing yourself to the guy next door or the fella down the street or the prick on TV.
Ambition is God Telling You What to Pursue
The second aspect of this epiphany, this glimpse, is that the man standing next to your Maker did what you’d always dreamt of doing.
He hunted in Africa, built a billion-dollar company, married his sweetheart, gave back, lived clean, worked hard, worked out, didn’t make excuses, and took action on the biggest dreams that YOU have.
… While you simply passed them off as dreams.
What your soul begs you to do should be given credence. It should be seen as important. Give it power, sustenance, by acting on it.
You know what your greatest ambitions are. There shouldn’t be anything in this world that can stop you from moving toward them.
Finally, the man you CAN BE has been beaten up. He’s failed. He’s had ups and downs and he’s almost died a dozen times.
His life, however, was lived on a far more grand playing field than the one you (we) currently occupy.
He DID the things that you only dream about doing.
He didn’t see obstacles or barriers, but dreams, destinations, goals.
Give your dreams the respect they deserve.
Set higher goals, aim far higher than anyone you know.
Then understand that nothing simply happens. Everything in life takes effort, pain, and persistence, and you can handle all of it.