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Protein powder and creatine may be the go to supps for most muscle building guys, but testosterone boosters are rapidly making their way to the forefront of the supplement industry.

Testosterone is the daddy of all muscle building hormones.

Men and women both produce testosterone (men in the testes, women in the ovaries) though clearly, males produce much more.

The basic functions of testosterone include regulating sex drive and libido, stimulating hair growth, maintaining metabolic rate and aid in sperm production (in males) but testosterone also plays a big role in muscle growth.

Higher levels of blood testosterone contribute to an increase in muscle protein synthesis (the rate at which your muscles turnover and use protein molecules), faster rates of muscle growth and reduced muscle glycogen during training, which basically means you have more energy and can train harder for longer.

All this is looking pretty good so far.

Unfortunately, you only produce a certain amount of testosterone naturally. For most guys, this is enough and certainly to an extent you can alter how much testosterone you produce by changing your lifestyle. Weight training for instance automatically increases testosterone production a little, as your body realizes that there is more of a demand on it to produce extra test to support growth and recovery.

Diet plays a role too. Eating plenty of protein, along with fats (especially healthy kinds of saturated fat) increases testosterone production. There’s a reason why steak and eggs is the king of muscle building meals. Eating more meat, fish, full fat dairy, whole eggs, grass-fed butter or cream and coconut oil will all aid with test levels.

But what about when this isn’t enough any more? Many guys turn to testosterone supplements when they want a further boost.

The first, and most important thing to note is that testosterone supplements are not the same as anabolic steroids. Anabolic steroids (AAS) are synthesized in laboratories and work to drastically increase your levels of blood testosterone. They’re a bit of a taboo subject. The legality and safety surrounding them is extremely sketchy, so for the purposes of this article, there’s no need to discuss them further.

Just know that all the products mentioned here are completely legal to buy and stocked in most mainstream supplement stores. If you compete in a tested federation though, make sure you get clearance that a supplement is not on their banned list before you start taking it.

We’ve established that to build muscle and strength, testosterone is a must. Everyone knows the guy who only has to look at a weight and his biceps seem to increase three inches, or the friend who hasn’t trained in a year, but steps foot in the gym and deadlifts 500 pounds in his first session back.

What’s their secret? Testosterone.

Chances are they just have naturally high test levels, so to get to their standing, a testosterone supplement could be your best bet. It’s vital you understand what these supplements do to your body before you take the plunge though.

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