Testosterone Killers – These Surprising Things May be Ruining Your Testosterone Levels

When it comes to manipulating testosterone levels we tend to focus on the ‘usual suspects’. That means protein for instance, supplements and sleep. But what you probably didn’t know is that almost everything you do has some kind of impact on levels of free T, no matter how small. Some very surprising things in fact can actually drastically alter your levels and so it’s important that you think of those too when trying to encourage muscle growth and fat loss.


In this article we will go over some of the more surprising things that may be reducing your testosterone so you can avoid them and ensure that everything you do is able to support and encourage healthy anabolism.



Myco-estrogens, like the better-known xeno-estrogens, are a substance found in mold and fungi which can reduce testosterone and increase estrogen. This means that eating that moldy bread can actually damage your gains, as well as just not being very appealing. Furthermore, it means that mushrooms can actually have an adverse effect on your muscle development despite being a good source of protein. Worse, myco-estrogens are also found in maize, barley, wheat, rice and sorghum. This is just one of the many reasons that a vegetarian diet can encourage low T.



Many people seem to think that rice actually improves testosterone but sadly this couldn’t be further from the truth. Rice is a very potent 5-a reductase enzyme blocker and seeing as 5-a reductase is used to convert testosterone into the more powerful DHT, that’s bad news for your body. In fact, it appears that rice is actually more effective at blocking testosterone than even drugs designed for that very purpose!


Mosquito Repellants

Mosquito repellants don’t just repel bugs – they also destroy your levels of testosterone. In the old days these products contained anti-androgens which would directly prevent the conversion of cholesterol into T. Today they no longer have this problem but now the issue is the chemical ‘chlorpyrifos’ which is converted to TCPY once it gets into the body. And TCPY is known to dramatically lower the amount of testosterone circulating in the body.



Put down those Licorice Allsorts! Despite being healthy in several other ways, licorice is actually one of the worst things you can consume for your T levels. In one study it was found that just 0.5 grams of glycyrrhizic acid (found in licorice) a day was enough to almost halve levels of free T (1)!



Going for a swim might be a good form of cardio but it’s awful for your testosterone. That’s unfortunately due to a toxic halogen which drives halogen out of the body. In one study it was found that children who swam in chlorinated pools had lower testosterone the more regularly they visited the pool (2).


Of course many swimmers have great physiques so don’t worry too much. Still, if you have the choice then you should always pick swimming in the sea of other natural waters!


That’s only the tip of the ice berg too. Turns out sunscreen, low calorie diets and even many medications can all lower testosterone. Then there’s all the things we know lower T as well to take into account… it’s a dangerous world out there for a bodybuilder!


These Moves Can Easily Add One Inch to Your Arms – Even if You’ve Stopped Growing

For many of us there comes a point where our arms stop growing and we presumably seem to reach our genetic limit in terms of bicep size. Don’t feel bad – it had to stop at some point!


In most cases though, there will almost always be a little more size you can squeeze out of your arms. This is especially true if you’re just a casual bodybuilder as opposed to Ronnie Coleman – in all likelihood there’s much more growing to be done. The only problem is then, that you’re probably not training in the right way or in a manner that’s sufficient to stimulate proper growth. Maybe it worked before but in order to really trigger hypertrophy you’ll need something a bit more potent as you get bigger.


Here is a workout from Vincent DelMonte that can do precisely that.


The Idea

Pre-exhaustion is a tried and tested workout method used by many bodybuilders where you fatigue your muscles by using isolation exercises before moving onto a large compound exercise. The problem is that new research shows that this actually prevents the target muscles from working as hard as they can during the compound movements. Thus Vincent recommends doing the compound moves first and the isolation moves second in order to enjoy better results while still really punishing those individual muscles, in this case the biceps.


The Movements

The movements that Vincent recommends for this routine are:


Narrow Supinated Sternum Chin-Ups

To start, perform chin ups with an underhand grip and move all the way up to touch your sternum on the bar. Meanwhile, keep those hands close together to really engage the biceps rather than the lats.


Alternating Incline Dumbbell Curls With Isometric Holds

Here you perform dumbbell curls on an incline bench and then use an isometric hold in the middle to encourage muscle fiber recruitment and to remove any momentum. This is a great way to make your regular dumbbell curls harder and is recommended for anyone looking to build size and strength.


Close Grip Bench Press

The close grip bench press is designed to hit the triceps in a similar fashion to triangle push ups.


Dumbbell Parillo Press

The parillo press is a movement that involves pressing two dumbbells, then slowly going through the negative portion of the movement allowing them to lower hinging at the elbows almost like a skull crusher (but at the side of your head instead of over the top). Then rotate at the shoulders bringing them back into position for another press.


Partner Dumbbell Curls

Stand opposite a training partner and take it in turns to perform curls. Each time you reach failure, pass the weight immediately to your buddy and continue. Keep going until you have each performed 100 repetitions.


Fingers Interlocked/Feet Elevated Push Ups

End with 100 press ups using feet elevated. A good option is to elevate your feet on a buddy’s back and then to use a ‘you go, I go’ approach similar to the partner curls.


Through these exercises you’ll have hit both the biceps and the triceps in a manner that turns the idea of pre-exhaust on its head. At the same time, you’ll have used moves that are in themselves different and challenging to encourage major growth.


Six Awesome Leg Exercises You Probably Haven’t Tried

Building massive legs is a bit like Marmite – some people love training them, others hate it. But if you’re in that latter camp then you really need to buck your ideas up: building big wheels is actually the best way to encourage full-body growth and development. The muscles in your legs are some of the biggest in your body and if you’re ignoring them then you’re going to half as anabolic as you could be.


But whether you love or hate legs you aren’t going to progress in this department unless you’re training the right way. There is a lot more to leg workouts than just deadlifts and squats and just like the upper body, you really should be mixing up your training and keeping it versatile and varied. Read on then and we’ll look at six awesome leg exercises you might not have tried.


Trap Bar Deadlift

The trap bar deadlift is a deadlift but performed while standing inside a trap bar. Trap bars are normally used for shrugging and as such they break out into two parallel bars in the middle where you can stand while holding them.


Trap bar deadlifts then allow you to squat without worrying about hiding your knees and shins (great for beginners) while at the same time allowing you to change the angle of the force slightly to engage the hamstrings more.


Glute Hamstring Raises

The glute hamstring raise is an exercise very similar to a hamstring curl with the main difference being that you’re going to raise your body instead of pulling the weights towards you. You can perform this on the usual resistance machine by simply stacking up the weight to be greater than your own body weight.


Cable Pull Throughs

Cable pull throughs involve pulling a cable between your legs in front of you – driving with your legs as you do. This is almost like a kettlebell swing except the resistance is maintained and equal throughout the exercise.


Appropriate Squats

Appropriate squats are squats with resistance bands attached to the top of the squat rack. This has the effect of making the weight lighter as you get lower into the movement, allowing you to increase the weight significantly without potentially damaging your joints.


Who knows whether there’s such thing as inappropriate squats but if there is, they’re definitely awesome.


DB Heels Elevated

The ‘DB’ here stands for dumbbell. This is because you will be taking a dumbbell plate, lying it on the floor behind you and tucking it under your heels, then performing squats in that position. This alters the direction of the force once again and creates a great challenge.


Goblet DB Split Squat

This is all kinds of unusual exercises combined into one brutal move. Here you will be splitting your legs by having one up behind you on a bench (like a lunge) while you’re also holding a dumbbell in front of your chest (the goblet part). The effect is something like a one-legged front squat but a little easier – it’s great for the hamstrings and not too tough on the joints!


How to Workout Your Abs With Zero Equipment

If there’s one thing that almost every guy in the world wants, it’s amazing rock hard abs. Count on Jeff Cavaliere of Athlene-X then to provide an abs workout that’s suitable for people at any level and that can be performed with no need for any equipment. Read on and let’s take a look at his six pack progression workout that has been helping loads of guys to get some incredibly insane looking mid-sections.


Two Down One Ups

The two down one up is an unusual sounding exercise that looks just as weird. Essentially you’re lying flat on the floor but with your abs clenched and shoulders raised slightly off the ground (like the hollow rock exercise). Your heels will also be off the ground and then you’re going to take it in turns to kick each leg upwards while keeping the other one at about 30 degrees. This combines isometric holds all over the place along with a great range of movement that challenges the core in a really unique way. Jeff recommends continuing for 45 seconds as the goal for a single ‘set’.


The idea then is to rest in between for no more than 10 seconds and then go again until the point where you can’t complete your ‘goal’ of 45 seconds any more. At that point you’ve fatigued that specific movement and you head onto the next one in the progression.


Figure 8s

Here you’re lying flat on the ground and drawing figure-8s in the air with your abs. The ‘goal’ is 60 seconds and you again keep performing it until that movement is exhausted.


The 21 Crunch

The 21 crunch is a crunch where you keep your legs straight and touch your shins with your hands each time. The goal is 12 reps.


Scissor “V” Ups

Scissor “V” ups are crunches where your legs are off the ground and scissoring over the top and bottom of each other while you crunch. The goal is 45 seconds but by this stage most people won’t be able to do a complete set even once.


Hip Touch Planks

The hip touch plank is an exercise that Jeff himself invented. You start off in plank position and then you raise your hips upwards and rest on one arm while touching your opposite hand to the opposite hip. Repeat on both sides for one rep. The goal is 15 sets.


V Up Russion Twists

Finally, the V Up Russian Twist is a similar to the 21 crunch except you’re involving your obliques more by twisting your core and touching your hands onto the ground on either side. The goal is 12 reps.


Once you’ve completed all the exercises in this list you’ll have hit the lower abs, bottom rotation, mid-range abs, obliques, top down movement and top down rotation. In other words, it covers every aspect of your core for fantastic abdominal development.


Jeff calls this workout ‘X-Tinction’ and it’s easy to see why… once your done your abs will feel completely extinct!



How Excess Fat is Crippling Your Testosterone Production

One of the easiest and most effective ways to rapidly increase your production of testosterone is simply to trim a little excess fat. Even if you’re not obese but are instead one of those ‘skinny fat’ types or a bodybuilder who’s carrying a little extra around the waist while bulking; that fat isn’t just damaging you aesthetically but is also throwing your hormone balance into disarray and severely reducing your testosterone production.


To find out how this happens and why it’s so crucial to cut back on excess fat so that you can start producing more anabolic hormones, keep reading.


Belly Fat and DHT

Firstly, having belly fat can decrease your production of DHT. DHT is dihydrotestosterone and is the single most powerful androgen in your body. It’s DHT in fact that is largely responsible for our secondary sex traits (such as facial hair). It’s about 3-10 times stronger than testosterone and in fact testosterone relies on it for many of its actions.


Fatter individuals have been shown time and again in studies to have less DHT and the main reason seems to be that enzymes stored in adipose tissue actually breaks DHT down into a less useful substance called 5alpha-androstane 3alpha,17beta-diol (catchy).


Fat Increases the Activity of Aromatase Enzyme

Speaking of enzymes, aromatase enzymes are what convert male hormones into estrogens and the more fat you’re carrying the more of that you have. In other words, fat tissue literally makes you more feminine which aint’ great for the gym!


Fatter People Have Higher Baseline Leptin

Leptin is one of the hormones that makes us feel full when we’ve had enough to eat. It also has some other functions though, which include the ability to decline testosterone levels when it enters the hypothalamus.


If you’re overweight, then you need more leptin to feel full and you have more leptin to begin with – as it’s secreted from adipose tissue. In other words? Less testosterone.


Visceral Fat is a Serious Risk for Obese People

Visceral fat is the more serious and dangerous type of fat that surrounds internal organs. We all have a little of this but those who are very obese or very stressed have it in greater quantities and this increases your risk of all sorts of serious conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, fatty liver…


…aaaand metabolic syndrome. And even if you don’t get this metabolic slowdown, you’ll still be lowering your testosterone levels directly and impairing the function of your organs. Not good.


Cortisol Levels Are Correlated With Body Fat

Cortisol is both a cause and result of being overweight. This is the stress hormone and among other things it is responsible for increasing lipogenesis (fat storage) and making us hungry. At the same time, it also depletes your levels of testosterone.


For all these reasons, even a little body fat can be devastating to your gains in the gym. Carry just a little extra around the waist and you’ll feel less energetic, you’ll produce much less testosterone, you’ll be hungrier and you’ll be more stressed. This is why weight gain is a slippery slope – make sure to nip it in the butt right away!


Five Moves for Much Bigger Pecs

In this article you’re going to see a chest workout that will make your pecs absolutely beg for mercy. There are some fairly well-known moves in here but by combining them in this order, you’re sure to see serious rapid growth. In fact, this routine is so successful that it’s also the one that Vince DelMonte (famous fitness vlogger) uses in order to get his chest ready for shoots. As you’ll know, that guy is big. You can be too, just keep reading and follow this workout to the letter!


Decline Dumbbell Press

Starting with an old classic, the decline dumbbell press is still one of the most effective pec exercises for a variety of reasons. For starters, the decline makes it more challenging by removing the shoulders more from the equation and hitting that lower portion of the chest.


Using dumbbells as well means the movement is unilateral – performed separately on each arm. This is perfect if you’re looking to build symmetry as it prevents one side from ‘helping’ the other through the movement which can often otherwise happen.


Decline Cable Press

As DelMonte is known to do, this move is the same but now with resistance bands. Almost every popular movement can be switched up to be performed with resistance bands which is a great way to mix it up, to change the angle of the resistance and to ensure that that resistance is retained throughout the entire range of motion. Cables have a lot of use when applied correctly and when used alongside dumbbells they’re perfect for hitting every little muscle group that’s involved.


Reverse Band Bench Press

The reverse band bench press relies on another favorite trick of DelMonte’s, which is the process of adding a resistance band to a compound movement in order to make certain portions of that movement easier. In this case the bench press is performed in a squat rack with the bands attached to top so as to make the movement easier at the bottom and more difficult as you get higher up. This allows you to pile on the weight without getting ‘stuck’ at the bottom (a little like bouncing the weight from your chest) and it also allows you to focus on this specific portion of your range of motion.


Incline Dumbbell Press

The incline dumbbell press is another straightforward exercise that is perfect to be paired with the decline. Now you’ll be moving the focus to the upper pecs which often get neglected. This can help to create a much fuller look and especially while you’re wearing a tank top or vest.


Standing Neutral Grip Incline

Many people think that the cable crossover machine is just for pec flyes but in fact it’s also a great when used like a chest press. In this case you’ll be standing in it and pressing out and slightly upwards. It’s perfect as a follow up to the incline dumbbell press and can really work the upper pecs and shoulders in a different way.


Five Incredibly Powerful Exercises for Your Best Back Ever

If you’ve hit a back plateau (a backteau if you will) then you need to introduce some new and different exercises into your regime in order to mix things up and shock those muscles into growing. It’s very easy to get into something of a rut with back exercises and to find yourself relying overly on the same old lat pull downs and chin ups so try introducing these powerful and different exercises into your regime in order to start making progress again.


Decline Bench Dumbbell Pullover

The decline bench dumbbell pullover is a pullover (like a skull crusher but further back) performed on a decline bench with a single dumbbell. This move is right away one that’s great for placing the resistance on the triceps and back from a more unusual angle (diagonally backward and downward) while switching from a barbell to a dumbbell also changes the center of gravity in a constructive manner.


Decline Bench Cable Pullover

Decline bench cable pullover is the same exercise but performed with a cable instead of a dumbbell. This is a great variation because it allows you to keep the resistance fairly constant throughout the entire movement (which is difficult to do with weights) and because it completely changes up the angle. Adjusting the height and the weight also allows for all kinds of interesting variations as you go.


Neutral Grip Weighted Chins

Neutral grip weighted chins are chin ups performed with your palms pointing in towards one another. This actually makes the movement slightly easier and certainly makes gripping easier which allows you to then increase the weight and thereby place more focus on those lats. Make sure you are using correct technique, returning to a dead hang at the end of each movement but not locking out.


Bent-Over Supported Nose Rows

Nose rows are rows that you simply perform all the way back – so that the rope is almost touching your nose. This is a much better way to train the lats as we all too often fail to use full range of motion when training the lats. This encourages you to actually engage the entirety of these massive muscles, while the support also allows you to go bigger on the weight with no concern of injuring yourself.


The best way to perform this is either with a machine, or by using a bench set to a slight incline that you lie on with your stomach.


T-Bar Rows

T-bar rows are a classic-yet-underappreciated move. Here you simply load up one end of a barbell and then row that upwards towards you while the other end remains flat on the floor. You can do this with an actual T-bar, or just a repurposed barbell. Either way, it’s fantastic for mimicking a genuinely useful range of motion and for really isolating the lats.


Put all these lat movements together into your next workout and you’ll very quickly realize just how powerful each of them are!


7 Tips That Can Help Hardgainers to Grow

A hardgainer is anyone who struggles to put on muscle. You know the type: they’re well intentioned by no matter how much they eat or how hard they workout they just seem to stay skinny. We call these people ‘hardgainers’ because no matter how hard they try, they can’t make the gains they want. Of course what science would call them is ‘ectomorphs’ but that’s just terminology.


Basically these people have fast metabolisms and they struggle to put on muscle mass or fat as a result. That’s great if you want to look skinny but not if you want to look like Arnie. So what can you do? Here are some powerful tips…


1 Quit Your Whining!

The first tip? Stop whining! While some people are legitimately hard gainers, you don’t want to be constantly complaining about it all the time or all you will be doing is shooting yourself in the food. Don’t let your fast metabolism become a crutch or an excuse – work through it like plenty of other people have and focus on the benefits. At least you’re not fat! A good mental attitude can go a long way in the gym, so exercise some positivity!


2 Eat Hard

If you’re going to put on size then you need to go big on your diet. That means eating a ton of food and just doing everything you can to get calories in you. Don’t think you can eat a regular diet and look like the Hulk – it just doesn’t work like that. Make sure you put as much effort into eating as you do your training. Don’t like eating five meals a day? Well tough, if you want to be big, you have to.


3 Eat Well

That said, you should still focus on nutritious food that your body can actually use. Empty calories are likely to get stores as fat or pass right through you, so look for nutritious foods like coconut oil that you can add to your diet.


Try This Bulking Stack to Gain Lean Muscle Quickly


4 Stop Eating So Clean

Which isn’t to say you should aim for a completely ‘clean’ bulk. If you’re only eating salad and steam chicken then no wonder you can’t eat the amount you need to in terms of calories. And apart from anything else it’s actually really boring! Shots of olive oil can add tons of calories to your diet and are actually very nutritious. Likewise, try drinking more full-fat milk. It’s not ‘clean’ but it’s healthy and it’s packed with calories and good fats.


5 Compound Movements

Compound movements are exercises that involve multiple muscle groups – like squats, bench press and deadlift. This is what triggers the release of real anabolic hormones that encourage growth – not little dumbbell curls and other isolation movements that are just about adding definition to specific body parts.


6 Time Rests

This is something everyone should be doing. If you’re sitting for about five minutes between sets then you may as well go home. Workouts should be fast and they should be brutal!


7 Get At Least 8 Hours Sleep

Finally, make sure you’re sleeping! Sleep is when our body makes use of everything we’ve put into it, it’s when we’re at our most anabolic and it’s when we repair any injuries or microtears throughout the day. Put simply, this is when hypertrophy occurs and if you don’t get the amount of sleep you need you’ll be breaking your body and muscle down without giving it any chance to build itself back up again. This should be priority number one.


Top Five Bicep Peaks Exercises

Your bicep ‘peak’ is the height that your biceps reach when you tense them. This is what really makes your arms look huge and is one of the surest ways to drop jaws. But just how do you go about getting arms that peak like Everest? This is the challenge that many bodybuilders face: even some athletes who have huge arms fail to get them to peak in a way that they want them to.


To get your biceps to peak, you need specific exercises that specifically add height. Read on to see five of the best choices as chosen by Rob Riches – a guy who really knows what he’s talking about when it comes to tall biceps!


Seated Bicep Curls

The first move that Rob recommends for training bicep peaks is the seated bicep curl. Here you sit on a weights bench with your arms hanging directly down then curl from there.


This has two benefits that are ideal for building big bicep peaks. For starters, it perfectly isolates the biceps and prevents you from using momentum or any other muscle groups in order to help you through the movement. Secondly, it increases the range of motion by allowing you to completely straighten your arm – this results in longer biceps that bunch up more for a taller peak.


Single Arm Preacher Curls

A single arm preacher curl uses a preacher bench to once again completely isolate the bicep. This keeps your body and upper arm completely still which forces you to entirely rely on your bicep.


Incline Bench Barbell Curls

Incline bench barbell curls involve lying face down on an incline bench, with your arms dangling down directly on either side. This not only once again isolates the biceps but it also changes the direction of the weight which changes the angle of the resistance and thus increases the resistance through the full range of motion.


Concentration Curls

Concentration curls are a classic isolation movement. Here you sit on a weight bench with your legs apart and rest your upper arm on your knee. This lets you curl again without any assistance from your other muscles or momentum.


High Cable Pulls

High cable pulls are a slightly more unusual movement that rely on a cable pulley machine. Here you stand in the middle of a cable pulley machine normally used for pec flyes and positioned to be around shoulder height.


From here, you then hold the handles with outstretched arms and an underhand grip. Then curl the handles inwards towards your head. A variation of this move can be performed where you curl the weights at chest height.


Throughout both movements, you need to make sure that you keep your upper arms still and curl by pivoting only at your elbows.


Once again this will isolate the biceps entirely, while the cables will ensure that tension is maintained throughout the entire range of motion. Unlike a regular bicep curl the movement will get harder as you reach the end of each repetition.


Incorporate these movements into your routine and in no time your biceps will be reaching for the sky!


Your Complete Guide to Increasing Nitric Oxide for Greater Strength, Recovery and Muscle Growth

Sometimes it feels like you need a degree in biology to properly understand all of the different terms involved with bodybuilding. Without properly accounting for each of the various biological processes involved in hypertrophy and physical exertion though, you won’t be able to maximize the impact of your training or help yourself to burn fat and build muscle at the fastest possible rate.


Nitric oxide is one more example of a molecule within the human body that is of great importance to bodybuilders. Once you understand its role and you know how to increase it, you’ll find your workouts are more intense, your growth is accelerated and your health is improved across the board. Read on to find out more about this critical substance – we promise you won’t need to be a biology major to understand it!


nitric oxideWhat is Nitric Oxide

Nitric oxide has numerous roles within the body but among the most important is to help with the dilation of blood vessels. This in turn means that more blood can fit through those narrow passageways, carrying more oxygen, more glucose and more nutrients along the way. Whenever you contract your muscles to lift a weight or to jump for a ball in sports, this requires a supply of glucose and oxygen. Whenever you struggle over a difficult sum, your brain will use oxygen to fuel you through it.


Nitric oxide helps to improve the speed and strength of that supply and as such it can increase your strength, your heart health, your sleep quality, your memory and more. For bodybuilders though, what’s most interesting is that it can increase strength and even growth post-workout.


On top of all that, nitric oxide can also act as a neurotransmitter helping nerve cells to communicate. It actually has a unique ability to affect neurons that aren’t connected to one-another which makes it potentially useful as a ‘nootropic’ to enhance learning and memory. It also aids in the relaxation of smooth muscle, particularly in the stomach.


Why Bodybuilders Need Nitric Oxide

Think back to how it feels to finish a great workout. One of the most notable feelings that comes from such a workout is the ‘pump’ which makes your muscles feel swollen and harder. Often a workout is most rewarding once you achieve this feeling, as it means that you’ll be able to use your muscles to their max and you’ll feel every contraction all the more. Plus, it helps that the pump also makes you look much bigger and more ripped than you normally would do which is always good for a little added motivation.


The reason your muscles swell like this is that they’ve been working hard and thus require more oxygen and more nutrients. Thus the blood flow increases and your muscles end up looking bigger and performing better as a result of the extra oxygen, energy and nutrients. Subsequently, this increased blood-flow will also provide your muscles with all the nutrients (amino acids in particular) needed for hypertrophy AKA muscle growth.


By increasing your nitric oxide levels, you can enhance your supply of blood by widening the veins to the point where your muscles will be permanently fueled with more oxygen, more nutrients and more glucose. Likewise, you can also use supplements that take immediate effect in order to give yourself a sudden influx of extra nitric oxide and to trigger pump even before you’ve worked out.


So the question is, just how do you go about increasing your nitric oxide levels?


How to Increase Your Nitric Oxide Through Diet

There are numerous foods you can eat that will increase your nitric oxide levels. Here are just a few:


Nitrate Rich Foods

A number of foods naturally contain nitrates, which get converted into nitritines by your tongue and then into nitric oxide by the bacteria in your gut. Handy!


Nitrate-rich foods are also pretty abundant and they’re not too expensive. Great examples include: spinach, beets, carrots, iceberg lettuce, celery, cabbage and collard greens.


In the past there was some concern about nitrates converting to nitrosamines in the body which are carcinogenic. More recent research tells us we don’t need to worry about that however and if you’re getting a good helping of vitamin C it will completely block any conversion.


garlicGarlic and Vitamin C

Garlic is well known for being highly rich in nitrates which is just one of the reasons that it’s such an amazing super food (there are many more besides).  In some studies, garlic has been shown to be more effective in reducing your blood pressure than even prescription medication. Vitamin C meanwhile increases nitric oxide production in the body and protects those NO molecules once they’re created.


By combining nitric oxide and vitamin C, one researcher found that nitric oxide output was increased by 200%.



watermelon-arginine is a substance we’ll come to later that converts into nitric oxide via the action of a particular enzyme called ‘eNOS’ (nitric oxide synthase enzyme). Watermelons contain citrulline which in turn converts to L-arginine and is actually better at increasing arginine in the body than even direct consumption of L-arginine. Okay, that’s all a bit complicated but all you need to know is that watermelons are great for NO. Alternatively just take a complete amino acid supplement which will also do the job.



Grape Seed Extract

Don’t you love it when you find a food that boosts multiple bodybuilding-related functions in the body? Grape seed extract is just one such food. Not only is grape seed known for its role in increasing testosterone but it can also help to increase nitric oxide levels. In particular, studies have shown that a dose of 100mg/kg can increase NO levels by as much as 138%.

Eating grapes alone probably won’t do the trick though and nor will most of the supplements. Probably the only way you’ll get enough then is to consume the bulk powdered form.



ginsengGinseng has historically been popular for a range of uses but it seems there’s some truth to its purported benefits. Ginseng contains active compounds which are known as ‘ginesonides’ which are similar in structure to androgens like testosterone. In studies, it has been found to improve not only testosterone but also circulation, sleep quality, libido and yes – nitric oxide. Once again then this is a great ‘bodybuilding superfood’ but just make sure you get the real thing as there are a lot of useless products out there. The type you want is ‘Panax ginseng’ which is sometimes referred to as ‘real Korean ginseng’.



Quercetin is a flavonoid that works well when combined with a range of other similar compounds like tannins, genistein and resveratrol. When combined with those, quercetin is able to increase your nitric oxide levels. For these reasons it’s better to get it from your diet rather than as a supplement and eating onion is one of the best ways to get the effects – which you’re probably already doing anyway…



Chilies are good for all kinds of things and have great thermogenic properties. At the same time, cayenne pepper in particular is very high in capsaicin which is great for nitric oxide as well as testosterone.


Omega 3 Fatty Acid

Omega 3 is crucial for your joints, your brain function, your central nervous system and your nitric oxide levels. You can get it from supplementation or from fish, vegetable oils, chia seeds and avocados. Either way, if you only make sure you get one thing for your general health it should probably be omega 3.


Supplements for Increasing Nitric Oxide

Add a few of those things to your diet and immediately you’ll have increased your nitric oxide levels several fold and you should start feeling the benefits.


If you’d rather hack the system though and rely on some supplements, then there are a number of other options you can use. Including:



CoQ10 or ‘coenzyme Q10′ is a molecule that can be found in the mitochondria of cells. In case you forgot your biology 101 (we said you wouldn’t need it…), the mitochondria are the ‘energy plants’ of your cells which help your body to use ATP (the pure energy ‘currency’) that the body retrieves from glucose.


CoQ10 is synthesized by the human body so in theory you don’t need to supplement with it but if you’re looking to enhance your mitochondrial function then adding a little extra never hurts. Furthermore, adding more CoQ10 in supplement form will also increase nitric oxide levels and like vitamin C will also help to protect those nitric oxide molecules once they’ve been created.


CoQ10 supplementation is a little expensive though, so you may prefer to consider cheaper options.



Niacin, also known as vitamin B3, is crucial for all kinds of vital jobs in the body – including energy production, hormone synthesis and gene expression. Meanwhile, it also increases nitric oxide levels and because it can also reduce LDL cholesterol (the bad kind) it’s a fantastic supplement for those who struggle with high blood pressure.



A ‘maritime pine bark extract’, this contains 65-75% procyanidin which is the same as that found in grape seed extract. The good news is that you probably can get enough this way through supplementation, so it might be one worth trying.



We mentioned already that it’s better to supplement with L-citrulline than L-arginine but that’s not to say you still can’t get benefits from a little L-arginine. This is one that a lot of bodybuilders use and it is backed up by numerous studies so if you’re looking for a straightforward way to raise your levels then this is a popular choice to go with. It’s also included in the vast majority of pre-workout supplements for the same reason.


NO2 MAXNitric Oxide Supplements

There are a ton of supplements out there that are designed specifically to increase nitric oxide levels prior to a workout. One of the best known of these for instance is ‘NO2- MAX from Crazy Bulk‘. These combine a number of different ingredients designed to work synergistically to help increase nitric oxide levels both in the short-term and in the long term. Of course some of these work better than others and we won’t get into that here but now you know all the different ingredients that can increase NO and how they work, there’s nothing to stop you just reading the back of the pack and making up your own mind!



Once you’ve got your diet and your supplementation down that’s your nitric oxide sorted right? Actually not quite – if you want to really do everything possible then you should also look into making a few lifestyle changes that can support your natural production.


For instance…


Get Rid of That Mouthwash

mouthwashRemember right at the start of this article we mentioned that the bacteria on your tongue would convert nitrates into nitritines? See, not all bacteria is bad for you and if you’re killing off all your bacteria with mouthwash then you won’t get the full benefits of the nitrate containing foods in your diet.


So unless you have a gum infection – forget about the mouthwash!



Want to increase your muscular strength and hypertrophy? Then stick on a rom com! Seriously: laughing has been shown in many studies to have all kinds of positive effects on the body. In fact, watching a 60 minute comedy has been shown to increase levels of growth hormone, dopamine and nitric oxide! We already know that laughter is good for your immune system too, so go ahead and get giggling!



Sunlight triggers the production of vitamin D and thus testosterone and also encourage the skin to synthesize more nitric oxide. Get outside for your next workout and your body will feel the benefits.



Last but by no means least, exercise can also increase nitric oxide. You know this because you get that awesome feeling of pump every time you go to the gym. What’s more, exercise doesn’t only increase nitric oxide production in the short term but simply having bigger muscles will ensure your levels stay increased as your body recognizes the need to deliver more blood, nutrients and oxygen to them.