People who have looked into this stuff might know the bare minimum of “the basics.” Things like:
- Lift weights 3x a week
- Eat enough protein
- Eat enough whole foods
But there are other fundamentals that are less spoken about.
Without mastering these two things, a lot of guys and gals hit the gym, only to become more and sore with every workout they do until they finally drop out.
What are they?
Sleep is boring.
Sleep is anti-fun. (Makes you go to bed when you could be browsing the internet.)
More sleep is also linked to larger testicle size and higher testosterone—I kid you not.
In this 2018 study, researchers found that more sleep was linked to testicle size (which is linked to testosterone and FSH). It peaks around 9.5 hours.
“Our analyses by polynomial regression show that the highest testicular volumes occurred with a sleep duration of approximately 9.5 hours.”
Now, sleeping even longer than 9.5 hours may even be better for gains. It just so happens that older people need more sleep (to repair), and so sleeping for a long time is sometimes associated with bad health. (When really, it’s just people with bad health who need 12 hours.)
Based on my experience, it may serve someone lifting weights to become more muscular to sleep at least 10 hours.
Now I work with a lot of dads, business owners, and in general, very busy guys. The idea of sleeping 10 hours every night is almost absurd.
But if you really do want to become strong and fit, you can do a short little burst of going all-in, get amazing results, and then coast for a couple of years.
For 30 days, you could commit to eating big, lifting big, and sleeping big and get insane results.
Waking up at 7:30 am? Be in bed by 9:15 pm. It’s just one month as an experiment.
If your lifting sessions are challenging your body enough, this shouldn’t be a problem to sleep this much.
If it is still hard to sleep more, let’s move on to the second “S.”
Vitamin D levels are seasonal (correlates with the changing sun angles) and are correlated with testosterone.
And in a new 2021 study, UV-B (ultraviolet-B from summer sun) modulates sex steroids.
Sunshine basically makes males more manly and females more womanly. Sunshine also increases their desire for each other.
(A lot of our cultural problems might be driven by a lack of sunshine…)
Sunshine is critical for recovery as it also boosts melatonin and makes it easy to fall asleep.
Every top bodybuilder, trying to become as muscular and as lean as possible, all of them included sunshine into their lifestyles.
Steve Reeves went swimming and laid on the beach all day after lifting and eating.
Arnold Schwarzenegger would lift, eat, sunbathe on the beach, then lift and eat again.
And what do we do?
We work all day at the desk. Then, we lift weights in a dark concrete box lit with fluorescent lights, and then we run on an electrified indoor treadmill in stale air.
Many of us don’t even get one hour of sunshine each day. That’s less than a convict in prison is usually required to get.
I’m guilty of not getting enough sunshine too. (Especially on days like cold, wintery days when it’s -18C / -0.4F). But it’s something worth making an effort for, even in the winter.
Anyways, there are a lot of moving parts to becoming strong, lean, and healthy. It’s not actually that difficult once you know what to do (and what to stop doing).