Intrinsic Motivation, Testosterone, and Making Effort Feel Good

In the words of neuroscience Professor Andrew Huberman, one of the major effects of optimal testosterone is that it makes effort feel good. It’s a statement worth pondering, one that links the science of our bodies to the discipline of our minds, especially when it comes to physical fitness and mental toughness.

Intrinsic motivation, the fire within, isn’t about the spoils of victory, the applause, or the accolades. It’s about your personal mission, your relentless pursuit of growth. It’s a call to arms, a call to step out of the shadows and into the arena. This fire pushes you to act not because of what you can gain from it, but because the very act itself is your reward.

Take the gym for example. It’s a battleground, a place where wills are tested and limits are shattered. The drive to lift more, sweat more, and push past what you thought was possible is the essence of intrinsic motivation. It’s the warrior mindset that has you up and training while the rest of the world is still lost in dreams.

Harnessing this internal fire comes with immense benefits. Each grueling workout becomes a personal journey, a testament to your resilience and determination. It transforms each set, each rep, from a physical task to a personal challenge, a statement that you will not be outworked, that you are prepared to go the distance.

This intrinsic motivation is a game changer. It instills a sense of fulfillment that goes beyond any external validation. It makes you the protagonist in your own life story, the one who dictates the pace and the path.

Yet, our bodies must match our mindset. Here’s where the role of key hormones, particularly testosterone and thyroid hormones, comes into play.

Testosterone, synonymous with strength and competitiveness, is pivotal for muscle growth and bone density. Yet, it goes beyond just the physical. It influences our mood, motivation levels, and overall quality of life. When your testosterone levels are optimal, it makes effort feel good. It makes the grind worthwhile.

Thyroid hormones, the generals commanding your metabolism, dictate the speed of your metabolic processes, influence your energy levels, and play a crucial role in protein synthesis – essential for muscle growth and repair.

When these hormones are performing at their peak, they become powerful allies on your fitness journey. They provide the biological backup to your warrior mentality, boosting your body’s ability to build muscle, torch fat, and recover faster.

But let’s get one thing straight: this is not about seeking shortcuts. There’s no substitute for hard work, discipline, and dedication. Optimizing your hormonal health is akin to fine-tuning your engine. It ensures that you’re operating at peak performance, extracting every ounce of benefit from your workouts.

Optimal Blood Labs For Optimal Testosterone

It all hinges on keeping your blood labs right on the money.


Because there are consequences that the system won’t tell you…

like if your fasting insulin is too high, or your CRP, homocysteine, ferritin, and so on, are out of whack. That’s a poor energy and testosterone state.

There are a lot of “gurus” out there who’ll tell you…

…you’re lazy if you’re not seizing the day.

But let me break it down for you: if your fasting insulin is north of 10, your energy and testosterone, well, they’re taking a dive.

So let me ask you… how are you supposed to attack the day when your own body is working against you?

That’s not laziness, my friend, that’s basic biochemistry.

And the system, the so-called gurus? They’re not gonna spell it out for you. That’s why Dr Jay and I will… the system wants you in a low energy state.

But I will. So, buckle up and let’s get to it.

The research is clear: your insulin levels are connected to the aromatase enzyme.

Your pancreas cranks out insulin, keeping your blood sugar in check. But when those insulin levels climb too high, they stoke up the activity of this aromatase enzyme.

This enzyme is a key player.

It’s converting androgens like testosterone into estrogens, such as estradiol.

So, what happens when there’s too much insulin, driving too much aromatase?

You get too much testosterone getting turned into estrogen.

You start becoming estrogen dominant… 

That throws your hormones out of balance, and let me tell you, that’s not a party for anyone, men or women.

Final Thoughts

Intrinsic motivation and optimal hormonal health – these two forces, one mental and one physical, are the cornerstones of your fitness journey. They empower you to train harder, recover faster, and push beyond your limits.

Remember, you hold the reins. You are the one who chooses to rise, to train, to battle for your goals. Stoke your inner fire. Keep your hormones in check. Step into the gym, ready to wage war against your limits. It’s time to take control. It’s time to get after it.

Optimal blood labs are the foundation. If you want to learn how, download our PhD blueprint.

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