Europe Trip #4: Kosova

Europe Trip #3

Europe Trip #2: Waking Up in Rome

Trip to Europe: #1

I have decided to share my upcoming trip to Europe with my friends. I will be heading to Italy, Kosovo, and Albania over the next three weeks.

 

How to Learn a New Language

Pershendetje! (Hello in Albanian)

Have you ever wanted to learn another language? Have you been turned off at the thought of learning a new language? Maybe it’s too hard or too time consuming? Maybe the language is confusing?

I call bullshit on those excuses! Learning a new language is totally doable, and I am going to show you how! Remember, you already learned at least one language as a child. You can also learn a new language as an adult.

Speaking more than one language is amazing! It’s been proven that speaking two or more language has a very positive impact on the human brain. Being able to speak another language actually increases the grey matter in your brain and also allows you to think differently than those who only speak one language. As a bilingual or multilingual brain, you are able to problem solve more quickly as well as switch between tasks with more ease. This is because speaking more than one language teaches you to “switch” between languages when necessary.

The actual learning of a new language also engages many parts of the brain that other cognitive learning does not. There are even studies that show that learning a new language can stave off diseases like Alzheimers for several years. Why? Because you are actively using  both sides of your brain. Your brain is exercising and staying fit!

In a multicultural country like the United States, or for those of you looking to travel abroad, being able to speak another language is a huge win! Have you ever been abroad and found it a bit disheartening that you can’t speak the same language as everyone else? I know I felt like that when I first went to Italy and Germany. I felt like I missed out a bit.

Your resume would also stand out to future employers if they say you are able to speak multiple languages. Think of the audience you could reach if you were in a client facing role? With science showing the positive impact speaking different languages has, this would make you stand out as top talent!

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You are probably wondering: What does this guy know about learning new languages?

Well, I was born in the US, but I was born to non-English speaking parents who mainly spoke Albanian. Naturally, my twin sister and I (first born children) started speaking Albanian as our first language. My parents also spoke Serbian (which very common for Albanians). They had tried speaking Serbian when they didn’t want my sister and I to understand then. My mother told me that I had started to speak Serbian words so that did not work out very well for her. This was because as children, our brains are much more “elastic” so learning a new language is so much easier. We are almost like sponges!

My twin sister and I started pre-K and did not know a lick of English. We had to take ESL (English as a Second Language) so that we could learn English to speak with our peers and teachers. We were in ESL for a lot of elementary school. At that point, we had been so immersed in the English language that we picked up and were fine.

After that, I took a couple of years of Spanish in high school. I was an A student. Spanish was easy for me because I understand the structure of the language because some of it was like Albanian. For instance, in both Spanish and Albanian, the adjectives are placed after the noun. So a “big house” in English is a “house big” in Spanish and Albanian.

Just a couple of years ago, I took a German class in school and learned some basic German. Again, my brain was able to grasp the language with the help of having another language in my mind. I was a B+ student here. I had just bought a house and was redoing the kitchen, is I couldn’t focus as much as I wanted.

With that experience, I am going to share with you what worked for me, what didn’t work, and what I could have done better for more success.

  1. Be passionate about the language you want to learn. Ask yourself, “Why do I want to learn this language?” You have to be motivated to learn a new language. Your “why” has to be your rock throughout the learning process, especially when it gets tough. Keeping it relevant to yourself will keep you dedicated to learning.
    • I took German because I fell in love with the German language and the country/culture of Germany.
    • I am relearning Albanian because it is my culture and a large part of who I am today.
  2. Sign up for classes in your community, or use free apps/sites like DuoLingo. Local community centers or churches of different nationalities sometimes offer classes in their language. DuoLingo works just like Rosetta Stone, but is entirely free and offers a multitude of languages.
    • I personally recommend DuoLingo because it follows the different learning styles that a person would need to learn a new language. You are able to read, type, and even speak your target language. After some time has passed, DuoLingo will let you know that you need to revisit certain vocabulary to strengthen your memory and skills.
  3. Become immersed in your desired language! Learning a language is more than just learning and speaking new words. It is about reading, writing, understanding grammar, and being able to express yourself.
    • Start reading websites or newspapers in your target language. With just learning some words, you will be able to pick up the context of the article you are reading while learning the language.
    • Listen to online radio stations in your target language.
    • Watch TV shows in your target language. Do not use subtitles as they will confuse your learning brain.
    • Start writing in your target language. Use vocabulary that you are currently learning or have learned.
    • If possible, travel to the country of the language you are learning, or find local community happenings for that culture.
  4. Practice, practice, practice! This is the most CRUCIAL step of the process! In order to successfully speak a new language, you have to practice speaking it! Remember, you are teaching your mouth to make new sounds that it is not used to, and you are rewiring your brain to be able to recall and apply these new words/conjugations/forms. Practicing is what will make you successful! Practice full conversations while you are by yourself in the shower or car.
    • I was an A student in Spanish because I focused on reading and writing. I did not practice like I should have, so I was only able to (and still can) read and write in Spanish but I can’t properly speak it like I should.
    • My understanding of Albanian is really good, but growing up I became accustomed to listening to my parents speak Albanian while responding in English. Now my pronunciation of words could be a lot better. I am working on this.
  5. Find a partner. Having someone to practice with will make this process so much better/easier! Use this partner to write email/letters in your target language. Meet with this person regularly to have conversations in your target language as well. If both your native languages are English, you will find that it will be easy to switch to English when you don’t know what to say. Do NOT do that! Ask each other in your language how to say something in that language.
    • I used to use the expression “How does one say _____ in ______?” When learning German, I would say “Wie sagt man “car” auf Deutsch?” if I forgot how to say car. That would be my way of asking my partner without switching to English.
    • My mother is going to be my partner for relearning and practicing Albanian.
    • Meetup is a great way to meet people who are also learning the same language you are. Groups normally meet from once a week to once a month. It is a great way to make new friends while practicing.
  6. Stay consistent! Continue practicing the language in all aspects every day! You will find it will get easier the more you do it. If you stop learning/practicing the language, you will forget what you have learned and will set yourself back a great deal! The expression “If you don’t use it, you lose it” applies here 100%. Your brain will actually start to lose the awesome grey matter that was created when learning the language. This is going to be the key to continued success and learning. You will make mistakes along the way. You will mispronounce words. You will forget words or conjugations completely in mid sentence. You will use the wrong form. It’s all okay! That is how you learn! Be comfortable with being uncomfortable, don’t quit, and you will be fluently speaking a new language before you know it!

Image result for you got this

Some specific things to avoid or be aware of are:

  1. Memorization drills. Learning a new language is not just a memorization game. All you will be able to do is recall the word. That is not the same as applying the word in conversation.
  2. Learning multiple languages at the same time when starting out. This works for children because their brains are able to absorb everything easier. As adults, you will just confuse yourself if you try to learn multiple languages, no matter how similar or different they are.
  3. Many languages have different dialects. When learning a new language, you will most likely learning the “standard” or “official” version of the language. Focus on the main language. You can adapt to the other dialects later.
  4. Language apps. Do not become solely reliant on these to learn a language fluently. They are a tool in the process, not a means. The other steps above will help you become successful.
  5. Using English. As mentioned above, do not switch over to English when practicing a new language. Using English while learning a new language is going to confuse you and your first instinct will always be to lean on that.

There is a certain beauty in speaking another language. You are part of something that you weren’t before. A culture. A country. A mindset. The doors of communication that you open to people whom you couldn’t otherwise communicate with may also open many opportunities for success, new experiences, friendship, or even love.

Image result for speaking another language

These are all tips that I am following for myself as well. Please let me know how these tips work out for you and/or any questions you may have!

Viel gluck! (Good luck in German)

 

I Love Being Single

I have been single for about 9 years. It’s been an interesting near decade of ups and downs that I have tackled on my own. While social, I am naturally an introvert. That means that I have also spent a lot of time really getting to know myself.

During that time, I chose to stay single. I also met a lot of awesome friends and found my career path. In meeting new friends (or seeing old ones), I get asked the same questions all the time. “Why are you still single?” or “I never see you dating anyone.”  I know that it’s always out of a good place in their hearts and they want to see me happy. I really do appreciate the kinds thoughts and love. However, it’s that last part that irks me a bit. My response is usually a bit shocking to some people.

I love being single.

Yes, that is correct. Personally, I am so happy when it’s just me. Yeah sure, I have hung out with a couple of guys here and there, but only for short periods of time. The thought of starting something with someone doesn’t invoke positive or exciting emotions for me. I lean closer to dread and anxiety. People have a really hard time grasping the fact that not everyone wants to be with someone.

The purpose of this post is give visibility to two very large misconceptions about what it means to have a happy and fulfilling life:

1. Being in a relationship

2. Having children

For some people, being in a relationship, or with the “one”, is not an end game goal. For a lot other people, or the same people even, neither is having children. Some of us just don’t want that white picket fence life with 2.5 kids. Personally, I think it would be awesome to have kids, but as a gay man, I’ve prepared myself with the fact that will most likely not happen.

You do not need either one of those to be happy or feel fulfilled! I certainly don’t. I said I would love to have kids, but it isn’t the end of my life if I don’t. That doesn’t make me selfish or an asshole. It just means that my happy is different than other people’s happy. My happiness and fulfillment comes in the form of traveling and writing. It also comes from developing myself and my potential while become self-aware of who I am. It can be really frustrating when I open up to people that I am not interested in dating or relationships and they start giving me that shit of “Oh you just haven’t met him yet” or “You’ll meet him when you’re not looking”. That just takes away from my vision of happiness.

I am not looking because I don’t want it! That shit always makes me feel like people think I am one of those single people frustrated with dating and just “done” with everyone. I am not that. I am not frustrated with dating or relationships. I just don’t want them nor do I partake in them.

To dig a little deeper into who I am, I like the intensity and passion of meeting new people. It’s sustaining or working on that love the following days as a relationship is where I check out. I don’t think there is anything wrong with that.  It just isn’t a fun idea to me. It’s dreadful. To those who know me, that really speaks to my adventurer personality. I also like to keep my time to myself.

I am not interested in getting to know someone on that deep of a level, and vice versa.  Some people probably consider me a high-functioning sociopath, but I am okay with that. When it comes to the sex, I do not need to be in a relationship for that. I can meet guys for casual sex (being a gay man has its perks) or just jerk off. I especially love having sex with someone when we are initially attracted to each other. That stage is the hottest. After that I get bored. I don’t like the routine of it all and I like being able to flirt and have crushes on whomever I want.

I want people to understand that I’m happy. I am so happy. I know what I like and what I don’t. This free-spirit life, not being attached to any one person or thing, is who I am. I am not looking for my “other half” because I am not a half. I am a full person. A happy person.

Look, I think relationships are great for people who want to be in them. I respect that a great deal (the good ones, anyway) and I really do hope that those who are on the hunt for love find what they are looking for.  It just isn’t my cup of tea. So please don’t force that shit down my throat. Let me just be.

I make myself happy. I fulfill my own life. I don’t need anything more than that. I’ve found that the greatest love of all comes from learning to love yourself. Actually, Whitney Houston found that. I just believe it.

2017: Getting Shit Done

If you look back through some of my posts from the last year, you would think I was the most miserable son of bitch on the face of the Earth.

Honestly, I felt like it. I felt like the world had kicked me down to the ground and kept stomping the fuck out of me. The past two years were an emotional shit show for me. So many things happened, and at the same time, that I was drowning. Only a few close people know about them. My social media presence remained upbeat because I didn’t want anyone asking questions or knowing.

I am sure if you are reading this that you are probably wondering what happened. For several reasons, I cannot go into them in such a public forum (although some of my previous posts allude to parts of it).

To be quite honest, I don’t want to focus on that nightmare anyway. I want to focus on 2017, the year that I am getting shit done for myself and moving past the vaguely mentioned experiences.

Near the end of 2016, those several shitty experiences all came to an end and set the stage for 2017. The things that were seriously plaguing me were finally over. It was like the winds blowing my sails into the Bermuda Triangle decided to just change direction and take my tiny boat to happier days.

And happier days it has been! I got a fresh start and was able to start over. It was at this point that I started to feel that 2017 was going to be great. I was going to make it awesome!

I changed jobs at work in December 2016 and transitioned into a role, that I absolutely love, as a leadership trainer. I loved training Servicing and also training other trainers in the art of training. But there is just something about training leaders.

Jumping into this new role in 2017 pushed me outside of my comfort zone and made me very vulnerable, but I am experiencing so much growth of my own skills because of it. It feels amazing being able to make an impact on leaders, which will in turn trickle down to their team members (the only time trickle down economics actually works). I am part of a newer team and doing what I can to help build us up. I am so happy right now!

Personally, my mind has let out this loud sigh of relief. The past two years pushed me over the edge and I fell into a pit of mental health issues. I was seriously balls deep in Depression and Anxiety. My ADHD was out in full swing. I had to start seeing a therapist and was prescribed something for the ADHD to get myself together. So many nights were spent on being victim to racing thoughts, fear, sadness, and fear and not on sleep. I became so fixated on the negativity because I couldn’t see any light. Not even a damn glimmer of it. Life has an intense way of reminding us that nothing lasts forever though.

Many of the things I was experiencing have started to dissipate. I forced myself to start focusing on the good things, and if I didn’t feel like there were good things happening, I fucking made them happen. I was going to get shit done this year. The shit that I wanted, and needed, to do for myself. No more reasons or putting myself in situations where I can’t do shit for myself.

Shit to do #1: Traveling

One thing I decided was that I needed to travel. My soul is the traveling type and staying stationary has negative effects on me.

So I went back to New York and visited family. I went there first because it was where I was from and the first time I was able to travel anywhere for quite some time. I love to explore and it really did me good to get out and check out new places and hang out with one of my amazing cousins. I even went to the hospital I was born in to take pictures!

This is me in Central Park:

I also took myself out every single night I was in NYC. I either went alone or I met up with another cousin. I went out, had drinks, and socialized. Words cannot express how doing that made me feel. I could almost hear the sound of the top popping off and all my mental BS exploding out of me.

While I was in New York, my sister (who really loves to travel) talked to my mom and booked us three tickets to Mexico.

New York was amazing…but fuck..going to Mexico from Christmas to New Year’s Eve was FUCKING SUPERB!! We stayed in Playa Del Carmen. We were there for 9 days and we rocked out that trip! It was gorgeous every single day! Even when it rained, it only rained for 20 minutes and then the sun came back out.

While in Mexico, we hit up several (it’s impossible to do all of them) bars/restaurants on the main strip in Playa Del Carmen. We also went to Tulum where we did sightseeing of ancient ruins. We also went to Chichen Itza where we saw the amazing ancient ruins there as well as went snorkeling! I mentally needed these adventures!

This is me sightseeing:

If you are ever in an emotional rut, I HIGHLY recommend traveling to a place like Mexico. The country is gorgeous (from the tourist side of it), the people are so friendly and genuine, and the scenery is a feast for the eyes! It’s that tropical vacation you long for, but also super affordable! I promise, if you are really going through something, do this for yourself.

I have also booked a trip to Denver for April! So I am moving and experiencing life! I cannot wait to get into the mountains and just be outside in a new place!

Shit to do #2: Personal Goals 

When Old Deller, my laptop, died several months ago, I never got around to getting a new computer. No wait..not that I didn’t get around to it..I just wanted a Mac and those are WAY more expensive than a PC.

Not having a computer probably wouldn’t be such a huge deal for some people. However, I like to write these ramblings of a mad man and share them on my blog. If I wanted to continue writing and building myself as a writer/blogger, then I needed to have adequate resources, like a computer. I don’t like to use my work computer for personal business. So I actually splurged on a Mac computer today! This thing is fucking magical!

I’ve always loved writing and I think (know) being lost in so much negativity was taking that away from me. In other words, I was fucking myself because I was letting my dreams just waste away. I just laid there and let everything run me over. I am also tired of starting something and not seeing it through because of shit excuses.

I also want to get into the beard oil business. This year I registered my blog as an online store and even got an Employee Identification Number (EIN)! Awesome! I have some other stuff around that to figure out, but I have it on my Shit I Need to Do Right Now list.

Lastly, I grew up speaking Albanian, but since I never really used it where I grew up, I don’t speak it like I used to. I am working on relearning and practicing it some more.

Shit to do #3: Personal Upgrades

I first got glasses when I was in second grade. I have always worn glasses, until I became a teenager. Then I transitioned to contact lenses. After that, I went back and forth between contacts and glasses. I have always had corrective lenses in my life.

The past few years though, I found myself thinking about LASIK and eventually making it a goal. Well I can say that as of March 2017, that is one goal I turned into reality. I got LASIK! I feel like I accomplished a bucket list item, and it feels amazing! I can see great, and as my eyes heal my vision keeps getting better. I tested at 20/20, possibly 20/15.

Earlier this year I also signed up for Warrior Dash with my friends from work. I have always wanted to do a physical challenge like that. I have been working out a lot and put on some intense weight.

Last week I signed up for a 6 week workout program with a place called Michigan Kettlebells. It’s going to be intense, but so worth it. It will help me cut down some of this fat I gained and tone up my gained muscle. It will also get me ready for Warrior Dash! I also want to play rugby so this will help me with the training and conditioning of my body!

My goal is to look like this guy (or a watered down version) at Warrior Dash! I even paid for the kilt so I can really experience the event:

I am so ready to continue smashing through my goals! So fucking ready! It is really easy to lay down and die when life hands you a large glass of “Fuck you.” I am guilty of that more than I care to admit. Especially when the shit gets piled on! However, like I said earlier..the negative shit is gone! That means I only have positive things to focus on!

Seriously, if I find something negative to focus on at this point, I brought it on myself and I am a fucking lunatic!

 

I am excited to share this because I have seriously never felt happier. So many great things happening that I just need to let the sun shine on my face!

 

The Best Testosterone Booster

I have been looking into testosterone boosters for a while because I always hear different things about them. I was taking TestoFuel but a friend of mine told me that it could/would damage my liver. I came across this article from the folks at Reviews.com and read up on it as well as the different ingredients.
TestoFuel still stands as a solid testosterone booster and I am looking forward to continuing using it!

Turns out there’s no such thing

1-3-2017 3-09-58 PM.jpg Amid a sea of acronyms, ingredients like deer antler velvet and horny goat weed, and sensationalist promises to pump up both your muscles and your sex life, T-boosters can feel as much magic potion as dietary supplement. These over-the-counter pills and powders promise to help increase testosterone production in the body and abracadabra: greater muscle mass and power output, improved athletic performance, and elevated mood and libido.

The big question: Do they actually boost?

Not so much. After poring over the labels; reviewing the scientific research; and consulting with doctors, fitness and nutrition experts, and professors of endocrinology and biochemistry, we were tempted to junk the industry entirely. Tenuous projections of vigor and virility aside, the actual contents of many of these supplements pose some health and safety concerns.

But the reality is: Testosterone boosters are legal, accessible, and in demand. So we set out to weed through the questionable ingredients and false claims to find which formulas are the safest to consume and have the best chance at giving you at least someof the results you’re looking for.

Our Picks for the Best Testosterone Booster

Best Overall

Axis Labs Hypertest XTROur top pick packs a wide variety of vitamins, herbs, and minerals into its bright-orange capsules.

With just over 3 grams of D-aspartic acid (2-3 grams per day is recommended) and a bevy of vitamins, herbs, and minerals, Axis Labs Hypertest XTR is a T-booster with benefits. The biggest of those benefits is ZMA, a patented formula combining efficacious levels of zinc (30 mg), magnesium (450 mg), and vitamin B6 (10.5 mg), which work together to help strengthen the immune system, lower blood pressure, and regulate metabolism. Zinc is the cornerstone of that trio. Deficiencies in zinc, which can result from excessive exercise and sweating, are associated with low testosterone; supplementing with high doses (24–40 mg) has beenshown to bring low testosterone levels back up to normal. (There’s a difference between boosting and restoring, which is what zinc can do. Boosting indicates breaking that testosterone axis, the equilibrium that your body regulates, whereas restoring helps your body regain that axis if you’ve overdone it.)

One serving of Axis Labs Hypertest XTS is spread across six distinctly colored capsules.

Also beneficial, particularly for athletes: The herb ashwagandha can increase muscle strength and aid in recovery, while stinging nettle serves as an anti-inflammatory. An added bonus: While longjack doesn’t boost testosterone, it has been shown to increase libido and aid erectile function, albeit by subjective (read: self-reported) measures.

Runner-Up

TestoFuelLook past the gimmicky name and you’ll find solid ingredients like D-aspartic acid and fenugreek.

If we were judging by name alone, TestoFuel would get nothing more than an eye roll. But it really is packed with good stuff: a mix of 2,300 mg of D-aspartic acid and 100 mg of fenugreek, plus tons of vitamins and minerals. Panax ginseng has immune-boosting and antioxidant properties. Vitamin K2 (the natural form of vitamin K that’s made in the body) regulates blood clotting and improves bone density; that works synergistically with vitamin D (included in TestoFuel as vitamin D3, the natural form of vitamin D that your body synthesizes in the sun), which is also good for bone health. Important to note: As with zinc, deficiency in vitamin D can cause low testosterone, and supplements can help restore it to normal levels.

If you want one full serving of TestoFuel, you’re going to have to swallow the red pill — four of them, actually.

Zinc, magnesium, and vitamin B6 all show up in TestoFuel as well — although at 10 mg, the zinc is on the low side. TestoFuel’s inclusion of 100 mg of oyster extract makes up for it: Essentially dried oyster meat in powder form, it’s a powerhouse of nutrients, rich in zinc, vitamin B12, iron, magnesium, and calcium.

Best for Libido

Athletic Edge APE LibidoAPE Libido’s ingredients could improve not only athletic performance, but also, yes, libido.

At $1.33 per serving (as opposed to Hypertest XTR’s $1.50 and TestoFuel’s $2.17 per serving), Athletic Edge APE Libido ekes out the best value of our top picks — and it’s the one most likely to improve libido. In addition to 500 mg of T-boosting fenugreek (the amount recommended to see results), it includes high doses of libido amplifiers maca and longjack.

It may be the least flashy capsule among our top picks, but Athletic Edge APE Libido does manage to pack a full serving into just two pills.

On the “athletic edge” side of things, we’ve got vitamin D3, vitamin B6, and zinc, as well as vitamin B12, which plays a role in regulating metabolism, and folic acid, which can reduce muscle pain.

Other Testosterone Boosters to Consider

Pure DAA and fenugreek — Vitamins and minerals are typically a welcome addition to any fitness supplement, but just like you might prefer taking a wheatgrass shot over mixing it into a smoothie, you might be looking for a pure T-booster to fuel your workout.

Each of these DAA supplements has a serving size around 3 grams, which is on the high side of the recommended effective dose of 2–3 grams. The one pure fenugreek supplement on our list has a serving size of 300 mg — slightly lower than the 500 mg shown to be effective.

Product

Serving Size

Total Servings

Price/Serving

Genomyx D-Aspartic Acid

3.1g (DAA)

60

$0.23

PrimaForce DAA

3 g (DAA)

33

$0.39

4 Dimension Nutrition D-Aspartic Acid

3 g (DAA)

67

$0.24

LiveLong Nutrition D-Aspartic Acid

3 g (DAA)

33

$0.51

Prime Nutrition DAA

3 g (DAA)

100

$0.24

Infinite Labs D-Aspartic Acid

3 g (DAA)

30

$0.42

AI Sports Nutrition D-Aspartic Acid (capsules)

3 g (DAA)

7

$1.02

AI Sports Nutrition D-Aspartic Acid Powder

3 g (DAA)

100

$0.22

AllMax Nutrition D-Aspartic Acid

3.12 g (DAA)

32

$0.48

Infinite Labs Fenugreek

300 mg (Fenugreek)

240

$0.08

The DAA options should be, essentially, the exact same product, so we say shop by value. AI Sports Nutrition D-Aspartic Acid Powder, at $0.22 per serving, is your best bet if you are looking for a powder. Prefer pills? AI Sports Nutrition also offers its D-Aspartic Acid line in capsule form. Keep in mind, though, any results you might get are minimal — and temporary. It’s like when you were a little kid and your mom put you in a booster seat. You seemed taller for a little bit during dinner, but once the booster seat went away, you were right back where you started.

In total, 35 testosterone boosters made it through our cuts — they are safe to use and clinically proven to at least maybe work. They just didn’t have as many of the excellent additional ingredients to push them into our top picks.

Viewing 12 of 35

Product Price Unit DAA Fenugreek Buy Now
360CUT 360TEST $30.99 Capsule Yes No
4 Dimension Nutrition D-Aspartic Acid $15.99 Powder Yes No
AI Sports Nutrition D-Aspartic Acid $7.13 Capsule Yes No
AI Sports Nutrition D-Aspartic Acid Powder $21.99 Powder Yes No
AllMax Nutrition D-Aspartic Acid $15.50 Powder Yes No
Athletic Edge APE Dark Night $36.99 Capsule No Yes
Athletic Edge APE Libido $39.99 Capsule No Yes
Axis Labs Hypertest XTR $44.97 Capsule Yes No
Bodybuilding.com Platinum Series ALPHA PROTOCOL $36.69 Capsule Yes Yes
Dynamik Muscle Warbringer $39.98 Capsule No Yes
ErgoGenix ErgoDrive $29.99 Capsule No Yes
EVLUTION NUTRITION EVLTEST $34.99 Tablet Yes Yes

Load More

Did You Know?

“Low T” is a part of getting older — but it can be a sign of something more serious too.

Testosterone levels are at their highest during puberty and early adulthood, and from age 30 on, they decline by about 1 percent a year. While that gradual decline is a natural part of aging, there are a slew of medical conditions that can cause low testosterone in men of any age. Obesity, diabetes, and prostate cancer are a few culprits. Alcoholism and thyroid disorders can also contribute to low levels.

What’s tricky is that symptoms of low testosterone — ranging from decreased sex drive and lower energy levels to infertility and impotence — are associated with so many different root causes. If your libido is low and you feel tired all the time, you could be suffering from depression. Or your body could be failing to produce sufficient amounts of testosterone (hypogonadism). Or something else entirely! Either way, no amount of boosting will be a cure. Only a blood test can determine your actual levels of testosterone. From there, your doctor can help figure out the right next steps.

There are ways to increase testosterone naturally.

Exerciseinduces temporary boosts in testosterone as quickly as 15 minutes after a workout, although the levels recede to their pre-workout baseline within a few hours. Studies show that when you exercise can make a difference too, as testosterone levels vary throughout the day (they’re highest in the morning, lowest in the afternoon). Resistance-training workouts, specifically, have more of an impact on testosterone when completed in the evening. Overtraining can have the opposite effect: drops in testosterone.

Lowering both mental and physical stress, can reduce the body’s release of cortisol, which has a negative correlation with testosterone (one goes up; the other goes down). High levels of stress are also known to have a negative physiological impact on the body, causing many of the same symptoms as low testosterone, such as decreased energy and libido. Keeping your stress levels in check, and not undersleeping or overtraining, might kill two birds with one stone.

What about steroids?

Anabolic steroids are synthetic versions of testosterone that induce supraphysiological levels of testosterone in the blood — meaning they really do “boost.” They are illegal without a doctor’s prescription, and illegal for a doctor to prescribe to improve athletic performance. While they do increase strength and muscle mass, they also cause a whole mess of puzzling, dangerous side effects. People who take them can become manic and super aggressive (we’ve all heard of “‘roid rage”). Men grow breasts and their testicles shrink. Steroids are also known to increase blood pressure, create tumors, and cause liver disease and heart attacks. In short: stay far, far away.

The Bottom Line

DAA and fenugreek are the only agents that have shown any impact on T levels. Still, if you’re looking for a testosterone boost, you’re likely going to be disappointed — your body is just too good at regulating itself. A combination of zinc and vitamin D, though, can help replenish testosterone when there’s a temporary dip.

Take Action

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Axis Labs Hypertest XTROur top pick offers a solid mix of beneficial ingredients, including zinc and magnesium.

Start small. Even if T-boosters seem like a quick way to get to beast mode, managing your stress, getting enough sleep, and not overtraining are the real first steps to improving your athletic performance.

Tell your doctor.Testosterone boosters aren’t regulated by the FDA and are largely unstudied. If you start playing with powders and pills, make sure your doctor is in the loop. They’ll be able to let you know if and when you’re taking any unnecessary health risks.

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Freedom Of Speech?

The ignorance of some people is mind blowing.

I guess that’s what happens when you’ve never had to actually fight to have the same rights or to be treated equally as other people. Being treated as a second rate citizen makes you view our country differently.

For example:

1. Women still face inequality (you can even rape them with minimal to no jail time!).

2. Black people have faced oppression/discrimination for hundreds of years and still do so today.

3. Gay people JUST got the right to get married last year. We can still be legally fired for our sexual orientation in many states.

Don’t think the irony of “the land of the free” was lost on any minority group of people standing for the national anthem.

You’ll have to forgive some of us for being upset by inequality. We had just wanted liberty and freedom, like others who already had it. Women just want to be treated equally, receive equal pay, and stop having their bodies dictated by men. Black people want America to stop being racist and forcing them into a caste system, and also for the police to stop killing them. Gay people just always wanted to marry the person they love and stop having America target them and creating “religious freedom” laws that promote hate.

When that national anthem plays, it can cause rather conflicting feelings. On one hand, you feel patriotic. It’s that other hand..when you start to think about that patriotism, but then remember this nation treats you as less equal than some of your counterparts. That part stings. Sure, we could pretend to be patriotic. What does that really accomplish? It is fake patriotism. It is sweeping the current issues listed above under the rug. We do live in a country where we are actually and legally allowed to express our dissatisfaction at the country and government.

It’s also amazing to me that exercising your First Amendment right to express yourself is ridiculed and judged. That’s not how this works. If you don’t understand how freedom works, then you are part of the problem. Yes, you can absolutely disagree with someone who has a different viewpoint than you. Lately, I have seen some disturbing posts from people where they more than disagree, they find this type of expression offensive and think that anyone like Colin Kaepernick should be punished. Why is it better to play along than speak out? Why should someone be punished for speaking out? Because harsh truths are being brought to light? That is exactly what we need!

Telling people to be grateful for what little they’ve been “allowed” to have (by people who never had the right to “give” those scraps) or comparing us to other countries that discriminate even worse is wrong. If a gay Muslim man is murdered by other Muslims for being gay (which happens and is completely fucking vile), do not compare us to that and say “well at least you aren’t being killed.” That is even MORE infuriating because we are supposed to be PAST shit like that! Black, white, gay, straight, Muslim, whatever.. we should all be considered equal and have liberty in the United States. But we don’t, and that is why people choose to kneel down instead of stand for the anthem. We have not done anything to warrant everyone WANTING to stand for the flag.

Lastly, not standing for the flag is not a diss against the veterans who have served this nation. They fought, and gave their lives, for our freedoms. Speaking out against social injustice and protesting peacefully is not an attack on those people. It is living up to the freedoms that those amazing men and women have protected by sacrifice. I think using this as an argument against protesting the national anthem or the Pledge of Allegiance is just a tactic used to guilt people speaking out and to make them look like anti-American monsters.

It is more America to speak out and express yourself than it is to silence those who are trying to change the country for better.

Respect and celebrate other people’s expression of themselves. This is a right.

Coming to terms with ADHD*

Well, it’s finally happened. After years of being that “flighty” friend because of a short attention span and getting myself into all kinds of messes due to lack of impulse control, I have finally started the path of being better.

I’ve always known that I was “different.” I knew that normal people didn’t experience some of the things I was experiencing. I have always struggled with staying focused on any kind of task, especially one that I deemed boring. I also always struggled with completing anything. There are so many things that I have started in my life that I never saw through. I always thought I had ADHD, but I never did anything about it. I put an asterisk on ADHD for a reason. Read on.

If you actually go back through my blog posts, you can see where I picked up new things like music, Krav Maga, school, and nothing ever came of it. Why? I would be into whatever I started 100%, but I would lose interest and move onto the next shiny object. Now I have Krav Maga skills that are going to waste, a piano that collects dust, and music sheets that just sit on my shelf. I love to blog and you can see the gaps between posts that I lose focus with this as well.

As if that was not bad enough, the lack of impulse control tops it. This has been the hugest pain point in my personal and professional life. I just don’t know how to stop myself sometimes. A lot of the time. I get this high and lose all control. I just say and do anything. There have been so many times in my life where I just do something like destroying furniture because I thought about it. The problem is that once the idea has planted in my head, it drives me. It winds me up and controls me. If I try to ignore it, it becomes even worse. It consumes me. I’ve actually felt my body almost spaz from trying to hold it in like it’s about to explode.

Just recently, I was having a really terrible experience at work, and due to the anxiety that it caused me, I impulsively spent over a grand to get a certificate to teach English abroad. I even told my leaders that I was no longer interested in leadership (I had been passed over for leadership which is what really pushed me down the rabbit hole and why I am here) and that I was planning to move to Europe. I just said and did all of that out of impulse.

In my heart of hearts, I think I knew that I wasn’t going anywhere. I was just running on emotion and impulse.

At work, I was put on a verbal action plan because how I say things. Honestly, I had never experienced stuff like that at work because the people I worked with adapted to me. That ended up making me more successful in the end. Now the game is different and I have to conform to other people.

That catapulted my decision to start looking into behavioral health. Whatever this is, it was affecting my job (although that could be debatable). My primary care physician referred me to the behavioral health department. I had to take a self-assessment with a therapist.

My results were interesting, to say the least. I tested very high for ADHD and Anxiety. I also tested for Depression.

Based on everything I experienced in the past 1.5 years, it all made sense. I always knew I had ADHD (although I was surprised to find out that I have the combined ADHD where all three aspects, short attention span, hyperactivity, and impulse control, are high), but the Anxiety and Depression were a surprise at first…until I thought about it. I am a very anxious person and have always been.

Talking with my therapist, I came to the realization that although I’ve always had those mental illnesses, it wasn’t until recently that they were exacerbated to the point where it was beginning to affect my life. Hearing that I have Depression immediately made me think of ways to beat that. I think I let so much bullshit seep into my life that I caused that to happen. No. Fucking. More! That’s changing right quick!

Moving along, so my next step was to see a Physician’s Assistant or Psychiatrist for medication. I finally had my visit yesterday, July 27, 2016. After an hour of talking about myself and my medical/mental history, the PA did something apparently unique.

I guess when someone shows signs of multiple mental illnesses, they always want to treat the Depression first. My PA determined that my Depression and Anxiety were actually due to the ADHD, so she prescribed me Adderall to start setting that right. That actually made me really happy! I do not want to take medicine for all of those things. I don’t think I need it. I want to tackle the Depression through exercise and living a more enjoyable life. I also want to let the stupid bullshit go. I think being able to focus on my work and life without being all over the map will definitely do that. That will also take care of the Anxiety. I fucking hate being anxious. I had this dreadful “leader” who used to cause me anxiety attacks at work. I only had one since we left her dark reign of control!

It’s only been two days, and I am on the lowest dosage of Adderall, but I have already felt a huge improvement! I was able to stay focused yesterday and today! I even managed to write this blog post with only one or two distractions! I think finding techniques to control my impulses coupled with Adderall is going to allow me to finally and really focus on me.

I am interested to see what I actually like to do and if I can follow through on those things.

I know some people think ADHD is a joke, or it isn’t real. Whatever I am experiencing, it is real. It is very real to me. I am glad that I finally started the road to recovery!

Are you struggling with mental illness? You are not alone! You are never alone! I am a friend and I am here for you, to talk or just to listen!