What is Nrf2? Here’s Everything You Need to Know About the Secret to Aging Well

What is Nrf2? Healthy man photo | Gapin Institute


Feel like you’re just not operating at the level you used to?

People tell us that that happens with age—that our bodies start to break down.

But the most recent science is actually calling into question the inevitability of the symptoms of aging. New research in microbiology, chemistry, and genomics is showing us that those uncomfortable symptoms of aging might not be locked in.

This is where “biohacking” comes from: it’s the idea that you can give your body exactly what it needs to properly repair and rejuvenate itself. The result? Optimized health and performance.

Nrf2 is one of the most exciting discoveries in this area and holds some real promise as an anti-aging agent and as a support for your long-term health. In this article, I’ll explain what it is, what it does, and why it matters for your aging. 

What is Nrf2?

Nrf2, short for “nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2”, is a protein that is found in your cells. It is a type of protein called a “transcription factor”, which means that it is involved in gene expression—activating and deactivating parts of a genetic sequence. 

Which genes does Nrf2 affect? It regulates the expression of antioxidant proteins and enzymes, increasing their production to help your body fight off molecules that attack your cells. 

Nrf2 has been found to be an important part of your body’s system of regulating metabolism, inflammation, and immune responses

What’s special about Nrf2?

 Nrf2 is a big deal because it could be the key to aging gracefully and healthily.

When you’re young, your body is good at balancing all the needs of your body at the cellular level. But as you age, these important chemical signallers decline. You begin to produce less of the substances that you need to properly regulate your body.

That means that there are fewer of the peptides, proteins, hormones, and enzymes that help your body repair and rejuvenate. Things start to break down.

The result is that your body gets slower at repairing itself. That’s why you feel tired more often, your body takes longer to recover from exercise, and your skin begins to see signs of aging. You might also notice issues with your sleep or even erectile dysfunction

Oxidative stress contributes to symptoms of aging

At the cellular level, what’s happening is that free radicals are constantly bombarding your cells. The damage caused by these attacks causes your cells to go into a state called oxidative stress, and stop functioning properly. 

When you’re young, your body can easily fight free radicals back. But as you get older, your body can’t do this as effectively. That’s when symptoms of aging start getting worse.

Antioxidants fight free radicals and reduce oxidative stress

You’ve probably heard of the health benefits of antioxidants. Some foods are high in antioxidants and that’s why health professionals sometimes encourage you to include them in your diet. 

Antioxidants  help neutralize free radicals and minimize the damage that they cause. That helps reduce the symptoms of aging. 

But antioxidants aren’t very efficient. One antioxidant molecule neutralizes only one free radical. With more and more free radicals, we need more and more antioxidants. At some point, the antioxidants can’t keep up. 

What does Nrf2 do?

Nrf2 provides a powerful solution to overcome free radicals. It’s known as the “master regulator” of our body’s antioxidant response.

When Nrf2 is activated, it enters the nucleus and turns on several hundred genes, known collectively as “survival genes.” This, in turn, initiates the production of several of your body’s own powerful enzymes that fight free radicals. These enzymes include catalase, glutathione, and superoxide dismutase (SOD)

These enzymes are much more effective than antioxidants at getting rid of free radicals—they can neutralize over 1 million free radicals a second. What that means is that your body can clean itself out quickly and fewer of your cells get into a state of oxidative stress. 

Ultimately, that means you feel fewer symptoms of aging: better energy, better sleep, and even a better sex life

How do I get Nrf2?

Great, Nrf2 can support my health. How do I get it?

You actually don’t need to get Nrf2—it’s already right there in your cells. It comes pre-installed.

The problem is that it’s not activated. It’s a bit like an engine: it just sits in your cells not doing anything until it’s turned on. That’s what Nrf2 activation therapies do: they get into your cells to turn on Nrf2 so that it can enter the nucleus and work its magic. 

Some foods have been shown to activate Nrf2 and the Nrf2 pathway. These have been supported by studies in nutrigenomics—the study of how food influences gene expression and cellular function. 

Some Nrf2-activating foods include:

  • Dark chocolate 

  • Legumes, like lentils, beans, and peas

  • Vegetables, especially dark leafy greens like spinach and cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, and bok choy

  • Spices, especially ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, cloves, and yellow mustard

  • Herbs, like oregano

  • Red wine

  • Tea, especially green and white teas

What about Nrf2 supplements? Do they work?

In addition to activating Nrf2 through the diet, there are now supplements that activate Nrf2 and significantly reduce oxidative stress. 

These have been extremely well-researched by the scientific community and some of the supplements have very strong evidence supporting their use. 

Protandim®, for example, is a supplement designed to activate Nrf2. There have been numerous studies that demonstrate that it improves your body’s antioxidant response capacity. Peer-reviewed, human clinical studies show that it reduces cellular stress in humans by an average of 40 percent in 30 days. Research even suggests that it could be effective in preventing age-related diseases like:

The takeaway for your health: Nrf2 activators could help you feel younger. A men’s health secret.

We often think that there isn’t much we can do about the declines in our bodies that come with age. But science is showing us that that’s not necessarily the case. 

There actually may be ways that we can give our body what it needs to better regulate, repair, and rejuvenate itself.

Nrf2 appears to be one of those ways. Activating the Nrf2 pathway could be a relatively simple—but powerful—way to help you feel younger again. 

It might be as easy as making good diet choices or taking a supplement. 

Schedule a consultation to learn how to personalized health advice so you can live your life to the fullest. 

Ready to take the next steps?

Download the Blueprint

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In Male 2.0™, Dr. Tracy Gapin has turned everything we once thought we knew about men’s health and performance upside down. The old model of how to be “a man” is broken. A man who works himself to death.  Unfortunately, a man who tries to NOT get sick but isn’t really healthy either.  And a man who takes a pill for every ill but is never really cured. That was Male 1.0. Now, imagine being THE MAN ─ owning your performance in the bedroom, the weight room, and the boardroom. Living a fully optimized life. Becoming limitless. This is Male 2.0!

Tracy Gapin, MD, FACS  is a board-certified Urologist,  world renowned Men’s Health & Performance Expert, Author, and Professional Speaker. Using state-of-the-art biometric monitoring, nutrition and lifestyle intervention, Dr. Gapin coaches Fortune 500 executives and evolutionary leaders of business, sports medicine, and high performance. He specializes in cutting-edge precision medicine with an emphasis on epigenetics, providing men with a personalized path to optimizing health & performance. www.GapinInstitute.com

Want more tips to optimize your health?  Listen to the latest podcasts. Click HERE


Houghton, C. A., Fassett, R. G., & Coombes, J. S. (2016). Sulforaphane and other nutrigenomic Nrf2 activators: can the clinician’s expectation be matched by the reality?. Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity, 2016. https://doi.org/10.1155/2016/7857186

Hybertson, B. M., Gao, B., Bose, S. K., & McCord, J. M. (2011). Oxidative stress in health and disease: the therapeutic potential of Nrf2 activation. Molecular Aspects of Medicine, 32(4-6), 234-246.

Lim, J. L., der Pol, V., Susanne, M. A., Baron, W., McCord, J. M., De Vries, H. E., & Van Horssen, J. (2016). Protandim protects oligodendrocytes against an oxidative insult. Antioxidants, 5(3), 30. https://doi.org/10.3390/antiox5030030

Men, What is stress doing to your Testosterone?

stress and our testostereone man at desk

Stress is ubiquitous—it affects all of us in one way or another.

Low level stress that you can easily overcome is usually not bad for you. In fact, it can even be good for you. Stress can motivate you, improve your athletic performance, and help you adapt to your environment. 

But long-term or excessive stress can have a profoundly negative effect on your health and even reduce your lifespan. Research shows that stress reduces testosterone levels, which may be one reason why stress is strongly linked with weight gain, poor sleep, and erectile dysfunction (ED)

Getting your stress under control is one of the most important ways to achieve a healthy, satisfying life. In this article, I’ll dive into exactly what stress is and what it is doing to your health, testosterone, and sex life. Then I’ll explain exactly how to beat it. 

What is Stress

We throw the term around all the time, but what exactly is stress?

Stress is a feeling of psychological strain or pressure. It occurs from our own perception of an event or stressor as threatening or challenging to us.

To be clear, stress is not the actual events or stressors in your life.  Your response to those stressors is what triggers your feeling of stress.

Psychologists sometimes classify stressors into four types (1):

  1. Ambient stressors, like noise in a cafe or traffic
  2. Hassles or micro stressors, like not being able to find your keys
  3. Major life events, like getting fired, getting married, or having a child
  4. Crises or catastrophes, like a natural disaster

These have different effects on your overall well-being, but even hassles or micro stressors, when they are constant, can create levels of stress that ultimately affect our health. 

traffic jam - angry stressed businessman driving car

How Stress Affects Health

Stress has a massive physiological effect on our bodies. When we feel stress, our brain sends out a signal to our body and activates a “fight or flight” response. Our pupils dilate, our heart rate increases, and our body releases a number of hormones and chemicals to get us ready to react, such as adrenaline, endorphins, and cortisol.

This response is useful if we’re encountering a situation where we really do need to fight or get away. Athletes, soldiers in combat, or even firefighters benefit from this reaction to stressful situations.

But for most of us, this bodily response is unnecessary. And, when stress is chronic, occurring over a long period of time, these effects can be toxic and dangerous to our health. The amount of stress that you have, and your stress resiliency, can even predict how long you will live.

Risk of disease

One of the most worrying effects of stress on our health is its relationship to disease; research shows that chronic, severe stress vastly increases a person’s risk for several chronic health conditions. 

For example, there’s significant evidence that stress increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases like heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure, and hypertension as well as diabetes and certain types of cancer (2, 3, 4). 

Stress is also clearly associated with mental illness, including depression, schizophrenia, and anxiety (5, 6).

Immune Function

Stress has been found to reduce immune function (7). Research has demonstrated that stress can cause a person to be more susceptible to illnesses like colds (8). Scientists have suggested that stress can affect immune system function at the cellular level, changing the body’s chemical immune response. They’ve found that individuals that report more stress tend to have lower immunity and increased inflammation (7).

Poor lifestyle habits

The way that we cope with stress may also have an impact on our health. When individuals cope with stress by consuming excessive alcohol, smoking, or binge-eating, the result is poorer health. Stress can cause some people to engage in unhealthy habits as a way to cope with the psychological discomfort (9). 

Stress can affect your genes

Epigenetics refers to a process whereby gene expression, or activity, is altered by the environment although the actual genetic sequence is not changed. 

Researchers have found that stress can cause epigenetic changes resulting in negative health outcomes. 

What does all this mean? It means that stress may be able to actually change how your genes are expressed such that you are predisposed to have worse health outcomes. 

How Stress Affects Testosterone and Erectile Dysfunction

Stress has such a powerful effect on us in part because it’s psychological. It affects the hormonal balance in our body, but it also affects our mental health. Both of these things can impact sexual function and performance.

One of the ways that stress impacts sexual function is through testosterone.

What is testosterone?

Testosterone is often called the “male sex hormone”. It plays an important role in several bodily functions for men, including the initial development of the testes and prostate. In adults, testosterone has many surprising effects including being critical to the production of sperm and semen, healthy libido, and even muscular development.

Many men suffer from “low T”. What is low T? It’s a condition where a man’s body does not produce sufficient testosterone for optimal function.

Low testosterone can be caused by various lifestyle factors, including diet, exercise, and poor sleep. Age alone may also be a factor since the production of testosterone tends to decrease with age. Men over the age of 50 tend to experience a 1% decline in testosterone levels every year.

Some of the symptoms of low testosterone include: 

  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Low fertility
  • Loss of muscle mass
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Weight gain
  • Low libido and sex drive
  • Weaker bones
  • Reduced energy
  • Less body hair
  • Foggy brain

Stress has been shown to directly affect testosterone levels. When you’re stressed, your body releases the stress hormone cortisol. And high cortisol levels crush your testosterone. Research has found a clear association between high cortisol levels and low levels of testosterone (13). 

The lower testosterone levels caused by stress, in turn leads to low energy, weight gain, loss of mental focus, and loss of sexual function.

Stress Causes Erectile Dysfunction

Stress is one of the most common causes of ED (14).

Sexual function depends on the complex interaction between physiological and psychological factors. Stress affects both. It causes your body to produce less testosterone, which contributes to difficulty getting an erection. It can also affect the psychological processes associated with sexual arousal. 

Finding ways to effectively cope with stress is an essential part of creating a healthy lifestyle, achieving optimal testosterone levels, and supporting a fulfilling sex life. 

Reduce Stress to Improve your Health, Testosterone, and Sex Life

Great, we need to address stress for better health, more testosterone, and great sex. 

But how?

Develop stress resiliency

This is one of the most important things that you can do to reduce stress: develop ways to cope effectively with stress and create stress resiliency

Stress resiliency refers to your ability to respond to and cope with the stressors that you face in everyday life. Creating resilience to stress can help you experience it less often, for less time, and thus reduce the negative health effects.

To develop stress resiliency, try the following.

  1. Start to think of stress as an opportunity for growth. Ask yourself: What is the stressor? Why am I stressed about it? Where can I feel the stress in my body? What can I do right now to cope and calm myself down? What can I learn to grow from it?
  2. Develop healthy coping habits. These include exercise, meditation, breathing techniques, hobbies you enjoy, and even sex.
  3. Sleep! Sleep is critical for optimal health, but especially when it comes to stress resilience. Good quality sleep allows your body to heal and recover. And good quality sleep lowers cortisol.
  4. Get social support. Engaging with the important people in your life is one of the most effective ways to cope with stress. Even giving social support can improve your stress. 
  5. Focus on eating good quality food. The foods you eat can directly promote or reduce inflammation in your body, and thus affect cortisol production. 


Exercise is one of the most effective ways to beat back stressors (15). Research shows that people who exercise consistently  are better able to develop stress resilience and reduce the health consequence of stress (16). 

man exercising for stress and testosterone levels


Research is increasingly finding the benefits of meditation on everything from cognitive health to physical energy levels. Meditation also turns out to be an effective way to cope with life stressors, even if you do it for just five to ten minutes a day. 

The benefits of meditation include:

  • Stress reduction
  • Better sleep
  • Feeling relaxed
  • Better focus and attention
  • More positive mood
  • Reductions in depression and anxiety. 

Solutions for Erectile Dysfunction and Low T

Do you think your stress is lowering your testosterone? Here are a few ways that you can increase your testosterone naturally

Lose weight

Body fat and testosterone are connected. When guys have higher body fat levels, their bodies create and release less testosterone. And low testosterone causes your body to store more energy as fat. It’s a vicious cycle.

However, you can reverse it and turn it into a positive cycle. When you start to lose weight, you’ll find that your testosterone levels naturally increase. And, as the testosterone in your body increases, you’ll find it easier and easier to lose more weight (17). Losing weight will also help you to stop ED in its tracks

If you are overweight, make this a priority: lose weight to naturally boost your testosterone. improve sexual function, and improve stress. 


It’s not only effective for coping with stress, but also for increasing testosterone. Numerous studies have found that guys that exercise more tend to have more testosterone. 

The best exercise to boost testosterone is strength training and lifting weights. Studies have found that guys of all ages get a boost of T from weight training (18). Moderate cardio exercise is also great. 

And for another added benefit, exercise is an effective way to prevent and help treat ED.

Testosterone replacement therapy (TRT)

Testosterone hormone therapy can be an effective treatment for some guys that suffer from low T. Testosterone therapy can be given topically, by subcutaneous or intramuscular injection, pellets, or more recently oral medication.  Some of the benefits of TRT include (19):

  • Improved energy
  • Better sexual function and sex drive
  • Increased endurance
  • Enhanced ability to gain lean muscle mass
  • Increased mood and energy
  • Improved cognitive function

There can be risks of testosterone replacement therapy, so make sure you consult with a doctor specialized in men’s health and hormone therapy before deciding whether it could be right for you.

Precision Medicine

These recommendations will help the majority of men reduce stress and improve their health. 

But everyone is different. Every man obviously has unique genetics, and thus responds to his environment differently. This is epigenetics.

Why should you care? There may be things that you should be doing to reduce stress and get healthy that wouldn’t work for other men. Whether it be

Precision medicine is a way to get a health plan tailored to your individual genetic makeup. If you’re suffering from stress, low T, or ED, look for solutions designed specifically for you and your genes. 

Optimize your Health with Dr Tracy Gapin. The body is a complex system.

Conclusion: Don’t Let Stress Get You Down

Everyone experiences stress. If stress becomes chronic, and you lose your ability to cope with it, stress can crush your health, leading to weight gain, low testosterone levels, poor energy, and increased risk of erectile dysfunction.

But when you have effective coping mechanisms and view stress as helpful not harmful, you can overcome it and rise to the occasion. Learning to beat stress will help you boost your immune system, lose weight, feel healthier, and enjoy the benefits of higher testosterone.

If you’re concerned about what stress may be doing to your health and testosterone levels, schedule a consultation to learn how to personalized health advice so you can live your life to the fullest. 

In Male 2.0™, Dr. Tracy Gapin has turned everything we once thought we knew about men’s health and performance upside down. The old model of how to be “a man” is broken. A man who works himself to death.  Unfortunately, a man who tries to NOT get sick but isn’t really healthy either.  And a man who takes a pill for every ill but is never really cured. That was Male 1.0. Now, imagine being THE MAN ─ owning your performance in the bedroom, the weight room, and the boardroom. Living a fully optimized life. Becoming limitless. This is Male 2.0!

Tracy Gapin, MD, FACS  is a board-certified Urologist,  world renowned Men’s Health & Performance Expert, Author, and Professional Speaker. Using state-of-the-art biometric monitoring, nutrition and lifestyle intervention, Dr. Gapin coaches Fortune 500 executives and evolutionary leaders of business, sports medicine, and high performance. He specializes in cutting-edge precision medicine with an emphasis on epigenetics, providing men with a personalized path to optimizing health & performance. www.GapinInstitute.com

Want more tips to optimize your health?  Listen to the latest podcasts. Click HERE


  1. Wheaton, B., & Montazer, S. (2010). Stressors, stress, and distress. A handbook for the study of mental health: Social contexts, theories, and systems, 171-199.
  2. Dimsdale, J. E. (2008). Psychological stress and cardiovascular disease. Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 51(13), 1237-1246.
  3. Harris, M. L., Oldmeadow, C., Hure, A., Luu, J., Loxton, D., & Attia, J. (2017). Stress increases the risk of type 2 diabetes onset in women: A 12-year longitudinal study using causal modelling. PloS one, 12(2), e0172126.
  4. Moreno-Smith, M., Lutgendorf, S. K., & Sood, A. K. (2010). Impact of stress on cancer metastasis. Future Oncology, 6(12), 1863-1881.
  5. Bartolomucci, A., & Leopardi, R. (2009). Stress and depression: preclinical research and clinical implications. PloS one, 4(1), e4265.
  6. Corcoran, C., Mujica-Parodi, L., Yale, S., Leitman, D., & Malaspina, D. (2002). Could stress cause psychosis in individuals vulnerable to schizophrenia?. CNS Spectrums, 7(1), 33.
  7. Segerstrom, S. C., & Miller, G. E. (2004). Psychological stress and the human immune system: A meta-analytic study of 30 years of inquiry. Psychological Bulletin, 130(4), 601.
  8. Cohen, S., Doyle, W. J., Skoner, D. P., Rabin, B. S., & Gwaltney, J. M. (1997). Social ties and susceptibility to the common cold. JAMA, 277(24), 1940-1944.
  9. Steptoe, A., Wardle, J., Pollard, T. M., Canaan, L., & Davies, G. J. (1996). Stress, social support and health-related behavior: a study of smoking, alcohol consumption and physical exercise. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 41(2), 171-180.
  10. Mulligan, C. J. (2016). Early environments, stress, and the epigenetics of human health. Annual Review of Anthropology, 45, 233-249.
  11. Glad, C. A., Andersson-Assarsson, J. C., Berglund, P., Bergthorsdottir, R., Ragnarsson, O., & Johannsson, G. (2017). Reduced DNA methylation and psychopathology following endogenous hypercortisolism–a genome-wide study. Nature: Scientific Reports, 7, 44445.
  12. Wein, H. (2010). Stress Hormone Causes Epigenetic Changes. NIH Research Matters. https://www.nih.gov/news-events/nih-research-matters/stress-hormone-causes-epigenetic-changes
  13. Rubinow, D. R., Roca, C. A., Schmidt, P. J., Danaceau, M. A., Putnam, K., Cizza, G., … & Nieman, L. (2005). Testosterone suppression of CRH-stimulated cortisol in men. Neuropsychopharmacology, 30(10), 1906-1912.
  14. Rosen, R. C. (2001). Psychogenic erectile dysfunction: classification and management. Urologic Clinics of North America, 28(2), 269-278.
  15. Bond, D. S., Lyle, R. M., Tappe, M. K., Seehafer, R. S., & D’Zurilla, T. J. (2002). Moderate aerobic exercise, T’ai Chi, and social problem-solving ability in relation to psychological stress. International Journal of Stress Management, 9(4), 329-343.
  16. Hsu, Y. C., Tsai, S. F., Yu, L., Chuang, J. I., Wu, F. S., Jen, C. J., & Kuo, Y. M. (2016). Long-term moderate exercise accelerates the recovery of stress-evoked cardiovascular responses. Stress, 19(1), 125-132.
  17. Yassin, A. A., & Doros, G. (2013). Testosterone therapy in hypogonadal men results in sustained and clinically meaningful weight loss. Clinical Obesity, 3(3-4), 73-83.
  18. Craig, B. W., Brown, R., & Everhart, J. (1989). Effects of progressive resistance training on growth hormone and testosterone levels in young and elderly subjects. Mechanisms of Ageing and Development, 49(2), 159-169.
  19. Osterberg, E. C., Bernie, A. M., & Ramasamy, R. (2014). Risks of testosterone replacement therapy in men. Indian journal of urology: IJU: journal of the Urological Society of India, 30(1), 2.


11 Ways To Conquer Performance Anxiety TODAY

Performance anxiety is one of the biggest opponents against a healthy and happy sex life. It can become a physical and emotional obstacle that can drastically impact your quality of life—both inside and outside the bedroom.

What is performance anxiety and how can you overcome it to achieve an exciting sex life once again?

What is performance anxiety?

Performance anxiety is literally anxiety about being able to perform sexually.

It can manifest in a number of ways:

  • Premature ejaculation (PE): ejaculating before or immediately after penetration
  • Delayed ejaculation (DE): a prolonged period and/or overstimulation is necessary in order to ejaculate
  • Erectile dysfunction (ED): inability to get or maintain an erection long enough for intercourse
  • Psychological stress in and out of the bathroom
  • Low libido or lack of interest in sex
  • Obsessive negative thoughts

Performance Anxiety | Gapin Institute
Even cheating on a partner or having multiple partners can be a sign of performance anxiety. In some cases, men may seek sexual satisfaction elsewhere if they find they are having performance anxiety with their partner. This is generally the cause of some sort of previous negative sexual experience with that particular partner, often exacerbated by a lack of communication.

Note: Experiencing one of the above instances once or twice doesn’t necessarily mean you have performance anxiety. However, as we’ll discuss below, even one instance of the above can actually make you talk yourself into having performance anxiety in the long-term!  

What happens to your body with performance anxiety?

Performance anxiety isn’t all in your head—although it usually stems from the head. Anxiety is not only an emotional or psychological problem but also a physical concern with serious associated health implications. Anxiety is part of the body’s natural fight or flight response. It’s actually a warning sign meant to help protect us from danger.

Performance anxiety can actually make you feel like you’re in a hostile situation when you’re about to sex. That’s not very sexy.

When you feel anxious or stressed, your body releases cortisol. Cortisol, the “stress hormone,” actually stops the production of testosterone. You need a high level of testosterone in order to feel sexy. Testosterone is the libido-boosting hormone in both men and women. Lowered testosterone can cause a decreased sex drive, depressed mood, weight gain, and erectile dysfunction—all of which worsen or cause performance anxiety.

Learn more about how to naturally raise your testosterone levels and reduce cortisol levels.

Moreover, anxiety can actually cause your blood pressure to rise. This can lead to hypertension and cardiovascular concerns, which inhibit blood flow throughout the body. This means that blood can’t flow to the penis for an erection. In fact, anxiety is often a major contributor and cause of erectile dysfunction because the penis literally isn’t getting the blood it needs to get hard.

These physical manifestations of stress can worsen your ability to perform sexually, causing a negative feedback cycle of performance anxiety.

Where does performance anxiety come from?

Sexual Performance Anxiety | Gapin Institute
Performance anxiety often starts small and grows. It’s generally psychological, where you start to overthink your sexual experiences.

Did I last long enough?

Did I make my partner happy?

What did my partner think about that one thing that I did?

Was I good?

The more you ask yourself these questions, the more anxiety you’ll get. These constant thoughts can affect your ability to have enjoyable sex in the future. You’re too busy thinking about what could go wrong or your partner’s “judgment” than focusing on the fun and pleasure of the moment.

But these thoughts are coming from somewhere… so what can spur these anxieties?

Society’s views of sex

Consider the term “performance anxiety.” Even the wording of that is stressful!

Socially, we’ve started to think of sex as a “performance.” This puts a lot of pressure on the act. It reminds us of public speaking or playing in the Super Bowl; we feel like we’re expected to have grand performances in the bedroom.

Moreover, masculinity standards can put a lot of pressure on sex. When boys start entering “adulthood,” they’re quickly taught that having sex makes them cool. We continue to watch movies and TV where the “cool” guys get the girls and have amazing sex. This starts to condition the brain that sex equates to masculinity.

As a society, we’ve transformed sex from something intimate and pleasurable to something competitive and goal-oriented. Thus, if something “goes wrong,” we can start to feel emasculated or anxious about ourselves.


Porn adds another layer to this idea of “performance.” Pornstars are literally putting on a sexual performance. Everything has to look perfect in porn. That can make us normal folks—without special lighting and editing equipment—feel a little anxious.

Watching a lot of porn can actually even cause erectile dysfunction due to insufficient real-life sexual arousal, issues of low self-esteem and confidence, and less visual and auditory stimulation. Learn more about porn-induced erectile dysfunction here.

Past negative experience

Negative Experience Performance Anxiety
Like any sort of “trauma,” our minds can build negative associations. If something happened in a previous sexual experience, you might consciously or subconsciously take this event with you into your other experiences.

For example, you had one instance of premature ejaculation with your partner for some reason. Or you had a week where you couldn’t seem to get an erection. You might be embarrassed by your “inability to perform.” You can then start convincing yourself that you have a “problem” and that you’ll never be able to please your partner again.

This is especially exacerbated if a negative experience happens and the partners don’t communicate about it. This can cause men to start overthinking the experience, often undermining their own masculinity and confidence in tandem.

Confidence or self-esteem issues

Specific sexual instances can cause men to lose confidence in the bedroom. Other confidence or self-esteem issues can make a man feel anxious to get naked or please his partner. For example, a man may have body issues because he’s slightly overweight or he’s insecure because he has a large mole near his penis.

Again, these confidence concerns often stem from a lack of communication with the partner. More often than not, these are perceived self-esteem issues not based in reality.

Medical concerns

While performance anxiety is often psychological, these psych concerns can stem from physical problems as well. There are some unrelated medical problems that inhibit your ability to have sex. For example, a man may have diabetes, which shows a secondary symptom of erectile dysfunction.

When a man has these physical concerns, he might start thinking something is “wrong” with him—rather than thinking of his ED as a medical concern. This can then lead to negative self-talk and confidence concerns, ultimately lending itself to performance anxiety.

Desire to please

Sometimes performance anxiety can come from a positive place but have a negative impact. You might worry about pleasing your partner so much that it actually becomes debilitating. You start overthinking about how to “perform” in a way that will excite them, and you end up not having any fun or pleasure yourself. If you don’t feel that excitement yourself, your brain won’t signal your body to physically prepare to have sex. If you aren’t feeling sexy, your body won’t be able to have sex.

Negative feedback loop

All of these physical and psychological concerns can mix to create a negative feedback loop, potentially causing a man to spiral down into severe performance anxiety.

The cycle looks something like this:

  1. Something happens that causes you to feel you didn’t perform “at your peak” during a sexual experience.
  2. You start thinking about that sexual experience and wondering what happened.
  3. This overthinking begins to cause you to wonder if you have some sort of “problem.” This can make you feel emasculated and unconfident.
  4. Thinking about this “problem” causes the problem to manifest itself. You can literally talk yourself into not being able to perform.
  5. This causes further problematic sexual encounters.
  6. This causes even more anxiety, which can push your body into a physically unhealthy state of high stress, low testosterone, and high blood pressure.
  7. In turn, these concerns create a physical performance issue.
  8. So you can’t perform again because of a physical problem.
  9. And then the negative self-talk starts again.

It causes a vicious cycle of psychological and physical concerns.

This cycle can be hard to break when you’re in it.

But you can break it…

And you can start breaking it right now!


How do you overcome performance anxiety?

Stop thinking of sex as goal-oriented

Sex performance anxiety
Sex is not about putting on a performance. Sex is not even about having an orgasm. It’s about pleasure and intimacy. It’s about connecting with your partner in an intimate—and very enjoyable—way.

Try having sex without worrying about an orgasm. Tell your partner that you want to focus solely on foreplay. This can relieve some of the pressure and give you time to better explore one another. This can help overcome some mental hurdles moving forward.

Stop judging yourself.

Masculinity does not mean you are perfect at sex. Sex is an important part of life—but it’s not an important part of your identity.

If something happens, don’t start telling yourself you have a “problem.” Realize the event for what it is. Maybe you’d had too much to drink. Perhaps you were stressed from work. Maybe you have an underlying medical concern to chat with your doctor about. Stop overthinking or misplacing meaning to a sexual event.

Remind yourself how awesome you are.

Stay positive performance anxiety
There is power in positive thinking. Stand in front of the mirror and tell yourself you’re amazing in bed. Tell yourself that you’re a sex god. Whatever phrases work to get you excited, happy, and goofy. Just like you can talk yourself into having performance anxiety, you can talk yourself into having sexy confidence!

Moreover, think of all the sensual moments in your life. These moments can be during sexual or romantic. They should remind you of your sexual prowess and the amazing feelings you had during those exciting moments. This reminder can instantly renew your sexuality and help remind you of your abilities.

Eliminate external stressors.

Performance anxiety can stem from other anxieties and stresses as well. If you’re feeling stressed, your cortisol levels will rise, which increases blood pressure and inhibits testosterone production. You may not even feel stressed, but it could manifest itself in the bedroom and impact your sexual health.

Consider what stresses you have in your life. Find ways to manage the anxiety and environment around you. Take proactive steps to reduce stressful triggers around you.

Take time to relax.

relax performance anxiety | Gapin Institute
Sometimes you can’t avoid stress. But you can mitigate or reduce it. Take time to calm your overall body, and your sexual health will calm in tandem. Try yoga and meditation. Try mindfulness techniques. Do breathing exercises, which help regulate heart rate, reduce blood pressure, and decrease muscle tension—which all put your body in a better state for sex.

Working out is a great way to relax and release nervous energy. It also increases your testosterone levels and lowers your cortisol, which can help overcome erectile dysfunction. Exercise can also make you happier and healthier overall, so you’re less likely to fall into stressful situations like sex-related anxiety.

Check out: 9 Exercises To Beat ED And Have Better Sex

Communicate with your partner.

Communication is key to overcoming performance anxiety. No matter the cause of your anxiety, talking about it with your partner can release some of the tension. Often, your partner can help reduce some of your concerns by telling you how they view the situation. Honesty allows you to work together to manage and overcome the situation.

Plus, opening the lines of communication can allow you to try new things with your partner. For example, you might want to tell your partner that you’re feeling anxious about performing, so you want to try having sex without orgasm. There will be no expectations for you to finish because you talked about it ahead of time.

Get a little kinky.

Get Kinky, Performance Anxiety | Gapin Institute
Now that you’ve opened the lines of communication, try new things. If you don’t have erectile dysfunction and can still ejaculate in other situations, it likely means you’re in some sort of anxiety-ridden “rut” with your partner. Share your fantasies or try out new moves.

Breaking a routine with new experiences can help overcome anxiety. You’re not “repeating patterns” so there is less pressure.

And remember- if you tried something new and it didn’t work, that’s okay! At least you tried it. You’ll have less stress moving forward with other experiences.

I recommend trying tantric sex. Tantric sex focuses on breathing and mindfulness rather than on the actual physical act of sex. In fact, it’s not uncommon for men and women to orgasm without penetration! This is a great way to get intimate with your partner without worrying about the “performance” aspect.

P.S. Practice makes perfect. The more you have sex, the more confident you’ll be in your abilities.

Avoid drugs and alcohol.

Drugs and alcohol can actually worsen anxiety and lower sexual desire and arousal. Moreover, drugs and alcohol actually unbalance your hormones, which can lower libido and make it harder to obtain an erection.

Reduce your porn watching.

Porn sets unrealistic expectations about sex, which can lead to severe anxiety and performance concerns. It can even cause erectile dysfunction in high doses.

Remember: Porn is edited. You can’t compare yourself to the special effects used in porn filmmaking.

Seek professional help.

Talking to a sex therapist is a discreet and effective way to help you understand where your performance anxiety stems from. They will look at your relationship and sexual history to get at the root of your sexual stressors.

It is not embarrassing to seek professional help. You deserve to have an exciting and vivacious sex life, and a professional will help get you to that point.

You can find quality sex therapists through the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists.

Change your lifestyle.

Performance anxiety and general anxiety often stems from lifestyle. Diet, exercise, supplements, and health choices all impact your stress levels inside and outside the bedroom.

If you want to overcome anxiety, you need to change your lifestyle.

You can kiss performance anxiety goodbye…

And say hello to the best sex of your life!

How To Conquer Metabolic Syndrome

If you’re a man with a waistline circumference over 40 inches and you’re struggling to get your weight and health under control, you may be dealing with metabolic syndrome. If you’ve visited a doctor and found elevated blood pressure, cholesterol levels, blood sugar levels, and prediabetes, you might be feeling helpless and vulnerable to your increased risk of health complications. You’re probably wondering what you can do to lower your risk and get your health back under control.

Placing the term “metabolic syndrome” on your health concerns can be validating. And if you are one of the 32% of the U.S. population with metabolic syndrome, you can find solace in understanding how metabolic syndrome works… and how you can treat it naturally and easily.

What is metabolic syndrome?

“Metabolic” refers to the biochemical processes that allow for your body’s healthy, normal functioning. This includes your metabolism, which is the process that turns your food nutrients into energy that the body uses to stay operating at optimal capacity.

Metabolic syndrome, often also called syndrome X or insulin resistance syndrome, is itself not a disease. It’s the term given to a collection of conditions that together increase your risk for serious diseases, like cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

General conditions of metabolic syndrome include:

  • Insulin resistance (pre-diabetes)
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • High cholesterol
  • High blood sugar
  • Obesity

Together, these conditions increase your risk of clotting, such as stroke and heart attack. They also put you at severe risk for heart disease and diabetes (especially type 2).

Metabolic disease is found in 82% of diabetic patients because it’s linked to insulin resistance. If you have metabolic disease, your cells aren’t able to respond to insulin—the hormone that helps your cells use sugar as fuel and energy. In this way, you start to have more free-floating sugar in your blood. Your body starts to respond to this increase in glucose levels by churning out more insulin. Suddenly, you’re overloaded with sugar in your blood, useless insulin floating around… and your body is unregulated, unhappy, and unable to function.

Moreover, insulin resistance, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes all have one key thing in common (aside from being horrible for your wellbeing):

They are known causes of erectile dysfunction and low testosterone.

Yes, that means that metabolic syndrome is hurting your sex life!

(Also, metabolic syndrome may cause kidney disease, sleep apnea, fatty liver syndrome, increased risk of dementia, and cognitive decline.)

This means that metabolic syndrome has a direct effect on your heart health, blood health, organ health, and sexual health—all of which are vital parts of life and wellness (especially the sexual health, if you ask me).

Metabolic syndrome negatively influences your overall health and way of life. Most likely, you are not in the physical shape you used to be, which can damage your everyday life. You may have lowered energy, be more tired, lose concentration, and feel unsatisfied with your health. You can’t play with your kids like you used to and your dog misses going on long walks in the park.

Moreover, this increased risk of serious diseases can take a toll on your emotional wellbeing. You aren’t living the healthy, fruitful life you want, and you’re constantly weighed down with the pressing thought that you are a ticking time bomb of diseases.

But you don’t need to suffer anymore.

What are the symptoms of metabolic syndrome?

Metabolic syndrome usually does not have any visible symptoms. The number one symptom is a large waist circumference, over 40 inches for men and 35 inches for women. If you are overweight or obese, your doctor will likely test your levels to see if you have metabolic syndrome.

If you have at least three of the following traits, your doctor will likely diagnose you with metabolic syndrome:

  • Waist circumference 40” or more
  • Reduced HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol) lower than 40mg/dl
  • High triglyceride level above 150 mg/dl
  • Increased blood pressure above 135/85
  • Elevated fasting blood sugar over 100 mg/dl

What are the causes of metabolic syndrome?

There is really only one cause of metabolic syndrome: fat. The more fat you have stored on your body, the more likely you will have problems with your cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar.

Those who are overweight or obese are significantly more likely to have metabolic syndrome. In fact, metabolic syndrome is found in 22% of people who are clinically overweight, 60% of those who are obese, and only 5% of those with a normal body weight. The risks of metabolic syndrome increase the faster you gain weight as well; your risk increases by 45% for every 5 pounds you gain per year.

There are a few other risk factors for metabolic syndrome, but they almost all relate back to your weight.

Age is considered a risk factor, but this is likely because most of us tend to gain weight as we age. In fact, about 40% of Americans over age 60 are affected. As you get older, it gets harder and harder to shed pounds like you used to. Your metabolism (key word here) isn’t as fast or forceful as it used to be. Gone are the days where you could down a cheeseburger and feel nothing. Now, it seems that 3-pound cheeseburger makes you gain 8 pounds on the spot.

Moreover, as men age, our testosterone levels naturally begin to decline. Low testosterone is linked to increased weight gain and loss of muscle mass. If your hormones are out of whack due to age, diet, or lack of exercise—you’ll start to gain weight and diminish your body’s natural functioning. Learn how to normalize your hormones in 5 easy steps here.

Additionally, those with diabetes and other diseases are more likely to have metabolic syndrome. This is likely because their metabolic syndrome caused their diabetes or diseases.

Smoking is another risk factor for metabolic syndrome. Although not studied, it’s highly probable that those 5% of people with average body weight who have metabolic syndrome are regular smokers.

P.S, Race is not a factor in metabolic syndrome. However, some studies suggest that Mexican-Americans have the highest prevalence of metabolic syndrome in the U.S. The reason is still unclear, though it may have to do with a fattier and heartier diet.

How do you treat metabolic syndrome?

But I have good news to share. Metabolic syndrome is completely curable. You don’t need expensive medications with harsh side effects. You don’t need surgery. And you don’t need secret medicines from secret places.

Metabolic syndrome is completely treatable with lifestyle changes.

And I know this, because I’ve been there.

I went to my doctor for a routine physical exam and found out I was 25 pounds overweight with a cholesterol of 245. When my doctor reviewed life expectancy charts based on my medical history and current health levels… I suddenly realized my own imminent mortality.

I decided to make a change in my lifestyle. In 6 months, I went for a follow-up visit to my doc. I had lost over 20 pounds and reduced my cholesterol to 195. Better yet, I was feeling the best I’d felt since my 20s!

So before you start scoffing at “lifestyle changes”… I’m living proof that it works. These changes in your sedentary lifestyle can help attack the underlying cause of metabolic disease: your weight and your hormones.

So what can you do to get rid of metabolic syndrome and lower your risk for the associated problems like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and *gulp* erectile dysfunction?

By the way, do you know what the second definition of metabolic is?

metabolic (adj): undergoing metamorphosis

It’s time to metamorphose and change your body RIGHT NOW to start lowering your health risks.

1. Boost your metabolism.

If you want to overcome metabolic syndrome, you want to start by boosting your metabolism. Makes sense, right? The metabolism is the natural function that uses food to create energy. The higher your metabolism, the faster you burn calories and fat storage. The slower your metabolism, the more likely you’ll store fat and calories.

Metabolism naturally declines as we age. This decline often makes us gain weight. Moreover, people who are overweight tend to have a lower metabolism generally, because the added fat stress on the body slows down the metabolic processes (hence metabolic syndrome). This causes us to gain even more weight.

It’s a vicious cycle!

It’s time to break it. Who’s with me?

Below are the ways you can boost your metabolism and lose weight—the two keys to unlocking the cure to metabolic disease.

2. Get active.

Metabolic syndrome is directly linked to an inactive lifestyle. You need to get up and move around if you want to burn calories, lose weight, and keep your body’s functioning in shape. Sitting down is proven to be horrible for your health and can lead to weight gain, bone problems, mental concerns, and more. Even just standing up during the workday has been shown to burn an extra 174 calories per day!

Get at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise each day. Even making small changes can help you reach this goal. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Bike to work instead of drive. Play with your kids outside instead of on the Xbox.

The best way to burn fat and boost your testosterone (which helps you burn fat) is HIIT. High-intensity interval training is when you perform quick bursts of high-intensity movement with longer periods of rest and slow movement.

HIIT has been shown to burn more calories and boost fat loss in the short- and long-term. One study of overweight men found that 12 weeks of HIIT reduced their fat mass by 17%.

HIIT also increases your metabolic rate, even hours after your workout has finished. In fact, one study found that just two minutes of sprint exercises elicited the same oxygen and energy consumption as 30 minutes of continuous endurance exercise. That means that HIIT can help you get stronger results for your active 30 minutes every day over traditional forms of exercise.

I recommend mixing HIIT with lifting. Lifting weights has also been shown to increase your resting metabolism by helping to build muscle. The more muscle you have, the more your body burns fat. Also, the more muscle you have, the higher your testosterone levels. And increased testosterone can help you lose weight—oh, and have a stronger libido and better erections.

Lift weights with high resistance for short periods. This means lifting heavier weights for fewer reps. This will get you the benefits of both HIIT and lifting, so you’ll see fast fat loss and increased metabolism!

3. Eat well.

Cut out processed carbs and sugar. These go right to your gut and increase your waistline and risk for metabolic disease.

The best diet for metabolic disease, losing weight, and overall health is the Mediterranean diet. Studies have shown that men on the Mediterranean diet usually have a decrease in body weight and improvements in blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and heart disease. There are also proven links between the Mediterranean diet and a reduced risk of erectile dysfunction. This diet consists highly of fruits, veggies, fish, and whole grains. Oh, and hummus, olive oil, and wine! Yes, I said wine!

(That reminds me. Avoid beer. Beer is high in calories and low in nutrients, which will quickly cause you to gain weight. It’s also highly estrogenic. Estrogen stores fat and kills your testosterone levels. Learn more about the relationship between estrogen, testosterone, and beer here.)

You should also make sure you’re eating enough protein. Normal protein intake is necessary for weight maintenance. I’ll note here that I do not believe in an all-protein diet. You need all three macronutrients (proteins, carbs, and fats) to be healthy. However, you also shouldn’t have an all-carb or all-fat diet, as many Americans us do.

Proteins help you burn more calories, feel more satiated after eating, and suppress your appetite to avoid overeating. This, in turn, leads to weight loss and a boost in metabolism. In fact, protein has been shown to increase resting metabolic rate by 15-30%. Protein can also help you lose fat without losing muscle, which is a common concern when on strict diets.

You should also add more spices to your diet! Spicy food contains capsaicin, which is a healthy antioxidant for the body. Some studies suggest that capsaicin in spicy foods helps to raise your metabolism and aid in weight loss efforts.

Read 13 Natural, Edible Vasodilators To Treat Your ED to find more specific foods that can help reduce your waistline and improve your sex life!

4. Sleep more.

Lack of sleep is directly linked to obesity. This is because lack of sleep lowers your metabolism, forces you to eat more, and unbalances your hormones.

First, sleep deprivation lowers your metabolism drastically. In fact, a lack of sleep may be the leading cause of today’s obesity problem among America’s stressed, overworked population. Sleep deprivation also elevates blood sugar levels and increases the body’s insulin resistance, which both lead to type 2 diabetes.

Moreover, a lack of sleep causes your body to require more food to make up for the lost energy. This means you’ll eat need to eat more calories in order to stay awake. This will up your caloric intake and cause you to gain weight. In addition, your tired body will be trying to conserve energy (aka fat) rather than burn it. So no matter how much you workout or how little you eat, your body will be holding on to its fat stores as a way to make up for the sleepless lack of energy.

So get some sleep… 

5. Manage your stress.

Stress often leads to emotional and physical disaster. Over-eating and a sedentary lifestyle caused by stress can quickly rack up the pounds. Stress can also cause a loss of sleep, as discussed above.

Stress also increases your cortisol levels, which contributes to weight gain, lowered testosterone, an anxious mental state, and increased blood pressure. Learn more about how cortisol and other hormones affect your weight and health here.

So how do you manage stress? There are a number of methods, and you need to find the one that’s best for you. Some great places to start include:

  • Talking to a professional about your stress
  • Yoga and exercise (Yup, getting active will also help manage your stress and lower cortisol levels.)
  • Meditation
  • Green tea
  • Spending more time with family and friends

6. Drink more water.

Drinking water can help boost metabolism and increase weight loss. Drinking water has been shown to increase short-term resting metabolism by 10-30% for an hour. Moreover, consuming cold water burns calories, because your body has to use energy to heat up the liquid to body temperature (water-induced thermogenesis). Plus, water can fill you up so you’ll eat less. In fact, one study found that overweight adults who drank half a liter of water before meals lost 44% more weight than those who didn’t.

7. Stop smoking.

Seriously. Stop. Smoking is a leading cause for metabolic syndrome, heart disease, erectile dysfunction, and cancers. If you need help quitting, talk to a professional who can help get you on the right track.

Bottom Line

Metabolic syndrome and its linked risks can be frightening. If you’ve seen your mortality flash before your eyes, it’s time to put away your fears. With the above 7 lifestyle changes, you can and WILL overcome metabolic syndrome. You’ll lose weight, reduce your insulin resistance and blood pressure, and decrease your risk of associated diseases.

And guess what? You don’t have to do it alone. I’ve been there. I’ve seen my life expectancy chart, and I’ve made the changes myself.

I did it in 6 months. And I’ve continued making changes and studying men’s wellness ever since.

Why? So that you don’t have to.

Sign up for our G1 Performance Health program and get years of expertise… today! With this genetic-based report and private consultation, you can lose weight, reduce your risk of metabolic syndrome, and be on the road to overall health and wellness.

What will YOU look like next month?

Sign up for G1 Performance Health right now, find your vitality and achieve your maximum potential.