Im 55 and been cycling for a decade. Before that it was dirtbikes, windsurfing and wakeboarding. I train 350-400hrs a year. I dont have a great ftp so I run at a high percentage of ftp to keep up in group rides. That means lots of unstructured intensity on those rides. I do take my solo endurance rides seriously and have no problem slowing down. I average 8-11 hours a week and take my rest weeks either thu vacations or drastically reduced volume for the week. As a general rule, I can take punishment. Last yr my big week was 1200 TSS and that was 3x my normal week. Any way this year I just havent felt good. Not debilitating energy level but never any great energy days. My skin went all teenager on me. Acne like crazy. Im not really overweight but not really lean either. Im a mesomorph. Took almost 2 months of drastically reduced riding in Aug/Sept hoping for a reset. Picked up TR again and limited myself to 3 days a week riding since Oct. Energy still gone and decreased libido and ED showed up. I knew my blood pressure had gotten to the point where it needed to be looked at. 140s/75 so I went to the Dr. Told him my situation and he told me blood pressure needed to be brought to the forefront and ran a blood panel. What came back was not what I was expecting. Cortisol OK, Cholesteral OK, Vitamin D Not OK and Testosterone Not OK (238). I was expecting a high cortisol from the chronic training. My test was done after a 10 day break. The Vitamin D I get. Its winter here and while I ride outside, Im covered pretty good. In the summer, its sunscreen for my face and thats it. Dr agrees it will bounce back as I get more sun on the skin. I dont race so Im not worried about Testosterone therapy. He is going to put me on a low dose to start. He said he is not shooting for a number, but how I am feeling. What can I expect from Testosterone therapy?
”Treating normal aging with testosterone therapy is not advisable. If you don’t have a medical condition that’s contributing to your decline in testosterone levels, your doctor might suggest natural ways to boost testosterone, such as losing weight and increasing muscle mass through resistance exercise.”
FWIW I wouldn’t take it.
I’m not a doc and on’t have a low T issue, but if it were me, I’d only do T therapy as a last resort. I don’t think you are there yet…sounds like you doc just said “oh, this will take care of it”
I would investigate other therapies and treatments before I opted for T therapy.
I’ll be 55 this year, been cycling for 4 years, and do nowhere near the volume you do (270 hours would be a big year for me).
I had a 202 Testosterone 5 years ago and did a TON of research on replacement therapy and decided it just wasn’t worth it. Once you start taking it your body stops making it all together, so it’s something you will be on the rest of your life. There are also some fairly bad risks like stroke, heart attack and prostate cancer. If you have a naturally high hematocrit there is a risk of it getting to high on T replacement, I’m at 49-51 so that was another reason I decided against it.
Did you get your thryroid checked ? If so what was your TSH ?
There is some debate about the threshold to go on thyroid meds, some doctors will be ok with you going on it with a level of 4 or 5, and others won’t do it until you are at 7 or 8.
I somehow got my T up to 315 a few years later, too much sugar is know to lower it. I also have a physical job that involves a lot of lifting, so if you aren’t doing it now I might add some weight training.
I would also take Vitamin D supplements as that can have a huge impact on your energy levels. I live in the PNW and sun is a rare thing in the winter so I take 1000iu a day of vitamin D. Low vitamin D is pretty common in people that live at high latitudes, especially with a climate like PNW or UK.
Low libido I hate to say is probably just from age, we are not in our 20’s anymore and it’s unreasonable to think we will be like that in our mid 50’s, mine started to drop off a few years ago.
I am doing the research on the risks. I do have a physical job. Lift boxes of meat all day (10-80lb ea). Its mostly upper body stuff. I am wondering about the vitamin D deficiency. I felt lousy during the summer where I spend a bunch of time outdoors in a cycling kit in the sun or on a sailboat. I need to start the vitamin D supplements now to see if there is any effect. I guess my libido in actuality is pretty good but performance issues are killing me. And it happened rather quickly. I wish there was a medical study on active older men on T therapy. I understand it can elevate cholesteral but wondering if diet and activity minimizes that. Thanks for your input.
That’s and impressive amount of training for all the lifting at work. I do 40-50 pound car batteries and will lift 50,000 pounds on a busy day. There are times like today where I’m just too tired from work to do any hard training. I just messed around on my CX bike doing dismounts and bike handling skills today.
FWIW my TSH was 4.89 and getting on thyroid meds got it down to ~2 and I felt a lot better.
Before doing anything, first ensure you have an accurate testosterone level.
To be accurate, testosterone levels must be checked in the morning between 8-10am. This is because the levels decline as the day progresses.
It should be done fasting because eating and especially glucose can lower the level.
If the value is in the low or borderline range the test should be repeated 1-2 times to ensure the value is correct.
If you have an unequivocally low testosterone level, the next step is to establish the cause.
That’s not true and it wasn’t the case for me. Your body will stop making testosterone if you abuse supplementation. About 9-10 years ago after I’d been doing CrossFit for 10 years and competing in CrossFit events, my health diminished. I was the fittest/strongest I’ve ever been in my life at age 34, yet I felt horrible! All the traditional medical tests said I was in exceptional health, yet I wasn’t. It was extremely frustrating for about a year constantly seeing doctors and specialist to no end.
With no other options I sought out a well respected holistic doctor. I learned I was overtrainined, had adrenal fatigue and leaky gut syndrome. Additionally, my testosterone was at the low end of what the “acceptable” range is said to be. However it was very low considering my age, health and fitness level. I did many things to address all my health issues and one was being on testosterone (T) therapy. I was on T for probably a year. However this, among everything else, was strictly monitored to ensure I wasn’t suppressing my natural T. Then I eventually weaned off of T and felt no difference. Fast forward 10 years (44 now) and my T is dead in the middle of “normal”.
@MI-XC can you expand on adrenal fatigue and LG syndrome? Just interested as I don’t hear many chatting about it is all…
I wouldn’t take T, but instead focus on getting your Vitamin D levels up. Low Vitamin D will decrease Testosterone.
Wow, that’s a big discussion and probably too much for a forum. If you have any specific questions let me know.
What other changes did you make in diet, supplements, and exercise routine to be able to get off the T supplementation and remain at a normal level?
Many things that were prescribed and monitored by my doctor. These were addressing all of my health issues and not just specifically my low testosterone.
Elimination Diet - predicated on a food allergy test. Turned out I have a high sensitivity to almonds. Which was awesome since I had for years prior replaced almost all flour with almond flour.
Supplements - too many to discuss, but vitamin D pills and weekly vitamin B IV drips at one point.
stoped all high intensity exercise, which meant Crossfit of course. That eventually led to not doing much exercise at all for years even though I tried to get back into a groove dozens of times. Was kinda lost after loosing my CrossFit identity. Eventually I found cycling, instantly hooked, at age 40 and haven’t looked back since .
EDIT: during my CrossFit days I was on a strict Paleo and Zone diet. I stopped all that stupid s**t.
Thanks for your reply. I’m glad you were able to figure this out for yourself. I was diagnosed with low T a few years back and was able to get back in a normal range by making some diet changes. I cut out flaxseed and soy products, started taking vitamin D, started eating more healthy fats and proteins, cut out some sugar from my diet, started lifting weights, and switched to a more polarized training model (instead of thrashing myself every ride). I would like to do one of those food allergy tests and see what other improvements I can make to my diet. I am 53 years old, by the way.
Yeah sorry didn’t mean for you to do a Ted Talk or anything. With respect to adrenal fatigue I was interested in knowing if adrenal fatigue cause you to spiral down or was it more over exercising that caused adrenal fatigue? Hope that makes sense…if not no worry.
I think I was so far deep in the hole it was everything at that point. I was a mess for such a long time but I kept pressing on with CrossFit. So I can’t say what was the catalyst as I was a hot mess at the diagnosis stage.
For those who supplement with Vitamin D … how much are you taking per day?
I’m taking 1000mg/day. Is that low? High?
I don’t have any of the problems outlined in this thread, but I do have a bit of a Vitamin D deficiency, which is why I supplement. Just curious…
What I didn’t read is sleep. At 62 I find I have to get to bed at a regular time every day and get 8-9 hours of sleep to recover. If I have a beer or three it’s day drinking so it doesn’t disrupt sleep as much. I’ve been trying to make sleep as important maybe even more than training.
Very high chronic stress can lead to the overproduction of cortisol to the detriment of other adrenal steroid hormones. The precursor hormone pregnenolone gets shunted to cortisol, a condition called “pregnenolone steal” . This can lead to lower DHEA levels, which seem to play a role in intestinal function. This can precipitate auto immune problems. I have an acquaintance who trained heavily and ended up with autoimmune vasculitis of his major vessels.
To be honest, I thought cortisol would be off the chart on my blood test. It wasnt. I train consistently and with intensity. My skin changes and night sweats made me think I was chronically fatigued and some sort of hormone imbalance. Then the ED showed up. There was a hormone imbalance all right. Turns out its low testosterone. I have reduced training the last couple of months in duration but not intensity as that is TR. I am performing well on the bike but my life off the bike is sucking right now. I am still in research mode as far as T therapy. Really hoping for more input from people who have used it. For sure the main focus is to get BP down and Vitamin D up. If I could get this done and get back to performing in the bedroom, I could live with that. I would rather get sexual function back with a pill that is affecting me for a couple of hours over something in my body full time.