Testosterone: To T or Not To T?

You need to see a doctor. Scheduling these tests (dexa, bloodwork, etc.) is fine - but you need a doctor guiding your care and recovery.

Further - its very clear that you don’t know what is causing your fatigue and other issues but you think it is low T without any objective evidence. See. A. Doctor.

If your problem is hormonal - it takes months to change the production levels within your body. Taking a single week off will be enough for you to physically recover but not enough for your hormone levels to meaningfully change. You can certainly try changing your training levels and modalities to find something that will allow your body to return to its normal state, but the only truly certain way is going to be a dramatic reduction or pause in your training

However, you should find out what is causing whatever issues you have before you diagnose and adjust anything. Seek a medical professional’s opinion

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Thank you for your detailed answer, @OreoCookie . You may be spot on on a lot of things, indeed. What made me think: how do you guys usually feel yourself when training hard? Not right in the training session, but generally, in the months when you undergo a heavy training sessions? How one can subjectively and objectively measure if the load is bearable, or too much, before feeling overtrained (when it’s already too late)?

Do you feel pretty normal all the time? Full of energy, great mood, excellent sleep, no libido troubles at all? Or it’s still normal to feel yourself tired for a day, or two (o three)?

I’m also wondering should I completely stop cycling while recovering the next month to come? As I’m usually spending my whole day while staying at home, may be I should still do some easily spinning every couple of days, some push ups etc? To just be on par with a normal person living a normal life. Doing absolutely nothing doesn’t seem like a healthy rest to me as well…

I’ll do, at some point. The odds are, still, I’ll have to decide on treatment myself, in the end anyway. HRT protocols accepted in our state a way behind the rest of the world. Drugs you may receive with doctor’s prescriptions are subpar to what is considered best practices in countries with more advanced health care. I’ve talked to a few people who had experience with that system, and their advice was to not bother, just buy propianate T from… let’s say non-state vendors, and administer it yourself. You can’t get the same quality drugs with the prescription around here.

I’d say it goes in waves, which is why good training plans have recovery built in and have periodization. Frequently I get to the end of a build cycle and I do not feel good at all. Some rest and recovery is necessary to get my self feeling strong. At the beginning of March I totally cooked myself about a month before my A race. It took me a couple months of lower volume and less pressure to get motivated again. Part of that was because of changes at work, my son’s t-ball starting and I was head coach. All of these types of stressors add up and must be dealt with.

I think your inclination is to bite off more than you can chew.

Heavy strength training plus heavy intervals on one day is probably too much and you aren’t going to recover enough for the next heavy strength session.

It is September. The cycling season is almost over. And you need a break.

After you take some time off, you need to think about lots of low intensity Z1/Z2 to build a base and maintain aerobic fitness. You could throw in some tempo or the occasional sweet spot interval but I think you’d probably over do those.

If you want to do heavy weights, then ok, do that plus very easy aerobic riding this fall/winter. You don’t need the heavy weight lifting plus the heavy intervals. It’s a recipe for disaster and you especially don’t need it in September. You can’t do it all, all of the time.

In January, you have to think about cutting back on the weights and then starting a build phase (interval progression). After a few months, you’ll be flying in the spring. Then you need to thread the needle maintaining performance while keeping fatigue at bay while you enjoy outdoor rides during the season.

You just can’t keep doing weights, intervals, and 5-10 hour rides all the time.

My fixation on adding the weight lifting is due to the fact, as I said, I lived an unhealthy, sedentary life for decades. I was pretty week and frail all around, and cycling was fixing it very assymetrically, if at all. They also say you get a lot of benefits from strength training as a cyclist. In my case I have weak and frail core and upper torso muscles which prevent me from maintaining a good posture on a bike. That results in a lot of discomfort while riding long distances.

I’m not lifting though (except winter when I cut on cycling naturally), but exercise with my weight - pull ups, push ups, squats on one leg etc. So it’s not extremely heavy.

Well Ill jump into the T discussion. End of 2021 was a crap year but training was going fine. Work and home was a different story. Long story short was the wife and I had the same schedule in the same building for 20 yrs. I never get tired of being with my wife which lets you know how great she is. Restructure hit and all of the sudden we were on completely different schedules. So much that some rotations I wouldnt see her for 10 days at a time. I would be asleep when she came home. As you can imagine, lots of STRESS from the job change and isolation from my wife. Training went well until it didnt. Sex crashed and burned. I couldnt get it up. I was so exhausted that after work I couldnt bring myself to do anything. At the time, I was 55 training 8-12hrs a week. Finally told myself if this is normal, Im done with life. I hadnt been to a doc in 10 yrs and made an appt. First thing was a blood panel.

LOW TESTOSTERONE
LOW VITAMIN D

Wrestled with doing the T injections, did my research and even opened a topic in here on it. Decided to give it a try. Very minimal dose made an impact right away. I know when you start injecting, the natural production halts. I did it for 8 months. Things at work changed and a major improvement with available time with my wife. IE that stressor was more or less eliminated. I started at month 6 to reduce dosage and was off by month 8.

Took until this year that I can say on a daily basis I feel like I did at 55. I was fortunate that my endocrine system allowed my return to natural production. I havent tested but I function just fine in the bedroom now.

If you really need it, you will know it. Things in the bedroom dont work and training is something you cant even dream of.

ITS NOT SAID ENOUGH BUT STRESS (BOTH PHYSICAL AND MENTAL) CREATED HAVOC WITH HORMONES INCLUDING T.

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This is a pretty telling comment.

If you have decided to do your own thing without help from a Dr then I don’t think there’s much value asking strangers on a forum.

We’ve largely all suggested that you need to find the root cause first, whether that’s overtraining or something else (stress or other medical issue etc).

Go see a Dr.

Are you going to follow the prescription advice from bodybuilding forums? Does the provider of your preferred T also provide you with monitoring and advice on dosage and timelines etc?

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I will talk to doctor when I’ll have all the data at hand, no worries here. It’s just in case it will have to be HRT, I already know exactly what kind of recommendations I’ll receive, there is not much options involved. And what they’ll recommend is outdated drugs they are accustomed to work with. They don’t care whether it’s best for you, it’s just the only thing approved - and even getting this drugs may take time, like months of time.

I doubt it will be a good idea to tell the doc that you don’t agree with that prescription and ask to help with monitoring me administering drug that isn’t legally approved. I could ask, but I suspect they won’t agree. So unfortunately I may have to study the subject myself, and rely on hands on experience, even if it’s from bodybuilders’ forums.

If something else is proven safe and effective it will be approved. Anything else is taking a risk. That’s why Drs only use approve medications.

Its likely available with a prescription the next day, a few days at most.

Its 100% a good idea to tell a Dr if you disagree with them and why. They want the best outcome for you and if you aren’t going to take their advice they will give you the pros and cons of their strategy vs your own strategy. They absolutely want to know if you are taking cocaine and will advise you against it, but will modify your treatment accordingly if you tell them you’re going to keep taking it (for example).

This is bad. Don’t take medical advice from forums over doctors.

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Is that something that has been diagnosed by a doctor or conjecture on your part?

Low libido is caused by a whole host of issues, and perhaps you are within the norm. I have many friends whose sex drive sounds like yours. Stress (e. g. in the job) is a huge factor, too, as is sleep. You shouldn’t all automatically deduce it is low testosterone.

Even if it were low testosterone, guess what is a cause of low testosterone levels: overtraining. So hormone replacement therapy might not be the answer, but training less. If your doctor prescribed you hormones directly without exploring other avenues (like overtraining), I’d look for another doctor.

That’s insufficient: it seems you have no macro cycles. Do you follow a TR plan? If not, this is where I’d start: pick a low-volume plan and adjust it to your needs. Schedule rest after 6 months where you do nothing for about 2 weeks.

This is a big topic.

  • The biggest help is to develop a good perception of your own body, and your relationship to your body should start from love and care. Sounds weird, but you have to take care of your own body (and mind) if you want it to perform. Don’t take out the whip.
  • Value rest periods and take them as seriously as any hard training session: rest weeks are when you get faster, so not letting yourself rest will make you slower. Rest periods in between training plans are essential to reset your body. Ideally, you have built a higher platform to start training off of.
  • Rest periods should be regular and you should only be doing short workouts at substantially lower volume and intensity.
  • Sleep 8 hours per day. This is so easy to say and so hard to do. What has helped me is to simply not train if I slept less than 7:30 hours the night before. Right now, I’m personally not adhering as closely to that, because our kids sometimes have trouble sleeping, but I can definitely feel the impact.
  • When you are fresh, the right amount of volume intensity feels super easy at first, way too easy in fact. So you should not go off of how you feel in the moment, unless you have a lot of experience with structured training.
  • You need proper structure, i. e. intensity, volume and workout types have to vary across a season. You cannot create a 1-month program (with micro and mesocycles) and repeat that ad nauseaum. That’s a way to ruin yourself. You won’t grow, because the stimulus has to change over the year (i. e. you need macrocycles). Rather than trying to create a cycling training plan yourself, you should e. g. start with one of TR’s plans. (Of course, you can also buy plans from reputable sources like FasCat Coaching.)
  • Err on the easy side: consistency is king. Being able to up power 2–5 % in a workout is much less consequential than consistently being able to finish workouts.

You of course feel the impact of training. But you will also feel the impact of life stress. E. g. the period around my mom’s death was very stressful, as was the birth and life changes of our second child. You cannot divorce your training from that, and you should have a clear set of priorities and act accordingly. Be flexible and wind down training if you have to.

Libido is also difficult to judge: our youngest is still not even 1 year old, and simply the schedules of my wife plus kids getting up at random hours at night makes intimacy hard. Plus, taking care of kids really tires you out. My wife trains at night while I train in the morning, which reduces overlap, too.

I’d spend at least a month off the bike, if not two. And I wouldn’t go to the gym either. You should really let your body recover and heal, and that isn’t going to happen when you replace stress on the bike by stress in the weight room. I’d probably aim for 6 weeks before getting on the bike for an easy spin.

No, no sport. It’s going to be hard, but that’s part of training. You have to climb out of the hole you dug for yourself. PEDs are not a substitute for training properly, and they won’t magically bail you out. There is always a price to pay.

In some situations doing nothing can be the best and healthiest thing you can do for yourself. Remember: rest is part of training!

You seem to know a lot here about PEDs, but more than specialists in the field. Also, testosterone is not a harmless substance, any reputable doctor will explore other avenues first, as well as they should.

Don’t do that. The doctor could lose their license and go to jail.

Are you getting enough high quality (ie animal) protein (2g/kg) and enough high quality (ie animal) fats (1g/kg) and vitamin D3 (at least 3000 IU/day)

And since you are here, have you actually tried training with trainer road?

Did OP ever end up doing T or not? I once considered TRT due to low T-Levels after I had them tested - it was at the very low end of the normal range but decided not to, mostly because I did not want to make taking injections a part of my life from here on out. But I do sometimes think about how much vigor I had in my 20’s and early 30’s…

I can get with this program…

Testosterone levels are a weird thing. You could be in the low range of normal and feel, look strong as an ox. The question for long term is:

  1. What are the risks?
  2. What’s wrong with having to use it forever?

I can’t imagine feeling like some of the posters in this thread and not doing something about it. I don’t have any problem with people racing while on drugs either.

The long term risks are unknown. There’s nothing wrong with having to use it forever if you need to. The grey area is whether the unknown risks are worth it if you are just in the camp of wanting to feel younger.

I have a friend dying of prostate cancer. Part of his treatment is to suppress his natural T. Really awful process. He feels like complete shit.

I guess I would be worried about amplifying a tiny chance of prostate cancer by doing TRT.

Ive monitored it for years, but never taken T therapy. Im on the low side, as are most endurance athletes. My take- after you clean up your diet, exercise on a normal level (and no, most “endurance training” isn’t “normal”) and you’re still low-T, then therapy is a good option. I worry about the risks of synthetic T, but low-T is no bueno either. Lots of risks on both sides.

And therin lies the knock on TRT. Because its just a fact that lots of men die and have prostate cancer. They didnt die or even realize they had prostate cancer. Its very common as you get older. But it is a very slow growing cancer…and that growth is tied to Test levels. Having low T means your prostate cancer is slow growing but add T and it grows faster. There are also some clotting concerns…

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Ditch your trainer

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