A 55 year old testimonial
I am working out one day in the gym when I strike up a conversation with a gentleman in his mid-fifties. I say to him “Looking lean!” and he begins to tell me that he just competed in a physique contest. (These contests are in bathing suits.) He says that he was on 4800 calories a day, gained 13lbs of muscle and was in the gym 6 days a week doing a large amount of volume (reps and sets). He had thick veins popping in his shoulder and down his arms.
Somehow, this feels like an assault to all my experience throughout the years. I am compelled to ask him “Was this a drug tested event?” to which he grins shaking his head no. He then tells me that he is addicted as he shows me pictures on his phone and I wonder if it is the competitions or the juice as the source of that addiction.
As you can imagine, these results are virtually impossible without a little help. Adding many quick pounds of muscle at later ages is reserved for the chemically enhanced. Heck, adding that much muscle as an 18 year old is incredibly difficult with endogenous testosterone levels at the peak of life.
Does it work and is it legal?
The reality is that these drugs do work. Competitive athletes and bodybuilders (well, many consider them athletes) knew this long before doctors acknowledged this fact somewhere in the late 1980’s. The government also set a pretty tight set of laws that was made to stop the sale of these drugs both legitimately and in the black market in the 1990’s. The label given was a Class 3 controlled substance which is in the same category as drugs like cocaine and pain killers.
It became hard to get these drugs after the government shutdown but then eventually something happened. Abbot Laboratories came forward in 2007 and said that testosterone was actually good for men and could do things like lower the incidence of heart disease, increase muscle, lower body fat, help with memory recall, support bone density, increase libido, increase energy, fight depression, etc. They called it “Low T”. So now, one could go to the doctor and get Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) and add this vital chemical in the form of a cream, an injection or pills. Women were also being tested and prescribed testosterone.
The black market or the “I gotta guy” connection was and is still highly illegal. Those that risk this potentially can be risking felony charges. There really is no need for this if testosterone is low and the doctor is available.
Turning Back the Clock
On more than a few occasions, I would chat with members in one of my clubs. I would hear lots of course but often I would hear the war stories of those younger days. These days though, they would come into the gym and walk on the treadmill and use a machine or two. It was if it were some obligation or pact they made when they were young that they would always come no matter what. Surely, the level of enjoyment was not there. I mean they don’t brag about doing a few lat pulldowns or walking for 20 minutes on the treadmill.
Then, it happened that their doctor found low testosterone in their blood work. They told me with great enthusiasm about their new “supplement”, often the cream version. I no longer could find them on the treadmill. They migrated to the back room reserved for doing bench presses and squats and they were talking about girls again… (When they go home to their wives, they switch and talk about the weights…) It was as if the clock turned back 20 years. It didn’t stop there though as the fat weight began to drop and those old muscles seemed to inflate again.
I remember some of my first exposure to steroids. In Williamsburg, Va, I worked out in the summer of 1989 in a gym called Ironbound Gym. On the walls were anti steroid posters with suggestions of baldness, small male anatomy and breast growth. Obviously you have to avoid that!
The take home here is that steroids are drugs, have potential side effects, and pose a level of addiction. With addiction, whether physiological or psychological, addiction can potentially influence dosages, durations and type of selection which can increase the incidence of side effects. Side effects do happen to some, but potentially not all as with any drug. The problem is that you never know if you are that one. What I do find interesting is how it used to be taboo to use steroids but now, if a doctor gives them to you it is OK. The good news is that doctors can mitigate or eliminate many side effects.
As of late, some of the benefits of prescription testosterone has come into question. One study found potential heart risks. Also, the question of whether low test was just something normal with aging was debated. Did Abbott Laboratories “invent” Low T to sell a drug? Are all the Low T symptoms really alleviated by prescription? These issues are still under review.
Steroids when taken do provide a way to increase motivation. For starters, they cost money and when you spend money, there is a commitment you are making. Free, for example, does not often carry that commitment. Next, they provide extra energy for workouts. The big benefit is that they enhance recuperation. This means you can work out harder and more often. They will often increase your work capacity-the ability to do more reps and sets and increase strength. Then there is the affirmation… Your image in the mirror changes rapidly with them than without. That can be quite addicting for many. I have heard stories about bodybuilders finding a new vein every day.
The next time someone on steroids tells you to get motivated, just tell them to give you some of what they are taking…
Where to get
In years past, getting steroids was in tight knit groups. You had to know someone. These days, there are foreign pharmacies all over the internet. US Customs will pick some of them off but apparently many are making their way through. As with any drug, when it is not under US purity and scrutinized, there is the chance that you will get a counterfeit.
Either way, blood levels of testosterone, free testosterone, estrogens, DHT, Cholesterol and PSA should be monitored at a minimum. There is a reason your testosterone is low and it might have something to do with one of these other blood chemicals. Taking this matter into your own hands does have great risks.
Of course, there is your doctor. Generally, if your total testosterone is at 300 or less, you are a good candidate for HRT. However, there are other variables that get considered such as the individual symptoms. For example, your total testosterone is a 350 and your energy and libido is low, this can still prompt a prescription, well, depending on your doctor.
There are natural ways to bring up your testosterone. In my opinion, there are some easy ways (in theory of course) to change those numbers:
-Lower your sugar intake and blood sugar-sugar castrates testosterone
-Make sure your minerals are up such as zinc and magnesium… No zinc; no testosterone.
-Get adequate sleep-7-9 hours per night-wakeups can eventually be minimized with coaching.
-Carnitines such as acetyl-l-carnitine open up testosterone receptors and allow more testosterone in the blood.
-Make sure you have detoxed. This can be complicated but a good multi with a balanced diet should get you started
-Workout with weights. “Cardio” seems to be less effective for raising testosterone.
-Lower your body fat—a little bit of a Catch 22 but fat cells help to produce estrogens which may keep testosterone low
-Avoid foods like soy and utensils/bottles of plastics-arguably detrimental but realistically you can easily find alternatives
There are herbs, vitamins and regimens… If you still need an exact formula, contact me and I can help you with it.