This is the fourth post in my TRT series. I told you I’d share the experience, and I’ve made good on that promise.
If you’ve missed the rest of the series, here’s the first post.
The second post, first update, can be found here.
The third post, second update, can be found here.
Welcome back to the fourth post.
Some of the things I write are purely “How To…” and only partly auto-biographical. I learned how to do something and I tell you what I learned. This isn’t one of those things.
No, this is purely auto-biographical, and I hope you learn something in the process. If you do, then I’m happy to help you. If you don’t, then I’m still benefiting the person I created this for — Me.
Context and History of my Health
My health “advice” is never advice because my anecdotes are anecdotes. What is wrong with my body likely won’t be 100% applicable to you because you’re not me.
To separate what is and isn’t applicable to you, you need to know my history. Here’s a short version.
- I was born prematurely, skipped a trimester, and my organs are various shades of fucked up.
- I’ve broken more bones than I haven’t.
- Ten years of martial arts, ten more years of weight training, and I have little to show for it but mass.
- I recently lost 115 lbs, much of which was obviously muscle.
- At 26 years old, I discovered I had very low testosterone.
How do you eat an elephant? One plate at a time. We will discuss these issues very briefly, as I’ve gone in deeper detail elsewhere.
- My organs (lungs, bladder, and liver to name a few) will be lifelong concerns for me. I’ll make the daily habits that will provide the long term results I want.
- The bones I’ve broken have healed, and optimal testosterone will keep me from having as much to worry about going forward.
- We’ll come back to mass later.
For now, we’ll talk about Testosterone. The inspiration for this post was my 8th month TRT appointment yesterday. I did an update based on my experience, but I didn’t have the numbers until now.
Let’s Talk Numbers – My Testosterone Over Time
We will only be discussing Total Testosterone. Free T and other markers to monitor are important, for sure. But remember, you eat an elephant one plate at a time.
In June, my total testosterone was at its lowest I ever tested. 268 ng/dl.
By August, I had managed to increase my total testosterone to 374 ng/dl. While this is within the “normal range”, it isn’t normal for a 26 year old. I started TRT in mid-August.
By October, I had been on my “starter dose” for two months. This period was to determine how my body reacted to the amount of testosterone and the ester I was taking. I responded well, and my Total Testosterone rose to 636 ng/dl.
On my original dose, I experienced a 70% increase in total testosterone. That translated into an incredible result on my health and my body.
My quality of life improved in every way. I was still put on a higher dose of testosterone, because I wasn’t optimized yet.
It has now been 6 months since my dose was increased. My total testosterone yesterday was 928 ng/dl.
That’s a 46% increase from October. A 248% increase since starting TRT. An incredible difference in my quality of life.
Let’s Talk Numbers – My Weight Over Time
Body weight is not body composition, and my stance on weight reflects this. I honestly do not care what I weigh so long as I am not small. I have been small, I didn’t like it, and I never want to be small again.
My weight and composition goals can be summed up simply: I want to be big without being fat.
I have the advantage of being short for a man. I am 5’9″ tall, so I do not need as much mass to be big as if I were 6’3″.
Big to me means weight at or above 200 lbs and fat to me means >15% body fat. You can’t tell weight with your eyes, but you can tell fat. I am currently big and fat per my own definition.
Not too long ago, I was fat but not big. I didn’t like that either. It was the first time in my adult life that other men were significantly bigger than me yet I was still fatter than them.
While getting my dose right on TRT, I made no effort to lose body fat or build muscle. I wanted to see what would happen “naturally”.
My caloric intake stayed exactly the same from June to April. I kept my training routine exactly the same as it was in June, with one exception. I trained 6 days per week before TRT, and since August I have trained 2 days per week.
Let’s Talk Numbers – Fuck The Scale
My home scale told me I weighed 210 when I started TRT. The doctor’s scale reported 236 the same day. There can be variance between scales, but 26 lbs is more than just variance. Let’s break that down.
Fully dressed, with pistol, ammo, knives, wallet, phone, keys, and clothing, my EDC load weighs right at 10 lbs. Some days it weighs 8.2 lbs, some days 12.4, so I split the difference at 10 lbs flat.
This matters because I weighed at the doctor’s fully dressed, and weigh nude at home. That puts my Home weigh-in at 210 lbs and my Doctor weigh-in at 226, giving a discrepancy of 16 lbs.
For all I know, I could’ve actually weighed 322 lbs when I thought I weighed 306. This is why you shouldn’t become too emotionally invested in a scale – they’re usually wrong.
Why bring it up at all, then? To discuss how my weight has changed on TRT since August, of course.
Yesterday, the Doctor’s scale showed 255 lbs. Allowing for the gear I was wearing, that’s roughly 245 lbs. I’ve gained 19 lbs since starting TRT, and that’s a good thing.
I am wearing the exact same clothes I wore when I was 191 lbs and they’re looser today than they were then. This is because my body fat percentage is lower, because my muscle mass has increased.
Not every one of those 19 lbs was muscle, but many of them were. Most of my weight gain has likely been water and muscle, with the remainder being fat gain.
My waist and hip measurements have not increased, but my back, chest, shoulders, biceps, and forearms have.
That’s exactly where you want weight gain as a man. I’m not concerned.
Let’s Talk Numbers – Testosterone and Body Weight
From my lowest point to the present day, my testosterone has increased by 346%. While eating the same foods and training the same way, with no intention to gain or lose mass, I have gained 19 lbs and much of it is muscle.
Per my own definition, I am big and fat. I plan to stay big, because I like being big. If you had high testosterone, you’d prefer to be big too. But you wouldn’t want to be fat like I am right now.
I said that 2017 was the year I took control of my health.
The first 3 things I wanted to do were:
- Improve Breathing
- Improve Sleep
- Make proper hydration a habit
- Find my optimal TRT dosage
I have done these four things, which took 4 years to do. I expected them to take longer, but that’s not how destinations work. You take steps every day, and you get there when you get there.
Next on the list is losing body fat, but I’m in no rush. I’ve been reshaping my body for 4 years, so I don’t mind taking another 8 months to lose body fat.
The excess skin I have on my stomach will probably prevent me from “looking cut” without a skin reduction, but I’m never planning on standing on a stage in a swimsuit. I care much more about having enough body fat to live well, while not having so much it has the opposite effect.
Additional side-by-sides are further below.
I will be living in this body for the rest of my life, and I want to get the most out of that time. You won’t be seeing another update in this series until I feel I’ve made enough progress to warrant an update.
Thanks for stopping by. Y’all have a nice day, now.