T Nation

37, Training Hard for 4 Years. Considering One Cycle Before TRT

Hi All,

I am new to TNation and would really appreciate some advice.

BACKGROUND:
I am 37 and 6ft with average genetics at best. I was obese when I was 33 at 288lbs (133kg) . I went on a 2 year cut with hard training (mostly weight lifting) and went down to 173 (78kg) but I didn’t have enough muscle on my body and it make me look sick (face sucked in etc). I was probably around 14%bf.

From there I have been training hard and bulking for another 2 years. I am currently 244lbs (110kg) and am around 25%bf wearing 34” jeans. My current one rep maxs are:

  • 315kg (140kg) Bench (life long goal) and 100kg (220lbs) for 13 reps
  • 352lbs (160kg) Squat
  • 352lbs (160kg) Deadlift

I have also been doing BJJ for the last year and absolutely love jiu jitsu.

I did blood work one year ago and my Testosterone and IGF were in “normal range” according to my doc, but they sat between 30% and 50% of the “normal range”.

MY GOAL:
My ultimate goal is to be lean and strong with a large athletic build, but not huge. Essentially, I want to look jacked but on the limits of natural for someone with good genetics. I would be very happy to be 95kg or 100kg at 12% BF.

I have accepted given my age that there will come a time in the near future when I will need to start TRT and this has made me consider a first cycle to keep all the muscle I have gained but lose all the fat, then commence with TRT to keep me at the high end of the “normal range”.

ASSUMPTIONS:
Please assume I have access to any medical supplementation that would be recommend.

Please also assume I have the discipline to eat super clean when needed and train hard.

CONCERNS:

  • I already look pretty big and I don’t want to look bigger and puffy. 100kg lean would be fantastic.

  • I am worried given my age and how I looked when I cut down to 78kg that without going on a cycle, I will lose my strength and size when I start to cut again, ruining my hard work. Even on my first cut I ate 200g of animal protein per day.

  • I love being muscular and strong and I love BJJ. Flexibility and joint pain are a consideration/concern. If there is something that will allow me train bjj more while lifting hard 3 times per week that would be awesome. At the moment my body is probably being pushed to its limits.

Sorry for the long write-up but I wanted to give an accurate picture of my history and my goals.

Thank you!

First off, bravo on the huge weight loss. That takes serious discipline and dedication.

So what is the question? Whether or not to cycle before going on trt? Because if that’s the case I’d say skip the cycle and just go the trt route instead. It’ll give you some great benefits without exposing you to the potential side effects of a higher dosed cycle. You’ll have time to adjust your protocol, learn how you feel (and recover) while on test, and you’ll probably get some added bonus by stretching out the length of time you’ll be able to cut without it causing too much muscle loss. By having a smaller deficit over a longer period of time you’d theoretically hold onto more strength and size because the big change in calories would be absorbed in smaller bites. If you wanted to lose 10lbs in 10 weeks it would be tougher than losing 10lbs in 20 weeks, right?

For reference, I’m on trt now. I’m also cutting slowly. I initially went two weeks at a much higher deficit and it was…lousy. But now I’ve recalibrated my macros and my deficit and I am much happier. The scale has only moved 2lbs over the last three weeks, but I feel better, my pants are starting to get loose, and I haven’t lost any strength. I have no end date to this particular cut because with trt I get to dictate the terms. It’s not an arbitrary date set by the length of a cycle. Now maybe I’m not a good reference point, because I’m just a regular dude who isn’t competing, isn’t set on any particular goal, and can take my time. But if you’re in the same boat then I would highly recommend exploring trt further. It changed everything about my life and I wouldn’t have done it any differently. FYI, my testosterone levels were “normal” too (315, 343), but they were low enough that quality of life was being impacted. The range doctors have is far, far too wide to actually give much guidance for most of us.

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@iron_yuppie Thank you for the positive reinforcement! I also appreciate your advice.

I was under the impression that a one off cycle of say 400mg test and something to help cut, plus a substantial calorie deficit could lean me out very well quickly with little side effects and while keeping my strength. I could then start my ongoing trt regime after.

I understand your advice is to just opt for TRT. Thank you for taking the time to read and give me your advice.

Get your TRT Protocol nailed down for the first 3-6 months, then consider a blast off say 500mg if you still wish to go down that route. As iron says above, TRT alone is enough for some people to see a big difference. I can get massive on my 125mg TRT dose when my eating and training is consistent, though I do love upping my dose a few times a year to 500mg.

Get the TRT going first see how you get on, then you can always run a higher dose down the line, that way if you are getting bad sides on a higher dose you have a tried and tested Protocol to drop into. Bloods will give you a fair idea and how you feel. I wouldn’t worry about an AI, but have something on hand like arimidex just in case but you shouldn’t need it on them doses.

@Rizla81 and @iron_yuppie your advice makes good sense. I am going to go for updated bloodwork early Jan, but my last results in March 2017 were:

Testosterone:
18.9 nmol/L on (normal range of 9 to 30)

IGF-1:
180 (normal range 109 to 284)

Sex Hormone Binding Globulin:
39 (normal range 18 to 50)

Free Androgens Index:
48.5

Other results attached.

Am I likely to see a big difference going into the top natural range? TRT or full HRT?

I guess I am also asking myself and you guys, “at age 37, given that I know TRT is going to happen sooner or later, is there a big downside to starting earlier in my life and given my last blood results should it make a big difference?

Thank you all for the help and support!