T Nation

Am I Crazy???


#1

Hi, Everyone. This is my first post. I'm a 50 year old psychiatrist who used to be a national caliber shot and disc thrower in my college days. However, I loved training and lifting more than track itself. In particular, I was a madman on the power clean.

I did 300 in high school (1975), 400 three years later, and was clean and jerking 420 my senior year of college. I really wanted to make it to the Olympics, in either track or lifting, but President Carter the Stupid boycotted the games.

That took the wind out of my sails, and I needed to pursue my second love, medicine. I subsequently worked as a doctor for the next thirty years, but never gave up lifting. However, age and life beat me down, especially five years ago when I was in a horrible car accident which seriously screwed up my back (herniated discs, radiculopathies, three surgeries.) I also had to have both shoulders surgically fixed, partly old tears from lifting.

So, I take a year off work, but just sit around getting fat and "relaxing." I am not happy after this year. I find an "age management" doctor, who measures all my hormones, and I am overwhelmed to find I have clinical hypothyroidism, my Testosterone is pathetic (102) and GH very low as well.

I get put on HRT and within weeks, I am a new man. In three months, I go from 32 to 17% bodyfat, my back and shoulders barely hurt anymore, and I look and feel great. Most people would just be thrilled, keep on doing what I was doing (the usual cross-training, cardio and careful bodybuilding exercises.

However, I am not most people. My love of Olympic lifting, especially cleaning, came back, and I started doing cleans again, for the first time in DECADES. In very short order, I am back to 275 and climbing fast. I am stiff as a board, so I am stretching like crazy in order to do jerks and snatches soon. I can military 185, but it hurts a bit.

My doctors, my friends, my wife, everyone says I am crazy and that I will crush a disc or tear my sewn up rotators for sure if I keep it up. But it is like a disease, this need to lift heavy weights. It is one of the greatest rushes (for me) I have experienced in this life. I want to go as far as I can go, maybe get up in the high 300's again.

I have been more impressed with the candor and personal stories on this site than all the others I looked into joining. I hope to share my experience as a shrink to anyone who needs it. But is this shrink crazy to do what he is doing in the gym???


#2

No, you're not crazy! What would your family and friends prefer, that you die at an early age from sitting on your fat ass on the coach eating crap and being sedentary? Or would they prefer that you do what you love, beating all odds and being HAPPY with yourself and your life? I hope they're really prefer the later.

/rant over

BTW, I think it's very cool that you're back after ~30 years off. Show the world how its done. And plot your journey here so we can all watch and give kudo's where kudo's are due.

Glad you found the site... Welcome "Home".


#3

"A certain degree of neurosis is of inestimable value as a drive, especially to a psychiatrist."

Sigmund Freud

But you already know that. I'm 53, and have found that while my strength can still increase, there is a limit to the amount of stress my joints can take.

Did you ever wonder why there are a good number of powerlifters over 50, but hardly any Olympic lifters? As long as your cartilage and tendons hold up without injury, go for it.

But then, what do I know? You're the MD. Physicians are able to heal themselves :^)


#4

Question, if they take you off HRT will you return to your 102 levels or will it stay at a slightly higher level? Is this something they just recommend taking for the rest of your life?


#5

I wanted to thank Hot Az for her comments and to Yo Momma, I appreciate the Freud reference. At the heart of most great motivations is a kernal of some "neurosis," but as we know, neurosis is a hard thing to define. In my world, if one's "abnormal" thoughts lead to excellence, as long as they don't hurt anything or anyone, it's OK.

I'd enjoy further discussions on strength, tendon and cartilage health, and overall recovery in the older Olympic lifter in particular. But a part of me loves bodybuilding too-I'm not in this to look like Alexiev (for you young folks, that was the fat Russian Superheavyweight champion).


#6

To Airtruth,
That's a great question. They (the non-bodybuilding doctors) assume they can keep you on it for life with occassional dose adjustments. I don't believe that will work well in the long run. I think eventually there will need to be some sort of cycling on and off. I don't think the offs will be so bad since the goal is just to get T levels to high normal levels, but I could be wrong and they may be dreadful. I wonder if the bodybuilders out there have some helpful hints.

I know HCG is one way, but I'm not sure about that one yet. The part of Age Management Medicine that bothers me is that a lot of docs have jumped into it because there's a lot of money to be made, without thinking about long term issues. As soon as they saw studies showing T didn't cause increased prostate cancer in normal folks, they were off and running.


#7

Well, if YOU are crazy, then most of us here are crazy too. Of course you could charge us for psychiatric analysis and afford some nice, new body parts for yourself 8^).

I would suggest you read up on some of the articles here concerning stretching, joint health, etc. Take it easy at first until your connective tissues build up to your muscle strength levels. Get some Flameout fish oil to control inflammation. Etc. etc.

Stay strong and healthy. Welcome back to the Iron Game!


#8

My FMA instructor had a little story he used to tell about training.

If you want to defend yourself in 90% of situations, you can take self defense classes for a month. That's good enough.

If you want to defend yourself in 99% of situations, you can take self defense classes for six months. Again, that's good enough.

But if you're still taking classes after six months, it's not because you want to handle more situations or have more success defending yourself.

It's because you like it.

Pretty much everything falls into that same pattern. Nobody really needs to lift 300 pounds. If you kept going long enough to lift 400, it wasn't because of some need, it was because you liked it. The reasons don't apply anymore.

That's not crazy. If you like something, do it. Do it smart, but do it all the same.

And I can already tell you're smart, because you think Carter was stupid.


#9

Hey CDarklock,
Definitey on target with that line of reasoning. I thought back, I C@J'd 300 in high school because I needed to reach that number to tie the state record. I did 400 plus in college because I needed the explosive strength in the shot put. I don't need anything now, I just want it.

It oddly reminds me of a depressing movie-The Life Of David Gale-when he was explaining why he would rather die for the cause of protesting the death penalty. He had reached a point in his life where his problems exceeded his passions. We all desperately need passions in life, whether young or old. It gets a little harder to find them when you are older, I think.

But I know I have found mine, or rediscovered it. Passion is the fuel which pushes us to go far beyond what we would normally do. For instance, training to be "fit" and lower your cholesterol is a good reason, but not liekly to produce the passionate drive to excell.

 Anyway, ROFL on the Carter reference. But RED ALERT, my favorite talk show host, Letterman, dared insert a Carter speech last night in the usually hilarious "Great Moments in Presidential Speeches." If he keeps this up, I will have to organize a massive boycott. I hope to count on your support.

#10

Well I sure can't give you any advice for lifting at 50 but its nice to hear what I could look forward too. It seems people are able to live a longer younger life. If your making gains like this than why stop? Besides whats the extra T for if your not going to lift? Well unless your hugh hefner.


#11

Hey, I'm not hugh hefner, but I wish I had his bunnies the first couple of months on T. My poor wife of twenty years just wasn't up to the task. Maybe I should have bought one of those power tool like sex toys I saw in another post. On the other hand, I have had good increases in forearm mass since starting T!!!


#12

too much information. :slightly_smiling:


#13

Be sure to use both hands, or you'll have some serious imbalance going on.


#14

DrPowerClean, since you are here and seem like a friendly and knowledgeable guy, I was hoping to get your opinion on this.

I too am on HRT for Hypogonadism. It has increased my sex drive a lot, but my wife does not want it often. She says she just has no desire. I know she enjoys sex, as she was very very multi-orgasmic for years in the beginning of our relationship.

This is driving me crazy that she has changed so much, sexually, for the worse. I have thought about scheduling time for us with a couples psychiatrist to talk about it and see if there is anything that can be done. I also fear it could be hormonal for her as well.

Her mom went through breast cancer (the Estrogen fed one), and told us that her Dr. said that she has very very high extrogen before the cancer and that this could have been passed to her daughters (my wife) as well.

Think high E in a woman could put the damper on her libido? I'd love your opinion on the idea of couples counseling for the only area in our relationship that I feel is suffering (sex).


#15

Since I put the T/sex issue out there, I can't ignore the consequences. Leo I'll PM you on this one, though.


#16

I saw your post in HT thread and wanted to jump in and say Hi. You pose some great questions in there and here about the motives behind what drives us older lifters. IUf you are crazy then I am insane. I joined a semi pro football team last year at the age of 44 becuase I think I can still bring it. It didn't work out great for me last year, but next year I'm going to kill it!

Welcome here, I look forward to reading and learning from you!


#17

Hey Colin, glad to hear from you. Your rehab log was one of the first things I read on the site. I knew you were a kindred spirit when you somehow justified doing shrugs with 500 while you were still using baby weights in your rehab exercises.

 Yes, we share this same syndrome of pushing the envelope in the gym despite logical arguments which would tell us not to. In psychiatry, we've got a ten-dollar word for a mental condition which doesn't bother a person, and in fact may be something they like. Its called "ego syntonic."

So maybe there's a new disease to be named here, such as Ego-Syntonic Fanatical Weight Training. Not too catchy. Or Ego Syntonic On The Edge Gym Rat. Too long. Oh well, I'll work on it. Maybe insane works just fine.


#18

Doc, it's OK yo be crazy. No medication required. I enjoyed your posts on HT's thread, my normal home. I'm 76" also and it's long longways down on our squats. You're a pusher and I'm a puller. I'm packing more fat than you but could care less. More to love!!!Good luck with your training.


#19

This post was flagged by the community and is temporarily hidden.


#20

I'll take that last bit of advice, especially since I'm typing almost horizontal tonight, with an ice bag on my aching lower back. I've got bad discs, but I've recovered pretty well from them (long story) and I didn't do anything different today in my workout.

Analyze this! I did my usual warm-up of stretching and 15 minutes cardio on the elliptical. I did six sets of power cleans up to 5x205, five sets machine presses up to 5x175, four sets delt machine, up to 8xstack (225?), five sets tricep pushdowns up to 8x110, and because my training partner, my 14 year old son insists, three sets of abs, 25 bent knee leg raises.

I started hurting a little while letting down the cleans, since I have to give them a soft landing without a platform or bumpers in my "trendy elite" Worlds Gym. But it went away for the most part until the ab work. But I've done the leg raises without a problem several times recently.

This kind of shit really does drive me crazy, a normal, controlled intensity, fun workout with exercises that usually don't give me trouble, and now I know I'll be down tomorrow and may have to rest a couple days.

In my three month comeback, I've only had about four or five days like this, two of which were due to me benching, which my surgically repaired left shoulder (8 months) can't handle yet. But the back tends to be a roll of the dice, not clear cut like the shoulder. The shoulder will heal, just like my other one did. It's on the same pace, 9-10 months before it was good as new.

 Any help would be greatly appreciated, except don't tell me not to power clean. I'd love for someone to tell me to give up ab work, my son will be on his own there.