T Nation

Depression= Compromised Gains?

Ok, here’s my situation. Im a young guy, 20 years old. For the last two years, I feel I have done a remarkable job in living the perfect “T-Man Lifestyle”. Ive eliminated all destractions in my life in order to pursue my physique goals. Ive stopped all partying and alcohol, and I make sure that I get above adequate sleep. My workouts are well thought- out and intense, and I make sure to not overtrain and allow for proper recovery. I utilize all the nutrional info here at T-Mag and if I posted my diet here, you would probably say Im the poster boy for JB’s massive/lean eating:). Not to mention the fact that im 20, which according to many implies that I should be making the best gains of my life. Everything on the surface appears to be absolutley perfect. However, these last 2 years I have made an astonishingly small amount of progress. And despite my immaculate diet, I still find it quite easy to put on fat, and difficult to add muscle and make strength gains. Granted I dont have IFBB genetics, but I feel im at least “average” in that department. Certainly capable of improvement, I know this because I have had success in the gym in the past, despite my less than perfect lifestyle habits. So, like I said, im doing everything by the book, yet I have very little to show for it. The only other “lifestyle factor” which has been a part of these last two years, is that I have been living with relatively major depression. And the fact that Ive made such little progress in the last two years despite putting all of my heart into it, is beginning to make me even more depressed. So basically, Im wondering if depression could be the culprit in my strange lack of progress. Has there been any studies or anecdotal evidence to suggest that depression could have a negative impact on performance? Thanks for listening, I appreciate all of your help. PS- No, im not taking any sort of antidepressants, nor do I feel it would be beneficial.

If you know you have a problem, why don’t you do something about it? Can depression kill your gains? Hell Yes! Depression can shut your body down in all sorts of ways, including t-production. (no gains, increased fat…hmmm) Many people who are depressed also end up having major issues with sexual performance. And that’s not a good thing. It is very admirable that you have dedicated yourself to the T-man lifestyle. It is great to see dedication to proper diet and lifting. But try giving yourself a break once in a while, go out and have some fun. Skip a workout and goof-off every now and then. If you think you aren’t allowed to party every now and then, you’re wrong. I wish T.C. would jump in here, because I seem to recall he and Bill Phillips making several trips down to Mexico that involved a lot more tequila drinking than investigative reporting about the price of Sustenon. (Too bad that you’re too young to have appreciated the Golden Years of MM2K, but T-mag is damn close or better in many ways.) Anyways, I’m digressing. The point is, don’t let your workouts and diet run your life, just let them enhance your enjoyment of it. And if you have a real problem with depression, get some real help, it’ll allow you to enjoy life a whole lot more. Oh, and before the whole board jumps on me, I’m not suggesting that you need to go spend a week having a Tequila Bender, it was just an example that even the founders of T-Mag let loose once in a while. And if you really are depressed, going out and getting your drunk on is a very bad idea.

Well if your truly getting enough to eat, go twist a doctor’s arm until he/she tests thyroid/test/etc. Also, there are other things in life besides working out, body building is a rather singular pursuit, don’t let it take over your life, there is a whole lot more to life than bench presses and chicken breasts.

hey bud, i was once there myself. (bi-polar 2 disorder, “clinically depressed”, but i ended up beating it about 3 years ago) but it is kind of ironic that working out hasn’t made your mood better. one of the things that could be making you depressed is sticking to such a strict regimate for so long, and feeling you’re not making gains multiplies it by a power of 2. but, in essence you have made great gains when you really think about it. By not partying, giving up alcohol, not smoking, eating healthy and working out, just your general health has improved tremendously, even though your metal well being seems shattered. Find yourself a different hobby, along of course with working out/dieting. Something totally different, to make yourself feel great again. At your age, it would be a great thing for yourself to volunteer some of your time helping out grade school kids in tutoring, or in a big brother program or something. Find something that will make you feel good about yourself. Once things get better for you, you’ll be able to go in with a clear head about your “body goals” and gains should be tremendous after that… i don’t think anti-depressants are the answer. i took Paxil for awhile and it screwed me up…just hang in there, and don’t give up !

Damn… brother. Have you tried Renegade Training? The actual training is geared much more toward a feeling of invinceability than your standard BB work out. It also serves to stimulate your CNS much more, which in turn may give you more of a feeling of well being after training. And lastly. The Legion is bigger than me and you. Being a part of something that will make the world better will excite and motivate you. You are not depressed. You have just been longing for what the Legion has to offer.

Unfortunately, yes depression can have an effect on your bodybuilding efforts. Depression is well correlated with lowered testosterone levels, I know this because I researched this very topic myself. I was wondering the same thing, if depression would affect my efforts, and all things pointed to yes, it could. Probably not to the degree you are receiving, however. I mean I have been on steroids and been depressed, and I had amazing gains, so being depressed doesn’t seem to hinder it like that, I think it is just depression (being caused by hormonal imbalances in the brain), affects the other hormones in the brain, and puts the whole endocrine system out of whack, as all hormones work on feedback systems, hence me making gains while being depressed as I had heaps of testosterone injected in me, which wouldnt have been there if I were natural and depressed. However, if your training and nutrition programs really are to the T as you say, that just does not seem right, have your testosterone levels checked by a doctor. And as a note, you say you feel antidepressants wouldnt be beneficial. I am in your position, I am 21 and have felt the same, that they would be of little use…and maybe even that I didn’t want to use them because I was scared of getting better in a weird way. I have a few friends who have felt the same, and all of us upon taking them have had our outlooks changed drastically. Depression is a disorder of the body, just like arthritis or cancer would be, and should be treated as such. You feel different than I on the matter because your brain’s chemicals are out of whack and you are not in a position to make a diagnosis. And yes, I know exactly how my words are doing nothing for you, as I was just the same. But seriously, consider them, what do you really have to lose? And if not for yourself, for your bodybuilding efforts, as with the rise in serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine, etc that come with anti-depressants, comes the rise in testosterone. best of luck mate.

Me too man. Im a college student= can’t see the “light” at the end of the tunnel and constantly stressed. However, I’ve found that my mood ususally corrolates with my T levels. Trying uping your fats, efas, red meats, and maybe add ZMA and another solid prohoromone. See what happens. Maybe this is not your case though.

What are your stats? Height, weight, BF%? what is your taining regimin? what is your diet like? Macronutrient breakdown, calories consumed? Are you keeping a log? Can’t help you without the proper information. Depression could be the culprit, but may be you are overtraining and undereating, hence the worn down feeing.

Depression can make it about impossible to maintain much of a physique, much less make improvements. Depression often starts out mental but it also effects one physically as well. Endocrine functions such as thyroid and testosterone are usually low which makes it about impossible to make any progress. Cortisol is usually high which further adds to fat gain. Although I doubt that medication is the total answer for you I think the best thing you can do is somehow change your situation and don’t focus so intensely on bodybuilding.

Wow, I’m so glad someone brought this depression thing up. I too have been suffering from depression my whole adult life. I’ve been on and off anti-depressants, and in and out of therapy as well. I’ve never had a lot of confidence, and consequently much luck with the ladies, so years ago I sought to get my ass in shape figuring that it would make me feel better. Alas, in spite of working out hard and a textbook diet, I still look like crap. If you saw me, you would never guess that I take all the right supps and eat the six balanced meals a day etc. I just look like your average guy who goes to the gym and works out a few days a week, eats whatever, and maybe parties on the weekends. It sucks. I’ve often wondered if its cortisol/low T that is preventing me from getting lean and or putting on some mass. I feel like I am always dieting to get lean, because there is no point in bulking and adding more fat to what I already have. In the past what has happened is that I go hardcore for a few months, get frustrated with lack of results, and then quit lifting all together. I get flabby and out of shape, get disgusted with myself, and then I get back into working out. I’ve gone through this cycle several times. But recently, I’ve decided “F*ck it”… I’m NOT giving up this time. I’m sticking with it, and going for bust. I see other dudes in the gym who are leaner or bigger or both, but I don’t care anymore. I can only be the best I can be. They aren’t me and I’m not them. Another thing I think about now is all the people out there who were born with deformities, or who have been disfigured in car accidents etc… and my stupid physique issues dont seem so important by comparison.