T Nation

Diary of a Maniac

WARNING: THE CONTENT YOU ARE ABOUT TO VIEW MAY BE DISTURBING TO SOME READERS. THE EDITOR IS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY EMOTIONAL DISTRESS BROUGHT ON BY THE FOLLOWING POSTS. VIEWER DISCRETION IS ADVISED.

JUST KIDDING!!! I decided to start a log on my experience with HRT.

STATS:
Age: 43
Height: 5’7"
Weight: 187 lbs.

BODY TYPE: Mesomorph leaning hard towards Endomorph

MEASUREMENTS:
BF %: High Teens? Have calipers, not sure how to use yet.
Chest: 42.25"
Arms: 14"
Hips: 40.75"
Waist: 36.75"
Thighs: 22.75"
Calves: 15.25"
Forearms: 9.7"
Shoulder: 46"
Neck: 16"

EDUCATION: HIGH SCHOOL

OCCUPATION: I/T Desk job (Same company for 25 years)

HOW I FOUND T-Nation:
To be honest I’m not sure. I think I googled something about prohormones at some point and stumbled onto the site.

SUPPLEMENTATION:
I have never used Steroids or Prohormones (Although I had considered them. More towards prohoromones than steroids). Supplements I’ve used or using are as follows:
ABB Creatine, ON and Muscle Milk Whey / Casein Powders, NO, Amino Fuel and Hydroxycut

BACKGROUND:
Puberty came late for me. I developed gyno at about 17. My gyno was more in the nipples as I was not really fat, so never had man breasts. I began working out at 18 to try an get rid of the gyno (didn’t realize that wouldn’t make it go away). I saw immediate results from lifting. Basically used a generic brand weight gainer (not sure if they had GNC’s then) and ate a bunch of garbage. Put on probably 20 lbs. but by the end it became more fat than muscle. Lifting only lasted for about one year.

Partied, got married and had my first kid at 23. Second child came 3 years later. In 1988 I started lifting again. I wasn’t fat going into it and again saw some gains, but ended up developing Gall Bladder issues in 1991. The Dr. at the time felt the amino fuel may have contributed. Said they were seeing alot of it in younger people. Long story short Lapcoly’s (Spelling ?) were relatively new and Dr. cut my bile duct. Took 5 operations to get fixed. That ended the lifting. I took up competitive softball during the following years, but noticed at 40 I was slipping.

Picked up weights about two years ago so I could keep up with the kids I was playing ball with. Got a subscription to Flex and was on my way. So why am I here. My journey started at Bodybuilding.com about 6 months ago. I was directed there from my workout partner to buy my supps a little cheaper. Started reading the forums and heard about prohormones. Had always been afraid of steroids, but what the hell prohoromones were being touted all over the site and there were no needles. More I read though they started to scare me too.

So I decided on a product named X-Factor which basically helps store arachidonic acid and was going to stack it with Activate Xtreme which is a test booster. I was going to log my results in a forum on that site. So as part of that regime I decided to go to the Dr. and get a complete work-up with test levels, liver, kidney, etc. before and after use. Well that was about 10 days ago. I went in for bloodwork on Tue. 12/11 and got the results on Thurs. the 13th.

Half to my surprise (I say half because I had noticed that I had some of the symptoms of low test, but never really read alot or thought about it.) my test levels came back low. Some of it now is starting to make sense. I found out I was hypothyroid about 2 years ago and went on depression medicines about 8 months ago. Getting back to the low test, the Dr. immediately prescribed 5mg of Androgel. So I guess this is the start of my journey.

Before getting into the details about my treatment there are two major points I wanted to make which will come up in future posts.

  1. I had the gyno taken of care through lypo in the late 80’s or early 90’s. Sorry, getting old.

  2. I always had big hips. I don’t know enough yet to discuss estrogen levels, but from what I’ve read I must have been having some type of issues in my teens. Secondary to that I’ve always carried alot of water and fat in my hip / waist area. Even strict diets have never gotten me down to showing my bottom two ab muscles. Three years ago I went and had lypo on my waist. The Dr. did a good job in the front and sides, but I’m still carrying fat in my lower back. I don’t think my diet is to the point where it needs to be, but more on that later.

The fat on my sides nor the gyno has never reappeared even during bulk cycles where I’ve gained weight. I preface that with water retention is still a major issue for me. I can get lean to a point and look best immediately upon wakening, but as soon as the first glass of water goes in I bloat for the rest of the day.

Putting this into perspective with my HRT treatment, some of the posts I’ve been reading are saying that if my E2 gets to high I will start to see bloating. It’s going to be difficult for me to distinguish. Add in the fact that I just started a loading cycle of creatine.

I figured the first part of the journey should be my initial labs. If I can keep this log going for awhile I will try an post future labs as well. So here is the first one from 12/11.

CBC with Diff and lipid profiles both were within normal ranges. Metabolic came in with one test out of range:
BUN=31 Range is 6-23 mg/dL.
Dr. said it has to do with dehydration. I’m confused on this because I drink a minimum of one gallon of water per day. On test days I try to drink 4-6 8oz. glasses before I go for blood draw at 8am. Everytime he runs panels BUN is out of range. I’M CONFUSED!!!

FSH=4.3 Range is 1.4-18.1 mIU/mL
LH=4.8 Range is 1.5-9.3 mIU/mL
Prolactin=10.9 Range is 2.1-17.1 ng/mL
Total Testosterone=268.12 Range is 350-980 ng/dL
Free Test=58.4 Range is 47.0-244.0 pg/mL
% Free Test=2.2 Range is 1.6-2.9 %

I have alot of work to do understanding these and what they mean. Can anyone put these into layman’s terms for me and debate 5mg Androgel only treatment vs. What treatment I should be getting?

WORKOUT ROUTINE:
NOTE: I ROTATE / SWITCHOUT EXERCISES BUT BELOW IS A GOOD EXAMPLE OF MY REGIMEN. ONE WARMUP SET FOLLOWED BY FOUR SETS FOR EACH EXERCISE.

Sunday - Chest / Triceps / Calves / Neck
CHEST - Flat Bench, Two Incline positions, Flyes
TRICEPS - Skull crunches, Close grip bench, Behind the back pushdowns
CALVES - Standing / Seated on leg at a time
NECK - Flat bench neck raises with 35 lb plate

Monday - Quads / Hamstrings
QUADS - Squats, Leg Presses, Leg Extensions (HEAVY DAY)
HAMSTRINGS - Stiff legged deadlifts

Tuesday - Back / Biceps / Forearms
BACK - Lat Pulls, Chins, Bent over BB rows, Deadlifts
BICEPS - Straight bar curls, One arm seated inclines, Standing Double Bicep Cable Curls to ears
FOREARMS - Reverse curls, Hammer curls and Wrist curls

Wednesday - Shoulders / Calves / Neck
SHOULDERS - Military Press, Rear delt bent overs, Side Laterals, Standing pullups to chin
CALVES - Same as above
NECK - Same as above

Thursday - Quads / Hamstrings (Just started doing legs twice weekly)
QUADS - Lunges, Front Squats on Hack Squat machine, Step-ups using dumbells
HAMSTRINGS - Lying leg curls

Friday and Saturday - OFF

For diet I’m just going to list out products I eat rather than going through my daily menu. It pretty much is consistent daily. I track all my food on
www.fitday.com

Macros: 38% carbs/39% protein / 23% fat

Daily Caloric Intake: 2800-3200k

FOODS:
7- Egg Whites
2 - Yolks
Oatmeal
4oz. strawberries
1 scoop Muscle Milk / 1 scoop ON Whey mixed shake
Casein Shake
Salt free plain rice cakes
Peanut Butter
Chicken breast
Fish
Scallop/Shrimp/Wholewheat pasta dish - Seafood from BJ’s
Turkey Fajitas on wholewheat pitas
Wholewheat Bagel
Banana’s
Blue Bunny yogurt
2% Milkfat cottage cheese - Snack Size
4oz. Fresh cut Deli chicken breast
South Beach meal
Vegetables - NOT ENOUGH

I think that is all the details. Sorry for all the posts, just want to be as thorough as possible. I decided to start the log because of all the stuff I’ve read about on here as it relates to HRT. I’m going to be as honest as possible to ensure any newbie’s that read this thread will know exactly what my experience has been like. I hope it helps someone. First and foremost me… HAHA!!! So here goes with HRT. I’m currently on Day 7 of 5mg of Androgel. I’ve been told by someone I respect on this site that I shouldn’t expect the Androgel to kick-in until 3rd week and can be up to 3 months.

WHAT I’M FEELING:
FOGGY - Alot of haze in mind. Only way I can explain it is almost like morning after a night of drinking.
LETHARGY - I’m tired all day, but not sleeping well at night.
LIBIDO - Slight inklings of it, but not really in mood for sex. Just as an fyi started Depression meds 8 mos. ago and soon after sex stopped altogether.
STRENGTH - No strength increases at this point, slight decline on first couple days. Need to monitor.
MOOD - No agression or short temper. Kind of passive at the moment.

Depression Meds = Wellbutrin,Celexa and Lamictal

PHYSICAL CHANGES:
ACNE - I see some type of red blotches around mouth. Not sure if it’s acne at this point or cold weather affecting my skin. BTW NC doesn’t get that cold… HAHA!!!
SCROTUM - Actually had low hanging testicles. I’ve noticed that scrotum seems to be tighter more often. Scrotum definitely not hanging to the level it was. Slight / “VERY SLIGHT” pain in testicles. Not there all the time.
BODY COMPOSITION - Was on a 7 week clean bulk when I learned about HRT. Currently I’m carrying fat in the mid-section and seem to be retaining water. On creatine so not sure what role that is playing in it.

Here’s the areas I’m hoping someone can help with.

Was planning on staying on bulk until mid February. Should I nix that plan and go into a cutting phase? I don’t want to get so far gone that it takes me 6 months to get back down. I don’t know what to expect from the Androgel and also scared of the bloating.

Is my scrotum tightening and inkling of acne just in my mind from reading it on here? Could it happen that quickly?

My unprofessional observation based on my own experience:

  1. your estradiol is up. Did you get that tested? You should always get it tested.
  2. Celexa is messing up some of your neurotransmitters, lowering your libido.

Estrogen will help you retain water. It will also make you “foggy”.

I don’t see why you can’t keep bulking, but you might want to cut out the fruit, bagel and yogurt (lot’s of sugar) and any other refined carbs you might be taking in.

And then there’s the obvious: your T is low. With your decent LH and FSH numbers, your testes should be normal size and working.

Try something: take your temperature first thing in the morning before you even get out of bed. Take it again at 9am, noon and 3pm. See if you find a pattern of consistenly low (like in the 97s instead of right around 98.6). Don’t have anything to eat or drink within 30 mins before you take it, and if you’ve exercised within about an hour before, it’s probably going to be “invalid” as far as a pattern.

The low temp pattern could reveal a bit of adrenal fatigue (being burned out, overtrained).

Just some things to think about.

[quote]bigdawg011 wrote:
My unprofessional observation based on my own experience:

  1. your estradiol is up. Did you get that tested? You should always get it tested.
  2. Celexa is messing up some of your neurotransmitters, lowering your libido.

Estrogen will help you retain water. It will also make you “foggy”.

I don’t see why you can’t keep bulking, but you might want to cut out the fruit, bagel and yogurt (lot’s of sugar) and any other refined carbs you might be taking in.

And then there’s the obvious: your T is low. With your decent LH and FSH numbers, your testes should be normal size and working.

Try something: take your temperature first thing in the morning before you even get out of bed. Take it again at 9am, noon and 3pm. See if you find a pattern of consistenly low (like in the 97s instead of right around 98.6). Don’t have anything to eat or drink within 30 mins before you take it, and if you’ve exercised within about an hour before, it’s probably going to be “invalid” as far as a pattern.

The low temp pattern could reveal a bit of adrenal fatigue (being burned out, overtrained).

Just some things to think about.
[/quote]

bigdawg,
You’re a good Bro. I always appreciate your advice. The Dr. wouldn’t test for estrodial. He said it had no factor in the equation. I go back to see him the first of February for my follow-up. I will again ask him. I definitely believe you on the Celexa. I know my low libido started way before I found out about my low test levels. My goal is to come off of all the depression meds. I want to stabilize my HRT and once there drop the meds. If I’m still not feeling well I can always go back on. As for the LH and FSH numbers those were pre-HRT… Do you think at 7 days in on the Androgel I would be seeing scrotum tightening and some acne on my face or am I getting the placebo effect in my mind?

How many sets/reps are you doing per day? Seems to be a lot of lifting. How long have you been doing this lifting routine?

[quote]skw wrote:
How many sets/reps are you doing per day? Seems to be a lot of lifting. How long have you been doing this lifting routine?[/quote]

skw,
My workout routine fluctuates depending on the week. I rotate between heavy and light every other week. My number of sets are always the same. One warmup followed by four sets for each exercise. On my heavy weeks reps are kept at 6-8. On my light days I try an put reps between 10-15. I superset once a month and work exercises to failure once a month. I just switched to this routine about 3 weeks ago. Up until then I was hitting each body part once a week. For example chest-Sunday, legs-Monday, back-Tuesday, shoulders-Wednesday and arms-Thursday. My legs no matter how hard I lift them are slow responders. I’ve decided to try 6 months of twice a week to see if I get any response. I’m very confused as to overtraining. I hear one person say it’s too much, then another person say there’s no such thing as overtraining. I like bigdawg’s advice to start taking my temperature multiple times a day to check for adrenal fatigue. I started this morning and first reading was normal. Second came in at 97.6 so we’ll see. If I see a consistent pattern I will need to cut down my routines. This topic will lead to my next post about what my goals are.

Well today is Day 9 of HRT. Feeling foggy, have racing thought patterns and still feeling quite a bit lethargic. Still no libido or morning wood. I found it hard to get myself into the gym last night, but once in had a good workout. I must say though that lifts are weaker since beginning HRT. I’m having moments of euphoria during the day, but they are brief.

Started applying the Androgel on shoulders and inner biceps instead of stomach. Holding some fat due to bulking so decided to give bigdawg’s advice a try. I can say that already I don’t like the gel. It’s not hard to put on but still feeling paranoia about touching anything.

Spent 4 hours today in the yard weedwhacking around my pond. Came in and took a 3 hour nap. Just woke up and lower back is killing me. Today is a normal non-workout day so the rest will do it some good.
I started off my thread with alot of information about myself, diet, etc but never got into my goals.

I touched on it briefly, but my main goal is to gain muscle mass for softball in the winter, followed by cutting cycle and heavy cardio in spring in preperation for the season. For the first time in years I have a training partner (consistent training partner). Young kid, 21 yrs old and full of piss and vinegar. He’s been pushing me which has really helped with some gains. We have started doing heavier lifting on the core exercises and I’m really getting into it.

I have never been a strong person persay. Lifting solo always kept me from pushing myself on weight increases. Now having a spotter I have seen some definite strength increases and moving the heavier weight (heavy for me) is really motivating me. I used to hate doing squats and dead-lifts, but they’ve suddenly become my favorite exercises.

I had a personal high right before going on HRT with 315 on the squat x 1 rep and 350 on the deadlift x 1 rep. Bench is probably my weakest exercise. 215 x 1 rep max. Have a guy at the gym giving me some pointers on form. Definitely pushing my elbows out instead of keeping them tucked closer to me. Also told me to really start killing tri’s. I did post my workout above. Definitely open for critique or experience from others. What are people doing for mass gains?

Interesting thread - I’m gonna have to watch this. Hope things go well for you. I’d have to say that your positive attitude and desire to get healthy to the point of getting off the psych meds are great assets.

[quote]bigdawg011 wrote:
The low temp pattern could reveal a bit of adrenal fatigue (being burned out, overtrained).
[/quote]
That’s really interesting - what’s a typical treatment for “adrenal fatigue”? I’m off to Google, but would love some details…
Don

maniac: estrogen is a bitch.
How “fat” are your legs? You might want to rub this stuff on your thighs if they’re not too hairy. What’s your current Bodyfat %? I’d really like to recommend you take some kind of anti-estrogen: even something over the counter like

resveratrol
Calcium-D-glucarate
Diindolylmethane (DIM)

maniac and johnny-lt: check out

stop the thyroid madness dot com

(squish that all together)

It’s mainly about hypothyroidism, but they also discuss adrenal issues and ways to help them if they are burned out.

maniac, your deal might not be limited to the connection between your pituitary gland and your testes. Has your doctor ruled out insulin resistance and primary hypogonadism?

[quote]bigdawg011 wrote:
maniac: estrogen is a bitch.
How “fat” are your legs? You might want to rub this stuff on your thighs if they’re not too hairy. What’s your current Bodyfat %? I’d really like to recommend you take some kind of anti-estrogen: even something over the counter like

resveratrol
Calcium-D-glucarate
Diindolylmethane (DIM)

maniac and johnny-lt: check out

stop the thyroid madness dot com

(squish that all together)

It’s mainly about hypothyroidism, but they also discuss adrenal issues and ways to help them if they are burned out.

maniac, your deal might not be limited to the connection between your pituitary gland and your testes. Has your doctor ruled out insulin resistance and primary hypogonadism?[/quote]

Bigdawg, Thanks for the response. I measured myself this morning and according to the calipers I’m about 18% bf. Funny you should mention the OTC anti-estrogens. I was talking with someone else and they told me they really feel like I should be on one. Maybe I need to look into it.

My only concern like I told the other person is how will I be able to measure the affect of the AE without bloodwork and how will I know if I reverse and become to low? I’ve only had the one visit with my doc at this point so answer on the IR and hypogonadism is no… I’m also starting to see some teste shrinkage. In your experience will normal Dr’s prescribe HCG? If not, do they just let your balls shrink away to nothing or is there something else that can be done?

[quote]nc maniac wrote:

Bigdawg, Thanks for the response. I measured myself this morning and according to the calipers I’m about 18% bf. Funny you should mention the OTC anti-estrogens. I was talking with someone else and they told me they really feel like I should be on one. Maybe I need to look into it.

My only concern like I told the other person is how will I be able to measure the affect of the AE without bloodwork and how will I know if I reverse and become to low? I’ve only had the one visit with my doc at this point so answer on the IR and hypogonadism is no… I’m also starting to see some teste shrinkage. In your experience will normal Dr’s prescribe HCG? If not, do they just let your balls shrink away to nothing or is there something else that can be done? [/quote]

I’m not the expert, but common sense will say: firstly, an OTC anti-estrogen probably won’t be very effective. If you do get into Adex or some other effective AI (aromatase inhibitor), you will not be able to know what your E2 levels were prior to administration.

If your E2 is high, or increasing and your suffering the effects of high E, then administering adex or the like will have you feeling better as your E comes down. If you start to feel worse again, on the same dosage of AI, then your E has probably come down too much and you can adjust your dose accordingly. It is an individual trial and error thing.

Most docs do not prescribe HCG, and some do not even consider an AI, nor even check your E2 levels.

The recommendation here would be: (1) if your nuts are shrinking and aching, get on HCG. (2) If you are taking either T or HCG you should be on an AI as well. Understand that you are taking on your own experiment to find what makes you feel best. We share on these threads to discover what others are doing and possibly getting ideas and start points for ourselves - but in the end, find what works for you through your own trial and error. Good luck.

Someone else may chime in…

It’s been a long time since I’ve updated this thread. I went back for my first blood draw Tuesday since going on Androgel. Go back to the Dr. for my results tomorrow. Very anxious to see what he says and what my t levels come in at. It’s been 6 weeks since I went on HRT. I’ve had some slight changes since my earlier posts. I’m still feeling foggy, but testicular shrinkage has stopped and not experiencing any pain in the region. Still not on HCG at this point. Still no signs of morning wood and libido has not increased at all. I don’t feel I’m seeing any lean muscle gains even with higher intensity training sessions. Haven’t seen any major strength increases either. I’m starting the Chad Waterbury TBT plan on Sunday so hoping to see some results from that. I started carb cycling about 2 weeks ago so seeing some slight weight loss, but nothing different then when I dieted in the past. My diet is very clean and consuming 1.5 gallons of water a day. I’m really starting to believe I have high E2 levels, but Dr won’t test for it. I’m going to need some help with an AI. I’m not sure how to use or how often. Anyone that can help it would surely be appreciated.