T Nation

Dropping AI, Adding Gym

In the past several months, and perhaps longer, there has been a great debate about weather it’s a good idea to drop your AI, and let E2 seek it’s natural level. Which by the way, according to some, it’s suppose to happen in about 4-6 weeks , from the time you drop your AI. However, there are the naysayers, that say “that’s ridiculous” for a series of reasons. Then there are the guys in the middle, who don’t really care about the “great debate” they just want to feel, and preform better, regardless of age. So here’s the question. Using myself as an example, if I dialed up my cardio, and weight training and I was was more selective about my diet, and burned off as much of that pesky body fat as I could, thereby lowering my inventory of aromatase enzymes, which convert testosterone to E2, wouldn’t I be well on my way to having a great E2 and T level? I believe the end result in this instance would be that both E2 and T would be cruising at there “natural levels”? So for me my new AI is my Gym!

Please share your thoughts

Thanks

Pretty much agree. I usually counsel guys to drop the AI and if E2 goes out of range, consider more frequent dosing of smaller amounts to keep the peak levels from going excessively super physiological. I also believe that having E2 moderately out of range is not as evil as some would think. That comes from old bodybuilder dogma where even normal levels of E2 could be a bod thing if they stack a bunch of synthetic anabolics with progesterone-like activity on top of the T (nandrolone for example). High E2 + High P4 is a recipe for gynecomastia.

For me, I don’t get excited about my E2 unless it is more than double the high end of the normal range, and even then, my first course of action is to consider DIM and/or increase the injection frequency. This has only happened a few times when I’ve experimented with doses higher than 150mg/week. Normally I inject E3D. When I went over 150mg, I went from 3 to 2 to 1 day intervals as the dose progressively increased to as high as 245mg/week in a dose-response experiment.

Losing the fat and improving the diet is certainly a good thing for many reasons.

Hey 55,

I think you got a piece of the “discussion” between a lot of guys and dbossa a few days back. A lot of guys were saying that dropping the AI is not a good idea. I always worked out, and ate pretty healthy. Unfortunately, I hurt me knee and I’ve been in couch potato mode the past few months, and its showing. The good news is that I can start back to the gym next week. My point is, I have more of a problem with E2 being higher since I gained some couch potato fat, and T dosing is the same. I get a decent libido, but my wood is more like sponge. But, when I’m burning fat and increasing muscle at the gym, it’s a non-issue, and never needed a AI, But again, when I’m couching I can see why someone would want one. I just go to the gym…. I could be wrong, but that’s my solution.

image001.jpg

Yes, fixing your diet and exercising will make you more healthy on all fronts, improve body composition, and affect your blood levels. In a nutshell, increased bodyfat makes your body more sensitive to converting Test to estrogen. Dropping bodyfat will only help your situation.

Not aimed at you, but it absolutely blows my mind that guys use TRT without changing their nutrition or exercising, and it seems to happen a surprisingly high amount of the time. Those should be steps 1A and 1B implemented before starting TRT exactly because of the effect they can have on the body. Diagnosed with low T? Bust your balls (no pun intended) to drop 10-20 pounds of fat and see how your numbers improve, then consider starting a protocol.

Not wrong at all. That’s an effective solution to most problems, physical or otherwise. :wink:

4 Likes

Hey Chris,

I couldn’t agree more!

Thanks

Thom

image001.jpg

image002.jpg

But sometimes fat guys just need to get on TRT in order to get them over that initial hump because they have no motivation, will, desire, drive. With all due respect Chris, have you ever been an obese hypogonadal man? I don’t believe you are on TRT so probably never had any reason to consider it. TRT can fix metabolic syndrome, obesity, and depression. Not in all cases but those suffering from decreased testosterone for sure. It is not a panacea for the obesity epidemic but those men that are obese and suffering from metabolic syndrome because of testosterone depression it is certainly a very positive avenue to consider according to science. Sometimes the end justifies the means and if they eventually end up happy healthy members of their own lives then who cares what came first the TRT or the gym.

1 Like

I try to stay out of those conversations as much as possible. Opinions are highly polar on the subject. As for me, I’m in a completely different third camp which is to modify the injection frequency and dose per injection as the first course of action to modify E2. Second is to actually rationalize the total weekly injection. I think too many guys take the naive approach that more is better with TRT. I counsel guys to start at a moderate weekly dose of around 100mg with a minimum of 2X per weekly dosing. Evaluate after at least 6 weeks and then adjust the dose accordingly until symptoms are abated and/or your goal is achieved.

Some guys have gym performance as a goal (nothing wrong with that) and will need a higher dose with the understanding that there are trade-offs with E2 and DHT conversion.

As for my experience with occasional borderline high E2 (30-4o pg/mL), I’m never been able to dose anastrozole properly without crashing my E2, which makes me go soft. Hence my recommendation to avoid it all together. If your numbers approach 100 pg/mL, and you cannot or will not adjust the dose or doing frequency, that may be a different story and a trial may be in order.

But yeah, going to the gym is always a good course of action!

1 Like

I couldn’t help but notice you mentioned that you “council your guys”. Sounds like you’re a medical professional. I did an experiment with increasing my T dose. I was at 40mg E3D and I bumped it up to 50MG E3d hoping for “more” . A few weeks later, I went for labs. It turned out my TT went to 1450 from 1237, but my E2 Sen went to 72 from 58. Not a very good trade off. About a year ago my doc recommended I get off my AI. Like you I always crashed on it. So my doc says I should try compounded Testosterone Cream x2 daily (TC). He explained that the lower daily dose would stop E2 from spiking, so I tried the TC. The strangest thing, was that each time I applied the TC (x2 daily), I got a terrific libido bounce, that would last for hours, and yet on the T-Cyp I was taking that never happened, and the dosing was comparable. Anyway I’m still using the TC. I guess I just felt like sharing about the TC I think it gets a bad rap but I really like it.

No, I’m not a medical professional. I’ve been participating in 4 different TRT forums for over 8 years. Two of them are no longer in operation. The other has dropped in activity, which is why I started posting in this forum. I was a lost sheep when I first started TRT. I knew a lot about the endocrinology of it (I have an advanced degree in the subject), but no practical clinical knowledge. i got some good and some bad advice in the forums and through a lot of experimentation and reading on the subject, I’ve educated myself. I’m just trying to help others who are lost with the varying opinions and bro science.

I’ve never tried topical products (gels or creams). Glad to hear it’s working for you. I’ve been very successful with T-cyp so I plan to stick with it.

Hello Youthful,

Nice story, similar to my own only without the advanced degree in endocrinology. I’ve been on TRT since I was about 55 years old, I’m 64 now. I feel like I’ve been through it all. But, the recent change in AI’s has been a very interesting “adjustment” to TRT therapy. Like most TRT guys, I was either an over responder, or I was just getting the crash effect from AI’s. It didn’t matter how much, or how little I dosed, it was very depressing. However, I recently decided to just drop the AI all together and let my system just do it’s thing, and I’ll see how that goes. Regarding the testosterone cream, I would only recommend the compounded cream, not the pre made commercial stuff. I like the no stick aspect of the cream and for some reason, I like the 2x daily application, I feel “on” all the time and I like that best. I know you’re not interested I the cream, but if you ever get sick of sticking yourself it’s good back up application. I would recommend the 25% cream, again only from a compound pharmacy.

Have a good day!

image001.jpg

image002.jpg

That reminds me of a recent observation in my labs. Even without any E2 control, my E2 seems to bounce around with no correlation to T levels. I saw this in my T dose response study where i am plotting out my Free T levels in response to a wide range of T doses. In all the labs, I used the exact same LC/MS/MS (LabCorp) E2 test method. it’s a quirky hormone to measure!

  • 180mg/week (E2D protocol) E2 = 9.1 pg/mL

  • 160mg/week (E2D protocol) E2 = 8.9 pg/mL

  • 110mg/week (E3D protocol) E2 = 63.5 pg/mL

  • 82mg/week (E3D protocol) E2 = 22.4 pg/mL

Your right! Those are very strange results. Unfortunately, I’m the guy without the endocrine advanced degree…. :blush:

I get that, but I believe it’s a misapplication of TRT. Like any other disorder, jumping right to medication before addressing lifestyle issues is a Band-aid. (Though, to be fair, Band-Aids do have their uses in the short-term). But many times, we see guys get so focused on dialing in their protocol that training and nutrition gets pushed to the back burner.

No offense taken. No worries, my man. Obese, no. Hypogonadal, yes. Diagnosed several years ago and I adjusted nutrition and supplements to address the issue. TRT was an option, but I chose the other alternatives and was satisfied with the results.

Exercise and diet can do all of that, too.

It’s mainly an issue of putting the cart before the horse because getting into a diet and exercise routine first can influence the TRT protocol more than starting TRT immediately can influence the diet and training.

Like I said, a guy’s going to have different T/E levels after he’s dropped 20 pounds of body fat, so it’s backwards to do the TRT first since fat loss alone can lead to improved numbers and can alter the suggested protocol.

It’s almost like, if an obese guy had knee pain. He could focus eating better and exercising to lose weight which would help to reduce his knee pain or he could go on prescription anti-inflammatories to reduce the pain… which would help him feel better so then he starts eating better and exercising to lose weight which helps to reduce the pain.

1 Like

I see your points but my N of 1 study (just me) shows that dieting and exercise isn’t always effective depending on your state. I have several friends too who were avid gym goers that could not lose a pound of fat without extreme dieting which probably further ruined their metabolic profile. As a matter of fact they just kept getting worse and TRT save their lives.

I guess your point still stands. Hit the gym and tighten up nutrition first. If after a year or so of this you cant make positive changes, and are legitimately stuck, maybe you are too far in the hormonal hole and you need TRT to dig you out.

2 Likes

I think this is pretty much the entire point. I can personally attest to this approach though my experience is anecdotal obviously, and really only applies to myself.

I cleaned up diet completely, and hit the gym hard for two years straight. I made improvements, but nothing like I should have. That’s when I started researching TRT and went to a doctor for blood work. I think the two years of forming good exercise habits and getting myself into a routine of healthy eating was crucial first step.

1st, when I gave my body the testosterone that it was severely lacking, I immediately saw the results ramp up.

2nd, since my results came so quickly when hormone levels started leveling out (because I had already created good habits), I didn’t really fight for very long with major fluctuation symptoms. I was able to dial in better and quicker than most.

Just my experience though.

1 Like

Yeah I did this for 15 years mostly spinning my wheels. I didnt even look at my hormones until about 6 years ago. To be quite honest I was very hard on myself and would just say I wasnt lifting hard enough, dieting low enough, or sleeping long enough. I always thought I was 1 or 2 things away from seeing progress. Or maybe it was the carbs/fat or not enough protein etc. In my eyes I was a fucking pussy who didnt have what it took to make real progress. All the while it was my own body holding me back and I had what it took all along. So thats a LOT of wasted years. Basically all of my 30s being depressed and hard on myself and trying everything out there. All the while the scale hardly ever moving under 230 and maintaining 25+% bodyfat. I would give up booze for months and months thinking IT was the culprit and again no movement on scale etc.

Anyway yes the entire point of cleaning up nutrition and getting into a lifting routine is valid but its only going to go so far for some. But I dont think anyone is in disagreement about this point.

1 Like

100% agreed. That’s all I’m saying. Dude gets diagnosed with low T and, instead of starting TRT right away, hit the gym and kitchen first, give it a minute, and then see what’s up. It was presuming the person wasn’t already a consistent lifter. I probably didn’t clarify that side of it.

Anyhow, didn’t mean to steer away from Thom’s question. @Thomtst, maybe consider a thread for training info to work around the knee problem.

1 Like

+1

I detail this in my personal thread, but to sum it up, I had already cleaned up my lifestyle about as much as I could, and was working out hard enough between weights and HIIT that it was hard to recover. I wasn’t obese, but nothing I did moved the needle on the overall softness I had, and my lifts had plateaued long ago.

I got traction and forward movement literally overnight from my first injection, and was stable in about six weeks.

@Thomtst

What you’ve described worked for me. I take 200mg test cyp once weekly, 500 IU HCG twice weekly, and my first checkup blood panel showed E2 of 33.5 pg/mL [7.6 - 42.6] and total T of 805 ng/dL [264 - 916]. I dropped the AI two weeks into starting TRT.

As you’ve noted, the exercise will lower your body fat, thus lowering aromatization. But it will also lower stress, which if unchecked can increase estrogen levels. And we all intuitively know that regular exercise seems to make most things better inside our bodies.