Realistic TRT Recomp Progress

Probably my favorite YT channel! Derek is awesome.

1 Like

Looking back at old bloods, my T:FT ratio was always best (and SHBG lowest) when Danazol was in the mix. I decided to drop it for simplicity (only wanted to be on T), longevity (long-term effects of Danazol seem unclear), and cost purposes, but considering reintroducing it — what do you think, @readalot?

Last Danazol labs (2019, at Quest):
@ 25 mg EOD with 260 T: TT 2889, FT 555 (1.9%), SHBG 72
@ 25 mg ED with 200 T: TT 1919, FT 422 (2.2%), SHBG 46

Current labs (Labcorp) with 238 T: TT 2435, FT 26.0 (1.1%), SHBG 73

I had been using a trainer for a few years. Probably since 40 I would workout in my basement 3-4 times a week. Nothing crazy. But the trainer was like age 44-46 and in a real gym. He said to me - how is the training going? I said to be perfectly honest I think I’m getting weaker. He told me not to say that out loud in the gym again. Looking back I was working out hard, which rips the muscles, but with such low free t I don’t think i was able to rebuild it. The exact opposite was i was eating up the muscle which was why i was always so sore. Being so lean I would only jog a mile or so a few times a week. I had to stop cuz my legs would get so sore it hurt to walk for the next few days. With straightening things out i jog 1-1.5 miles before i lift on leg days. I hit legs twice a week and I’m back to normal in a day. But going for an 8 minute mile I’m not killing myself and hopefully putting some blood in my legs. I need a squat rack tho. I’m able to lift heavier weights so a little safety would be nice.

Regarding body fat, i was at 10% pre test. 12% post. I think in the mirror my muscle tone was bad pre test cuz i was never building up. I think gaining the 25 pounds in 9 months was my body rebuilding from years of destruction, hard lifting and crushing the calories and carbs. Put this in perspective- i hit 200 pounds a month ago. Im at 201 now. My guess is 200 is my natural weight. My gains will be slow but more natural now. All i know is I have decent energy and I’m no where near as sore as i was.

1 Like

Thanks for sharing. This is fascinating to me. I am so sore all the time. Leg days or even walking excessively takes me a few days of recovery. I have to be very careful about how I space out workouts.

I just got my new labs, though, and my FT remains quite high at 26.0. Nonetheless, TT is astronomical at 2435 (ratio of 1.1%).

I wonder if the low ratio could be dictating soreness. Free T could be high, but its low relative value is having the same effect on me you experienced. Is that possible?

Update: new new labs are in. I made a point of hydrating for these. HGB still 16.9, HCT down to 51.1. That alleviates some concern.

Thanks for sharing but this last entry doesn’t compute for me. This is Labcorp LC/MS for TT and fT with ED or Ultrafiltration? Given your TT and SHBG your FT should be around 50 ng/dL (about 2% fT/TT as your previous results) using Vermeulen method which tracks accurate free T reasonably well (within 20%). Typo? Please confirm TT, SHBG and fT values on last test and test specifics.

Also it really helps to include units with your numbers. A guy new to this will look at all three entries you have there and be completely lost…why is FT so much larger in first two entries than last one? pg/mL vs nd/dL.

You are absolutely right that lowering your SHBG via medication will increase the relative percentage of free T (ratio of free T to total T) but will not increase your absolute free T value (e.g., XX ng/dL) for a given testosterone dosage. This is different than what you read and hear online all the time that lowering your SHBG will free up more T or increase your free T. When you decrease your SHBG your TT for a given dosing protocol will drop but free T won’t change given the amount of exogenous T you are taking didn’t change and mass in = mass out at steady state. Hence your free T stays the same and total T goes down (fT/TT goes up).

With something like danazol or other 17-AA steroid, you are putting your lipids at risk plus other concerns so it doesn’t seem to me to be a prudent long-term plan. Best current available advice from medical professionals would indicate against this approach. I know @youthful55guy has shared his extensive experiments with this type of approach on the internet and @unreal24278 has some good comments on danazol if you search on here for “danazol”.

So for you it continues to be walking a fine line on fT/TT for symptom resolution vs elevating Hct over time. While noble, blood donation more than a couple times a year creates issues for many.

Sorry for my confusion; I should’ve been clearer. Indeed, my numbers come via Labcorp LC/MS for TT and FT.

The data:
SHBG (tested in part 1/2, first week of April): 73.1 nmol/L (Ref 16.5-55.9)
Total T (tested in part 2/2, one week later): 2435.2 ng/dL (Ref 264-916)
Free T (tested in part 2): 26.0 pg/mL (Ref 9.3-26.5)

I wish I had all tested at the exact same time, but the script got botched. I assume my SHBG has not changed considerably, though – it’s stayed steady in the low-to-mid-70s lately.

I thought for the conversion from pg/mL to nd/dL, I was to move the decimal for Free T one place (becoming 260), then divide it by the Total T (2435.2), yielding a ratio of 1.1%. I’m sure I’m missing something. Using the Free & Bioavailable Testosterone calculator online, I also see almost 2% (1.98%), but the Free number it calculates (47.5) obviously is quite a bit higher than what I received (26.0).

I’d greatly appreciate you clearing up what I’m missing here. Your wisdom is needed!

I get what you’re saying completely. From your understanding (be it via research or anecdotes), would increasing the relative percentage make me feel better (e.g., libido, soreness)?

I’ve actually bantered with @youthful55guy on other forums! He’s a huge help. I’m going to look into their comments here. Thank you for the recommendations! As you noted, it is a difficult balance.

Wow, ok. So looking at the ref range on your latest fT assay this is the dreaded direct RIA free T test I spoke about here:

26 pg/mL = 2.6 ng/dL. Adjusting by the typical factor of 6 yields about 17.3 ng/dL. So nowhere near the expected fT (for this TT and SHBG) of ~50 ng/dL using an accurate free T assay (ED or ultrafiltration combined with LC/MS/MS for TT). Your result here with the direct free T test is even further off than typical. If you want a decent estimate of free T use the Vermeulen online calculator or use ED/ultrafiltration test with Labcorp (equivalent with Quest).

@readalot Sorry, I just realized I also had Albumin tested — it was 5.2.

That’s also significant in the math. Comparison:

Yeah, I felt alot better when the relative percentage was higher but I was on 50 mg/day of oxandrolone so not a fair comparison to the typical 100 mg/week of TC I was taking at baseline. My recovery and soreness were much better but my lipids scared the crap out of me :-).

If/when I try the stanozolol, I’ll update you. Doesn’t seem prudent to me but I am toying with it. The Dark Side beckons but I must be strong.

Just to clarify, if you believed the free T result you’d convert 26 pg/mL to 2.6 nd/dL then divide by 2435:

2.6/2435 = 0.00107 or 0.107%. Clearly something is amiss :-).

With your albumin, I’d estimate…

42 ng/dL / 2435 nd/dL = 1.7% (ballpark with Vermeulen).

Interesting! So my Albumin actually indicates the fT is even lower than one would expect. How odd.

It seems the “only administering a high dose of T” approach isn’t working for me. Would you agree?

I understand that pull! I have heard of high-SHBG guys trying out low-dose stanozolol (as well as oxandrolone). How bad did your lipids get?

…than one would expect with typical albumin of 4.3 g/dL. Albumin considered weakly bound to some T hence that T gets pulled out of the free T pile.

Long term impact of lipid particle counts along with other AAS effects indicate to me long term you roll the dice. Results linked above were ugly to me but I am sure experienced users don’t worry about it if you are only using for 6 weeks once or twice a year. But then you have to only use it once or twice a year for 6 weeks at a time which becomes difficult once you like the results.

Oof, yeah, and I’d be looking at long-term danazol, for sure. Given that I am monitoring things pretty religiously, though, it might not be a bad idea. I don’t see how things will get better unless I try something like that (or oxandrolone/stanozolol). It seems more T isn’t the answer, unless perhaps I really push it. It’s already high at 238 mg/week.

Whether I used 7.5 mg per day or 50 mg/day of oxandrolone didn’t matter, both crushed my SHBG and lipids. Good luck with finding your balance.

Androgen deficiency in women is increasingly recognized as a new clinical syndrome and has raised our awareness of the importance of accurate and well-validated measurements of serum free testosterone (T) concentrations in women. Therefore, we compared serum free T levels measured by equilibrium dialysis to those measured by a direct RIA (analog method) and to those calculated from the law of mass action (requires the measurement of total T and SHBG). We also calculated the free androgen index, 100 × T/SHBG, as a simple index known to correlate with free T. Subjects were 147 women with variable androgen and estrogen statuses. All were studied three times in 1 month and included women 1) with regular menses (estrogen positive, T positive), 2) more than 50 yr old and not receiving estrogen (estrogen negative, T positive), 3) receiving estrogen (estrogen positive, T negative), and 4) with severe androgen deficiency secondary to hypopituitarism (estrogen negative, T negative). Calculated values for free T using the laws of mass action correlated well with those obtained from equilibrium dialysis (r = 0.99; P < 0.0001). However, the agreement depended strongly on the specific assays used for total T and SHBG. In contrast, the direct RIA method had unacceptably high systematic bias and random variability and did not correlate as well with equilibrium dialysis values (r = 0.81; P < 0.0001). In addition, the lower limit of detection was higher for the direct RIA than for equilibrium dialysis or calculated free T. Free androgen index correlates well with free T by equilibrium dialysis (r = 0.93; P < 0.0001), but is a unitless number without reference to the physical reality of free T. We conclude that the mass action equation and equilibrium dialysis are the preferred methods for use in diagnosing androgen deficiency in women.

1 Like

Damn, brother. I’m really sorry to hear that. It seems if you could use some oxandrolone without too negative of repercussions, that would be ideal.