T Nation

Video: Drawing The Line Between TRT and a Cycle

I’m curious to know everyone opinion on that. Let’s try to keep it educational, without personal attacks please.

@dbossa It would be great if you could get Dr. Jordan Grant or Gil T to do a video regarding HDL and LDL, as I’ve read all possible opinions regarding cholesterol and it’s impossible to understand what’s actually the status of medical research at this point.
Some claim that cholesterol is irrelevant and just something that’s there for other purposes (the fire / firefighters analogy), others that it’s the most important cardiovascular health marker.

I always had mine elevated since my early 20s, despite working out and dieting since 15 years.

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I think it’s fair to say that, like Derek said, if your free T and TT and above healthy ranges then you are superphysiological. There is no measurement for a “cycle’s” protocol and no measurement for a “cycle’s” FT and TT. You are comparing a scientific measurement with a slang term. Never the twain shall meet.

Thoughts at 2 minutes in about driving SHBG down. There are competing effects on TT and FT when you drive SHBG down. TT should typically drop as the clearance rate of the testosterone increases. FT will go up with SHBG going down if TT is constant (but lowering SHBG lowers TT, so this doesn’t happen). I’ve seen it work out that driving SHBG down resulted in nearly the same FT, and TT was cut in half but that was an extreme case where SHGG went from 50 ->10.

I think Derek needs a bit more nuance in this area.

I think that was his point. When you introduce any exogenous androgen, SHBG goes down. On TRT SHBG goes down, but total T goes up, freeing even more T.
His point is that’s not something you would see in a natural, along with a high testosterone while dieting for cutting at 10% or lower.

The weakness of his thoughts, though, is that for some of us symptoms resolution happens when in “supraphysiological territory”. What would you say then to someone with clinical and diagnosed hypogonadism that needs his FT>30 for symptoms resolution?

Also I think @dextermorgan proved him wrong on HDL levels on high doses, but he could be the exception. What I’m concerned the most is cardiovascular health on the long run.

Yes in this context. Another context though is cycling with multiple compounds. Say you add in an oral for the last 6 weeks of your cycle, but keep your test dose the same. SHBG goes down, TT goes down (clearance rate goes up), and we don’t know what happens to FT because there are competing factors at play (could go up, down or stay the same). This could be true for anything that drops SHBG (aside from adding more test), not just adding an oral (could be drinking more for example).

I just bring this up because there is a common misunderstanding about SHBG. Many men want low SHBG for higher FT, but they don’t understand that low SHBG results in lower TT as it is cleared from the body faster. Lower TT leads to lower FT. I think the best is to be mid range on SHBG.

In my mind, it’s about symptom resolution not dose/levels. If you are being honest with yourself and your doc about your symptoms then you are still on trt. If you’re not and just chasing gainz then your not.

No one takes test just to get their test levels back in range, they take it because low-t causes a lot of symptoms they’re trying to resolve. As long as your taking approx the minimum to resolve your symptoms and any side effects are manageable then take what you need, levels be damned.

Of course we’re just talking about test here, you may be able to get other stuff prescribed by your doc for various reasons, but that’s not trt or hrt you’re treating a separate issue with a similar compound (nandrolone, anavar, anadrol) though I think Halo is actually indicated as a replacement drug for test. I’ve drifted a bit off topic here perhaps…

It’s really quite simple, actually:

  1. Base your entire protocol on a number. If you are still symptomatic with that number you can continue to feel like shit but at least be proud that you are still in the clinical range so that none of the ignorant fools can give you a hard time and you’re not forced to justify your actions.


  1. Take the minimum amount required to resolve symptoms, whatever that amount is. Feel better. Grow a pair. No need to justify anything to anyone. People may put you in a box but you’re a man so you don’t give a shit about what people think.

I choose number two.


This video was done a few days ago and Justin knows his stuff:

We all chose number 2, we are not really arguing about keeping stuff in ranges.
Mine is mostly a concern regarding other health markers especially cardiovascular health.
We saw few cases on this forum of guys saying that they were looking for symptoms resolution, but once they achieved that, they started going into PED territory. I think it becomes a tentation for a good amount of people on TRT.

Thanks for the video, I will look at it.

I’m curious to know Dr Jordan Grant (that I highly appreciate) position on LDL, HDL, role of cholesterol as a health marker and possibly what other values to keep track on throughout the years on TRT.
I hear usually Gil T saying that they check you’re not doing damages with your current testosterone dose, but I think he never mentioned what markers they actually check (correct me if I’m wrong).

I’ll ask them and get back to you.

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I would have to agree with the almost everything he said. If you put a gun to my head and said there has to be a definitive line than use the lab ranges. Otherwise is purely subjective.

My HDL has suffered as a result of TRT and my LDL is always crap (hereditary). My HDL has actually improved to at least be within range since I dropped the AI years ago. Here is my latest labs. I’m opposite of @Dexter_Morgan when it comes to lipid profiles. I’m seeing the doc at Defy soon and wondering what he will say about it.

My nuts have gotten smaller if anything.


Ha! Nice one

Gil doesn’t touch lipids. They treat sex hormones only.

Got it. What does he do if he sees lipids spiking up after starting TRT?

He’ll refer to an MD to address. He didn’t go into more detail.

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From Jordan: I don’t monitor it as a urologist, but I don’t believe that HDL/LDL CAUSE any issues. They may be markers of underlying liver health, however, OR of underlying insulin resistance…But it’s something the primary care docs check. I have only seen TRT when combined with improvements in diet, etc, cause the LDL to decrease and often the HDL to increase.

Thanks Danny, nice insight.
My regards to the doc.