I have always been a competitive and driven individual, whatever I set my mind to I wanted to do the best I possibly could. I have a keen interest in Brazilian jiu jitsu and grappling and as the years went on I gradually found myself shying away from sparing. I would convince my opponent to go light so we could focus on “technique”. When I did spar then it would take an age to recover, my body would be sore and aching for a week at least. I knew something wasn’t right, however the straw that broke the camel’s back was when my son starting bench pressing more than me. This, let me tell you can change the whole dynamics in any household!
Together with my declining sporting prowess I felt sluggish all the time, it literally felt that I was carrying the equivalent of my body weight in a ruck sack on my back. I would wake up sore and moody, not looking forward to the day ahead. It was true to say my mojo had packed up and left and took what remained of my libido with it. This must be ageing I told myself and resigned myself to a future life revolving around pipes, slippers and armchairs.
This was my life before TRT or testosterone replacement therapy. I was fortunate enough to become acquainted with one of the premier TRT physicians in the UK, Dr Amir Eslami who being a fellow elite grappler himself witnessed my weekly excuses for avoiding sparring. He suggested a blood test to have a look at what was happening on the inside, despite the fact that what was happening on the outside was far from impressive, think dad bod. Lo and behold when the blood test results returned I was astonished to learn that my total testosterone level was 23 nmol/L, the range was between 8 nmol/L and 30 nmol/L. This didn’t make any sense, I was confused as I stared at my results until Dr Eslami explained how we need to drill down into the blood test to see what is really going on inside.
Despite the fact that my total testosterone was in the upper end of normal my free testosterone which was actually “free” to act on the androgen receptors in the cell was just hovering above 0.2 nmol/L, with the range going from 0.2 to 0.8 nmol/L. This, Dr Eslami explained was due to the fact that my SHBG (sexual hormone binding globulin) was high. Think of SHBG as a kind of sponge that mops up the testosterone and as a consequence reduces the amount of free testosterone that can act on cells. So, my blood results had backed up my symptomology. If I had just got my total testosterone tested then I would have assumed that my problem lay elsewhere besides my hormones and my low mood could potentially have been treated with an antidepressant.
I had always been vehemently anti-steroid, I had always considered it cheating, I was not knowledgable enough to understand the difference between TRT and “doping”. However, once Dr Eslami explained while TRT simple returns one to a physiological or normal range, doping far exceeds this range and goes into what we in the business like to call “supra physiological” territory. So, the die was cast and I was ready for my first injection.
After my first injection of Sustanon I woke up early the next morning to look in the mirror. I was hoping to see the kind of transformation that Steve Rogers made when he took the super soldier serum. No such luck. The week then progressed pretty much as normal and I was wondering whether the batch was faulty because I wasn’t really feeing any different. Then it hit me mid week. Out of nowhere my libido returned, and let me tell you it came back with a vengeance. I had one thing on my mind, all the time, but now I had the energy and ability to go with the carnal thoughts.
A few weeks into the therapy, I was watching a film, I cannot for the life of me remember which one it was but it probably was some sort of action movie. What made this particularly notable was that I found the film incredibly sad for some reason and could feel an overpowering surge of emotion compelling tears to emerge from my eyes. What was happening to me? Dr Eslami explained that as we increase our testosterone levels our estrogen also increases and this can affect our mood and potentially give us breasts. Not looking forward to life of D cups I was worried that I would have to stop my TRT, but Dr Eslami reassured me that by taking a small dose of anastrozole, a drug which blocks the conversion of testosterone to oestrogen, I would be fine.
Fast forward a couple of years and I am still on TRT. I cannot imagine life without it. I am a more positive and motivated individual. I no longer shy away from sparring and now I headhunt the alpha on the mat, I usually get smeshed, as Khabib would say, but the deisre to compete is compelling. I am now also lifting the most weights I have ever lifted in my life. I think I have become a better husband, father and friend. Contrary to popular belief, testosterone I found, does not make you more aggressive. It definitely makes you more assertive, but far more important, it makes you happy.
At the end of the day we will all age, we cannot stop this, however how we age is something that with TRT we now have power to control.