Anyone who has read my book Corps Strength, or follows my articles here on SSD, knows I’m not big on supplements. Not that I haven’t tried them, I have. I would say that up until about 10 years ago I seriously tried just about every different fitness supplement out there; Mega-Vitamins, all types of protein, fat burners, creatine, etc, etc, etc. I wish I had all the money back I wasted on that crap over the years, I could get the new truck I want with cash, instead of a loan. In any case live and learn, as I’m just as hard headed as anyone in having to try something for myself. Plus, I get the strong attraction of getting better results from our PT efforts, so I realize in the end people will try just about anything for some gains, no matter what this old jarhead says.
However, there is something I’ve seen a lot lately that goes beyond the normal hype you see in (mostly) harmless supplements. That’s the heavy advertising you see for Testosterone therapy for men. I’m not taking about the (worthless) over the counter stuff, but prescription drugs. It’s advertised everywhere; TV, radio, magazines and on the internet. This past weekend myself and my son took in a Yankee preseason game in Tampa and along the way I saw a big billboard advertising testosterone treatments. Of course they have a picture of a seriously jacked older guy as a proof source. I think this is misleading at best and dangerous at it’s worst.
Testosterone levels in men is serious business. If your body doesn’t produce enough you will have a range of problems. Fatigue, depression, fat gain, and the big one: lack of sex drive and these are just a few, there are many. Too much testosterone has its problems too, we know about this from bodybuilders who take immense amounts of steroids to increase their T levels to crazy high levels. Without getting too far into this, ideally your T level basically falls in a range of between 300-1000, depending on your age. Now it’s natural that your T levels will fall as you age, thats life stud. However, other than a serious medical condition or injury, IMO you can maintaining a healthy level (for any age) is possible, and you can do this without relying on drugs. The fact is a recent study of T therapy for men has indicated that it isn’t the “fountain of youth” that the ads make it seem. You can read the results of one study (there are lots of them out there) for yourself here: T Therapy.
There are many simple lifestyle things that will reduce your T levels; being out of shape and overweight are two big ones. Not getting enough sleep, stress, smoking and drinking too much, are others. On the opposite side a healthy lifestyle, exercise, maintaining a lean bodyweight, getting enough sleep and a good diet can have the reverse effect. For this I’ll use myself as an example (as I’m prone to do). When I retired from active duty I was 49 years old and I had the big retirement physical as we all do. One of the things you have done (which I never had before), was to have my T level checked. At my final out brief with the doc he asked me if I was taking any T supplements as my number was 702, which was the high end of my age group and still high middle for the for any age. (No, I wasn’t taking anything) Now last year at age 56, I was tested again and mine actually went up to 733 (to my wife’s horror). I think it went up because since I retired and left New Orleans, I drink much less and get a lot more sleep.
The point here is that today’s culture that likes to throw drugs at every issue, as an instant cure is not only dangerous, but (as the study points out) in many cases, doesn’t provide the desired results. I still stubbornly think that when it comes to our health, we can do a lot with just some honest effort in PT, some restraint at the table and the bar and some common sense to manage our stress. At least before turning to a drug, give it a try. Plus, the fact is once you start on it, you pretty much have to continue it for life, I say F**k that.
In any case I’m off to Trinidad next month to train some of their people, I should (as I’m prone to do), see something there worth talking about next month. Till then be safe always, good when you can.