Testosterone: TRT Give An 'Unfair' Advantage
Daily oscillations characterize the release of nearly every hormone. This poetic line opens this article on a well-researched subject. These peaks and valleys of hormones extend to testosterone. But what happens when people are on TRT and they experience no such peaks or valleys? Does a TRT dose of testosterone give you an advantage in the gym?
Testosterone will peak at different time of days, and drop at others. It’s highest on average, is at 5:30am, and lowestbefore midnight.
But when we inject a hormone our levels of Testosterone remain steady throughout the day, degrading over the course of a week between each and every injection. During the day at times when testosterone is normally lower, it isn’t. The implication is that as much of our hormones are inter-dependent and are in constant feedback loop with one another as you change one the others can go out of wack, but that’s for another time.
The Nevada State Athletic Commission banned TRT, and by proxy so did the MMA in 2014. The argument for TRT in this instance is that it allowed older fighters to compete with younger ones and that some fighters had a genuine need due to hypogonadism. Dana White, the President of the MMA, said he ‘couldn’t wait for that garbage to go away’
My read into this when it happened is that TRT covered up testosterone abuse. While tests can detect if exogenous test is used, if a fighter were to inject higher doses in an off season to bulk, and then reduce injections down to a TRT dose several weeks out, they would be back to TRT levels. Bam – passed the drug test.
But let’s say an athlete doesn’t abuse testosterone while on TRT, as unlikely as that may seem. Do they have an advantage?
I don’t want to be sued, accused of slander or giving out bad information in this or future articles, so let me just talk about my own experience and I’ll let you draw your own conclusion. Injecting 200mg of Testosterone Cypionate my test results verifying the protocol my doctor laid out for me was being effective showed a testosterone level of around 1000 ng/dL (nanograms per deciliter). That’s on the high end of normal.
For me to be at 1000 ng/dL 7 days after my last injection, I must have been significantly above the normal range. The release or breakdown of testosterone Cypionate is well understood and by using a site like steroidcalc.com, which is a site that anyone can use to plot out the release of hormones (i.e. steroids), I can see the extent of release on day 1 versus day 7.
As you can see from the graph, day 7 in any given week is the low point of testosterone in the body for someone on TRT, and day 1 is the highest. So if I’m a 1000 ng/dL by day 7, what was I at day 1 or day 2?!
Based on my numbers, there’s no doubt in my mind that 200mg of testosterone per week is a supraphysiological level (at least for me). Perhaps everyone is different in this regard, and they really do need this higher dose... (yeah right). A weekly shot of 200mg is likely too much, and a smaller dose injected multiple times per week would keep me in the upper range of testosterone without the huge peak on and near the day of injection that would take me outside of normal ranges.
So back to my original question – ‘does TRT give you an advantage in the gym?’. My conclusion is yes. With higher levels of testosterone comes increased muscle mass and improved recovery, among other benefits in terms of building muscle and gaining strength. Day 7 is likely the only day I am within normal testosterone range, so I am benefiting in the gym from what is, in my opinion for me a supraphysiological dose.
To conclude, I am a supporter of TRT. It changed my life, and I’ll cover that in another article. But no doubt it carries enormous performance enhancement, and gives me an advantage in strength and muscle over those not on TRT.