I will be 49 in a few weeks. When I hit 40 I hit a wall. I know you’ve probably heard the story before right? Middle age everything goes downhill, but does it have to? I was an athlete in high school and continued through my adult life playing in a basketball league, golf, lifting, kayaking. I would classify myself as having a moderately active lifestyle. 5 out of 7 days of the week I was doing something that increased my heart rate and I was in great shape. 32 waist 200 pounds. I wasn’t cut but I was muscular and in good health.
At 42 ish I started to really get run down, depressed and just sick of everything. My family has a history of depression so I perused that vein first. All the boxes were checked, a decent career, good marriage, kids were okay. I altered my diet a bit, didn’t help. I finally went to my Dr and asked to have my testosterone panel done. I was at 234 the first test.
“In general, the normal range in males is about 270 to 1070 ng/dL with an average level of 679 ng/dL. A normal male testosterone level peaks at about age 20, and then it slowly declines. Testosterone levels above or below the normal range are considered by many to be out of balance.”
So I was under the low range, I quickly got on androgel and got my Test up to approx 525 (I think it was 527 at 45) which is still below the average. I was getting heavier, I was now in a 36-38 waist and running at 240. The gain was all fat and I was depressed as all hell at how I looked. I had a laser lipo treatment, they sucked out 7 pounds of fat, didn’t help I put it back on. At this point I started to realize that I needed to do more. So I adopted a pretty simple but effective approach, a 5X5 workout plan. (link is to the one I currently use)
A 5×5 workout plan is pretty straight forward. Compound exercises every 48-72 hours 5 sets of 5 reps with as much weight as you can handle. I did this for 6 months before my next test (this was last year, 2 years after the 527 measure) my panel came in at 701 so I was no above average. I was still taking the androgel, I was down to 230 in weight by dropped from a 38 waist to a 34.
I was jacked, then I got hurt LOL. Hurt my back couldn’t do anything. I’m now back up to 240 not as fat as when I first started on this journey but the 10 gain wasn’t muscle. I’m wearing 36 waist now. If you are a man and you feel depressed, low energy and just in general don’t have a great “feeling” about yourself and your life, you might be low in testosterone. Your first step is to get tested, ask your Dr, to have a panel done. You need a starting point, if you are below the 679 average you need to figure out how to increase your test. There are of course other factors that could be the culprit, recent deaths, issues at home, stress at work, but testosterone is something you can directly control through diet, exercise and if need be medication. Don’t ignore it !