Training Log

Starting Strength in the Real World

TRT Tips for Younger Men

by Tyler Perkins | May 10, 2022

lifter at the bottom of a squat inside a power rack

Yet again, I found myself in a cold, dimly lit room. At his stern, confident instruction, I slowly unbuckled my belt and slid my pants around my ankles, followed by my tightly fitting boxer briefs, exposing myself to the stranger, fully. I was young, nervous and uncertain – naive. The man I had only just met, began delicately probing my manhood. After only moments of his gentle caressing, he whispered delicately under his breath, "Oh yeah, still there…”

Although this could easily be an excerpt from a highly undesirable and all-but-unreadable erotic fiction novel, this is actually a bizarre but factual account of one of my many useless and comically ridiculous medical exams during my testosterone replacement journey. This same urologist went on to berate me about my non-existent steroid abuse and finally conceded that he had "no clue" why my testosterone was so absurdly low and then proceeded to ask me what I wanted to do about it.

Behind every man on testosterone replacement, there is a story of wasted money, wasted time, medical quackery, and possibly some unnecessary fondling. So, I would like to share a few of my own experiences that I am sure are common enough among those searching for help, and to offer some “pro-tips” for younger guys and newbies alike to keep you from experiencing your own Fifty Shades of Gray-scenario and running around in circles. Right off the bat:

Pro-tip #1: Diagnosing and treating a testosterone deficiency does not necessitate a diddling.

Historically, testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) has been geared towards the aging male population, and anybody without a little salt and pepper in their hair who was partaking in this wonderful life-changing serum was ridiculed for abusing steroids or using PEDs, or something to that effect. These days however, testosterone levels genuinely appear to be plummeting in young men, requiring intervention. As hard as it is for most people to believe, I am not actually a medical doctor and I have no theories regarding the “why,” but for reasons unknown to me this recent phenomenon is becoming more prevalent every day.

One unfortunate Google of “Pajama Boy” sipping his hot cocoa in a onesie, and it becomes abundantly obvious what I am talking about. So, for those of you who are experiencing any of the common low testosterone symptoms regardless of your age, but are unwilling to begin zipping up your jammies and breaking out the Swiss Miss, it might behoove you to get checked out immediately and get your hormone profile set up so you can thrive physically and mentally, and let the rest cower beneath your toxic masculinity.

I was 21 when I first noticed something was seriously off and sought out medical help, to no avail. At the time I was an Aircrewmen in the Navy, so I had to go see my flight surgeon. I explained my symptoms in detail and remember telling him that I thought I had low testosterone. After begging him to run some labs, it turned out that my testosterone was sitting at roughly 300. He told me I was “within the normal range” and that I was probably just stressed and to go workout or meditate or something. So, I just assumed I was screwed and went on feeling utterly horrible for another 8 years. Although at the time I was in the Navy and would not have really been able to circumvent the lab results, anybody else in their 20s should not accept a 300 level. A young, healthy, virile man is way, way higher than that.

Pro-tip #2: If the physician says that you should be thriving at 300, or if they treat an arbitrary and meaningless “range” rather than your symptoms, run.

At 29, after years of feeling like a sack of crap, I listened to several Starting Strength Radio Podcasts focusing on TRT and I decided to pursue it again. Against my better judgment, I first went to my General Practitioner. I found out quickly that things had only gotten significantly worse over the years. My total testosterone was equivalent to that of your dead grandmother (185), and to add insult to injury, my thyroid, as it turns out, is essentially vestigial. So, my GP, who is a soft, slob-like fellow and likely “low-T” himself, informed me that he would like to get me all the way up to the 300s (what the obsession with 300 is, I am still uncertain), that he would recommend I take some Ambien for my insomnia, and that I might want to start dabbling with antidepressants.

Pro-Tip #3: If your physician recommends antidepressants and/or Ambien, knowing that you have low testosterone, or without checking for that first, do not use this fool.

Try a solid dose of TRT and see if that takes care of your symptoms and fixes your problems first, duh. After my original denial at 21, my idiot GP visit 8 years later, and the troubling urologist experience following that, I was seriously discouraged. But again, Starting Strength Radio came to the rescue. After listening to the TRT episode, I sought out a reputable specialist in hormone replacement therapy, and my experience was like night and day. Everybody obviously knew what they were talking about, and we quickly laid out the best course of action for me. They gave me a legitimate man's dose of testosterone – enough to reduce or eliminate my symptoms regardless of what my levels ended up being – and never mentioned “300.”

They also addressed my hypothyroidism and the other fun deficiencies I have been graced with. Within a few days I started my treatment. Follow-up labs were one month later and virtually everything looked incredible. In just that one month I had completely turned into a new person. I did not walk around with ulcer-inducing anxiety, my depression vanished, I had energy throughout the day, and best of all, I had an Austin Powers-level libido.

Pro Tip #4: Do not waste your time and money: go straight to a reputable specialist, just like you would for any other specialized medical intervention.

I spent all of my 20s feeling like crap, and I wish I knew then what I know now. But the bottom line: if you feel constantly drained, depressed, if you have little or no ambition, if you walk around with constant anxiety, if you are a young man with a low sex drive – if you are Pajama Boy – it might be in your best interest to look into this ASAP. Don’t waste your 20s and 30s feeling like shit because you or somebody else convinced you that you're too young to need it, and don’t spin your wheels dealing with people who simply don't have a clue. Good luck.

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