Everything You Need To Know About Testosterone
What Is Testosterone?
All anabolic steroids are a synthetic version of the male sex hormone that occurs naturally in the body called testosterone. Increasing the level of testosterone will promote a heightened anabolic state caused by an increased rate of protein synthesis. This in turn promotes muscle growth and improvements in strength.
Its original medical use was intended for treating patients who carried some androgenic deficiencies, yet it was soon established for its advantage in boosting athletic performance by helping to develop an athlete’s muscularity, strength, speed, and overall performance like never before. Hence, it is safe to say that testosterone is not only the basic anabolic steroid but also the ultimate anabolic steroid, and every cycle you will run should include testosterone of some form as the base product.
Our natural (endogenous) production of testosterone has already in itself many effects – for example, it is responsible for proper testicular and prostate development as well as for the appropriate development of muscle tissue, bone density and strength. On the negative side, low levels of testosterone can negatively affect muscle growth, bone strength and mental well-being.
When the endogenous production of testosterone is lacking for any given reason, it requires some amount of supplementation by means of exogenous (that is, synthetic) testosterone in order to counteract or cure such deficiencies. Alternatively, should the case be that an individual user is determined to improve their physical aspect or add muscular mass and strength to their natural levels in order to reach the desired goals, then you have the two most common reasons for which exogenous testosterone is used.
Let’s now have a look at the different types of synthetic testosterones and to their individual features, effects, benefits and side effects. We will examine the injectable form of testosterone, which is at large the most commonly (and useful) type of testosterone being supplemented.
Types Of Injectable Testosterone
There are 4 most common variants of injectable testosterone, all of which involve that an ester attached to the compound. The Base testosterone variant is modified through the ester, which will dictate the timing of release of the hormone in the body, until the drug is completely absorbed. Note that the ester used with base testosterone does not in any way alter the hormonal properties of the drug – there is no so thing as the ‘best testosterone- Testosterone is testosterone, and any testosterone used in your cycle will indeed have the exact same benefits – regardless of which ester you use.
The 4 esters are:
- Testosterone Cypionate – With an half-life of 12 days
- Testosterone Enanthate – Its half-life is equal to 10.5 days
- Testosterone Propionate – Bearing an half-life of 4.5 days
- Testosterone In Suspension – Which has a half-life of less than 24 hours
Whichever variant you choose eventually to implement, rest assured that by using exogenous testosterone you will experience many great effects such as an increased protein efficiency, an increased red blood cell count, an improved physical endurance, much more rewarding training sessions (as a result of the increased endurance), improved muscle mass growth, and also increased recovery abilities and decreased levels in your body fat percentage.
Of the above types of testosterones listed, it is an acquired fact that the most widely used and popular form of testosterone is testosterone enanthate. This variant is slightly more potent than the other forms of testosterone and, for this reason alone, it is the one most implemented anabolic steroids by athletes, bodybuilders and powerlifters. Not forgetting to mention that it has a quite noticeable diffusion in the entertainment and modeling areas.
We have to spend a few words too about a particular mixture of different testosterone variants – Sustanon, that is – which is carefully engineered in order to maximize the slow steady release of testosterone for the goal of maintaining peak testosterone levels in the body for an extended amount of time.
Whichever the variant of testosterone you will want to implement, do not forget that if you are serious about improving your athletic performance, your resistance, your muscle mass and your overall recovery abilities, it is true to say that testosterone is absolutely essential and as important as your training and your nutrition.
You can get free personalized advice from a professional consultant before choosing your specific testosterone treatment on many online sites, just make sure that the person who will assist you is really up to the job, which normally occurs when you select a reputable, highly esteemed and reliable supplier for your testosterone. This latter aspect will be better explained later in this article.
Testosterone Base injections result in extreme muscle mass growth within a relatively short period of time, which varies according to the individual’s genetic profile. These injections contain significantly large amounts of testosterone (without any ester) to enhance the process. This potent anabolic steroid is excellent for those looking to gain rapidly a noticeable muscle mass and higher levels of physical strength.
What to expect from implementing Base Testosterone?
The main general effects any user will likely experience during their time with this variant may include, though not being in any way limited to the following:
- Advanced muscular growth and muscle tissue thickness
- Enhanced muscular and physical recovery
- A stronger boost in sexual performance and in overall satisfaction
- Enhanced energy levels
- A general and continuous feeling of wellbeing
- Enhanced strength levels
- Optimal protection against declining hormonal output
- A superior rate of body fat elimination
- The overall increase in the anabolic state of the body, which in turn boosts the effects of any other anabolic items being supplemented at the same time.
The enanthate version induces a slower release of the basic anabolic hormone testosterone. But this slower release represents one of the most effective mass building means available, and determines quite dramatic effects in muscle and strength increases. Of course this is provided you are patient and take the required time to reach your goal.
What can one expect from implementing Testosterone Enanthate?
The main effects any user will definitely experience during their course with this variant of testosterone may include, though not being in any way limited to the following:
- An advanced muscular growth and enhanced muscular recovery
- A strong boost in sexual performance and overall satisfaction
- Increased energy and improved feeling of wellbeing
- An increase in overall strength levels
- An enhanced fat burning ratio
- The boost in the individual effects of other anabolic items, given the increased anabolic state of the whole user’s organism
The cypionate version is also a slow release injectable ester of testosterone, and is one of the most effective mass building allies available. It gives strong muscle mass gains and strength increases, while its half-life of appx. 8 days means that it does not need a frequent injection schedule.
What to expect from implementing Testosterone Cypionate?
The main general effects any user will probably experiment during their course with this variant include, though not being in any way limited to the following:
- Advanced muscular growth and rapid recovery
- Some truly enhanced energy levels, which determine also a strong feeling of wellbeing
- Enhanced strength levels
- Protection against any declining hormonal output
- A boost in sexual performance and satisfaction
- Increased fat burning
- A half-life of approximately 8 days, which allows for this product to be injected less frequently
- An overall increased anabolic state of the body which boosts the effects of other anabolic items being implemented with it
The propionate variant acts in a much faster way if compared to the previously mentioned esters and represents a powerful mass building item that allows also for huge increments in the user’s strength. Perfect for bulking, it is also one of the most commonly used hormones when users need to perform their cutting phase, due to its reliable muscle hardening effect.
What to expect from implementing Testosterone Propionate?
The main effects any user will experience during their cycle with this variant include those we have already seen for the previous variants. Just remember that this product, having a shorter half-life of 2 to 3 days, will have to be injected more often.
The undecanoate version of testosterone represents a slow release ester. The effects and positive consequences it produces on muscle gains and strength increases are comparable to those which users will experiment from the afore-mentioned variants. This item has an extended half-life, allowing for an infrequent injection schedule.
Sustanon & Mix Testosterones
Sustanon is the trade name owned by Organon Pharmaceuticals for its various types of oil-based injectable mixes of esters; in its most common version (Sustanon 250) it contains four different testosterone esters. But whatever the mix may be, all mixes provide a rapid spike in testosterone with a steady and extended release of the active ingredients. They are all in fact very strong anabolic steroids, perfect for your bulking cycles. Testosterone mixes have quite extended half-lives – meaning that they need to be injected with less frequency.
Testosterone’s General Dosages And Cycles
The general dosages of testosterone will vary according mainly to the user’s experience level, and will normally be as follows (on a weekly basis):
|First time users (beginners)||250-750 mg|
|Intermediate level users||750-1000 mg|
|Advanced level (and professional) users||1000-1250 mg|
A first time user will typically start implementing at a level of 250 mg per week, though it is also fine to run testosterone at 500 mg per week when you start implementing it, though you will need a more accurate control of the results (and of the side effects too). However, a limit at 750 mg per week would most likely be the maximum level at which most of the users should not really experience any serious side effects, but any weekly dosage above the latter one is definitely where some noticeable side effects may begin to be experienced.
We have deliberately not mentioned dosages implemented by those who are absolute world level sportsmen. We are talking here about individual users who make it to the top 20 positions in their specific sport, actually. Now, when it comes to world class weightlifters or bodybuilders, just to name 2 of the most relevant disciplines, dosages would be seen as widely chosen on a very personal fashion ( with rather large dosages at times).
But back to more ‘human level’ grounds, we can say that the above stated ‘normal’ dosages of testosterone should be used for at least 10 weeks and up to generally a maximum period of 16 weeks, if you want to obtain tangible results from its implementation in your cycle without any serious side effects.
Whatever the dosage and the cycle length, there will be of course a sort of ‘waiting’ period of time before you can notice that testosterone’s beneficial effects start showing, and it’s a true fact that in general your best results in terms of muscle mass and strength gains will start being especially evident towards the end of your cycle. Please remember though that the longer your natural production of testosterone is being suppressed, then the harder it will be to for it to return to its normal levels during and after the PCT (post-cycle therapy). All in all, it is to be said that a cycle would be safer if its duration would last anywhere between 12 weeks and 16 weeks, and you will definitely get the optimal results from it as you would expect.
The Low Testosterone Symptoms in Men
It’s really during your being an adolescent that testosterone defines your muscles, deepens the tone of your voice, while in your adulthood it simply keeps your muscles and bones in a fairly good condition.
A slow but steady and continuous decline in testosterone levels starts occurring when a male is about 30 years old. Such a decline will be with regards also to a man’s sex drive, and this decrease in testosterone levels makes some people wrongly think in fact that their loss of interest in sex is basically because of aging. However, such a steady decline in testosterone can’t indicate if there is a TOTAL absence of interest in sex, as other issues regarding your physical and psychological states might be a true reason for this absence, a greater issue than aging itself.
Given that precisely what level constitutes a ‘low’ testosterone is rather questionable, and given also that testosterone levels change all the time and may depend also on such factors as even the mere time of the day – in fact, these levels have a tendency to be lower during the night – we can nevertheless list hereinafter a few symptoms as to what the side effects of low testosterone can be.
They include, but are not limited to the following:
- Erectile difficulty and / or weakness
- Low sexual desire
- Low total sperm count
- A tendency for the bones to get fractured
- Excessive loss of muscular mass
- States of depression
- Lack of mental focus
- Hair loss
Low levels of testosterone are those that fall under what is said to be their ‘normal range’. According to the U.S. Nourishment and Drug Administration, this range is equal to 300-1000 ng/dL.
A number of side effects can occur if the testosterone’s production radically drops. Signs of low testosterone levels are at times very subtle, on the other hand, and can be mistaken for natural aging.
We will now examine the above stated negative effects in a more in-depth fashion, so that you can have some knowledge in order to discern if any of them can be taken as the effect of low testosterone levels.
- Low Sex Drive: Testosterone has a key part in libido; though it’s well known that men might experience some decline in sex drive as they age, however this will be further enhanced if testosterone levels drop too much. So it is of paramount importance to determine whether or not it is low testosterone that is causing this particular lowering effect in their desire.
- Difficulty In Maintaining A Proper Erection: Testosterone does help in achieving an erection, but when testosterone levels are too low, men might have a problem in achieving an adequate erection for the intercourse – hence why it is important to determine whether low testosterone levels are the reason of the onset of this particular problem.
- Low Total Sperm Count: Being that testosterone determines the quantity and quality of semen, and also of its motility, the more testosterone a man has, the more semen he will have. Men will notice a decrease in their ejaculation potency too when the total sperm count is too low.
- Missing Or Decreasing Levels of Energy: Low testosterone does in fact entail a loss in energy levels. Though a man may be getting lots of rest and does not conduct a strenuous lifestyle on a daily basis, low testosterone will affect him in regards to the energy he experiences.
- Loss of Muscle Mass / Increase of Body Fat %: Testosterone has a great role in the muscles’ building and maintenance, hence those men who are affected by low levels of this substance may notice a decrease in both of these aspects. Consequently, what does not show as muscle mass will show as mass, but it will be only an increase mainly of the body’s fat deposits, which will keep unaltered the total body weight, but dramatically change the body’s composition.
- Decreasing Mass In The Bone Structure: Bones become thinner when testosterone levels decrease too much, and can lead to a condition known as osteoporosis, which may affect men just as it often affects women. This because testosterone helps in the production and strengthening of bone. Men with low levels of it are more prone to the side effects regarding their bone structure.
Other effects produced by low levels of testosterone affect also the psychological area. Men with low levels of testosterone can experience such states as the absence of any interest in doing even regular daily activities or lose interest in their hobbies. They can suddenly be hit by depression or melancholic states of mind several times in one day, or become aggressive and moody for no apparent reason at all. In these cases, it would almost go without saying that a specialist in psychological issues, and even a specialist in hormonal issues, should be quickly consulted in order to carry out all the relevant tests, in order to get the most precise diagnosis possible, and for the ensuing treatment.
How To Keep Proper Testosterone Levels In Men
One way of keeping healthy levels in one’s testosterone levels is by simply implementing oral testosterone. This is not something you can choose freely to do without a proper medical screening, but the doctor will tell you what and how to implement. Particularly, he will administer the right dosage that you need.
Another treatment prescribed solely by doctors, who take care of the whole procedure, is to use testosterone pellets, which are placed under the patient’s skin and run their effects for many months (up to six months). These pellets are monitored at regular intervals by your MD, who will analyze the benefits and check if any negative side effects arise.
Additionally, there are some sensible lifestyles that, together with the necessary treatment of low, lowering, unstable levels of testosterone, will be of a great partnership with the patient in the treatment of this illness.
These can be listed as follows:
Get a Good Night’s Sleep On A Constant Basis: The lack of sleep or its interrupted style does affect testosterone levels even if you are otherwise a young, healthy man. Although the need for sleep varies from one individual to the other, and even if generally speaking younger males will sleep more hours than older men in order to feel refreshed and full of energy, there is no doubt at all that if anyone, young or old, sleeps just about 4-5 hours per night for a long period of time, in the end this subject will inevitable experience lowering levels of testosterone. It won’t be just a matter of starting to feel sluggish, it will also and by far be mostly a matter of many other side effects – low testosterone included, you bet!
Eat Food That Has Zinc: Zinc influences testosterone levels in men so you need plenty of foods that are rich in this mineral, particularly, nuts, crab, lobster, oysters, beans, red meats, chicken, turkey and many whole grains. You can also supplement zinc tablets, and an average daily dosage would be anywhere between 10 mg and 15 mg per day. Some users go as far as 50 mg per day, but it’s not necessary.
Get Rid Of Your Excess Weight: Overweight men can suffer also some severe illnesses such as diabetes or hypogonadism. And as you get older, say in your late 40s or early 50s in general, this in going most definitely to become more and more likely. However it just takes to consult a nutritionist or a dietician and get a proper diet in your life combined with exercise. Remember also that moderately aged men with pre-diabetes are additionally prone to having naturally lowering testosterone levels.
Use Less Sugar: Yes, sugar makes life so much sweeter, and more prone to being sick. Glucose (sugar) has a lot of calories but practically no nutritional value, hence the appellation of ‘empty calories’ it has been labeled with. It can also cause resistance to insulin, which paves the way often to diabetes. It also has unique fat-promoting effects, given its work on the brain and on hormones and more negative side effects. In our case here, it can also lower your testosterone levels, as much by as much as 25 %, so it’s best to use sucrose and glucose as little as possible. Switch to fructose, instead, but keep in mind for this version too that the less, the better for your testosterone levels.
What are the additional benefits of keeping and / or increasing your testosterone levels?
One very important aspect of keeping or increasing your testosterone levels, the latter when those levels have been checked and show a progression towards lower than normal levels, is that a good level in your endogenous production of testosterone will keep your heart healthy and optimally functional, and the heart, as we all know, is paramount in our entire body.
A healthy heart does in fact performs many primary functions: it pumps blood to all of our body, it helps in the production of red blood cells, and it gives all the oxygen that is needed to keep our other organs and our muscles in their best shape.
Many studies in the recent years have shown that indeed healthy men who have regular levels of testosterone are less prone to having strokes and / or heart attacks, while men that have been experiencing a cardiovascular disease (heart attacks, angina, etc.) were showing improvements (some smaller but others quite noticeable) after undergoing a testosterone-based therapy applicable to their individual case.
Other benefits included with a healthy level of testosterone include but are not limited to:
- More muscle mass and less body fat deposits: the increase in muscle mass will however not necessarily be coupled with an increase in strength. This latter aspect will most likely require that the testosterone therapy be accompanied by an appropriate training and exercise program for developing the potential increase in strength that testosterone makes available.
- A stronger and denser bone structure: mineral density decreases with age while testosterone levels drop and it paves the way to, for example, the onset of osteoporosis. It’s not just healthier bones per se, it’s consequently also a matter of those healthy bones supporting your entire body, your organs and your muscle mass. Sports performance and strong bone structure complement each other!
- An improved state of mind: if you want to keep or even increase your brain’s ability, but also keep your memory as alert and fresh as when you were an adolescent, and carefully avoid such terrific diseases as Alzheimer’s or just beat the competition at those IQ tests, remember that there is a well demonstrated link between all of the above stated qualities and the maintenance of normal levels of testosterone.
- Show off in the bedroom: keep your testosterone levels at their normal rate, or even a little more than that, and your sexual desire will arouse each time and in no time at all! It is a fact indeed that males with higher levels of this hormone do have more ‘fun’. And no worries if your age is becoming a somewhat contrasting factor: libido and erectile function (or dysfunction) may well be improved by supplementing a bit of testosterone, provided you get checked medically in order to see if this is the cause (sometimes apparently secondary medications can have a lowering influence on your testosterone levels).
The above are all situations, of a medical type normally, that testosterone can effectively treat, provided as said that you sensibly consult with a specialist, follow his prescriptions, eat sensibly, train and sleep. No miracles required, just a sensible approach and lots of determination.
The Potential Side Effects of Testosterone
While we have elaborated on the main negative side effects of low testosterone levels, it is fair to say that the ‘normal’ implementation of testosterone in itself may be the reason why some pitfalls can be found in it.
These negative side effects may include, also not being limited to the following ones:
- One first ‘disappointment’ (which can be seen by some as a negative side effect) is that testosterone injections may not work for you if you think that you will experience fast and easy growth in your muscular mass. Testosterone does not function as some other, faster acting steroids. It requires some efforts from you, in terms of an appropriate diet and of due hard training.
- If you are already experiencing health problems such as prostate cancer, testosterone is not for you.
- If you inject testosterone and the doctor has given you the go-ahead, this does in no way mean that you may not suffer from some side effects such as: acne, short temper, aggressiveness, hair loss, mood swings, increased urination, decrease in the size of testicles, water retention, lowering sperm count, and others. Hence, do expect some kind of side effects, but minimize their effects with the help of your doctor or of a specialized medical expert.
Depending on the specific end goal of the individual user (bulking, cutting, lean muscle mass development, sculpting) testosterone dosages can be very flexible. For example, for a person who wants to achieve muscle mass or more generally body mass, the dosage will be higher than the one required for those who instead aim to losing their body fat deposits or wish to have a leaner physique. If you are in need of testosterone as a therapy because your endogenous production levels are not satisfactory, then you will need to administer it at dosages that are quite different from those you would implement for enhancing your performance in any sport.
Additionally, you will have to administer testosterone according to your experience, if you are a beginner, an intermediate level user, or instead if you are already in an advanced level. The times of administration usually vary between one single injection per week and two per week but the total weekly dosage will still amount to the same. For example 400 mg in one weekly administration or 200 mg administered twice per week. Remember to always stick to your level as a user and hence administer the correspondent dosage very carefully, given than if you administer higher dosages than those allowed by your level, you will sometimes dramatically increase the risks of experiencing side effects.
How To Stack Testosterone With Other Steroids
Whatever your goal is and no matter which stack you choose to implement, it is true to say that in most cases testosterone will be the basis of such a cycle. This is basically due to the fact that testosterone is characterized by its quite good tolerance for most users and also by its well-known versatility in terms of usage and combination with other anabolic steroids.
It is also true however that those who begin for the very first time to use such products need inevitably almost to not stack testosterone at all, but to use it on its own. And even more experienced users will find that most of times they will need to stack testosterone only with one additional steroid, which will depend mainly on its favorable combination with whichever other steroid shall complement it best on the basis of the goal you want to pursue.
Most of the stacks done with testosterone normally include such other steroids as deca durabolin, trenbolone and dianabol, especially if you are seeking to gain more mass, more strength and superior athletic performance.
For example, during the off-season cycles, where you need to build more and significantly improve your strength gains, you will find that trenbolone stacks very well with testosterone.
On the other hand, if you combine testosterone and deca durabolin, you will get impressive results because this stack works so well for increasing your muscle mass (bulking phase) while also being a great ally in maintaining the muscle mass you have earned. This combination can work well too in the cutting phase.
Finally, the combination of testosterone with dianabol is very often the choice of those many beginners who, after having implemented only testosterone as their initial steroid usage, are willing to start with their very first stack. These two anabolic steroids indeed stack very well together: dianabol has the great feature of being able to increase your size and your strength in a very quick fashion, while testosterone provides the optimal anabolic atmosphere in your body by hugely elevating the anabolic levels where dianabol will deploy its most effective consequences.
The above are only 3 of the several stacks that a user can create on the basis of their desired goals. A good stack however needs to be discussed with both your MD who will run a check-up of your health to determine if there are any potential negative consequences that you may have to face when using anabolic steroids.
Then, on the more specific level of which stack is best, provided you are not a beginner who would be better at starting with only the administration of testosterone, you need consult with a specialist who will choose your stack according to what you want to be or to become.