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Slow Bleed of Muscle Loss Years After AAS

Pumped340

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As many of you know I never had the best response to gear, and found out I had some cardiomyopathy so I dropped it 3 years ago. May 2015, had cut down to the leanest I've ever been at 183 or so.

Decided to stay on 80mg TRT and have been on that since. Tried to do one last big gaining phase and went up to 220lb over the next 1.5-2 years. Was hitting some new all-time strength levels and biggest measurements to date even just on that 80mg TRT.

Cut down starting January 2017. Things were going great until about May when I hit 190-192. Slightly stronger and leaner than ever before at that weight. Took a 2 week break due to a small surgery. Dr. McClain started me on 1mg arimidex per week to bring E2 down from mid 40s to mid 20s. Since then things have just slowly gotten worse and worse. I took a 3 month diet break and by the end of that 3 months I was just a crappier version of 190. I continued to cut down to 180 by February 2018 to get to the leanest I've ever been in my life. But still, I had lost more size and strength than I wanted or expected,

Since then things have been terrible. I'm now 188 and literally just fatter. I'm no stronger than when I was 180. My waistline and skinfolds are the same now as when I was 5lb heavier last summer. My arms are down half an inch compared to last summer. My bench is down a good 20lb compared to last summer.

Is it possible that even though I came off the AAS three years ago the calorie surplus of bulking for another 1.5-2 years kept the muscle I had gained, and now that I cut for the last year I've finally gone back to essentially what I would have been at naturally? This last year has been very mentally distressing to me as it seems every time I re-assess I'm worse than I was a few months ago. Just weaker, fatter, smaller. The only other notable change was adding the arimidex but I can't imagine 1mg per week would be doing much at all and certainly not negative. I never would have expected this after already being off for 2 years but I have no other explanation.

Even if that is the explanation though, I'm surprised my cut went so well from January 2017 to May 2017. Was still just on the 80mg and retained almost all size and strength up to that point. Again though the only other change was adding a very small amount of arimidex.
 
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johnjuanb1

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Being in a calorie surplus most definitely holds more muscle, even if totally natural. Just hang in there and do your best to stay healthy. You can slowly lose body fat by eating a moderate amount of calories. It took me the past 12 months of cutting to get to where I’m happy. If i had cut calories as much as guys getting ready for a show in 12-16 eeeks i would have lost more muscle. It’s a lot harder to drop fat and hold muscle when you get up around 50 years old. I would stay on your HRT and consume around 3,000-3,500 calories from cutting diet type foods. Train consistently and do cardio. Give yourself a whole year to get in contest shape without high doses or gimmicks. Just stick to your diet 100% and train consistently with weights and cardio. Slow and steady wins the race. 👍
 

XstarchildX

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Where does 80mg a week put your numbers via blood work? If you're where your body was naturally as far as levels go, being in a deficit will eventually catabolize muscle tissue over a period of time (given you were beyond your "genetic limits" when using higher doses). I would think low dose GH or something of that nature would help keep the tissue on you--if that's a route you want to take.

Has training intensity been high during this period of lower doses? I think intensity, not volume, is ever more important during a cruise or TRT than at any other time.
 

Pumped340

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Being in a calorie surplus most definitely holds more muscle, even if totally natural. Just hang in there and do your best to stay healthy. You can slowly lose body fat by eating a moderate amount of calories. It took me the past 12 months of cutting to get to where I’m happy. If i had cut calories as much as guys getting ready for a show in 12-16 eeeks i would have lost more muscle. It’s a lot harder to drop fat and hold muscle when you get up around 50 years old. I would stay on your HRT and consume around 3,000-3,500 calories from cutting diet type foods. Train consistently and do cardio. Give yourself a whole year to get in contest shape without high doses or gimmicks. Just stick to your diet 100% and train consistently with weights and cardio. Slow and steady wins the race. 👍

The thing is I'm not even trying to get that lean. I just wanted to get beach lean and maintain that. Things were going fairly well up until last summer. I was holding onto almost all my muscle and strength and I was able to cut 25-30lb without issue over about 5 months.

Since then things have been terrible. I'm not doing anything extreme, just a basic calorie deficit with consistent intense training, the same as I've always done. It seemed 2 years into me coming off things were going just fine. Then all of a sudden it went to shit. Even just these last 3 months have literally had as bad of results as if I came off of a cycle.

Where does 80mg a week put your numbers via blood work? If you're where your body was naturally as far as levels go, being in a deficit will eventually catabolize muscle tissue over a period of time (given you were beyond your "genetic limits" when using higher doses). I would think low dose GH or something of that nature would help keep the tissue on you--if that's a route you want to take.

Has training intensity been high during this period of lower doses? I think intensity, not volume, is ever more important during a cruise or TRT than at any other time.

When I was on just the 80mg TRT it put total test around 600 and estradiol around 40-45. On 80mg TRT + 1mg adex per week it puts total test around 800 and estradiol in the mid 20s most of the time.

Training has been as intense and consistent as ever. That's what's so frustrating. I've been killing myself with consistent diet and training this entire time but inexplicably this past year has been awful.

I'm really not even sure if the gear did put me over my genetic limit as I started using before I hit my limit in my opinion. And if I was going to backtrack I would think it would have happened already.

When I did my first 2 cycles and tried coming off completely afterwards I lost my results FAST. Within a couple of months I was back at my starting put. So it's hard for me to understand how I could come off, bulk for 1.5 years, cut for half a year and be fine, and then all of a sudden just tank.
 

Pumped340

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I just woke up at 184 this morning, with my waistline and skinfold measurements the same as when I was 190-192 over the summer. I'm literally down 6+lb at the same leanness now.

I've even noticed I just appear softer in general. My 190-192 over the summer had a different look and even relaxed I was moderately vascular. Now I look like my arms are made of dough unless I get a strong pump going. Again it's literally as if I just came off a cycle the last few months even with eating a lot more (I haven't been cutting since February).

At this point I'm strongly considering just saying fuck it, come off the TRT and be at wherever my body puts me. I don't know if I see the point in jabbing myself 4x per week (4x20mg) to be in this bad of a position all while potentially screwing up my HPTA. I'm only 27.....wouldn't expect this at all.
 

MKSuccess500

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Is someone slipping you some prednisone in your sleep? :D

You mentioned you started arimidex a year ago, could that be it? I don't see how that would be making you fatter though or having such a dramatic effect. When I took 1mg letrozole per day that was terrible and crushed my joints, my estrogen when to almost zero, and I got a lot weaker. But it doesn't sound like that's your issue here.
 

brutus69

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that low dose and ur pinning 4 times a week? why?
there's absolutely no benefit to doing that.
and at that low test level im not sure what you're expecting. how old are you? thats just a natty test level you're at.
no way is adex the culprit, if anything the lower estrogen/e2 would make fat gain less likely.
maybe its just the getting old thing. i see myself 4 years ago on pics and video and now i see myself and just get depressed. fatter and smaller.
even my structure looks different from 43 to 48 yrs old.
makes me want to get back on higher doses but then my bp spikes, my resting hr goes up....
entropy's a bitch. at least im not alone feeling this way.
 

Pumped340

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that low dose and ur pinning 4 times a week? why?
there's absolutely no benefit to doing that.
and at that low test level im not sure what you're expecting. how old are you? thats just a natty test level you're at.
no way is adex the culprit, if anything the lower estrogen/e2 would make fat gain less likely.
maybe its just the getting old thing. i see myself 4 years ago on pics and video and now i see myself and just get depressed. fatter and smaller.
even my structure looks different from 43 to 48 yrs old.
makes me want to get back on higher doses but then my bp spikes, my resting hr goes up....
entropy's a bitch. at least im not alone feeling this way.

Yea it doesn't seem like adex would be the culprit.

Ya know I actually just recently commented to my family how it was interesting that for the first time in my life when I see an old picture/video of me it was actually a better version. My entire life I've gotten better physically so any old picture was a worse version for the most part. Now for the first time I'm seeing better versions of me in old pics.

Having said that, I'm only 27. This shouldn't be happening anywhere close to this age and certainly not in such a rapid period of time of just 1 year while keeping hormonal status constant.

As for my dose, 80mg Test + 1mg Adex keeps me at upper level of normal. 800ng/dl or so. I spread it out 4x per week for the theoretical benefits of keeping estrogen a little more controlled (which I have not found to be effective for this purpose) and to keep levels more stable. Figured better to have smaller peaks and troughs.

As for what I'm expecting....was really just hoping to maintain or make very very slow gains. Never expected things to drop like they did this past year.
 

Gunsmith

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I think Adex at all while on only TRT is way to much. With it's strength and half life even at 1mg a week it's gonna tank your E2.
I've been taking 10mg a day test cyp for my TRT and so far haven't needed any antiestrogen (thankful) but I want to double my dose and I'll probably just add 10mg Masteron-E a week to help keep estrogen in check.

As for the muscle loss , I think it has more to do with your body just finally coming back down to it natural max size of what it can support with that much food and hormones. I'd definitely think that if your estrogen is to low that will cause "muscle loss" and weakness as badly as if it's to high.
 

XstarchildX

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As others have stated, if your test is around 600 (I know you said 800ish for a while, which would be better) you'll eventually lose size, given you were past your genetic natural limitations.
 

thethinker48

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Shelby talked about this once on a podcast.

You can maintain well on trt but you very slowly start to regress a little back down over years; most likely because you are past your genetic limit.

The minute you hit the gas a little though, it comes back super fast.

Sent from my Pixel XL using Tapatalk
 

Pumped340

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I'm an idiot

I think Adex at all while on only TRT is way to much. With it's strength and half life even at 1mg a week it's gonna tank your E2.
I've been taking 10mg a day test cyp for my TRT and so far haven't needed any antiestrogen (thankful) but I want to double my dose and I'll probably just add 10mg Masteron-E a week to help keep estrogen in check.

As for the muscle loss , I think it has more to do with your body just finally coming back down to it natural max size of what it can support with that much food and hormones. I'd definitely think that if your estrogen is to low that will cause "muscle loss" and weakness as badly as if it's to high.

My estrogen is always pretty normal on bloodwork though, using "Estrogen, Ultrasensitive" it comes back around 13-20 or so. So it's roughly where most like it to be.



It does seem like you all agree it's me coming back to my natural size. Still though it would be very odd to me that it would occur so quickly and all of a sudden after years of being fine.

But I did figure something out. MY DOCTOR SENT ME A 100MG/ML VIAL AFTER ALWAYS SENDING 200MG/ML VIALS. lol I didn't realize he switched it up on me so the last few weeks I've been on 40mg per week rather than 80mg per week. So I'd like to think that explains a lot of it because I was again 184lb and soft this morning. I just took a 150mg shot last night and will get back to my normal dosing now. Fingers crossed that it brings things back up.

I will say that this is probably a good indication of what will happen to me though if I come off TRT completely, unfortunately. The lack of explanation was driving me crazy more so than the actual worse results to be honest, so at least I know what happened now and can mentally prepare for it if I need to come off entirely in the future. Frankly I'd like to bring my dose up to 120mg per week but am always concerned about my heart.
 

Pumped340

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Shelby talked about this once on a podcast.

You can maintain well on trt but you very slowly start to regress a little back down over years; most likely because you are past your genetic limit.

The minute you hit the gas a little though, it comes back super fast.

Sent from my Pixel XL using Tapatalk

I recall him saying that. If it's the podcast I'm thinking of he and Skip talked about how they can maintain the large majority of their gains on TRT but if they come off completely it all goes to shit.
 

maldorf

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How about other factors in your life that have influence over your health. Things like not getting enough sleep and stress can wreck havoc on you. Did you start a new job, relationship issues maybe? Just a shot in the dark there. Sometimes you can actually be in bed for 8 hours or more but much of it isn't productive sleep. Do you feel tired all the time?

You could also be overtraining. I over trained for a few months when I was in college and actually lost a couple of pounds and a lot of strength. It can happen.

In general, how healthy do you feel now compared to before when you were more muscular? Try to separate out your feelings about losing muscle and concentrate on how your body feels.
 
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Pumped340

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How about other factors in your life that have influence over your health. Things like not getting enough sleep and stress can wreck havoc on you. Did you start a new job, relationship issues maybe? Just a shot in the dark there. Sometimes you can actually be in bed for 8 hours or more but much of it isn't productive sleep. Do you feel tired all the time?

You could also be overtraining. I over trained for a few months when I was in college and actually lost a couple of pounds and a lot of strength. It can happen.

In general, how healthy do you feel now compared to before when you were more muscular? Try to separate out your feelings about losing muscle and concentrate on how your body feels.

Moving to a new job in a month, but not that stressed out about it. No relationship issues. Sleep, diet, stress levels, etc are fairly constant. As is training.

I feel more stressed simply due to the worse results lol. Very little in life stresses me except 1.) my health and 2.) bodybuilding/fitness results. So when those are worse they do increase my stress levels, which I'm sure doesn't help but isn't the initial cause

Like I said above though it does seem my doctor switched up my vials after all this time so I was actually only using 40mg of TRT the past few weeks. I'm hoping switching back to 80-100mg will solve the problem and undo some of these negative changes.

I do still feel like this last year has gone very poorly. The dosage change has been noticeable as this last month or so has been particularly bad, but even prior to this I felt like things were worse than expected. My best side and strength for a given weight was May 2017 and that was after 2 years of just 80mg TRT per week and following 5 months of cutting. So it does still strike me as very odd that I kept getting slowly worse from that point but who knows, maybe I really was just losing what I had previously attained from gear even though it was 2 years later. Just seems odd to me.
 
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jeroendebleser

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I think you answered it all for yourself already. A caloric surplus is anabolic, a deficit is catabolic. Hence why many of the oldtimers used to bulk clean and only went 'on' when they started dieting.

Sounds like you're having trouble letting go of your past look, bad response to steroids or not, they were still steroids and will have made more possible than without them. I would also be wary of people claiming to hold on (to most) of what they gained on AAS, off AAS. Personally, I don't buy any of it. From the Bhasin-studies we know that you're (only) as big as your dose and coming off, the results obtained will always vanish sooner rather than later.
 

maldorf

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Main thing to remember is that you reversed any heart damage you had, right? No more issues there? If your HRT dose was cut in a half for a few weeks that would definitely be felt. I could see you losing a couple of pounds of muscle maybe because of that but nothing drastic. Take a look at your training and make sure you haven't increased volume slowly to the point where it is just too much now. If the muscles you are training on a day are still sore from the last trip then you need to change it up, less volume.
 
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Pumped340

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Main thing to remember is that you reversed any heart damage you had, right? No more issues there? If your HRT dose was cut in a half for a few weeks that would definitely be felt. I could see you losing a couple of pounds of muscle maybe because of that but nothing drastic. Take a look at your training and make sure you haven't increased volume slowly to the point where it is just too much now. If the muscles you are training on a day are still sore from the last trip then you need to change it up, less volume.

It's funny you mention the soreness, as my biceps and triceps are both sore for the first time in recent memory. I would imagine that's due to the slower recovery while accidentally taking half the TRT dose.

As for your question about my heart, unfortunately I don't think that's accurate. My ejection fraction is back up to more normal levels (from about 40-45% up to now 55-60%) but my heart is still quite dilated. I'm not sure if I'll ever undo that :( remind me Maldorf what your current TRT dose is? I'm always unsure as to whether or not any TRT may potentially still be causing some of the dilation I have.

And yea I would say a couple of pounds of muscle is about what I've experienced. I'm not trying to say I've gone from a shredded 190 to a fat 185 or something like that but I have gone from probably 190lb 12% to 185lb 13% with a worse look to it (softer looking arms). So probably a good 5lb of muscle loss compared to last May. I think maybe 2-3lb of lean weight has been lost in the last few weeks being at 40mg TRT and that will hopefully return now that I'm back to my normal dose. Perhaps the other 2-3lb is really accounted for with loss from coming off gear though.

As for my volume, I'm currently doing Scott Stevenson's Fortitude Training, Tier 2. I'm not sure if you're familiar with it but the volume really isn't terribly high, though the workouts are intense.
 
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Pumped340

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I think you answered it all for yourself already. A caloric surplus is anabolic, a deficit is catabolic. Hence why many of the oldtimers used to bulk clean and only went 'on' when they started dieting.

Sounds like you're having trouble letting go of your past look, bad response to steroids or not, they were still steroids and will have made more possible than without them. I would also be wary of people claiming to hold on (to most) of what they gained on AAS, off AAS. Personally, I don't buy any of it. From the Bhasin-studies we know that you're (only) as big as your dose and coming off, the results obtained will always vanish sooner rather than later.

Yea, like you said though the results obtained will vanish "sooner rather than later" whereas for me it was later....we're talking 2+ years after coming off gear I'm noticing it. Maybe it was just the longer caloric deficit that allowed it to occur though.
 

maldorf

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It's funny you mention the soreness, as my biceps and triceps are both sore for the first time in recent memory. I would imagine that's due to the slower recovery while accidentally taking half the TRT dose.

As for your question about my heart, unfortunately I don't think that's accurate. My ejection fraction is back up to more normal levels (from about 40-45% up to now 55-60%) but my heart is still quite dilated. I'm not sure if I'll ever undo that :( remind me Maldorf what your current TRT dose is? I'm always unsure as to whether or not any TRT may potentially still be causing some of the dilation I have.

And yea I would say a couple of pounds of muscle is about what I've experienced. I'm not trying to say I've gone from a shredded 190 to a fat 185 or something like that but I have gone from probably 190lb 12% to 185lb 13% with a worse look to it (softer looking arms). So probably a good 5lb of muscle loss compared to last May. I think maybe 2-3lb of lean weight has been lost in the last few weeks being at 40mg TRT and that will hopefully return now that I'm back to my normal dose. Perhaps the other 2-3lb is really accounted for with loss from coming off gear though.

As for my volume, I'm currently doing Scott Stevenson's Fortitude Training, Tier 2. I'm not sure if you're familiar with it but the volume really isn't terribly high, though the workouts are intense.

Im taking 100 mg/wk. That puts my total test at around 800 or so a couple of days after injection.

I also go in once every 4 months now and end up getting a phlebotomy. Keeping my hemoglobin at around 15 or so. 4 months after a phlebotomy my hemoglobin is back up to about 15.5.
 

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