It has been a humbling 3+ years as I battled to find balance in my life. At 22 years old, I managed to drop my testosterone levels to 30. Comparable to that of an 8 year old boy or girl. For those that are unfamiliar with testosterone, normal levels for a young adult male are between 300 and 1000 with those being fairly fit and active on the higher end of the spectrum. Testosterone in males is key for energy, muscle growth, athletic ability, sex drive and fat distribution. Symptoms of low testosterone are numerous and I experienced each and every one of them over the course of this journey. From no energy, constantly lethargic, no libido, feeling stuck in mud, loss of strength and muscle, mental fog, and no interest in doing things I used to love. It was a mental battle as well, constantly fighting the low energy and depressed feeling. How did I manage to sink my levels so low? I’m sure you are wondering.
- Working out 3 times per day (basketball, Lifts, speed work, more basketball)
- Undernourishment & low body fat- not feeding my body for the workouts I was putting it through. (Try driving your car on empty and let me know how that works out!)
- Strict eating- limiting my fruit intake and monitoring exactly how much I was eating. Be intuitive and listen to your body, especially when playing a competitive sport.
- Stubbornness- not listening to those that love me and have my best interest in mind. When you're so deep in, you have tunnel vision.
Lack of balance took the game of basketball away from me, put stress on my loved ones, and put me through a mental battle each day. From IM (intramuscular) shots 3 days per week to pills to more IM shots with no success at raising my testosterone levels, I knew I had to make a change. I had to stop the two-a-days and restrictive eating and find that balance in my life. 3+ years later, I feel as if I have balance in my life. My doctor told me I would have low testosterone for the rest of my life and that my nutrition and exercise weren’t the issue, my pituitary gland is just inactive. After researching myself, I knew all along that this was the issue, but I was afraid of the change and not being “fit and strong”. Be your own advocate. Most doctors want to treat the symptoms and not the root cause. Well doc, I have managed to raise my levels into the normal range with the balance I have found through working out and nutrition.
As a competitor and an athlete, you are taught to give 110% day in and day out. For anyone that knows me, you know that when I have a passion for something, I will give you 150% until the mission is accomplished. Sometimes it’s ok to give 75%, because those other days when you give 125%. The law of averages will work itself out. I still work out 5-6 times a week with a more scientific approach. And yes, I still eat healthy, but finding the balance between healthy and restrictive is key.
This journey has put life into perspective for me and really made me appreciate the people that I have in my life, and the importance of balance in all that you do. Work hard, day in and day out, but be sure to have that balance. This process has also made me realize that my passion and mission is to train non-athletes and athletes smarter not harder. Yes, I am going to push you to your limits at times. Yes, you are going to have to work hard and you will achieve your goals, but far too often I hear “no pain no gain” and that couldn’t be further from the truth. More is not always better. Too much of anything is a bad thing.
Find purpose in your passion. I want to be that person that people go to for support and guidance. That calming presence in the midst of chaos. Life is hard, but life is much easier when you have caring, supportive, and loving people to ride the waves with.