The Road Bach #4 - Progress!
BOOM! My testosterone levels are way up and I'm feeling great. I'm making major progress down my road to recovery - the crazy fatigue I was feeling is all but gone, my libido is way back, and my body recovers from workouts and injury faster than last year. In even bigger news, we're having a baby!!! Those of you who listen to Endurance Planet will already know that from our latest episode. This pic is how we announced publicly (because once it's on Facebook, it's official?).
Her name will be Summer Elizabeth Bach and we're very excited to be bringing her into our lives after trying for a year (and having two early miscarriages). As you might expect, her arrival will affect my athletic plans, but I'll get to that in a bit.
I've been meaning to write this one for a couple of weeks now but things kept getting in the way, things that dudes with a lot of testosterone do...like lift heavy things, scarf down steaks, build things, start bar brawls, and women (well...woman in my case. Hi Lauren!). I'm only sort of joking.
I've been feeling better and better, but then the blood work proved it. My latest number came back at 599!? Here's an updated chart of my testosterone levels with reference numbers so you know what it all means:
Here's what I've done to get these huge results (all done naturally, careful not to have or do anything banned by USADA):
- Decrease my endurance training load from ~15hrs per week of fairly intense training to ~7hrs of mostly aerobic, not-so-intense training
- More sleep! I used to get 7.5ish hours per night while training a lot. Now I'm getting 8-9 hours per night training less. Big swing.
- Increase my strength training from 1-2 sessions per week to 3-4 sessions of fairly intense lifting, including CrossFit twice per week.
- Supplements. I've been taking a host of all-natural supplements since May when I learned how unhealthy I was. These include Omega-3 fish oil (Zone OmegaRx, very pure), zinc, pregnenolone, Mitocore Multivitamin (also helps with my bone density), CoQ10, magnesium, and adaptogenic herbs that help with HPA axis regulation (calming and sleep).
- Being more relaxed, sometimes through meditation and breathing.
- Keeping an eye on nutrition and fueling needs to be sure I'm not causing my body any undue stress (we get enough of it from training and everyday life right!?)
- Packing on some body weight/fat. I'm not sure if it played a role in my hormone issues or not, but just to be safe, I now weigh 163lbs, and strangely still feel lean.
You might ask..."is it all worth it? You've sacrificed fitness, training and races, but what do you really have to show for it? Will you ever be able to go back to heavier training loads?" They're good questions and I don't fully know the answers, but I believe it will all be worth it. Yes, I've sacrificed performance to the tune of 15% by decreasing my training, but what I've gained back is my health. With good health as my foundation, I hope to raise that fitness again without sacrificing what I've earned. That's the part that remains to be seen, but pioneers like Cody Beals and Sarah Piampiano have showed me that it's possible, so I am hopeful.
In other news, I've been able to run a whopping 5 miles at a time, outdoors, full body-weight, without any issues with my bones (like recurrences of bone stress injuries) or my Achilles, which had been chronic problems. This is thanks to routine adjustments and therapy by Dr. Todd at All-Pro Health and Josh Grahlman at Clutch Physical Therapy. I highly recommend both of them as they have helped me to keep my body together over the years.
Finally, here's a little update on my plan going forward. It's hard to really plan because there is so much uncertainty around the birth of our first child and with the pace of my recovery, but here's what I've got:
Between now and the end of the year: Swimming 4x per week, strength 4x per week (including CrossFit), run 2x per week and get it back up to 10+ miles at once, bike 1-2x per week. Get back some base fitness so that in...
January - March 2017: Build off of that foundation and get into "fighting shape" for Puerto Rico 70.3, my anticipated return to the sport!
April - June 2017: Babytime! No focused training, just caring for my wife and our little one, and getting in what training I can.
July onward: ???Late summer or fall racing??? Only God knows at this point, but I am excited that maybe, just maybe, I'll be Bach.
Train Health, Train Happy,