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  1. #1
    Registered User Dragwah's Avatar
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    Testosterone, pcos, body recomp

    Hi all,

    I need some help and advice. Ive been trying to recomp for a couple of years now, and feel like im just spinning my wheels.

    History, between 2016-2020 i lost ~85lbs. Ive managed to keep it off with consistent weight lifting and counting calories, but Im stuck at low calories and high body fat percentage. Im still at 28-30% body fat, and I want to get to 20%. I have pcos and insulin resistance, so I eat low carb (~50 grams net carbs) to keep my blood sugar and A1C in check. Over the last two years ive been trying to add lean body mass, and have tried to increase my protein to 100-130 grams a day, and increase my weight lifting frequency & weights, but it just feels like ive added fat instead of muscle. Ive gained 8lbs so far this year, but im not stronger. I always feel tired and weak, and dont have any energy.

    I recently went to get my hormones checked and my testosterone dropped to below postmenopausal levels, even though Im only 36 and have a regular cycle. Ive been taking metformin for 7 years, but also take DIM to try to lower the excess phyto-estrogens.

    I know metformin can lower testosterone, but I didnt realize it was such a large effect. Can anyone tell me how to naturally increase my testosterone levels? Do i have to lower/stop the metformin? I dont want to increase my A1C and have to go on insulin...

    I consulted with an HRT doctor, but insurance doesn't cover it and it will cost $4,000 a year for a low dose TRT treatment. I know it also has side effects of its own, so i would rather fix this without TRT if possible.

    Female 5ft, 3inches
    36 years old
    Currently 147lbs, 28-30% body fat
    Lift weights (20-30lbs dumbbell workouts at home) 3-4 times a week.
    Eat between 1400-1650 average weekly depending on workouts/hunger

    Total testosterone 10 ng/dl (normal range 14-76)
    Free testosterone .7 pg/ml (normal range 1.4-15.6)
    Testosterone bioavailable 1.8 ng/dl (normal range 3.5-36.1)


    Thank you for any help and advice
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  2. #2
    NASM-CPT xsquid99's Avatar
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    The hormone issues aside, the reason you're not adding muscle is most likely due to your training regimen. If all you have is a pair of 20/30 pound dumbbells you're going to be very limited in both the exercises you can do and the ability to achieve progressive overload. You need to be able to increase the weight periodically and have a program focused in the major compound lifts, and unfortunately just having a couple sets of dumbbells isn't going to get it done.

    The fatigue issues are likely compounded by the fact you're eating low-carb, I get wanting to keep the refined carbs out but have you considered raising them with more complex carbs like sweet potatoes, beans, oats, or quinoa? Trying to build muscle on a low-carb diet for most would be a long uphill battle with little chance of success.
    IG: @ironhousetraining

    All it takes is consistency, effort, proper nutrition, good programming, and TIME.

    Don't be upset with the results you didn't get from the work you did not do.
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  3. #3
    Registered User leeniepie's Avatar
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    the reason you feel like you're spinning your wheels is coz you are. you state you've been trying to build muscle mass, but you keep calories low and haven't been progressively overloading your weight. you feel weak and tired because your calories and carbs are way too low. Contrary to what you may read, you don't have to eat low carb for PCOS. Losing weight and exercising will naturally help insulin resistance.

    if you can, get yourself a gym membership and start following a proper program. keep your protein consistent and start to increase your carbs (effectively doing a reverse diet). remember that if you build muscle the scale WILL go up, but you can cut later once you've built some muscle.
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