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Today’s show centers around the hot topic of performance enhancing drugs, testosterone replacement therapy, doping, cheating, and optimizing your lifestyle before considering hormone replacement therapy.

The Liver King controversy isn’t going away anytime soon, and the prevalence of this issue right now has caused me to reflect on something I have had a lot of strong opinions about my whole life—not only due to my history as a competitive athlete but also because testosterone replacement therapy is becoming ever more popular, especially for males in my age group. At this time, I’m still clinging to the purist mentality I’ve carried with me my whole life, especially dating back to my days as a professional triathlete (a time I assumed most of my competitors were playing in a clean way [mostly true]. This was also a time before the major red blood cell boosting drug EPO rose to prominent use in endurance sports. This transformed elite endurance sports because EPO delivers a scientifically-validated 6% advantage; a performance boost so extreme that it basically compelled widespread use in the “dirty” sports just to remain competitive.

In this episode, I take a look at all sides of the issue, particularly with public misperception about drug cheating in sports, the need to optimize all elements of your lifestyle before considering hormone replacement, and the difference between abusing PED (performance enhancing drugs) and utilizing them in a therapeutic way. I talk about the mainstream perspective of PED as dangerous and whether these warnings have been sensationalized and overblown and share my personal philosophy towards this topic. I also share my thoughts on the rising popularity of microdosing testosterone and other modern high-tech interventions and keeping an open mind on this topic. When is it necessary for us to loosen up on our obsession with ancestral living in pursuit of modern strategies that will help us achieve wholly modern fitness/athletic goals? When is it appropriate to consider interventions like hormone replacement therapy, and finally, if lifestyle interventions will ultimately always yield the best results.

TIMESTAMPS:

The hot topic of performance-enhancing drugs, testosterone replacement therapy, doping and cheating are on Brad’s mind. [01:11]

Currently we see wide spread use of EPO in endurance sports. [02:06]

The athlete in a drug-laden professional sport is faced with three choices. [04:29]

The use of performance enhancing drugs is pervasive. [08:08]

Hormone replacement therapy is good for advanced aged group but is filtering down to young people in their 20s. [13:41]

During Brad’s racing career, he opted to be free of any outside intervention because he wanted to feel what his current state of readiness and recovery was. [14:59]

Abuse of any drugs is dangerous. [18:10]

Brad’s aversion to outside intervention includes healing from surgeries. [20:41]

A lot of the prescription drugs and the massive profits the drug companies make comes from relief of symptoms rather than addressing the root cause of the problem. [24:46]

Exhaust all possible natural strategies before you even form the thought of bringing in outside intervention into your physiology. [27:40]

If you’re training at the elite level in professional triathlon or CrossFit games like the most extreme athletes are doing, those performance enhancing drugs are possibly minimizing the adverse health consequences of the extreme regimen that you are performing. [37:27]

There is a lot of research going on looking at testosterone replacement therapy for prostate cancer patients that might prove interesting.  [40:28]

The only justification for someone who’s not already in pretty good health and fitness level to try a hormone replacement is to give a temporary boost so that you will have the energy to start doing some exercise, start doing some resistance training, start walking in order to change your body chemistry. [44:20]

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Brad (01:11):
Okay, it’s time for more, more, more commentary on the hot topic of performance enhancing drugs, testosterone replacement therapy, doping, cheating, optimizing. I don’t think the liver king steroid scandal is gonna go away anytime soon. And it brings this topic into prominence. I have a lot of strong feelings about it due to my history in the endurance sports and the cloud that hangs over, uh, the highest level of Olympic international elite sports when it comes to the advantages provided by performance enhancing drugs, and also have a lot of strong feelings about it, because here in my advanced age group with my athletic goals and my desire to live a healthy, fit, energetic, athletic long lifestyle, uh, the topic comes into play

Brad (02:06):
Because testosterone replacement therapy, TRT, is becoming ever more popular, especially for males in my age group. So at this time, I’m clinging to my purest mentality that I have carried with me my whole life, especially dating back to my days as a professional triathlete where of course I had the high moral ground where I wanted to compete fairly. I also had the assumption, the strong belief that my peers, my competitors, were largely competing in a very clean sport. That assumption was proved wrong in a minor way where I think there was some abuse and some cheaters, but for the most part, most of the great athletes I strongly believe were clean. Also, I competed before the era of the red blood cell enhancing drug EPO, which came about to prominence in the late nineties. I quit racing in 1995, and that, uh, really blew the lid off of endurance sports in particular because of the huge, profound advantage provided when you use the red blood cell boosting drug.

Brad (03:13):
It’s like the effect you get training at high altitude. It is known to deliver a 6% performance advantage in endurance sports. So if I go over here off camera to my file cabinet and pull out my folder full of triathlon race results and take 6% off of my times in the 130 races that I competed in over a decade on the pro circuit, I pretty much would’ve won every single race, easily taken a shower and come back to shake the hand of the runner up so it would’ve blown the lid off of, uh, my standing there in the professional circuit and made a farce of it. And so now what we see in endurance sports is widespread use of EPO and the other performance enhancing drugs that, uh, the athletes are using or these athletes are not competing. And this tremendous, uh, conundrum that the athletes face these days was beautifully characterized in tell-all books such as, especially Tyler Hamilton’s book called The Secret Race, written with Daniel Coyle, where he pretty much spilled the beans about what it was like to be a young hard driving athlete, dreaming of competing as a pro cyclist and doing better and better at the local level and the national level in the US.

Brad (04:29):
And finally getting that contract and heading over to Europe and getting his kicked over and over here in the late nineties when the rise to prominence came of EPO. One of the chapter titles was a Thousand Days, and he titled it that because that’s about how long you can last. That’s about three years getting your ass kicked being a mid-level player until you are finally spit out the back and sent home. So the athlete in a drug, a drug laden professional sport, is really faced with three choices. And that is to join the crowd and go onto a doping regimen so that you can compete on a level playing field. The other choice is to go home with your morality intact and knowing that you didn’t want to play under those circumstances. And then the third choice is to continue getting your ass kicked, perhaps whining and complaining about it.

Brad (05:28):
But that’s not a very appealing choice. None of the three are really that appealing. And boy, when Tyler poured his heart and soul out into that book, talking about the times when the doping testers would arrive at his home by surprise, and he and his ex-wife had to hit the deck and lay still on their kitchen floor for 30 minutes until they rang the doorbell a few times and then put the note saying, we’re coming back tomorrow. I’m informing you that, uh, athletes and elite international sports are subject to, uh, random unannounced doping testing anytime, any place, um, throughout the year. And this is a good way to catch people who are in their training phases, not yet competing, doping their asses off, and then getting clean and showing up at the Olympics and kicking. So now athletes are tested year round with minimal warning, and if you miss a couple tests, you obtain a suspension just like someone who tests positive.

Brad (06:24):
And there were some prominent cases recently, the World champion sprinter, Christian Coleman had a two-year ban because his whereabouts were unknown or he didn’t sync with the testing, uh, I believe two or three times, which creates a suspicion of guilt. But it’s also these logistics, the stuff you heard about in my podcast with Shelby Houlihan, who had a very controversial positive doping test is now serving a four-year ban, one of the great female runners in the world, uh, American record holder. Really sad and, uh, a tough circumstance to learn about these nuances. But anyway, the athletes are subject to a lot of testing. And so Tyler would describe like finishing a bike ride and going over the fence, going sneaking through the neighbor’s yard, entering through his basement and then coming into his house that way. In the odd chance that the doping testers were at his front door during a period of time when he knew he would test positive, they called it radioactive, because they were microdosing drugs like EPO.

Brad (07:23):
So it would have a very short period of time where you would test positive, and then the drug would run its course and you would be able to test cleanly, for example, the next morning. So they lay on their kitchen floor for a half an hour, get the doorbell the next morning, deliver the urine sample, and go on his merry way, training and optimizing his blood values. So that was a big deal that I fortunately skipped that era of professional sports, because again, those three choices are really disturbing and unfortunate. But speaking of that and the incredible misperception that the public has about doping in sports, I think it’s important to deliver my point of view and kind of set things straight.

Brad (08:08):
Because basically what we’re seeing with mainstream media and the sensationalization of the issue is that these horrible performance-enhancing drugs are so dangerous for your health, and what a bad message to send to the young athletes. And then secondly, that these disgraceful people who are caught are big time cheaters. And Lance is a, a, you know, the most prominent example of cheating everyone out and, and letting down all the poor little children that looked up to him that were suffering from cancer. And again, we have to understand the perspective that once these sports become laden with performance enhancing drugs, the athlete is pretty much compelled to look at one of those three doors on let’s make a deal. And pretty much you’re obligated or compelled to get on your own program so that you compete. Otherwise, we would never hear of the person’s name such as Lance Armstrong. And unfortunately, my favorite, soundbite to offer about Lance is that the doping in professional cycling probably harmed him more than any other athlete, because what happens with doping is you are bringing your genetic disadvantages up to a more level playing field with the very most genetically talented and genetically gifted athlete.

Brad (09:26):
And that was absolutely positively, definitely Lance Armstrong, he was a professional triathlete, racing on the circuit at age 15, doing extraordinary performances and incredible genetic gifts. And so you close that gap between the genetic freak, for example, that you see in the locker room. I mentioned this on Mark Bell’s Power Project podcast. Go down to Grant High School powerhouse team in the, uh, Sacramento area. And look at these 67 young men, and three of ’em are ripped as hell with barely touching weights because of their genetic attributes. And then as you get into collegiate level sports and the widespread use of steroids, especially at the professional level, NFL and the other strength and power sports, you’re talking about guys who were skinning little freaks genetically, and now they weigh 240 pounds at 8% body fat. So it’s a way to kind of negate the genetic advantages.

Brad (10:20):
And if I bring the example of Lance, he won the Tour de France seven times in a row. He was the best athlete. They were all doping, they were all pegging their hematocrit. That’s what the red blood cell count is. They were all pegging that really high. They were using testosterone to help recover faster, not to get big muscles like a strength athlete, but it helps tremendously for performance and recovery in whatever athletic endeavor you’re doing. And so when you peg all these numbers, now, the guys who were more fragile, um, had a chance to come closer. So when he won the Tour de France by two minutes, or five minutes or seven minutes, if the sport were completely clean, he might have won by 20 minutes. I want you to let that sink in for a bit. When you think and you harbor these beliefs that, oh, what a disgraceful cheater Barry Bonds was, or Mark McGuire.

Brad (11:07):
Well, Roger Clemons was associated strongly with doping also. So the guy throwing that heat in at 99 miles an hour was also enhanced. And so it kind of, um, puts it in a more reasonable perspective than picking and choosing who are all the cheaters, and then the people that say the right things to the media or somehow evade getting caught rise to a different stature. And that goes for Marion Jones, the disgraced female Olympic sprinter who had to turn in her gold medals and make her tearful confession to the grand jury and to the public. Guess who she beat in second place, third place, fourth place, fifth place, sixth place, seventh place, and eighth place in the 2000 Olympic Sydney 100 meter final 200 meter final. That’s right. Athletes from all over the world, world who are very likely, almost certainly involved in doping programs.

Brad (11:57):
And if we wanna cast some blame, we can blame the organizers of these major sports who have been shown to be reluctant to kick out athletes. For example, in their own countries, because we don’t have that trust level that the eastern block nations, especially before the, uh, the eastern block fell, it was clear that they were on systematic doping regimens. We didn’t have concrete proof. These athletes would just come in and break world records. The females had tremendous amounts of muscle mass and were swimming and sprinting, uh, faster than it ever been humanly possible. And so the USA was compelled to kind of, and, and the western nations were compelled to kind of level the playing field. And now we seem to have some great efforts going on in a lot of sports to clean them up and reduce the widespread rampant doping that occurred when the testing was behind schedule, behind the level of sophistication of the athletes.

Brad (12:50):
But it’s still pretty much of a mess. And you can probably assume if you want to, if you have any suspicions that if certain athletes are using in certain sports, it’s very likely pervasive. The NFL, especially when you look at the penalties and including the major league baseball that had to go through that major scandal, the penalties are still pretty minor in comparison to a sport like track and field where an athlete gets one positive test. Like Shelby Houlihan is looking at a four year band, missing the Olympics, losing all her contracts, all those kind of things. And the NFL the last time I checked, maybe my information is dated, but you know, you were suspended for six games or something like that, and, uh, you were announced, they announced when the testing, uh, would occur. So it’s like, Hey, on Monday, uh, set aside 2:00 PM to2:30, cuz you’re gonna get dope tested and then the athlete can adjust accordingly.

Brad (13:41):
So I’m going off a little bit on the issue in elite professional sports, but I also wanna talk about, uh, the more, uh, applicable issue to widespread audience, which would be things like hormone replacement therapy, especially when you get up to the advanced age groups. However, the hormone replacement therapy is now filtering down into males even in their twenties and thirties, especially forties, fifties. A lot of people are turning that corner and going into chemical optimization for performance, for body composition. And as Liver King shared with his confession, um, he was just trying to get, uh, apparently to the next level from an already extremely high level that he had reached without performance enhancing drugs, but was complaining of some health consequences of his extreme regimen where he’s known to be working out like a fiend, eating with great, uh, precision and restriction and suffering some, uh, adverse blood values and, uh, energy and performance consequences. So he kind of turned there, looking for an advantage and clearly went overboard, uh, with all those other, uh, factors in play that I talked about on the last commentary when I was specifically addressing his case.

Brad (14:59):
So, um, back to my point of view, that dates back to my time as an athlete. I wanted to be completely free of any outside intervention because I wanted to feel the significance of my current state of readiness recovery. And that was, also including things like avoiding even caffeine, avoiding non-steroidal anti-inflammatories like Advil when I had a sore back or an aching knee. And so my belief was that if I didn’t intervene, I could make the best decisions, I could rest and recover appropriately because I wasn’t jacked up on caffeine, for example, to get out the door and go on a bike ride with three cups of coffee in me.

Brad (15:46):
Um, I thought that would be a better approach that would lead to long-term, better development, better performance, as opposed to the short term interventions provided by, let’s say, dosing up on caffeine every time you have to work out. Or taking the non-steroidal anti-inflammatories to dull, to negate, an immediate, uh, pain and suffering. And I still strongly believe that in every way, that you wanna have minimal intervention necessary and allow your body’s natural healing processes to play out. So when I have a migraine headache, which I used to suffer from frequently before I changed my diet to the ancestral approach back in 2009, my technique was to go lay down in a dark room with an ice pack on my neck, or take hot and cold shower sequence and then go down for a nap in a dark room. And there’s nothing better than that unless you’re a fricking astronaut or you’re the host of the Today Show, and you have to get there when the cameras turn on.

Brad (16:45):
I think most of us are trying to intervene and temporarily quell symptoms so that we can avoid pain and discomfort at the expense of our body’s long-term ability to heal naturally. So the next time you have a sore knee or a sore back or a headache, consider what you’re doing when you get that immediate relief from an outside substance, even something over-the-counter. And then of course, when it comes to, uh, the, the major chemical interventions, the overriding of the hormonal system with hormone replacement therapy, my belief system tells me that I’m gonna have a better chance to do everything possible naturally and be able to sustain that for as long as possible. However, I am trying to maintain a more open mind about this. People that I respect have succeeded, uh, tremendously for a long period of time using hormone replacement therapy.

Brad (17:46):
Mark Bell, Mark Sisson, both of them freely discussing and admitting to their use of testosterone and other hormone replacements on a carefully controlled regimen. So I think we need to make that important point out of the gate. Now, when we talk about the abuse of performance enhancing drugs versus a therapeutic regimen to optimize things like testosterone and other hormones in the body.

Brad (18:10):
So duh, abuse of any drug is super dangerous. Those athletes that are trading in long-term health consequences like damage to the liver or increase risk of cancer, and all these things that we hear about with steroid abuse and are scared the crap out of it because the congressman is a subpoena and the baseball player and, uh, telling ’em what a bad example they are for young athletes. Of course that’s true that abusing the performance enhancing drugs, uh, is highly, highly sketch, right?

Brad (18:39):
You’re gonna get big, you’re gonna get strong, you’re gonna get fast, and of course you’re gonna have a lot of risks and adverse health consequences. But optimizing is a whole different story. We have fabulously trained doctors that are doing this every day, helping people live a better life with modern chemical intervention with very minimal incidents or evidence that you’re gonna have these terrible adverse side effects from, for example, taking a therapeutic dose of testosterone. I believe Mark Bell said he’s been on the sauce for like 20 years. Mark Sisson’s been on for seven or eight years or something, uh, back when he did his first, uh, blog post and interview talking about his hormone replacement therapy regimen. And as a lot of the, uh, Liver King criticizers are pointing out right now, Hey, man, it’s no big deal. Just don’t lie to people.

Brad (19:35):
And, you know, send that, that message of, uh, you know, being deceptive as a public figure, especially as a health promoter and other people are making this connection that he’s claiming that his physique is obtained by these liver pills that he’s selling. And that is a ridiculous twisting of logic and, um, some pretty lame intuitive leaps that the user’s gonna make if you think that’s what’s going on here. Interestingly, Liver King never once pitched any of his products in any of his videos on his viral social media accounts. It’s all about living, uh, the nine ancestral tenets that he talks about eating that raw liver, which he shows on a lot of the posts. But I never saw a bottle of pills to date on any of his content. So his effort was to just promote healthy lifestyle to the broad audience, and in the process lying about his use of performance-enhancing drugs, intervening and overriding, for example, the positive, beneficial effects of living by the nine ancestral tenants.

Brad (20:41):
So, of course, big mistake, he’s paying the price, he’s apologizing, he’s gonna recalibrate, regroup, and I’m sure we’ll all get some positive benefit about it, especially, just talking about the issue and bringing it to light. Okay, so, My aversion to outside intervention also includes healing from, uh, surgeries and major things like that. And that’s where I found that fine line, that balance, because when I had my emergency appendectomy and some complications afterward and the months afterward where I had to have three kidney surgeries, that was a rough time for me. I was trying to be a strong guy and avoid any pain medication. But when the pain becomes so bad that it interferes with your ability to rest and recover, that’s when even I will reach for the bottle and do whatever it takes to settle down and help to get through it.

Brad (21:35):
In contrast, for example, my heel surgery that I had recently for a bone spur, not a major thing, not too painful, somewhat painful, but the healing process that included, uh, injections of platelet-rich plasma, that’s taking my own blood and spinning it and putting the platelets into the injured area to stimulate a healing response, it was super ass painful. And I was directed to not use ice and not use anti-inflammatory drugs during the recovery process in order to maximize the beneficial impact of the platelet-rich plasma into the area. So now the evolved thinkers on healing want you to experience that inflammation to the full extent. And I would argue the same thing goes when you’re experiencing any kind of musculoskeletal joint pain. If that back or those knees are burning, aching, creaking, you gotta do something about it. There are ways to, uh, jump into the world of physical therapy, performance, mobility, flexibility, rehab, do exercises, get more blood flow.

Brad (22:40):
Don’t just sit around and rest. I was amused to hear Tiger Woods recent press conference where he had to pull out of the tournament due to planter fasciitis, a condition I’m very familiar with out because I battled it on and off from moderate to severe for 15 years. And I finally cured it, as you can see from my YouTube video showing the stretches. And he said, my foot, you know, I can hit great shots right now. I just can’t walk the golf course, so I really need to stay off it. And Tiger, I’m telling you, if you’re watching, if you just stop where you have an injury such as plantar fasciitis, it’s going to get worse, very likely because you start to atrophy, you decrease blood flow, you decrease mobility. So now, as the great leaders in this space are conveying, like the folks at PT Revolution in Lake Tahoe who helped me so much through recent injuries and also, Kelly Starret at thereadystate.com, we want to elevate, compress, and move our injuries to help support the healing.

Brad (23:44):
So with my heel surgery, I’m now doing the voodoo strap around my ankle and working the ankle through range of motion, doing gentle stretches, no more to a pain level of three or, or or less. And I will continue to get more and more and more active rather than sit around with my foot, you know, at rest, and then expecting to return to action after four months of atrophy. Okay? So, yeah, I could be, uh, accused of harboring a rigid and dated mentality about avoiding outside interventions. But I am gonna call BS on the increased fascination with substances and prescriptions and new research about whatever it is metformin is showing promise for longevity, and then it’s not showing promise and showing some adverse side effects. But we get so excited about these, uh, possible scientific breakthroughs. That’s what the drug business is all about, is doing research and development and coming out with something that’s gonna help somebody.

Brad (24:46):
A lot of it’s for, you know, the disease state and managing disease, and that’s fine. When you need an antibiotic or something of that nature, that’s great, but the vast majority of the prescription drugs out there and the profits, the massive profits made from these prescription drugs, as we know, comes from relief of symptoms without addressing the root cause. So enough of that mentality. I wanna pursue the opposite mentality where I attack the cause with great devotion and try to get my body, for example, stronger and better balanced so that I don’t grow another bone spur on my heel from pushing myself and pushing my calf muscles to the extent where they got tight and less flexible and put more stress on the joint. Okay? That didn’t, there was no call for popping an Advil every time I’d head out to run that just makes things worse.

Brad (25:38):
Okay? So I’m gonna keep this rigid and conservative mentality for as long as possible. And then finally cave in. And when you need something, you need something such as when I was recovering in severe pain from the surgeries and I couldn’t sleep, that’s when I’m gonna reach for the supplement. Speaking to that, uh, the hormone replacement therapy. I’m maintain an open mind. I’m realizing this argument that we naturally decline over time and maybe we weren’t meant to live this long. Uh, the evolutionary, uh, you know, model is that we live long enough to reproduce and then we can be discarded and cast aside. And that might be something to smile about. But I think, uh, the, the point of continuing to evolve is to do better than, uh, than our ancestors. And so this complete fascination obsession with living life in the model of our ancestors, we do have to put that aside at times and pursue something that could be better.

Brad (26:40):
And so maybe be more active, powerful, energetic and muscular and being able to recover and perform more so than my great-great-great grandfather who perhaps worked in the factory or on the farm and died at the age of 68 stooped over, or my ancestor from 10,000 years ago, who, uh, slipped and bashed his knee on a rock and died from the infection at age 40. I don’t care about what happened to those people. I wanna be the best that I can be right now. And if that means that I’m going to go to hormone replacement therapy someday, I need to formulate an open mind about that, especially when we have these track records and the success touted from people that I respect, like Mark Bell, Mark Sisson. There’s a guy that wrote a Testosterone Replacement Bible book Jay Campbell, and he makes a strong argument that, hey, once you go in this direction, you’re gonna feel better, perform better, you’re gonna have better libido, you’re gonna look muscular like him.

Brad (27:40):
And that’s interesting and compelling to pay attention to. Uh, however, here’s the big fork in the road that I am going to strongly try to impress upon you. And that is I want you to exhaust all possible natural strategies before you even form the thought of bringing in outside intervention into your physiology. There are many important reasons for this. One of ’em is that the enjoyment and appreciation of the process is what life’s all about, right? So if you can take some hormone replacement and go and improve your all time best weightlifting goals that are so important to you, or take some EPO and some testosterone and go ride the bicycle route, or, uh, perform in the bicycle competition, uh, better than you ever have before, who cares? It’s like, uh, the, the process and doing it right and paying close attention to your diet and preparing your foods and, and searching for the very best sources of food, enjoying that whole thing, nourishing yourself optimally, pushing and challenging yourself in the workouts and recovering to the best of your ability rather than short circuiting things.

Brad (28:55):
That’s what I feel gives you the most value regardless of the end result. So, could I go onto a hormone replacement regimen and bust out new PRs in the high jump in the 400 meters? Probably so, but I want to do it my way. And speaking of that, I do have competitive aspirations in organized competitions in Master’s Track. And so the idea of going to hormone replacement therapy when I’m still an actual competitor, and probably they put in the rules that you’re not allowed. I don’t know if they test, uh, Masters tTack athletes or not. I think they do a little bit of testing in, for example, the Hawaii Ironman in the age groups because of complaints that have built up over the years that some of these guys who are 50 or 47 or 63 are looking pretty super ripped and going really darn fast.

Brad (29:43):
And so they wanted to have some controls in place, but obviously athletes know how to escape detection and put up incredible performances. But to what end, we’re not talking about millions of dollars at stake here and and so forth. So I don’t really care if my competitors in the old man track meet are doped off their ass and I get seventh instead of the third or second place that I deserved. I mostly want to perform and compete against myself. That’s why I don’t travel all over to do these Master’s Track Meets. I wanna do a little bit of that in the future. But for me, like the YouTube, Brad Kearn’s, YouTube High Jump Invitational is all I need to get completely, uh, you know, excited and satisfied with a competition against myself, camera rolling in an empty stadium where all I need is a high-jump bar and a pit to land in.

Brad (30:40):
And that goes directly to the decision whether to try to optimize my performance by another 5% by taking replacement therapy. So right now, I wanna urge you to check off every possible attribute you can in your overall dietary practices, your athletic training regimen, your fitness regimen, your sleep habits, your rest recovery, downtime, restoration, and of course your stress management. And, again, back to Liver King and those emails that leak, those private personal emails, who, whoever the hell leaked them, pretty disgraceful scene. But here it is now out and open in the public and he has to address it. But he was talking about some of those drawbacks, uh, that he was experiencing, not being able to sleep well, uh, looking at his, um, some of his numbers being suppressed. And it was arguably because of over-training patterns, uh, you know, over exhausting himself, running these businesses and traveling and being a public figure and trying really hard to build that super strong physique.

Brad (31:42):
So it was like a lot of things were out of balance, including the massive intervention with these high levels of performance enhancing drugs. Rather than for all of us listening who don’t have these extreme circumstances to consider, just tone everything down to the point where you’re doing things that you can handle that are age appropriate goals that are rewarding and done, uh, correctly and honestly. So, I’m going to exhaust all possible basic lifestyle behaviors, practices, and interventions that I can do, including, for example, trying out an assortment of supplements and things that I pick and choose from. And then I have my go-tos that are gonna be there most likely for the rest of my life. Things like whey protein and creatine. That’s why I put them in my B.rad Whey Protein Super Fuel. I think there’s tremendous rationale to take in supplement form every single day, enough creatine and enough protein to make sure that your needs are being met through the ebbs and flows of your daily dietary practices.

Brad (32:45):
I’m also pretty highly optimized with my daily diet. I know a lot of us are pretty busy, maybe not as dedicated and focused on this stuff. So that would be even more justification for finding a role for performance and nutritional supplements in your daily lifestyle due to the convenience factor. So yes, we see the clean, the purest promoters like Paul Saladino shouting at the camera saying, you don’t need a protein supplement. You can get it from eggs and steak. Absolutely right? I completely agree. But if I go down and sneak into your house and look in your fridge and there’s no pastured eggs in there and you’re running low on grass-fed red meat, that’s when we want to get realistic. We want to get sustainable. And so we can surround ourselves with the convenience of something like a really high quality supplement to know that you’re checking off these boxes.

Brad (33:36):
Speaking of that when you’re on a hormone replacement regimen, you are essentially overriding a lot of that ebb and flow that becomes such a challenge, especially as we get up into the older age groups. So, ah, maybe you had a really busy stressful week of business travel and youre’ jet lagged and you got lousy sleep and you ate hotel or airplane food, and then you wake up a week later and your numbers are still looking good, and you’re still feeling strong, alert and energized. Wow, that is a, a compelling and enticing option to not have to optimize everything every day and just know that you’re gonna sail along at that pegged level. It’s not gonna make you a rip city like Liver King or like Mark Bell or Mike, like Mark Sisson. They have to put in that hard work. It’s not like, uh, taking, uh, performance enhancing drugs or testosterone replacement is magic.

Brad (34:33):
And I think that’s a point that the public often misses when they look at Liver King and say, oh, he’s obviously juiced. Okay, maybe it is obviously an extreme physique, but what’s not obvious is how hard the guy trains every single day and how precise his diet is in order to get down to that low body fat level and then leverage all the per, performance advantages offered by the substances. So we have to have both things going here. Same with the Olympic sprinter that gets busted for drugs, or Lance Armstrong realizing that his seven Tour de France titles were won with drugs flowing around in his bloodstream. Well, he still had to train five to seven hours a day on the bike and practice the climbs over and over and learn every turn going up, aldus, uh, and all that stuff that gets negated when we say, oh, they did something that was, uh, against the rules.

Brad (35:24):
So, big picture, please, people realizing that hormone replacement, perhaps if you’re doing everything right, you’re gonna get that five to 10% edge. Is that of interest? Interest to me right now? Would I like to get a five to 10% edge? Sure, of course I would, but I’m not quite willing to go there in my morality. Uh, and there’s no reason to, because I wanna be accepting of the condition that I’m in now, uh, the age group and the limitations that I have from my age. But when that day comes, when I’m doing everything that I possibly can and my blood numbers are not looking good, that’s when we’re gonna sit down and make another video. And I’ll tell you all about the interventions that I’m choosing. However, these days, as I’ve talked about frequently, um, I test my male hormones quite often, you could say I’m obsessed with this, especially as I’ve been doing the research and development and promoting the male optimization formula with organs product with ancestral supplements.

Brad (36:25):
I test constantly. I think I’ve been tested like 22 times in the last three years, and my serum testosterone numbers have ranged between 550 and 1,008 that I put up last year. And of course, proudly, uh, showed that image on social media, uh, cuz it’s off the charts in the 99th percentile even for young people. But that range of five 50 to a thousand, I’d say the average is around 700 for serum testosterone. So by any practical indication, I’m not really a candidate for hormone replacement therapy. I’m still doing okay as my natural self. Interestingly, in contrast, when I was training hard on the professional triathlon circuit and pretty much suppressing my hormones, suppressing my immune function and destroying my health in pursuit of incremental performance gains, my serum testosterone landed between 200 and 300. And this was during the decade of my twenties when I’m supposedly at my peak with male hormones.

Brad (37:27):
That’s an interesting perspective showing how much performance enhancing drugs help someone who’s training at the highest level. I was trying to train at the highest level naturally, and it was compromising my health and compromising my longevity in a significant way. And so we talk about the PEDs being dangerous to athletes. I would argue if you’re a Tour de France rider or you’re training at the elite level in professional triathlon or CrossFit games or whatever, the most extreme athletes are doing, those performance enhancing drugs are possibly minimizing the adverse health consequences of the extreme regimen that you are performing. Same with Liver King. Guy was training his ass off apparently natural until the dates shown in the leaked emails that he only started doing this stuff in 2021 because he was hanging on by a thread due to the extreme nature of his training regimen.

Brad (38:27):
So when I was choosing to be a professional athlete and travel all around the world, talk about stress and jet lag and the hormones and the suppression, boy, it would’ve been really helpful to be shooting up all kinds of drugs into my system so that I could handle the extreme jet travel, the extreme training regimen, the extreme level of competition without falling apart constantly. Again, I was competing under the parameters that I thought everyone was dealing with the same thing in terms of jet lag, in terms of the recovery time necessary from, uh, competing at these really challenging, uh, events with three sports. And so that was, uh, that was the world that we were in. But to transcend that, to override that, wow, it’s something to think about that you would be less health destructive, uh, under a doping regimen.

Brad (39:16):
However, even more healthy would be not to be training, traveling and living at that extreme lifestyle, toning everything down such that you didn’t need that intervention. Okay, I think I’ve made the important points that, uh, I wanted to make here. But I think the big one here is that for those of you in the age groups where you’re considering hormone replacement, cut through the, BS where we’ve been programmed to think that this is, uh, an inherently dangerous thing to do, I think there’s plenty of evidence otherwise that it could be in fact just promoting a longer, healthier, more active, more resilient, better muscle mass lifestyle. And so people are proving and showing this that there’s no adverse health consequences. You may have heard the association between testosterone replacement and increased risk of especially prostate cancer that is now being unwound to a little more nuance where the hormone replacement, the increased testosterone coming into your body could exacerbate existing cancers, not just prostate, but other areas of the body.

Brad (40:28):
Other than that, it arguably, and there’s off, uh, scientific evidence and, and thoughts from the great leaders on this topic too, not just me popping off, arguably pegging your hormones could make you stronger and more resilient against the decline, the demise, the sarcopenia, that’s the loss of muscle mass related to aging. All those things that are risks for cancer, heart disease, and other insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, other signs of falling apart, getting old and dying. So boy, that kind of throws things on, uh, on its ear in a lot of ways when we’re, uh, being averse to hormone replacement by the, by the call of, um, uh, minimizing our cancer risk. For example, my father Walter, who lived to be the age of 97, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer at the age of 84. So he was given anti androgenic drug regimen, so that would be testosterone, suppressing drugs for 12 years until near the end of his life.

Brad (41:37):
And I would argue that that regimen hastened his demise, it’s great to make it to 97. I thought he was a guy that was on track to go to 1 0 7. Uh, but in order to control that cancer and keep it contained, uh, because once prostate cancer leaves the prostate area, um, it can spread to the bones, it can be a really bad deal. Almost all men over age, 80, 80% of men over 80 will develop prostate cancer in their life. For many of ’em, it’s not fatal because it is contained and then their life expectancy isn’t that long. So in my dad’s case, I believe when he was starting to get dosed at age 84, the idea was to just contain this without surgical intervention or radiation or things that could disturb an older patient and just let him live out his golden years.

Brad (42:22):
I don’t think there was a prediction that he was gonna take this stuff for a dozen years. And when you’re taking anti, anti androgenic drugs for a dozen years, that’s gonna harm his efforts to, for example, maintain energy, muscle mass, strength, power, things that would help promote lifespan. He actually did a pretty darn good job on all those levels, was playing golf at a high level despite his drug regimen. But I can’t say it was a health boosting attribute to have to take that stuff for that long a period of time. And interestingly, uh, right near his end, there was amazing research coming out from Johns Hopkins Medical School, his alma mater. As it happened, uh, he was a physician and the research showed that a group of patients in the advanced stages of prostate cancer were dosed with high levels of testosterone replacement and had positive outcomes.

Brad (43:16):
And so, in other words, giving that increased strength and male hormone, putting that into the body, the opposite of the treatment protocol that my dad underwent, the. traditional treatment protocol for prostate cancer, for people in that age group doing the opposite, actually had a beneficial effect. Of course, there was too late to try and delve and, and depart 180 from the traditional medical protocol. But it’s an interesting insight to take away. And we’re probably gonna see things like this coming up more in the years ahead where optimizing hormones is going to promote that healthy, active, energetic life provided you do your part with all those checkpoints, diet, exercise, sleep, rest and recovery, stress management and so forth. Okay, I hope that gives you a, uh, healthier, bigger picture perspective about abusing performance,-enhancing drugs versus doing a therapeutic dose hormone replacement, uh, in search of health optimization and longevity and all the various factors at play.

Brad (44:20):
Oh, by the way, if you decide to take a shortcut, forget about all those lifestyle checkpoints. I’m too busy, I just want to go get some, go get a needle and feel better with a big testosterone program. There is a downside risk of aromatizing the agent. That means converting testosterone into estrogen. That happens when you are in an unhealthy inflammatory state as evidenced by the accumulation of a spare tire that’s called visceral fat, extra fat around the belly, which is so common among males in the older age groups. So if you are showing signs of systemic inflammation by virtue of the accumulation of abdominal fat that’s showing that your, uh, your health attributes are not optimal and you get additional testosterone, your body will convert it into estrogen and you will be worse off than not doing anything. So the only justification for someone who’s not already in pretty good health and fitness level to try a needle hormone replacement is to give a temporary boost so that you will have the energy to get off your ass and start doing some exercise, start doing some resistance training, start walking or jogging around the block or something to change your chemistry from, uh, you know, diseased and, and sedentary and, uh, suboptimal inflamed to someone who has that fighting chance to go on through life, maintaining a healthy level of functional muscle mass and getting that visceral fat off the body.

Brad (45:52):
So it’s almost it’s akin to my friend who’s a plastic surgeon tells people to get down to your best look and then come in and we will do the tummy tuck or other interventions, but not before that. It doesn’t make any sense. So the same thing for those of us considering hormone replacement therapy, do absolutely the best you can on every level before we even start talking about it. And I’m gonna check back in five years cause I’m gonna keep going strong for now. Thank you so much for listening, watching and sharing this show. We’d love to hear from you, love to hear your results, perhaps if you wanna share, uh, one way or the other if you’re on hormone replacement or you have strong feelings about it. So podcast@bradventures.com.

Brad (46:37):
Thank you for listening to the show. I love sharing the experience with you and greatly appreciate your support. Please email podcast@bradventures.com with feedback, suggestions, and questions for the Q and A shows. Subscribe to our email list at bradkearns.com for a weekly blast about the published episodes and a wonderful bimonthly newsletter edition with informative articles and practical tips for all aspects of healthy living. You can also download several awesome free eBooks when you subscribe to the email list and if you could go to the trouble to leave a five or five star review with Apple Podcasts or wherever else you listen to the shows, that would be super incredibly awesome. It helps raise the profile of the B.rad podcast and attract new listeners. And did you know that you can share a show with a friend or loved one by just hitting a few buttons in your player and firing off a text message? My awesome podcast player called Overcast allows you to actually record a soundbite excerpt from the episode you’re listening to and fire it off with a quick text message. Thank you so much for spreading the word and remember, B.rad.

 

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