Sixty pounds and eight inches.

That's how much I have lost in weight and around my waist in the last 15 months. I have gone from a 42-inch waist back down to a 34" waist and I have gone from 265 lbs down to just under 205 today -- while adding a significant amount of muscle mass. And I did so with a fairly relaxed workout routine.

I had gotten fat and what was worse (for me) was that my mental edge and sharpness as well as my motivation were dulled and muted. All of that has changed radically in the last 14 - 16 months.

How did I do it? What was the major or primary shift? There were certainly things that helped: I eliminated sugars and all grain-based carbohydrates except for the ever-famous "cheat day" once a week. That certainly helped. Ten months ago I chose to stop consuming alcohol -- choosing clarity over self-indulgence. Yes, that has assisted in the process.

But the primary component? Testosterone. Testosterone manages a lot of things: libido and aggression gets all the press, but did you know it also impacts drive and motivation, cognitive edge/sharpness, and fat metabolism/retention? And mood. Oh, mood.

Most people don't realize it, but if you have low testosterone levels you will retain fat--and it will increase your estrogen levels, which then in turn has you retain even more fat, which in turn lowers your testosterone even further -- it becomes a hormonal downward spiral.

A general medical practitioner will tell a man with very low testosterone that it is "normal" if it is still in the normal range. The range being between 200 and 1100. So 200 is "normal" but it is certainly not optimal.

And even more sadly (no pun intended) many men are being mis-diagnosed with clinical depression when they really just have low testosterone levels.

Disclaimer: I am not a trainer, nutritionalist, a medical Dr, or a practitioner of any kind of medicine nor do I hold myself out as such. I am simply a guy who has done a lot of research on my own and experimented with certain supplements and herbs and gotten my blood tested 4 times in the last year at regular intervals--and I am reporting my findings here for those who want to do their own research.

Let's discuss testosterone, free testosterone, levels, dietary adjustments, and most important of all, supplementation. Henceforth, testosterone will be simply referred to as "T" and free testosterone as "Free T".

Distinctions, Levels, and Ranges

Total T is what most people get measured with the blood tests that are out there--and if your Dr is not a specialist, this is the test they will give you unless you request both Total T and Free T to be tested.

Total T is just what is sounds like: your total levels in your blood. Free T is a test to see how much is bio-available; how much of your T is floating around available to be put to use at any given moment.

What is a "normal" range? Depends on which lab you ask, but there is some overlap. Some labs will say that a "normal" Total T level is between 200 and 1,300 ng/dl (nanograms per deciliter). Others say it is between 300 and 1300. Normal range for Free  T is murkier because of the different tests that different laboratories use. Here is a set of ranges from a forum I was involved in for a while:

 

Consequently, if your doctor tests your free testosterone, be sure you know the analytical method used. If your test results have a reference range as follows, you have probably been tested with one of the other test methods:

 

Male Reference Range - Test Type

 

* 66-417 nanogram/dL FWRA
* 12.3-63% %FWRA
* 5-21 nanogram/dL UF or ETD
* 50-210 picogram/mL UF or ETD

 

There are those that hold the opinion that Free T is the more important test because that is what measures bio-available T. Personally? I like to get both done.

My Personal Results

In November 2012 I took my first test. Here were my results:

Total T: 208
Free T: 14

At first, I tried the typical recommended herbal supplements: tribulus, fenegreek seed, yohimbe, and L-Arginine (an amino acid). I did see a 10% increase in my levels, but that elevation did not last long--about 2 months--even though I continued to take the herbs. So I decided to begin to investigate what body builders were doing who were not into the black or grey market stuff (pro-hormones, hormones themselves, and/or steroids because once you start taking those you have to take them for the rest of your life because your body stops producing its own T--and what we want to do is increase your body's natural production of T and slow its conversation to estrogen, which it is particularly prone to do if you have a large amount of body fat. 

I tried a few supplements that had some positive effects, but not impressive. I tried others that did not work at all. I finally settled on a triad of supplements that have produced the results I was looking for. I just received my most recent results and here they are:

September 10th, 2013

Total T: 495
Free T: 71

So ... what were these supplements?  

The first was D-Aspartic Acid. It is available in bulk at pharmaceutical grade. That is how I buy it--and I add it to my protein shake or simply shake it up with my other morning nootropic supplements. You can also buy it in capsules, but whatever deliver system you choose, the daily recommended dose is about 3.5 grams. You can purchase it »here«. The second is MuscleMeds Arimatest. You can purchase it on Amazon for a pretty good price »HERE«. The third is PES Erase High Affinity Inhibitor which can be found on Amazon »HERE«.

There are also things you want to avoid in terms of your consumption habits when you are looking to increase your T. Pseudo-estrogens are everywhere, which will lower your T and increase your estrogen. They are in plastics and in chemicals used in conventional agriculture (non-organic). What does this mean? When you are trying to increase your T, endeavor to eat only organic fruits and vegetables, and whenever possible, store your leftovers in glass containers--not plastic ones, and double goes for using the microwave; reheat your food in stainless steal pans on the stovetop or glass containers if and when you use the microwave.

In terms of diet for sustainable weight loss added to this program for increased T, I will leave that to a follow up article. For now, here is a summary to increase your T:

•Get tested and be sure you are testing both Total T and Free T

•Use the "big 3" supplements:

D-Aspartic Acid
MuscleMeds Arimatest
PES Erase

•Reduce and/or eliminate pseudo-estrogens in your environment, starting with using organics food sources and glass or stainless steel food storage and reheating containers and methods.

One side note: if you are on this program and you reduce your estrogen levels, some report problems with joint lubrication. To counteract this, I recommend taking another supplement:

Glucosamine, Condroitin, MSM. See it »HERE«.

As a final note: educate yourself around ranges. Everybody's body is different, so your methods may vary. The natural approach may work for you. I know for me, they did not pack enough punch at my low levels. Get educated, get tested, and experiment.


Additional Resources:

The Art of Manliness (ranges and measuring your T)

The 4 Hour Body (seriously awesome book, that includes a food-based program for increasing your T and about a dozen other things you will want to know about.

Life Expectancy and Testosterone and Estrogen (interesting read on how they can predict your life expectancy based on your hormone levels.)

UPDATE:  It is worth noting that Tim Ferris has a food-based protocol for increasing your T that involves brazil nuts, fermented cod liver oil, rich butter fat (think Irish butter) and egg yolks. Check the 4-Hour Body for the details. And it is an excellent book every man should have anyway.  


UPDATE January 17th, 2014: I just received my lates test results, and I am quite pleased.

Total T: 773
Free T: 160 

There were no supplement changes -- I did "cycle off" everything listed above for about a month before I took this latest test. I also increased my intake of red meat, egg yolks, and nuts. I can not speak to how much that contributed, although it is part of the diet-based protocol in the 4-Hour Body. However I did not consume nearly as much of the yolks as he suggests, and I consumed a lot more nuts...


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3 Levels of Leadership, Part 3: Hacking Your Own Mind

Charisma can be faked. True presence can not. True presence comes from internal alignment-free from nagging self-doubts or internal conflicts. It comes from self-acceptance.

That internal dialogue you experience - that negative self-talk? Those can be resolved. Imagining negative outcomes and feeling anxious about your future - that can also be resolved. Sometimes in minutes.

It's amazing what the right line of code can do - executing the right script through the terminal.

The same can be said of your internal subjective experience.

Your experience has structure. Knowing how to navigate that structure can allow you to create with greater ease and thrive with much greater velocity that you can imagine ... all while enjoying internal alignment and radiating True Presence - which will attract others and have them enjoy your leadership.

It's that magical set of "intangibles" which we can easily give you access to. Let me show you how to hack your own mind.

Join us for this 3rd part of the 3 Levels of Leadership series at Geekdom in San Antonio.

 

Time ​ Thursday, August 24th 2017 @ 4:00pm
Location Geekdom 110 E Houston Street San Antonio TX
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Creating a World-Class You: Advanced Self-Esteem Distinctions

I’ve worked with hundreds of people over the years, and one of the common threads - in every case where they were starting their own business - was some version of self-doubt.

It shows up in many different forms: questioning whether they are good enough, whether they know enough, or have enough training. It shows up on how they set their prices, and in the way they have uncertainty about the future. It can also show up as perfectionism (because nothing is ever really good “enough” - and a half dozen other versions I could list.

One or more of these plague most solo-preneurs just starting out. Each of them are simple enough to resolve (and we can - and will - resolve them for you during the webinar on Thursday). Still others - as laid out below - require mindfulness and practice to let go of.

The most interesting challenge clients face - and the most pervasive dynamic I have witnessed among them - is many degrees more complicated.

The story may be familiar to you: you schedule a small talk - an introduction to your work - and let me assure you, these introductory workshops are the engine of your business. Through them, you provide value to the community and assist in building your following, your brand, and it’s an opportunity for people to see you in person so they get a deeper sense of you.

Someone comes up to you and tells you how amazing the talk was, how touched they were by it, and gets that glazed over look in their eye. It’s boom time, baby!

You pack up and go home and when you get home and check your email and there is a critical email from one of the evening’s participants saying that you needed to change XYZ about your presentation and how some of it was inappropriate. Suddenly all the inflation turns to deflation and you feel dejected and start to wonder - maybe this business isn’t for you.

How you actually performed becomes irrelevant because we are now dealing with a creation of your mind:

1) You collapsed two domains - personal and practical - you made a practical matter personal; you make it mean something about you personally when it is a matter of efficacy with the audience

2) Identification with your business or your material in the workshop causing you to react - you *are* your business in this situation. A case of mistaken identity. What’s more though, is these demonstrate an orientation to external validation.

This distinction Personal/ Practical is foundational in the self-esteem concepts I will lay out for you Thursday. 

Internal vs External orientations to validation will also make a headline appearance. These distinctions will go a long way toward increasing your freedom and choice and assisting you improve more rapidly.

There are a limited number of spots for the Webinar, so go grab your space now:
https://evolve-co.leadpages.net/self-esteem-burgers/

In Your Service,

Jason


Update: here is the video from the webinar. Enjoy!

 

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Falling in love is the greatest story of addiction in existence." -Philippe Lewis

"Falling in love is the greatest story of addiction in existence." -Philippe Lewis

I toyed with this idea for years. Along with the idea that all romantic love is a delusion. Delusion and addiction. Why else does "absence make the heart grow fonder" if not because you aren't dealing with the reality of who they are - but rather who you imagine them to be?

Right?

And … I am a self-described romantic.

(note from the writer: I will address stages of romance in a follow-up piece [Thank you, Deseere' cruz])

So when I say I toyed with the idea for years, I really mean I spent years and years in serious contemplation on the matter. But I have also gone for up to two years (26 months actually) being single and celibate and in the last 14 years I have spent periods of 14 months, 26 months, and 18 months single and celibate and without romantic interests or pursuits.

So … how to reconcile this? Is it accurate? Is it simply a dopamine addiction?

In this piece, we will examine that, as well as romantic love itself, and the relationship between the masculine and the feminine in a romantic relationship as well as the relationship between them within ourselves.

To do this most effectively, we'll have to turn - once again - to stage conceptions. For those of you who are unfamiliar with holarchical stage conceptions, here are a few examples:

Sentences contain words, which contain letters, but not the other way around. Cells contain molecules, which contain atoms, but not the other way around. Nations contain cities, which contain neighborhoods, but … not the other way around.

These are naturally occurring hierarchies where each individual item within it is a whole unto itself, and is also part of a larger whole.

One way to think about them is that they are stages of increasing wholeness. Another way to think about them - as it relates to the evolution of the ego or intra-personal development - is that they are stages of increasing broadness of embrace and an increase in the number of perspectives one can understand and, ultimately, occupy, but *also* they are stages of increasing depth. If you have trouble with "higher stages" as a concept because you feel that is judgmental, then leave that aside and think of them as "deeper".

You could also think of them as degrees of increasing subtlety; from gross to subtle to causal. Or stages of emotional development: from being emotionally stuck and run by your emotions, to having facility with self and therefore emotional choice, to finally being emotionally free - smiling a lot more than others at stages with less depth. Or, for our purposes here, stages of ego development and stages of relating between masculine and feminine: from ego-centric, to ethno-centric or nationalistic, to world-centric; from pre-rational, to rational, to trans-rational; from pre-personal, to personal, to trans-personal.

From unconscious, to conscious, to super-conscious.

My personal favorite way to think about it is: degrees of activation of one's nervous system, but then, I'm a geek.

At this point, you're probably asking yourself, "why should I care? What's all this crap for, Jason?

These stages are important because the stage a person is at determines the lens they will interpret the world through - and where they will react from, emotionally. It also gives us verticality; a 3-dimensional way of looking at the question rather than a 2-dimensional lens.

It is important to note, we all start at pre-rational. So no one escapes the assessment, least of all me.

We all, also - hopefully, but not always - evolve through the stages to reach trans-rational.

Most. importantly, it is necessary that we understand that being "at" a stage is not exactly a linear nor a fixed affair. If someone is solidly "at" say, a rational stage of development, what that means, in practical terms, is that they will interpret through and react from that stage on average 60+% of the time. The other 40%? It will be some mix of pre-rational and trans-rational. There is always a trailing component - call it shadow or residue or … stuff still to be resolved - and a leading component - you at your best or "peaks" (as well as peeks).

But for our purposes here, stages will give us incredible access and insight into this statement:

"Falling in love is the greatest story of addiction in existence." -Philippe Lewis

Is this accurate? 

Let's examine it together.

Stage: Pre-Rational

For those at a Pre-rational level of ego development, that is fact. It's pretty much hard-wired for those individuals. Why? They have very gross, intense experiences without much choice around it. They don't have emotions. Their emotions have them. And, because they are generally not living in service or have a purpose larger than themselves, it is the only way they feel alive.

Compounding the problem is that they are generally terrified to be alone, so they will be with just about anyone, regardless of functional fit.

These relationships are classic "fight and f**k" relationships. Participants in them will extol the virtues of "make up sex". They are rife with jealous rage, insecurity, constant fear and, as a result of that, being controlling. And they are typically riddled with blame and shame.

In terms of the masculine-feminine dynamics, it is an "Us vs Them" mentality with sweeping generalizations about the opposite gender in men and women especially. Women are viewed as gold-diggers (or worse), and fundamentally crazy. Men are viewed as a meal ticket, or, in the many cases as stupid and easy to control through sex (or the withholding of it). And, the irony is that for men and women at a er-rational level of ego-development, that is often accurate in terms of their motivations. Or, while many are pure in their motivations, they are desperate for company, attention, or … whatever is fulfilled by them not being alone - their biggest fear. "Real men don't cry", etc.

And yes, falling in love, for them, is an absolute addiction.

They are addicted to the sensations. To the dopamine and they will usually couple with others who are clearly bad for them, but who they view as the answer to all of their hopes and dreams. And it usually fails in epic fashion in the end. And in their withdrawals, they usually find a rebound relationship, which is both transference, and, in my view, radically irresponsible with another human's heart. But the sex sure is hot - because polarity is there.

Masculine and feminine: in conflict; at odds

Keyword: volatility.

CatchphraseFall in love


Next stage: Rational.

"Falling in love is the greatest story of addiction in existence." -Philippe Lewis

Again … is this accurate?

For those at a rational level of ego development, that is usually the interpretation - and they fear that falling in love is only an addiction so they steer clear and even mock it. Some call it childish. Some insanity. Some delusion and a waste of time. Settling for the "practical" choice is quite common here.

Rational relationships look more like business transactions than romance.

"Friends first" (usually for long periods of time) is quite common as it is the "safe and practical" choice. Emotions are often judged as bad or wrong, but great emotional facility and communication agreements can be the benefit that comes out of it; skill acquisition to be able to navigate their interiors.

The sex is often … well .. the sex is often not happening very often. And it's not very hot because there isn't approval for polarity. So-called "beta-males" are actively sought. If they are single, sex is often disconnected and separated from the heart and feelings and a purely physical act; simply subject-object.

For them is falling in love an addiction? No, even though they view it as such. Largely because they won't allow themselves to fall in love. Romance is childish, remember?

Masculine and feminine: in partnership (at times, resignedly so).

Keyword: stability.

CatchphraseGrow to love.

Next stage: Trans-Rational

"Falling in love is the greatest story of addiction in existence." -Philippe Lewis

Is this accurate here?

For those at a trans-rational level of ego development they know that is sometimes the case, sometimes not, but because so few couples are both at a trans-rational level of development, there are precious few examples of non-addict and non-addicted romantic love that we can point to as examples and/or models.

Relationships where there is choice, freedom (and a reciprocal and complementary lack of a desire to control the other) Mutual respect. Interdependence (healthy, complimentary, chosen dependency) and yes all the roses, poetry, and fanfare of romance, that is to say there is a mental and intellectual component, a spiritual component, and a sexual component.

There is passion and there is functional fit. Communication skills are highly regarded and necessary because of the range of these individuals - they are (mostly) free emotionally and have self-approval and self-acceptance, yet they are also deeply caring; they are ethically spontaneous.

But it takes a tremendous amount of depth and development (read: trans-rational ego) to even be able to recognize such a thing even when it is right in front of one. Let alone live it.

Masculine and feminine: in union.

Keywords: Flex, flow, and play.

CatchphraseOpen to love; Surrender to love

When we consider that we all have masculine and feminine energetics and hormones within us (yes, women produce testosterone, albeit in much smaller amounts than men and men produce estrogen, albeit in smaller amounts than women) then we can see that we can also have these relationships within ourselves.

Consider the implications of being at odds with your internal feminine (as a man) and being at odds with your internal masculine (as a woman). Or being in a partnership. Or being in union internally. Each of the stages of relationship are invariable external manifestations of your relationship with yourself internally.

Obviously this transcends context and will produce radically different emotional experiences within and also in the outside world in your business, your social life, with our creativity, and our ability to be productive, yet still be in flow and allow for creativity.

Right down to how self-expressed you are. How happy. How free.

As you move up the stages, you will feel lighter, you will be affected emotionally by far fewer outside circumstances, you will increase your range of play. And while the challenges are more complex at higher or deeper stages because they are far more subtle challenges that require more flexibility of approach, there is no game with a bigger payout because you will have richer relationships, you'll be happier, and you will be much more enjoyable to be around.

So, is falling in love "addiction"? That depends on you. But freedom awaits. Freedom … in union.