newb introduction and request for advise for 41y endurance athlete


New member
Hey, guys!

First of all - thank you for your time and advice, thanks for doing what you do here!

Still digging my way through many posts and articles here and in other places around the web. However, I am aware that my background and targets are slightly unusual, so I'd appreciate some cross-checking and advise from the knowledgeable guys around here.

My goals:

1. health
2. true strength without "bulk"

I have no intention to "get big", I want to improve my lifts. My main sport is mountain biking. I do weight lifting for health reasons because I am aware of the importance of strength for well being. Some muscle is also mandatory on the bike and helps avoid injuries caused by a fall, but any excess body weight is a major disadvantage when going uphill. It's about the right balance for me.

I don't see myself at risk of becoming a heavy user. A realistic target for me is 80-85 kg body weight at below 10 % body fat. Since my lifestyle and nutrition are spot on, I intend to keep that bf ratio premanently. And I plan to stay a lean machine and not become a muscle monster. :)

Where do I come from:

41 years (though looking and feeling like in my early 30s)
188 cm
77 kg, body fat 12-13 %
basal metabolic rate around 1700 kcal/day

blood test ok, heart checked and in excellent condition (though I tend to have high work pulse, despite a good resting pulse), blood pressure ok

training weights:

squat 75 kg 5x5 (below parallel)
bench 45 kg 5x5
barbell row 55 kg 5x5
overhead press 40 kg 5x5
deadlift 100 kg 1x5

Both squat and deadlift feel quite manageable, I expect my personal bests for 1 rep to be well above the numbers stated.

I always was a skinny guy. Started mountain biking in my mid 20s, slowly moved towards being "skinny fat" in my late 30s (caused by carb-heavy 'endurance diet', maxed at 88 kg with no strength in my upper body). You can see in my numbers above that I'm hugely unbalanced with powerful legs, rather decent core but way too weak upper body.

Turned my life around 2y ago when I started the paleo lifestyle* (more on that below). My body weight rapidly plunged from 85+ to 76 kg and stayed there until I started lifting. Health, energy levels and clarity of mind all improved significantly. My fat metabolism started to work for the first time in my life.

I have some history with the usual gym workouts (split routines, machines and all that crap), without significant gains. Subsequently I've never been too consistent (except at biking). A diet that was too low on proteins added to the unsatisfying results.

I restarted lifting 1,5y ago as a part of pelao and finally get rather fast and consistent results. Partly because of proper training (free weights, compound exercises only) and correctly dialled in nutrition. Within months I reached levels I never deemed possible for myself.

My training regimen:


Stronglifts 5x5:
3 compound lifts every other day, with slightly increased weight from session to session
day A: squat 5x5, bench press 5x5, barbell row 5x5
day B: squat 5x5, overhead press 5x5, deadlift 1x5

On non-lifting days I run (short distance <10 km or 1 h, controlled slow pace to stay in aerobic metabolism, trails and forest terrain in barefoot shoes)
On weekends I do bicycle tours (indoor track, road bike or MTB, 1 h to 3 h, controlled slow pace) or mountain hikes in the Alpes (those can stretch to 5-6 h)

My priority until early summer is to improve my overall strength and build up a stronger core. The endurance training is just to keep my level - and for the fun of it. :p

In early summer the mountain bike race season starts, so I'll then shift my focus to more intense bike and endurance training, while maintaining 3 lifting sessions per week to not lose any achieved strength gains. I guess I'll have to settle for constant weights or slower gains, but that is perfectly ok.

Unfortunately most of the MTB amateur races here are marathon events with 3-6 h of competition time, so I have to adapt to that. I know that this is _very_ counter-productive for any strength training goals. But it remains my priority, because it's _fun_.

Now - why juicing?

I'd like to - gently - boost my potential. Build up solid strength before the racing season starts and keep it over the summer. Another strength increase is not planned before winter 2014/15, after the race season.

Q: Is it too early to juice after just 18 months of consistent lifting?
I'm slightly concerned about the risk for injuries when my strength explodes on Test and my tendons and joints can't follow quickly enough. OTOH I learned to listen to my body and got through my training and lifting without any injury (except bike accidents). I want to keep it like this. I train at home, I have a power rack in my basement - so no audience to impress. I have no intention to slack out during my cycle - on the contrary. I just don't want to overdo it. I'm not in a hurry either, steady and consistent is key for me.

The cycle plan:

I want to keep it simple - Testosterone-Enanthate for 12 weeks, as frequently recommended here. I'd prefer to keep the dose low (250-300 mg), but read recommendations for a solid 500 mg per week to get optimum results.

I don't aim for maximum gains. I want minimum side effects and long-term gains. In my eyes steroids are just a tool to counter the age-related and modern day lifestyle-related slowing down of my gains. I'm happy with comparably slow improvement, if I can keep the increased strength for the years to come.

Q: Low dose or high dose in my rather special case?
Injection of 150-200 mg every 3 days (Sun+Wed) - is this a good plan?

Q: Any improvement if I settle for more frequent injections? For example 3x100 ml per week instead of 2x 150 ml weekly? I understand the long half-life of Test-E makes this unnecessary, but if there are even slight improvements, I'm willing to try it. (More even androgen levels maybe?)

Q: I have a 1 week long business trip in mid March. Won't be able to train at all during this week. Is this a problem, should I delay the start of my cycle until after the trip?

Q: How about Estrogen or DHT suppressors? Should I only order them and keep them ready in case I need them? Or take them in any case to avoid unwanted side effects, even before I notice anything? (btw: I'm balding naturally already :-( )


I understand this is a crucial part of it all. Maybe even more so at my age.

Q: Should I have my natural testosterone level checked before I enter a cycle, just to know where I start from?

Thanks again for reading my long post and posting your advise!


*What is paleo?

+ eat real food: basically follow the diet of the paleolithic hunter-gatherer: natural, unprocessed, fresh food from regional suppliers, focus on meat, fish and leafy greens; no sugar, no alcohol, no grain; very low carb, high on protein and with a good amount of fat
+ move: daily sports program with a focus on resistance training and short time cardio
+ sleep well: 8 to 9 hours every night, depending on your individual demand, sleep cycle roughly adjusted to sun hours and regular
+ be mindful: meditation and good stress handling for peace of mind

On top of my nutrition regime I supplement the full range of vitamins and essential minerals. I also take protein powder (whey isolate) and some amino acids. My average protein intake is way over 2 g/kg. Using intermittent fasting (IF) quite regularly.
Yes you should have an AI on hand before you start. You may want to run arimidex at .25 eod through whole cycle up to start of PCT. You should be educated on PCT as well. Have all that covered before you start.
TestE at 500mg per week is a good for most. I like to split into 250mg every 3.5 days. So, sunday eve and thursday am. Or whatever close to that works with your schedule.
Cheers, mate!

Still reading... I learned about the test to estrogen balance, and I understand homeostasis now. So estrogen suppression is a must during cycle. Check.

I'll continue reading about PCT before I start anything.

However, the probably most important question for me remains:

Should I wait for autumn/winter until I consider a cycle, am I rushing things? Or is it ok to do one now?

As mentioned, my idea is to counteract the natural decline in test levels I experienced in my late 30s. Since I consider my nutrition, sleeping habits and training regimen dialled in well, I think I've covered the basics to give it a little help from chemistry a shot and see where it takes me.

Keep up the great work you all do in this tremendously informative forum. Thanks again!
Stronglift/ starting strength is a good program if you want to keep it more strength oriented. You will get myofibrillar hypertrophy.(look that up)

You are pretty screwed on the balding. You will need to take something for that because AAS will most likely accelerate it unless you want the bald look. Becareful with Finasteride, some people get bad side effects. There are different treatment options. The estrogen depends on the person, some people aromatize more test. It's partially genetic and partially attributable to bodyfat percentage since fat cells aromatize testosterone. The best way to keep this in check is to get blood work and see where your levels are at. Some people aromatize a lot, others don't.

You got everything dialed in pretty good so far. Make sure you got all the PCT stuff down before you start.

I'll give you some personal tips. Paleo is good, just make sure you keep carb intake higher on workout days, it really really helps. Intermittent fasting is excellent, i love it. It helps with satiating mostly. Make sure you are at a caloric surplus during your cycle so you gain muscle. Testosterone will increase nutrient partitioning so you should gain a really good amount of muscle to fat ratio. A little fat gain is normal during a bulk and a 1:1 ratio is still excellent. Good luck my friend
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Thanks again!

I love the general tone in this forum, very supportive! You guys rock!

In the meantime I got the message about injecting enough T to get well over my natural level that is shut down - so I'm comfortable with 500 mg as a starting point now.

About the balding - there is some hair left on top of my skull, and as long as I have that I'm used to shaving everything down to 0.8 mm routinely. Much less hassle than shaving completely with a blade. Losing that hair as well is a question of time, but I'm not in a hurry for that. So: Noted that I need to take action against it when starting a cycle. Any advise on proven methods or where to find info on this?

About carbohydrates and diet in general, this is still a hot topic. I am sure that I eat enough, my colleagues joke quite often about the portions I take in during lunch breaks. I also go rather quickly through my cans of whey, I'd estimate my average daily protein intake from meat/fish and powder combined in the area of 2.5 to 4 g per kg of bodyweight.

However, I am aware that it is a terribly fine line between gaining muscle through weight training and losing muscle through endurance training. I'm highly motivated to increase my running workouts, since my calf muscles finally can take it (switching to barefoot running is a slow and sometimes painful process). But that's not due until early summer, so I'll restrict myself to about 45 min of daily running at max.

Currently I wonder how I could accelerate my fat loss - I managed to get under 12 % in December before I made a 3 week holiday (without any training during that, boo!), now I'm kinda stuck at approximately 14 % again. On my journey to 12 % I broke a plateau by getting rid of alcohol completely. Going down from one or two beers per week to zero did the trick, but I get the feeling I'm slowly running out of options. Haven't tried the cold thermogenesis trick to activate my brown adipose tissue directly though... Maybe that's one last ace up my sleeve. ;-)

Carb intake will be higher in summer anyway, since I orientate my food choice on the season and can add fruits by then. Following paleo rather strictly, my only carb sources are vegetables, nuts and fruits.

So nobody thinks I'm too early in my training process, lifting only 1x my bodyweight at squats so far?

Btw, I'm considering a post about paleo (the general nutrition idea and the other parts of it) for beginners in the nutrition section of this forum. A quick search indicates that this topic hasn't been covered so far. Is there an interest in that?

Edit: Forgot, I'm familiar with hypertrophy. ;-) (and googled myo and sarco, as you suggested)
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An EC stack is a powerful tool for breaking a fat loss plateau.

Check out That will help you gauge where you are or where you want to be.
Check out That will help you gauge where you are or where you want to be.

Oh my... Thanks, mate! Thank you for this reality check.

I really, REALLY stink on the bench. Solid novice level on the other exercises, but bench... m(

Maybe I should stick to natural a while longer, do the shift towards endurance training in early summer and rethink the gear in autumn/winter. Juice for fat loss is nothing I'd consider. I'd rather try Martin Berkhan's IF / leangains / carb refeeding technique to get where I want to be without external help.

I should really check 3J's input, the pics of his clients are definitely impressive.
Welcome. Certainly sounds like you've done your research. Good job. As for balding, I guess if its a really big concern then its better to be prepared. But really its varies from person to person. I've done many cycles with many compounds and hasn't effected me at all. On the other hand, its hit a few of my friends hard after only a couple cycles.
As for waiting till winter, totally up to you. I don't think you're going to completely blow up from 500mgs of test. You will get stronger and somewhat bigger, but nothing crazy.
Wish you good luck and make sure you have everything on hand including PCT before you start.
Hey, guys!

Half a year later and still natural...
My plans didn't exactly work out, since I've been doing way less endurance training than I planned. Additionally, after holidays in June I stayed lazy in July, so currently I'm working my way back up again after a two months lifting break. Not good.

However, I'm back on track now and lifting is my top priority again. This year I do biking only for fun and have no problem to have weeks without any endurance workouts at all, if I'm too tired from the weight training. Stronglifts 5x5 every other day, everything else is optional.

My biggest challenge might be to keep my impatience in check. Training hard again, but I am aware that rest days and enough sleep are mandatory. Nutrition is still spot on, continuing the strict paleo. Still no alcohol, and also no dairy products. After my break I'm down to 78 kg and 15 % body fat.

Talking about impatience, what I'm struggling with now is finding a good time for a first cycle. The weights I move right now are too low, I'm still on my way back to the weights mentioned in my first post. Currently I'm thinking along the lines: Once I manage to routinely squat more than my bodyweight and have my body fat back at 12 % or lower, I might be ready for a cycle. According to my training plan I should reach that in September.

The question remains: Should I aim for more (to use my genetic potential better), or is it safe to use a chemical shortcut so early?

Additionally, I found the post about short cycles and I'm intrigued by that concept. But there seems to be very little experience with this around. I'd appreciate any first-hand report about that!

Another topic: What can I do to help my body produce more T naturally? I'm already supplementing tryptophan, zinc and tyrosin on top of my base vitamins and minerals and whey regiment. What else could be a good idea?

Thanks again!