Low testosterone is definitely not a life sentence for a first responder. In fact, since 2018, since we’ve been working with first responders, we’ve only had one. One first responder when we went past the blood tests and actually dove into all of your hormones and looked at why the testosterone was low, only one showed that their testosterone was technically low and they needed injections.
Every other responder, every single one, there was a different reason as to why their T was low. And when we were able to work on that reason, their testosterone went back up to normal levels.
I get it when your doctor tells you that your blood test shows low testosterone, you’re feeling like absolute crap and they only offer you one solution. They only offer you testosterone injections or creams as the solution to fix that. You take them up on that offer. I mean, why would we question what our doctor is offering?
The thing is, there’s so many factors that can lower testosterone in first responders. Lack of good quality sleep. When you’re getting four, six hours sleep when you’re not able to fall asleep. When you are waking up mid-sleep, when you are sleeping a lot, but still waking up exhausted, and disoriented in the morning, your testosterone is struggling to do its thing.
Working long shifts and OT can affect your testosterone levels. Working nights and days, and not knowing how to adapt your body to sleep and wake and become restorative on those can lower your testosterone. Frequent stress. So going to calls if you’re at a busy station or just being at your station without calls and being prepared for what may come.
Different medications, antidepressants, painkillers, they can all lower your testosterone. Aging lowers your testosterone. It does make sense as to why you are showing low testosterone. Which some of those ways that low testosterone shows is hair loss, erectile dysfunctions, low sex drive, low libido, insomnia, not being able to sleep, reduced muscle mass, not being able to make gains in the gym, no motivation in the gym anymore, mood swings and weight gain.
Your lack of energy and the inability to handle small stressors can really take its toll on not only you. But your family as well. And lower testosterone decreases your energy. Lower testosterone decreases your ability to handle other stressors. Not to mention that hit to your ego and pride as testosterone is really a big part of what makes you a man.
If I was in your shoes and my doctor was offering me testosterone shots or cream and I did not know that there were other solutions out there are other things that I could be doing to raise my testosterone, I would absolutely take them. There’s no judgment because what you don’t know, you don’t know. And that’s what we are going to be diving in today.
This infuriates me to no end when blood tests are given and as soon as low T is shown, you are usually just given that one solution. T shots and creams for life.
Or you’re told that you are low and your Dr. May realize that it is affecting how you feel but it’s not low enough yet for shots. Yet, your doctor is going to keep an eye on you and they’re gonna test you in six months and see if your tests have lowered enough for you to get on testosterone shots.
Seriously, like you feel like crap. You can’t get up and go. You have no more vigor in your step. You actually took the step to go to your doctor to ask them for help, to look into this and their solution is, “Yeah, we understand that you feel like shit but we’re gonna keep an eye on you. Your tests are low. They’re just not low enough yet. And we’re gonna keep an eye on you and wait until you’re going to get worse until we give you a shot of testosterone that will get your levels back up to normal” when you’re low right now.
Oh, and in case you don’t realize with these testosterone shots, there’s a time and money cost that goes into that as well. I’ve heard anywhere, it really depends different states all over different medical plans, all of this that it can be $20 to $80 a shot based on your medical plans and how frequently people go in. I’ve heard some go weekly to their doctor, some go monthly. It really depends. And so that is time that you have to take it to keep going to these appointments, to get the shot and the money that you have to invest for life.
I don’t know about you, but it’s rare if ever that I hear of a doctor really diving in to figure out why your testosterone’s so low and working on that or letting you know that you do have other options. How specifically does taking injections or creams for life fix your testosterone levels when they have to keep giving you testosterone for life? Are they fixing the problem or are they really just putting a bandaid on it?
I kind of think it like a leaky bucket. So your bucket is leaking. It’s got some holes in it. You fill it and you continue whatever, washing your car, doing what you need with this bucket. But it keeps leaking so you have to keep filling it up. And it leaks again, you fill it up. Wouldn’t it just be easier to plug the holes?
I mean, repairing the bucket so that the water stays in instead of having to keep filling it up every time that it empties. That’s how I think of kind of low testosterone if and neither is that caveat. Like I said, we had one responder who when we did dive deeper, dive past the blood test did show as having low testosterone and needed the shots. But for most of them, we were able to patch up those holes. And get it to where their bucket didn’t leak anymore so their testosterone stayed at level.
The consensus that we get from responders that we work with who are taking shots or creams is they get the injection and then they’re amped up. Like amped up high sex drive, some anger, overdrive. They really need to hit the gym. Just totally amped up. Like you may have been of the start of your career where it’s really high. And then they move into the next stage where testosterone did what it needed to do. They’re normal leveled again. They can get it up. They can have sex but they’re not constantly thinking about sex all of the time. They’re more even keeled.
And so they’re doing well for a little while and then they hit a low again. They get that low libido. They get easily frustrated cuz they’re able to handle less stressors again. And they’re annoyed by small things and they are like that until it’s time for their next injection. And they set it’s like this roller coaster where they only feel good in the middle phase. And the first phase in the last phase, they’re jacked up. Those moods are really high as well on both when they have too much testosterone in them or when they have too little and can’t handle their stressors.
So this isn’t really about fixing your testosterone. It seems like it’s more of a bandaid solution that where you’re filling the bucket that has holes in it every time that the testosterone leaks out of the bucket. So you may be asking yourself, “Okay, I get that and that makes sense. This is a bandaid solution. If I am the majority that actually doesn’t have low testosterone and there’s other reasons that I can work on to get my T up, what is the solution?” All right. Let’s dive into that now.
So the first one that we did mention was your sleep and it is about improving your sleep. Most people don’t realize the correlation between sleep and testosterone. And when you’re struggling to fall asleep, stay asleep and wake with energy then your testosterone is at risk. This is because the majority of your body’s testosterone is actually released while you sleep. And when you are lacking a good quality sleep. So this doesn’t mean like taking a sleeping pill or alcohol or an over the counter remedy that is a sedative which knocks you out. It’s because when that happens, when you get knocked out and go into a sleep, your body isn’t signaling the right healing and repairing to happen, where the right hormones start coming out and replenishing themselves, healing, repairing realigning themselves. All of that.
This is talking about needing you to get a good sleep, a solid sleep where you’re getting all of the right hormones kicking in, in your sleep. And how you know that you’re doing that is you’re waking up with energy. You’re waking up feeling like your body did heal and repair. So there was a study done not on first responders but on a set of men who slept for less than four hours. They had 60% lower total testosterone than men who slept more than eight hours. I’m gonna say that again, men who slept for less than four hours had 60. 60% lower total testosterone than men who slept for more than eight hours.
Now, most of the responders that we work with they get between four to six hours of sleep on average four to six hours. So that means the ones that are four hours are getting maybe 60% less testosterone releasing in their body. And six hours I don’t know what that percentage would be but let’s just say that’s maybe even 40% less. That’s a lot less testosterone still. And we’re talking about four to six hours of sleep, even on their days off because that’s all their body will allow them to sleep. So four to six hours on a general basis.
Now, if you dive into episode 11, where we dive into think exhaustion is a secret to falling asleep, think again and episode 3, how to stop snoring on any shift schedule, we dive more into some remedies for sleep and things like that. So you may wanna go into episode 11 and episode 3 if you wanna dive into that more. But today we’re gonna be focusing on the testosterone.
So with that four to six hours of sleep, even on their days off, I find it really interesting because if you aren’t already getting enough sleep, testosterone replacement therapy, it may actually contribute or cause sleep apnea which further reduces your sleep. So you only get four to six hours of sleep, your testosterone shows low, you get onto T shots which then can further disrupt your sleep and actually contribute or cause sleep apnea.
It’s like this vicious cycle. So from that alone, only that, are you starting to see why low T is common in first responders? The thing is, is we’ve only just started. Lack of sleep or sleep deprivation is not the only cause of low T. Your body’s testosterone releases the most testosterone during rapid eye movement, so your REM sleep. And REM happens usually on the back end of your sleep. Often the last half, third of your sleep. It should account for about REM itself should account for about 20% of your total sleep time. So if you slept for just easy math, if you slept for 10 hours, two hours would be REM.
So if you’re not getting enough REM sleep, you’re not getting into the proper stages of sleep then your REM is often affected. Especially if you’re sleep deprived, REM actually becomes harder to get because your body starts pushing it more deep or trying to and decreasing your REM sleep. So sleep deprivation is actually defined as six hours or less of sleep for three months straight. So think about that. Sleep deprivation is six hours or less of sleep a night for three months. And the majority of first responders get four to six hours of sleep even on their days off.
Four to six hours of sleep already decreases your testosterone. And then from there when you’re sleep deprived, so if you’re doing that for more than three months, if you’re sleep deprived that decreases your REM sleep and more like the most majority of testosterone is released during the REM stages. So you’re getting whammied from different times. And if you’re trying different sleep remedies, as I mentioned, some are sedatives. They’re not a sleep aid which means that they help you fall asleep but they don’t help you get into those sleep stages. So they don’t get you into that REM sleep. So that’s alcohol over the counter cold and flu. Sometimes some prescriptions actually just knock you out. They don’t get you into the proper sleep stages.
So that dives us into asking a really good question, which is how do you know how much REM you’re getting? And that’s where you can track it on a health tracker. There are tons of them out there and tracking your sleep is really, really a great way to know if you’re getting enough sleep. What the quality of your sleep is, and if you’re getting enough REM. So if you have low testosterone, it would be phenomenal for you to go and check your sleep and see if you are getting enough REM sleep, if you’re getting enough of a really good quality sleep because fixing that will most likely really benefit your testosterone levels and get them up higher and possibly prevent you from needing to take shots and creams for life.
So I actually created a free training which just came out. It’s called coach yourself to be strong on shift. And it has a specific lesson actually on how to track your deep and REM sleep in it. It is all about tracking all of your stats in order to be able to stay strong on shift. Not helping you with workouts. Helping you understand when to work out and when not so that you can stay strong and peak and recover and not overtrain. There’s such a balance, especially with your shift. So that training dives into all of that. If you haven’t grabbed your copy, just go to our 911ShiftReady.com website and grab it today.
It’ll be right on the page, 911ShiftReady.com. Grab that training and you can already start diving into figuring out how to track your REM, how to make sure that you are in great training zones, all kinds of things in order to stay strong on shift. I like to think of trackers, like a map or a GPS. You would never actually go from Los Angeles to New York without mapping your route or using a GPS. Right?
I mean, I wouldn’t. There’s no way that I would be able to get from Los Angeles to New York efficiently, effectively on time without going off course if I didn’t use a GPS. Have it mapped it before I went. And the thing is, is that we often guess when it comes to our body. So this program that it did create, will help you to start seeing what you’re trying is, or isn’t helping you so that you can stop spending money and, and wasting time on what isn’t helping. You can focus on what is and get back into the driver’s seat.
So you can stay strong on shift and get yourself off of testosterone shots and creams. So what we’ve just dove into is not getting enough sleep or not getting enough REM sleep as well can lower your testosterone. What else? You’ve probably guessed. Another big thing is stress.
Now, most of you spend a lot of your shift in a stressed state. Every call that you go to. Even if it is cleared before you get there, your stress system kicks in. And your stress system is like a muscle. The more you work it, the stronger it gets and quicker, it becomes to react. Eventually, your stress system overpowers your resting system so that you struggle to turn it off. And you may find when it’s time to rest, you can’t shut it off. You’re always on high alert, hypervigilant or anxiety is ruling you where you can’t shut it off. And it’s ruling you not only at work but at home. It may actually be more present at home. And stress has actually been shown to directly affect testosterone levels.
When your stress system kicks in so when that stress nerve, as we said, is so strong and overpowering and keeps kicking you in even at home when you can’t shut it off. When you’re hypervigilant, when your anxiety. When you are snoring in your sleep that’s all telling you that you are kicked into your stressed state. And stress directly affects your testosterone levels because when your stress system kicks in your body releases cortisol. And then when you have high cortisol levels, it crushes your testosterone by stealing it.
So when cortisol is running so often, it tends to eventually run outta supply. And because cortisol is more important to your survival than testosterone, your body allows cortisol to take the testosterone and convert it into cortisol. So it’s called the cortisol steel. And that is one of the things that we found a lot in responders.
When we dove past the blood testing, we found that their cortisol was stealing their testosterone. Lowering it. So every time that they were getting testosterone injections and stuff that’s when you’d go through that cycle as well of, you’d be amped up for a bit cause your testosterone would be really high and then it would normalize. But cortisol would be start stealing it, converting it, and then your levels would lower again of it. So that became that vicious cycle as well for many of them.
So it’s imperative to stop letting your stress nerve overpower your resting nerve. So that you can start controlling that switch that turns your stress system on when you need to keep yourself safe on the job and then turn it off as soon as it’s safe to do so. The more that you can switch out of your stress system, your cortisol will stay lower and then it will decrease its need to steal your testosterone, which is lowering your testosterone levels.
This is so important that I’ve actually dedicated more than one module in my nine one elite performance program to teaching you how to switch, how to control that. Basically, it’s similar to a gym exercises but we’re teaching you different exercises to be training your resting nervous system so that it can start increasing in strength and stopping overpowered by your resting system. I do dive into some of this in episode three, how to stop storing on any shift level so you can definitely go into that and see the first lesson that we teach people. And then we keep going layers past that because in your job with the amount that you are pushed in your stress state, we need to really make sure that your resting system is frigging strong. And that takes time and a lot of building of exercises on exercises as you would do in the gym as you’re building your body and your muscle.
So now that you know that sleep and always being on can lower your testosterone, does it make sense that the solution for low testosterone showing on a blood test is shots or creams for life? Of course not. It’s more important to take low testosterone as a sign that your body could use some sleep support, help you get a better quality sleep, get more REM sleep and then work on learning to control that switch to get you in and out of a stressed state as the situation dictates. That’s more effective than adding in more testosterone, right? It definitely is. Which leads us to another question. What happens if you do improve your sleep and you learn how to control the switch that gets you in and out of a stress system, and you’re still having signs of low T, what do you do? That’s a really great question.
Now there’s a few things that we do need to cover in this. One mistake is relying solely on blood tests to see what’s going on. Now the thing is, is there’s a difference between our medical system and the holistic side of medicine. Both are needed. Our medical system is designed for disease, for emergency medicine. What our doctors learn triage medicine, what you guys deal with on so many of your calls if we did not have that emergency triage medicine that was really reactive and, you know surgeries, everything. Right? Cancers. If they were not there then we would really be struggling and you would not be able to save as many lives.
There’s another side though. There’s the holistic side that works from a preventative point of view. So with the medical side, when they’re looking at blood tests, their blood tests are often compared to a list like, let’s say there’s a thousand blood samples that they’re using that to work. They’re not necessarily looking at a thousand healthy blood samples. They’re taking a thousand blood samples that have come in and quite often the people that are getting a lot of those blood samples are that are allowing their blood to be used for studies and stuff. There’s usually a health issue that they’re coming in and have their blood tested for. So there are people whose bodies are already stressed.
So the markers that quite often they’re giving you is as well based on people that may have some health issues as well. So when they’re looking at ranges as well of testosterone, they’re looking at it versus like the general public, which is healthy and unhealthy people.
When you are looking at test results from a holistic perspective, if you were to look at testosterone results that a holistic person requires or would look at, their markers would be different. So when your doctor’s saying you have low T, they’re looking at it that you’re not in a disease state yet. You’re not in an emergency. You’re not in a state where they need to be reacting yet. You can still live. You feel like ass. You have no libido. Your hair’s falling out. All of these things. But your markers may not be at the point that they need to actually step in because there’s a reason their type of medicine is there’s a point where they step in.
When you go to a holistic functional, they’re looking at it from preventative. So they take blood samples from healthy people. And they look at what are the averages of healthy people’s testosterone. Okay. That’s where we want yours. So if you’re showing really low to what a doctor would say is low we’re in the lower end of their range, they would say, “Mm-hmm we don’t want you there.” You’re feeling like gas. You can’t get it up. Your libido’s gone. You have no get up and go. You’re exhausted. You’re not able to handle stress. We need to get your testosterone up.
And so what they actually do is they’re going to do a 24-hour urine test. And the way that I describe this urine test is it is like we’re on a mountain. And this mountain at the top starts your stress hormone pathways. At the top, we have pregnenolone. And this pregnenolone, imagine it’s flowing down this mountain. So it’s flowing down the mountain, it’s doing its job. And as it goes down, it splits. So this water, this river, splits down this mountain. And that creates two other hormones, which do two other jobs. And those split.
Now it’s near the bottom of those splits, where we have cortisol, which is your stress and your energy hormone. We have testosterone and we have estrogen. And so if there’s something happening further up this mountain, Let’s say there’s a rock slide and one of those pathways is blocked off. That means that double is being pushed the one side and less is coming down the other side. Which trickles down that mountain and affects every other hormone under it.
So with cortisol, testosterone, estrogen being near the bottom, they’re quite often affected. So you get that cortisol. As we said, too, sometimes stealing testosterone. We also have situations where the testosterone is converting into estrogen. When testosterone converts into estrogen that’s when we get guys that are very teary, very emotional. We had one guy who his kids would say, how do you cry more at Disney movies than we do. Right? Just getting so emotional with posts that go on on your screen. You could tear up from things. Things just it’s like you’re in constant PMs, mood swings, all of that stuff.
I’m sure you have experienced females where they’re having PMs, when a guy’s testosterone is being converted into estrogen, it’s like he has PMs. Mood swings, emotionals hides and lows, roller coaster really, really happy, really, really sad. All of that. Right? So there’s so many different reasons that when we can get into that 24 hour urine test, that’s where we can start seeing where in your pathway is your testosterone off? What is happening in yours? And is quite often just some simple supplements that can start fixing that rock slide, pulling rocks off that rock slide so that the pathways can start opening up and things can go the right ways. As I said, we’ve only had one guy do that test one where they tested low in testosterone and did need some sort of testosterone supplementation.
That being said they didn’t need shots actually, or creams for life, they were okay with a supplement that they do have to take for life. But it’s way more cost effective, less trips to the doctor. And it’s working for them much better. So when you’re only relying on blood tests, we only get to see what’s in your body as well. And at the moment that the blood is drawn. We’re not able to see the full picture of why it’s low. So as we just said, your testosterone could be stolen from cortisol. Your could be converting testosterone into estrogen. It could just be low. Something could be happening higher up in the pathway, something with your DHCA cause DHCA is further up. It could be something further up.
So really knowing like it’s good to have that blood test and say, “Hey, it’s slow now. What do we do?” Right? The thing though, is that if you test before you work on your sleep and before you’re strengthening your resting system, you’re kind of wasting your money on the test. It’s not a cheap test. It’s like four or $500. But it saves you a lot if you don’t need testosterone shots and creams for a life which costs way more than $400 in your life. But the thing is, is if you do this test before you work on your sleep and before you work on switching in and out of your stress and resting system, being able to stay more in a resting system and less in a stressed state then we already know that your testosterone’s going to show low on that test because of these big attributing factors.
So the thing too is you may find as well that once you start improving your sleep, once you start getting really good sleeps that you start improving. So once you are able to fall asleep in 15 to 20 minutes, once you get really good deep sleep where your body’s healing and repairing where your REM sleep is that 20% of your sleep. And you’re able to get that testosterone released and you’re waking up with energy and you’re able to handle more stressors in your day. You’re in your stress system less than just because you can handle more stressors cause all of your hormones are working the way that they’re supposed to. And you’re also have your resting system strong so you are not switching in and out of that stress state.
So you have less short fuses. You’re calmer, you’re more engaged. Your libido might start coming back. Your testosterone might get to two proper levels and then you may actually want to go back to your doctor and get a blood test, which where I live and our health coverage here in Canada, it’s free to go and do that. You may wanna go and do that and test and see if your testosterone numbers did go up and that’ll tell you as well like, I mean, you may know just from feeling good, but sometimes it’s nice to get that test to see how much your work did pay off on that testosterone and you may see that you don’t actually need to do this 24 hour urine test.
You may not need to go that next step further because you actually were able to fix the problem already. So work on the sleep, work on your resting system and then if you need to go that step further, you now know what that step is. Now most places, as I said, it is an expensive test. It’s not always covered. So I know for us, our insurance covered I think $125 of the 500 of it. Maybe it was 400 but you still do have to go out of your pocket so I would really suggest waiting until you’ve worked on sleep and resting system and then put your money to use if you need it then.
In my 911 Elite Performance Program, we do teach you how to find the right practitioner if you do wanna move forward with that testing. I used to have a practitioner in my program but that really brought up the prices and not everybody needed the testing. And so what I’m doing now is helping you find a practitioner in your area that you can do that if that’s the step that you want to go to.
So, but yeah, again, I know I’m repeating this but this is so important. Only go to the practitioner, only get that testing once you have improved your sleep and you’re not living in that hypervigilant anxiety state because you’re able to control that switch that turns you in and out of that state. Which is what I can help you with. Absolutely. I’m not promoting it because it’s what I help you with. I’m really just trying to save you money and time and frustration on kind of putting the cart before the horse.
Testing would be backwards costing you more time and money in the end. So it’s kind of like having a building permit. And you don’t go over your checklist to make sure that you have everything that you need done before you call the inspector to come in and check and so you call them in and you fail the inspection because you didn’t do some of the things that you knew needed to be checked off your list first before the inspector was called in.
So you then have to go and do those checklist and then you have to pay the inspector again. So then you would need to do the testing again to see if the problem is fixed. So it really is, this is the same thing as testing your hormones before you’ve actually ruled out every other cause that you now are aware can be the cause.
All right. So let’s recap. Testosterone shots are not for life because you now know that men who slept for less than four hours had 60% lower testosterone than men who slept for more than eight hours. Less REM sleep also decreases your testosterone. And the more that you live in a stress state, you lower your testosterone. You also now know that blood tests only tell you your levels. And oh, I didn’t dive into that. They actually only tell you one type of testosterone as well. So they’re not really telling you what’s happening in your testosterone, not why your testosterone is testing low.
And you also know that after you’ve improved your sleep and your ability to control the switch that turns on and off your stress and resting systems. And if you still have signs of low T then a 24 hour urine test is an option to find out what’s happening with your testosterone. And then the practitioner can give you supplements that you can find in your local health food store that can help your cortisol stop stealing a testosterone or your testosterone from being converted into estrogen and possibly bypass you from needing testosterone shots and creams for life.
So our free training that I did mention Coach Yourself To Be 911 Shift Strong. It will help you see where your sleep and your REM lie as well as help you with your stress levels. If you would like to dive deeper, you’ll be happy to know that our new upgraded version of the 911 Elite Performance Program, the program that we have had running since 2018, it’s almost live and ready to go.
It has new research that has come up. Also in the last three years with so many of the stressors, COVID, black lives matters so many other things have come up that I have really adapted and improved and upgraded the program. So I’m not sure exactly when it’s going to be launching. It will be around when this podcast is going out. I’m doing this ahead of time but we will be selling only 10 spots at a very discounted price to make sure that all of the backend tech is running smooth and to test at the new program with a small group before we bring the price up back to its original full price and we sell it live.
So if you want to start getting your sleep back on track, if you want to start learning how to control that switch which will help with your testosterone and a lot of other things. Your moods, anxiety, energy, drive, just energy to be with your family. All of that will start changing. Keep an eye out. We do have a wait list. If you go to our website 911 Shift Strong and you will see that we have a wait list there in our program section. You can join the wait list and it’ll either tell you if we are live now and selling it. When this comes out or if we still have a wait list and you can be one of the first to know, so you can get it. Those 10 spots are going to go fast because this is a huge discount that I’m offering it for such an amazing program.
So go to 911ShiftReady.com and click on I believe it’s the work with us page and you’ll see the wait list or you’ll see if it’s already selling. All right. That is it for today’s episode, I will see you in the next episode.