Month: October 2013

pre-T vs. 6 months

One thing I wanted to talk about in my update, but forgot because I was complaining about my fat distribution… even though I complain about it, my body composition has become less of an “issue” for me as I continue on with doing CrossFit. My goals have shifted from how I look more to how I perform (especially with the competition coming up in 6 weeks). I’ve learned that with improved performance which requires consistent workouts and eating well, the body that I wanted in the beginning will follow.

Now, on to the comparison images I made. I know these are posted separately as they happened, but I thought it would be nice to post a side-by-side comparison. And… a little unsolicited advice  to those looking to start T or just starting, the muscles don’t just come with the introduction of testosterone, this is the result of many, many hours of working out and working out hard, at that. So, if that’s your goal, be prepared to work at it.

Day1-6monthComparison

Day1-6monthComparisonFront

6 months on T!

I can’t believe it’s been half a year already. Time has both flown and crawled by depending on the perspective I take when thinking about it.

First thing’s first because who wants to scroll all the way to the bottom of this post to see pictures.

20131025 Back

20131025 Body 1

20131025 Body 2

Harry decided he wanted to be part of the pictures this morning, haha.

Voice: I don’t think it’s changed that much since last month. I think that is either starting to level out or changing so gradually that I can’t tell anymore. If my voice doesn’t change at all from now, I wouldn’t mind at all, though. I like how it is now.

Hair: Oh man, there’s a lot more of that than I expected. My upper thighs are almost as hairy as the lower part of my legs now. I even have hair on my butt now, which I wasn’t really expecting at all. There is some I’ve noticed that is coming in on my stomach and chest now, but it’s still pretty fine and light in color. Oh, and I’m getting more facial hair now. I’ve noticed in the last month that’s it’s starting to come in not only along my jaw line, but underneath my jaw towards the neck area.

Fat distribution: This is probably the part that I thought would have changed more by now, but hasn’t really changed at all. So, I’m slightly disappointed by that. My hips and thighs are still the same size as they were at the beginning, if not slightly bigger. I know some of that is due to muscle, but the fat that I started with in those areas seems to be sticking around for the long haul. It also makes for finding pants that fit right (or the way I want) a bit of a problem. I’ve been working out consistently for 5 days a week for about the past month now. So, I’m going to try to make some slight changes to my diet to see if that helps any, though the season for gluttony is coming up, so we’ll see how that goes.

Muscles: I am still getting stronger. My muscles are still increasing in size, and I’ve seen huge gains in my performance at CrossFit. I think that’s more of a product of just working hard and pushing myself beyond my comfort zone than the testosterone so much.

Overall: I’m feeling pretty good, even though Alex is gone for a few more months. My research isn’t going as well as I’d like either, but I’ve been trying really hard to keep a healthy balance between work/school and everything outside of that. The injections have become a normal part of my life now, and I don’t look forward to them with any anxiousness now. In fact, sometimes I almost forget that it’s the day of my injections. I keep a reminder in my Google calendar, or else there are some days when I would have forgotten.

Other news: I contacted the two surgeons that are covered by my insurance. One of them is in Beverly Hills, Dr. Gary Alter, and the other in San Francisco, Dr. Scott Mosser. Just based on my phone interactions with both of their offices, I’m already leaning towards Dr. Mosser. I’ve got an in office consultation with Dr. Alter set up and a virtual consultation with Dr. Mosser, both for next week. I also have family in the Bay Area, so that would make post-op recovery a little easier, probably, as opposed to Beverly Hills, where I’d have to get a hotel there since I think San Diego is too far for comfort.

Reindeer Games

reindeer-header

I officially signed up for the Reindeer Games. It is a local CrossFit competition on December 7th. It was posted in my gym’s Facebook group yesterday. I made a comment about how I was tempted to sign up, if only I could get over my fear of box jumps. So, one of the people, Anna, who joined CrossFit Fortius about the same time (we did a partner WOD together within the first week of joining) I did said she would do it if I did. I kind of left it there.

In the evening, when I went to workout, the finisher was to do box jumps (of course). The coach looked at me and said, “I know you mentioned you needed to get over your fear…” So, I set up the box for the lowest height (24″). I did a couple of those jumps where at the last minute, you bail out of it. Finally, I decided that I was going to do it, and next thing I know, I’m standing on top of the box. Yay, I completed my first box jump! After that, I did it a few more times and then went home.

When I got home, I posted on the group Facebook page that I landed my first box jump. I got lots of encouragement to register for the competition from Anna and others. So, I did it. I registered for a beginner male spot. So far, we have 12 other people from our gym competing.

I’m feeling pretty excited, but nervous at the same time. As far as I’m aware, Coach Jesse, the first person I had contact with at the gym, is the only one who knows of my gender identity. This competition means that I will be coming out to a lot more people at the gym. Most people refer to me using female pronouns. Another thing I’m nervous about is competing against other males, who most likely most or all of them have the advantage of having testosterone in their system for many, many years, whereas I (at the time of competition) will only have had it (at male levels) for 7 months and 2 weeks. I’m on a mission to find a way to make my breasts less visible while working out, as well. Currently, I only wear a sports bra, but their obviously breasts and not pecs. I’m thinking of getting an UnderArmour compression shirt to wear over the sports bra to see how that works. Traditional binders are far too constricting and would definitely hinder my performance.

Overall though, I’m pretty excited. I’ll feel pretty accomplished if I even finish second from last. Time to kick up the intensity of my workouts.

Fake Muscle Shirt?

I was doing my usual browsing of Facebook today, and a person from my CrossFit gym posted this link. They posted it with a caption that says, “Who needs CrossFit?” I agree that it’s silly, and it’s better to just workout to get the shape you want; however, I recognize that is easier said than done, as is the case for the trans man who doesn’t plan on taking hormones at all, pre-T, or the beginning of medically transitioning.

ku-bigpic

With that being said, I did some Google searches to see if any trans guys had tried out these shirts, but it was fruitless. I’m tempted to get one to see how it looks. I’m pretty self-conscious about my binder being visible underneath my t-shirt. But, if this is layered over the binder, maybe I’d feel less self-conscious of how odd my chest must look to other people. I like wearing shirts that fit, but since I’ve started binding, I find myself less than comfortable in anything that might remotely show the shape of the binder. Maybe for some small chested guys, they could wear this in lieu of binding.

Any thoughts on this muscle shirt?

Another set of blood tests

I had my blood drawn last week for another set of labs. Everything came back pretty well. I’m sitting right in the middle of normal male range for everything, except for my AST levels (aspartate aminotransferase). It’s an enzyme that is in red blood cells, heart, liver, muscle tissue, pancreas, and kidneys. When taking testosterone, you want to have this checked because it’s a marker that the liver is being damaged, and we know that taking testosterone increases this risk. My doctor likes to send me my lab results before my appointments with her. Of course, when I saw that this was elevated, I first had to find out what it was, but during my research I found that weightlifting can cause these levels to increase, as well. When lifting weights, you break down the tissue, releasing all kind of things into the bloodstream. One of those things is this particular enzyme. All in all, I noticed this increased significantly only after starting CrossFit, so it’s not likely that there is damage to my liver. My doctor isn’t concerned either; she just likes to keep an eye on things. I haven’t heard of any other trans guys talk about this if they’ve started intense exercise programs and testosterone around the same time.

My cholesterol has actually improved since my last labs, probably due to a better diet and exercise. My HDL (otherwise known as the good cholesterol) went up, and my LDL (bad cholesterol) went down. It was a concern before since they went down and up, respectively, compared to my pre-T values at my last blood test. So, it’s good to see these things returning to a better level. Oh and my doctor finally didn’t give me crap about my BMI. I’m about 20 lbs “overweight,” but I’m gaining muscle like crazy. I’m pretty sure I haven’t gained any fat since starting T.

My 6 months on testosterone is coming up at the end of next week. I can’t believe it’s been that long already. Until then.

Passing Awkwardness

Last night, I went to a local burger joint because I was too lazy to cook, and I wanted a beer. I skipped being seated at a table and sat down at the bar in an empty chair. There was a couple to my right and a guy who wasn’t with anyone to my left. I ordered a beer and some food. Some time passes before my food shows up. During the time, I’m sipping on my beer and staring at the TV, not really watching it though. Finally, my food comes, and I begin to eat. Then, the guy to my left starts talking to me about the college football game that is on the TV. Now, anyone who knows me knows that I have very little interest in football, except for the fact that I have a relative that plays in the NFL, so I occasionally check to see how his team is doing. But anyway, it was only slightly awkward for me. I know enough about football to get by. As I left, I told him to have a good night, and he replied with, “have a good night, man.” That pretty much made my night.

But that isn’t really where the awkwardness comes in. I still use the women’s restroom in the building where I work because of the fact that most people there know me, and I don’t feel comfortable at all using the men’s restroom, especially with the guys that I work with. It’s not that they treat me any differently than any other guy, it’s really just my own awkwardness and insecurities. However, lately I’ve gone into the women’s restroom and gotten strange or surprised looks. There was even a time when a janitor was cleaning the restroom and tried to tell me that I was in the wrong restroom. Outside of where I work, I’ve been making myself use the men’s restroom. But, I’m at a point where gendered spaces are really awkward for me, whether they are men’s or women’s spaces. It probably has more to do with my own insecurities than anything. I haven’t gotten any strange looks in the men’s bathroom, just the women’s bathroom. I just need to work on being confident and feeling like I belong.

As the frequency of being identified correctly increases, the better I feel about moving within men only spaces. I just want to be able to use the restroom without any anxiety.

In other news, CrossFit has been going really well. Today was an outdoor workout at the beach since the gym was being use for a weightlifting clinic. I met another CrossFitter (Bill) who typically works out in the morning (6:30am, bleh), so I haven’t met him yet. I introduced myself to him, and we chatted a bit. Then, the coach, Jesse, came up and told us today was a partner WOD and that we should partner with the same gender. Bill chose me as his partner, and we completed the workout awesomely.

Jesse has been talking about upcoming CrossFit competitions. I think it sounds like a fun way to motivate and push myself. I talked to him about competing as a beginner male, and he assured me that he could have me ready to compete with a couple more months of experience and training. I’m pretty excited to compete just to prove to myself that I can do it.