2Bros Men's Physique 2022 - My last minute voodoo mistakes
Another thyroid hormone replacement accident: 14kg lost in 14 days - mostly lean muscle! (and a lot more before that)
And... nearly ended up in a self-induced thyroid stormTodo:
I wanted to try doing 2bros as it's the toughest federation. It's also five minutes drive from my house so sleeping in my own bed seemed a huge benefit than the stress of staying in an AirBnB as people do. That didn't really help though, considering I didn't sleep Monday through Wednesday in the peak week due to an incessant burglar alarm fault (it went off at 10pm til 3am both nights) - I slept 1 hour in 3 days.
I was thinking this is going to be my last show as I was kinda getting sick of the stress and anxiety of 'prep', but the way I looked was so disappointing due to the last minute thyroid voodoo mistakes followed by a carb load way too late making me look bloated as hell. I didn't even expect to place in open class with my age, but the way I looked was off really disappointing, they will never make my Instagram. I shouldn't have really done it as seeing the photos really knocked me back after all that off season work (I was training and eating literally full time, 6 days a week for 6 months, and I lost the entire lot).
At my age, I didn't expect to place well in the open age category. But I wanted to have a go. To be honest, I wasn't too bothered about the result at this show. I wanted to come in bigger and better than before. That wasn't to be.
I told myself I would never compete below a stage weight of less than 95kg again as I need a lot of muscle to fill my frame to give me a decent V-taper as I am cursed with a ~30 inch waist.
In the offseason I blew up to a lean (5%ish) 100kg - 105kg physique. The previous year, I was on stage at 86kg - so I was even lighter - despite having no time off. All due to a major cock up with my thyroid dosage, extreme muscle tissue loss of muscle and the finale of a total inability to carb up.
So what went wrong with the thyroid?
If you read this site or know me you will know that since the age of 21 I have had an autoimmune condition called Graves Disease, which ended up in complete thyroid removal using radioactive idoine. Therefore, I have to manually replace thyroid hormones myself (T4 and/or T3).
Firstly, during Spring, I had already lost about 5kg. Some of which was muscle, but it's hard to tell with thyroid HRT. e.g. You don't always wake up dry like euthyroid patients unless your levels are perfectly dosed. Looking back on my other pictures I think I was already cut, and I was cutting into muscle. I had a short spell in hospital too.
In the run up to the show, I switched from T4 to microdosing T3 - but I was doing it unaware that I also had some T4 cooking around in my blood which didn't show up on lab tests (or maybe I needed a test for TOTAL T4 rather than just bound, or something...)
Why? Perhaps because I was foolish and tinkering - and impatient, adjustments in T4 take ages to materialise due to the extended half life. It is clear to me that changes in skeletal muscle mass demand a higher amount of T4. Basically, if I leave T4 exactly as prescribed I will go hypo or hyper when either 1) skeletal muscle mass changes, 2) bodyfat nears to essential body fat levels.
One of the key reasons I have switched to T3 only in the past is that I have found muscular myalgia is significantly less present than when T4 only and hoping the conversion happens at the correct ratio. It got so bad this year that I haven't been able to hold a squat bar for nearly a year. Myofascial release does not help. I only ever had one chiropractor/physio who understood this; the rest have shrugged it off.
So I was increasing them because I was certain I was hypo (even after 20 years of being in either state, it is very hard to determine which way you are as they both share the same symptoms - particularly myalgia and fatigue). So, I changed to T3 to help me try to emulate the TSH of a normal human as my last shows were living hell due to the thyroid fluctuations. I was increasing it.
But, I now believe you should DROP thyroid levels when bodyfat decreases, not ADD, due to fatigue - similar as would occur in a euthyroid human. I was doing the opposite and nearly ate myself alive. Either way, it is living hell to be on thyroid HRT and just leave your common dosage as it is. When I go near essential body fat I cannot sleep, I can barely walk, but I know of no other graves disease patient who does this bodybuilding lunacy to verify if this is the cause.
Or, just leave everything alone and accept defeat by not going down to essential bodyfat levels - that's the safest solution.
Perfect labs for T3 only - right?
Maybe, maybe not. T3 has a short half life so bloods don't mean much. It turns out even THIS protocol (T3 total 75mcg QD) was eating me alive when I look back through photos, calories and weight graphs. So I was already on the wrong foot in the run up to the show.
For various reasons, I had to switch back from my microdosing T3 protocol back to a traditional T4. The problem with the T3 protocol is that bloodwork doesn't mean a lot due to the short half life. My T4 was close to 0 so, as I have done previously, I front loaded this with 1500mcg T4. There are several possible causes, including a possible false reading on the low T4 read. As even an aggressive front load should not produce these numbers.
Holy shit. This is literally a few points away from where I used to "storm" at when I was younger.
After getting my bloods done, the hospital called me and said I have rhabdomyolysis and to attend my nearest A&E ASAP. I asked them what the CK level was (Creatine Kinase - a by product of muscle damage), they said 15,000. I said, oh, I've been at that level plenty of times, it's just lifting, don't worry about it. Looking back, this was in the final week where I hadn't even trained for 3 days. It was effectively rhabdo after all - induced by thyrotoxicosis. So, ignoring that, I persisted.
I didn't want to use beta blockers due to the caloric reduction and possible fat gain, I'd ran out of clonidine, so I was having to pop benzos like smarties to sleep. I have no idea how I got through the day, but I remember walking feeling like I was walking through lead.
Here are some shots of me around 100kg to 104kg, 5 - 7% body fat - I much preferred this look - I believe it has the right size to make up for my large frame and waist.
.... A few months later, after the thyroid accident ....
.... Oh shit ....
This is how I emaciated I looked after the thyroid cock up at weight 83.4kg (to be fair, this was glycogen depleted, but still the end result was tiny compared to my former state):
Note: There was nothing I could do as my T4 resevoirs were fulll Levothyroxine (exogenous T4) has a half life of 6 - 7 days. The only option I had was to out eat it. I think I needed ~10k calories per day maintenance. But that wouldn't have saved it either. It would have stretched my guts, and I was so far away from homeostasis I was pissing 10 to 15 times a night - it was driving me insane. I said never again. Now I know I was literally pissing out dead muscle tissue.
I didn't get the blood test results back in time - they were late. Not realising I was in a state of thyrotoxicosis, I was reducing calories from 4000 instead of increasing as it's damn hard to tell whether it's fat or "thyroid water retention"! Even after all these years I still have trouble with this.
So, this is the supernatural, extreme weight loss I experienced - a lot came from glycogen but also muscular atrophy - I lost 14kg in 14 days (!):
A couple of days before that I looked like this, a bit better but where did all the off season muscle go? I was overcooking the thyroid accidentally nearly all winter thinking that I was improving things instead of making them worse, and at the same time trying to out-eat it.
Looks OK-ish, I guess... at the right angle. But, worse than last year and just simply far too small.
Basically, I fucked up. I shouldn't have switched protocols but I was having a hell of a time losing the thyroid gut without any T4 in the blood. I didn't get the results quick enough in the final week and I was trying to carb load with 500g a day and was losing weight whilst doing so. On the final day I upped it to 1300g and managed to get some carbs in, but was still flat as hell and depleted. Effectively, I had the metabolism of 4 men.
So, I looked possibly the worst and smallest of all competitions, with a nice bloated carb-gut to match.
I'm not suggesting I could have won the open age category even at my target body weight, I'm just more disappointed to have lost so much muscle.
My bench dropped from 140kg x 9 to 100kg x 7 (!) also... wonderful. I probably lost a third of my skeletal muscle mass. That adds up, because when going back to my pre-accident routine, my lifts are about 30% to 40% down. That's pretty devestating.
Can I really be bothered with all this anymore? Graves disease / RAI makes it too complicated for me. If I am to learn one lesson, it is that I should stop prematurely tinkering, never front loading, and stop immediately associating fatigue or anxiety with thyroid which leads to mistakes.
How do I look now? (2 weeks after)
I took a few days off the gym to recover and started training again using an old routine which I enjoy so I don't lose interest entirely.
I've been in panic attack city whilst waiting for my thyrotoxicosis to die down - I went cold turkey on both T4 and T3 and started tapering down from 10,000 kcal. Recently I reinstated by original T4 dosage of 200 mcg QD rather than cold turkey then reinstating (which would throw my hormones around akin to front loading).
I'm back to 4500 - 5000kcal per day (which may seem ridiculously high but remember I am on long thyroid HRT where you burn as much during the night as the day unlike euthyroids) and awaiting the next set of blood test results to see where I am at. It feels about right but maybe slightly too high - usually anxiety is the first symptom but I could be confusing that with the acute benzo withdrawal. I am up to a slightly healthier 88kg, but am still a shadow of how I looked and felt earlier in the year :(
Pic Sunday 12th June @ 4800 kcal: Looks beach body type - OK for my age I guess - but definitely not men's physique, and it feels like I lost an entire year of training
Same day with shower pump
Resting heart rate appears to be stabilising at normal 60ish - I have no idea how I didn't notice I was hugely overactive looking back. Maybe too many storms has left me brain dead. I'm also pretty damn lucky it didn't go North of 100 this time, but maybe the benzos suppressed it. Either way, the whole thing was a clusterfuck.
What am I going to do now?
At the time of writing, I'm still debating in my head whether to do another show and dance with thyroid replacement again on top of everything else, or just accept defeat and become a wino, hippy, junky or just stay a gym rat...
I've done the wino thing, done junky in Ibiza, so I'm leaning towards gym rat... just no more shows.
About Kishore Naib (Kit Naib)
Kishore founded the e-commerce company Watch Shop in 2007 and exited in 2014 after an acquisition by Watches of Switzerland at the age of 34. Watch Shop was a medium sized enterprise (£44 million sales) and was one of the UK's fasted growing companies, doubling turnover every year.
After leaving Watch Shop Kishore did a few coding projects but decided to follow his true and first passion: Lifting and bodybuilding.