femchem

TRT Revolution with Jay Campbell

How to Help Chemically Castrated Women Get Their Health Back

This podcast was everything! I had a fabulous time chatting with Mr. TOT himself, Jay Campbell of TOT Revolution. I met Jay at SWIS in October 2018, and loved the no b.s. energy and endless passion he brought to the conversation of hormone replacement therapy. His mission to provide the best education possible through partnering with the world’s best is also so near and dear to my own heart.

Thanks Jay for everything! Can’t wait for the next opportunity to talk shop with you!

Check out Jay’s amazing summary and show notes below.


Women’s health has been neglected and filled with myths and ignorance since the beginning of endocrinology.

Why is progesterone one of the most underestimated and misunderstood hormones, and what are its uses?

How has birth control destroyed the health of both men and women?

How can we help chemically castrated women get access to lifesaving healthcare?

On this episode, I talk with health practitioner, consultant, author, and educator, Victoria Felkar about what’s getting in the way of the help women need and what can be done about it.

The more you screw with hormones earlier in life, the more you’re setting yourself up for difficulty later on— but the salvation is in lifestyle.

-Victoria Felkar



At the start of the show, we talked about why women’s endocrinology is handled so badly, and the double standards that cause this.

Next we talked about the connection between hormones and sport, and how the stigma was born. We discussed how hormones are used at the elite levels of sport and how birth control is destroying us.

We also talked about the alarming warning signs about menstrual cycles that we shouldn’t ignore.

We also discussed:

  • Why progesterone is a wonder hormone

  • How hormones can be used as tools, not crutches

  • The commonality of performance enhancement in sport

  • The importance of tracking your hormonal bio-feedback

So many women are suffering because hormones like progesterone have been so maligned. At the same time, birth control pills have been misused and abused.

The truth is, the more you screw with hormones earlier on in life through birth control, fertility drugs, and other substances, the more intense the issues will be later on in life.

Lifestyle is actually a very important part of women’s reproductive health, not the manipulation of menstrual cycles we are seeing today.

If you have lower rates of stress, you’re going to improve your reproductive health. The woman’s body has its own built in clock, and it’s like a symphony that requires all the instruments.

If we start manipulating or removing some parts, there’s no telling how bad the impact will be, and we’re definitely starting to see the negative downstream effects now.



PODCAST LINK:

http://www.totrevolution.com/how-to-help-chemically-castrated-women-get-their-health-back-w-victoria-felkar/

ITUNES:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/trt-revolution-podcast/id1097576864?mt=2

Learn more about Jay Campbell & The TOT Revolution
WEB: http://www.totrevolution.com
IG: @TOTrevolution
FB: @TRTexpert
YOUTUBE: TOT Revolution

EMBODY RADIO: Women Health & Birth Control

It was AMAZING to be back on Embody Radio with the brilliant Emily Duncan. Em is good people, actually she’s the best kind of good people. Her passion and purpose make my heart smile, and I’m so proud of her and all the works she’s doing. Keep on blossoming, my friend. 

I’ll let her cover the summary of Part 1 of the show!


"You guys/gals are in for a treat today... @victoriafelkar was one of the first guests on the show (EP 5 & 6), and she’s back for two more EXCELLENT episodes! Victoria is an interdisciplinary researcher (her research is quite literally entitled “Women and Steroids”) and an all around incredible advocate for women’s health.

Today, part one of our interview does a deep dive on:

  • hormone history and where the gendering of hormones began,

  • the backstory of medicine, sport, sport medicine, endocrinology, and how it ties in to women’s health,

  • just about all you could want to know about menstrual cycles,

  • why menstruation AND ovulation are important to health,

  • outcomes of hormonal contraceptive use,

  • SOOOO much more!

She also provided us with a free and thorough menstrual cycle chart so you can start tracking your own cycle, learn whether/not and when you ovulate, and overall just become a better advocate for your own health.

Click the link in our bio to give this AMAZING episode a listen, and raise your hand 🙋🏻‍♀️ if you’d like to see Victoria as a regular guest on the show!”

ITUNES:

https://itunes.apple.com/…/podca…/embody-radio/id1245411599…

SOUNDCLOUD:

https://soundcloud.com/user-250742329

SPOTIFY:

https://open.spotify.com/episode/4VuquAgPBNlAvS6dqedOdO?si=ddPjkdnCRvuQWjXnq1VEUQ

Learn more about Emily Duncan
www.emilyduncanfitness.com
IG: @em_dunc
FB: @emilyduncanfitness

OPD Podcast - Female Hyperandrogenism

OPD PODCAST #38

This week we were lucky enough to sit down with specialist Victoria Felkar to deep dive into multiple issues a woman may face in their health and physique development journey including birth control, hyperandrogenism and new research in female hormonal health.

EPISODE LINK:

https://www.jjphysique.com/podcast/2018/9/23/female-hyperandrogenism-ft-victoria-felkar

Podcasts App: Optimal Physique Development

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwDgypolfVG3nCfZf_N3XIg

ITUNES:

https://itunes.apple.com/ca/podcast/optimal-physique-development/id1265819314?mt=2

PLAYER FM:

https://player.fm/series/optimal-physique-development

 

Learn more about Optimal Physique Development Podcast
https://www.jjphysique.com/podcast/

Joe Jeffery
IG: @joejefferyuk
Email: joejefferyuk@gmail.com
www.jjphysique.com

Austin Stout
IG: @austinst8 
Email: datas4@aol.com
www.integratedmandh.com

Dean St Mart
IG: @deanstm 
https://www.youtube.com/user/Deanstm
www.trainedbyjp.com

The Muscle Nerd Podcast: Females on Steroids

The Muscle Nerd Podcast #11

Had an awesome early morning chat with @the_muscle_nerd_podcast. In the episode we spoke about female using performance enhancing drugs or more specifically anabolic steroids. 

I’m a morning person through and through, but a 14 hour time difference meant we had to start recording at 5am. While I always strive to keep things real and make sure anything I put out is organic, authentic and candid, I have a feeling that my #felkaring was extra in this episode! Thanks again Gus for having me on. The iTunes link is in my bio!

 

EPISODE LINK:

http://www.musclenerd.com.au/category/the-muscle-nerd-podcast/

 

ITUNES: 

https://itunes.apple.com/au/podcast/the-muscle-nerd-podcast/id1395050839?mt=2

 

SPOTIFY: 

https://open.spotify.com/episode/4a7n083oVBNMJPaBCtdqTa?si=M_m--Kk2QZGWNzRSeKSnrw

 

 

Learn more about The Muscle Nerd Podcast:
www.musclenerd.com.au
IG: @the_muscle_nerd_podcast

 

Advices Radio: Muscle & Society

Advices Radio with Scott McNally #69

I had the pleasure of chatting with my good friend Scott McNally from Advices Radio to discuss social aspects of muscle. Going deeper, I was able to talk about the social and historical background on muscle, and provide context why in 2018 female muscularity is still considered as taboo in contemporary culture. 

Click the links below or search "Advices Radio" on podcast apps.

EPISODE LINK:

https://advicesradio.com/track/episode-69

 

ITUNES: 

https://itunes.apple.com/ca/podcast/advices-radio/id1104299645?mt=2#

 

STITCHER: 

https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/scott-mcnally/advices-radio/e/55263302

 

RESOURCES:

The H.J. Lutcher Stark Center for Physical Culture and Sport, 
Located at University of Texas, Austin (see also online archive) 
https://www.starkcenter.org/
(For a glimpse of the center, check out the beginning of this clip: https://vimeo.com/86556787)

History of Physical Culture Library:
Online archives
https://www.davidgentle.com/

"Venus with Biceps: A Pictorial History of Muscular Women"
Book by David Chapman & Patricia Vertinsky:
http://www.arsenalpulp.com/bookinfo.php?index=323

"American Hunks: The Muscular Male Body in Popular Culture, 1860-1970"
Book by David Chapman & Brett Josef Grubisic
http://www.arsenalpulp.com/bookinfo.php?index=299

"Universal Hunks: A Pictorial History of Muscular Men around the World, 1895-1975"
Book by David Chapman & Douglas Brown
https://www.amazon.com/.../15515.../ref=pd_lpo_sbs_14_t_1...

VIDEOS:
The Rogue Legends Series - Chapter 1: Eugen Sandow
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S-nPD2__e0E

Vice Sports: SWOLE
P2 - The Last of the Iron Sisters:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QfcJVJwRgEA

The 90lb Weakling
www.nfb.ca/film/i_was_a_ninety_pound_weakling

FIT: Episodes in the History
https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0331493/reference
(it's hard to find but worth a watch if you do find it) 

Pumping Iron II: The Women
https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0089852/

MORE BOOKS:
"Women of steel: Female bodybuilders and the struggle for self-definition," Maria Lowe (1998)
https://www.amazon.com/Women-Steel.../dp/081475094X

"Physical culture and the body beautiful: Purposive exercise in the lives of American women, 1800-1870," Jan Todd (1998)
https://www.amazon.com/Physical-Culture.../dp/0865545618

"Building Bodies (Perspectives on the Sixties)," Pamela Moore (1997)
https://www.amazon.com/Building-Bodies.../dp/0813524385

"Bodymakers: A Cultural Anatomy of Women's Bodybuilding," Lelsie Heywood (1998)
https://www.amazon.com/Bodyma.../dp/0813524806/ref=sr_1_1...

"Critical Readings in Bodybuilding," ed. Adam Locks & Niall Richardson (2012)
https://www.amazon.com/Critic.../dp/0415878527/ref=sr_1_1....

"Making the American Body: The Remarkable Saga of the Men and Women Whose Feats, Feuds, and Passions Shaped Fitness History," Jonathan Black (2013)
https://www.amazon.com/Making-American-Body.../dp/0803243707

"Little big men: Bodybuilding subculture and gender construction," Allen Klein (1993)
https://www.amazon.com/Little.../dp/0791415600/ref=sr_1_1...

"Gorilla suit: My adventures in bodybuilding," Bob Paris (1997)
https://www.amazon.com/Gorill.../dp/0312168551/ref=sr_1_1...

 

 

Learn more about Advices Radio:
www.advicesradio.com
FB: @advices.radio
YOUTUBE: Advices Radio

Advices Radio: The Menstrual Cycle

Advices Radio with Scott McNally #58

This podcast makes me smile. My good friend, Scott McNally gave me a huge challenge to cover the menstrual cycle in a concise, easy to digest way that would provide listeners with a practical understanding of an incredibly complex process. Thank you Scott for providing me with another opportunity to do what I love!

Within the podcast, we explore the shifting kaleidoscope of hormones that are part of the menstrual cycle. The goal of this program is to help promote a better understanding of what is actually happening, which is a difficult task since every female body is unique.

 

EPISODE link:

https://www.advicesradio.com/track/episode-58

 

ITUNES: 

https://itunes.apple.com/ca/podcast/advices-radio/id1104299645?mt=2#

 

Stitcher: 

https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/scott-mcnally/advices-radio/e/53953022

 

 

Learn more about Advices Radio:
www.advicesradio.com
FB: @advices.radio
YOUTUBE: Advices Radio

 

SARMs: Golden Goose or Sitting Duck?

SELECTIVE ANDROGEN RECEPTOR MODULATORS: 

A GOLDEN GOOSE OF GAINS, OR JUST ANOTHER SITTING DUCK FOR YOUR LIVER?

 

Have you ever heard the story of the golden goose?

It’s an old incredibly old fable, literally about a goose that one day lays a golden egg. Rather than waiting to see if the goose would lay more gold, it was killed by its impatient owner who wanted all of the riches immediately.

On the surface this may not seem like anything more than a foolish children’s tale, the tale of the golden goose serves as vivid reminder that ‘greed loses all by striving all to gain.’  You’d probably never guess, but there’s a similar story behind the mythical substance, known as SARMs.

 

Originally developed as a 'big-pharma' ticket item since the late 1990’s, in recent years, selective androgen receptor modulator or SARMs have gained a cult-like following as the new magical-anabolic substance within the fitness industry. However, outlandish claims together with the exploitation of pharmaceutical patents, abuse of legal-loopholes, and booming black-market business, have the potential to destroy SARMs before they can even turn a legitimate profit or be used to treat some of the most vulnerable clinical populations.


What exactly are SARMs? Believe it or not, that’s not actually the simplest question to answer. For the purposes of this article we’ll be looking at a novel class of nonsteroidal selective androgen receptor modulators that fall under the popular umbrella-name of SARMs.
 

Before we go any further, let me clarify something about SARMs – they are drugs. They have medical, ethical and legal implications associated with them. Yet, many recreational users probably don’t have a clue what they are or how they work. To be honest, with so much misinformation about them out there, I can’t entirely blame them for that either.

Unlike many other popular-fitness articles about these drugs, you won’t get any advice on how to take SARMs here. Not only would that be totally unethical and illegal, but in my opinion, the trend of the blind leading the blind has only fueled the unsubstantiated worship of these compounds by bro-pharmacists and guru-prep coaches.

Don’t let the fact that until a couple years ago you could readily and legally purchase SARMs from various pseudo-supplement retailers, and often voluntarily be sold false claims about the effectiveness, safety or purity of these drugs.

As it stands today, there’s a lot still to be uncovered about the newest kid on the anabolic block. Indeed, SARMs are steroidal millennials. They haven’t even been a ‘thing’ for 20 years, yet have a reputation that far precedes the research, data and efficacy of these drugs.


With so much bad, incorrect and misleading information on SARMs, we’ve literally got to start at the very beginning. Let’s talk about androgens.

 

 

LAYING ANABOLIC GOLD

I’ll try to keep this as simple as possible, but in order to better understand how these drugs work it’s important to know a little about the biochemical properties and physiological processes of androgens and SARMs.

Even though they are dubbed ‘male’ hormones, each of us produce varying degrees of androgens naturally throughout the life course. They are complex molecules that act as ‘chemical messengers’ for numerous processes essential to bodily function. Made at different locations throughout the body including the ovaries or testies, adrenal glands and fat cells, androgens all share a 4-ringed cholesterol structure.

Regardless of the job at hand, many androgens act on - or send messages inside specific target cells known as “androgen receptors” or “AR”. As a member of the steroid receptor superfamily, the androgen receptor is an incredibly important target for numerous pharmaceutical interventions, including in, for example, cases androgen deficiency, osteoporosis, and muscle wasting. There are many drugs that interact with androgen receptors, and promote androgenic or anti-androgenic effects. These compounds are known as “androgen receptor ligands” and typically are thought of as either causing: (a) androgenic results (“agonists”); or (b) anti-androgenic results (“antagonists”).

 

Another way, and possibly simpler way to understand this process is by thinking of lock and key: only certain keys can unlock certain doors.

Here’s an example of what I mean. You have a house that has a front door, back door, side door, and a door that provides entrance to a basement suite. It’s likely that you would have a master key – a skeleton key of sorts that can open all four doors. This “key” represents substances like testosterone and other anabolic-androgenic steroids. These drugs “unlock” androgenic receptors, which results in various androgenic effects.

But, what happens if you want to provide limited entrance to your house only through the basement door?

Thanks to SARMs, you can now do that too.

 

The ability to only “unlock” some or selective androgen receptors is the main reason behind the development of SARMs. By doing so, researchers thought that it would be able to minimize undesirable side-effects normally associated with anabolic-androgenic steroids. At the same time, it was believed that by opening some ‘doors’ and not others would allow users to exploit desirable effects - aka. the gains. And, all it would take would be to swallow a pill or two, once a day. I’ll let you decide for yourself if maybe that sound a little to good to be true.

While it took a few decades, a lot of money and numerous failed experiments, by the late 1990’s pharmaceutical companies believed they finally had created the perfect oral-anabolic drug for use in clinical populations. To do so, they developed a nonsteroidal substance that could do the job of a steroid by acting on specific androgen receptor sites. It also had simply dosing, little side effects and all the anabolic benefits desired. Hopefully it goes without saying that this was no easy feat – and arguably came with some issues for both researchers and trial users.

How exactly do you create a substance that can act on androgen receptors and provide all the tuff’ with none of the fluff?

Completely change the way it looks.

 

Let’s go back to our house analogy. Is there a way to unlock a door without having the key? Sure, grab yourself a hair pin and pick the lock. Now, if you’ve ever tried picking a lock with a hair pin, you’ll know this is a skill that requires mastery. While it’s not impossible to do, you must have the right combinations to be successful.

Does a hair pin and a key look anything alike? Heck no.

Guess what?

Neither do steroids and SARMs.

As I mentioned above, as a steroid, androgens share a 4-ring cholesterol structure. Guess what? SARMs don’t. Just by nature of them being a nonsteroidal compound they can’t and don’t have this same signature structure. Instead, there are 8 different chemical structures or “scaffolds”, that make-up the SARMs family – and each family has a host of different SARMs nested within it. As a result, the total number of specific SARMs structures are endless.

Unlike steroids, SARMs shouldn't metabolize into DHT (dihydrotestosterone by 5-[alpha]-reductase) or aromatise to estrogen – which means there shouldn’t be the same side effects such a male patterned hair loss, or gynecomastia.

In theory, SARMs may sound like a pretty golden product to try… all gains and only glory. Think again. This goose needs a lot more time, before it can safely take flight.

 

 

THE DUCK TEST

Have you ever heard of the duck test? You know the one I mean … "if it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck."

What happens if it doesn’t look like a duck?

What happens if we change one of the crucial identifying components? If it doesn’t look like a duck, but it swims like a duck and quacks like a duck, is it probably a duck? I’ll let you be the judge of that one.

The reason I bring this up, is that this premise underlines the popular opinion of SARMs safety.

If it looks like a steroid because of a specific 4-ring structure, works on an androgen receptor, and can promote muscle growth and strength, then it must be an anabolic steroid… and those come with some hefty side-effects. So, what happens if it doesn’t look like a steroid? There aren’t any side-effects, duh.

Just like that, we have the foundation for one of the biggest myths surrounding SARMs. That they are somehow ‘safe’ to use - a ‘healthy’ steroid alternative that doesn’t have any side-effects. Sure, SARMs many not ‘look’ structurally like steroids, but they still share a lot in common with anabolic steroids, including similar associated health risks.

 

Before I go any further I also want to make something else clear – contrary to what many in the industry are saying about SARMs, they are not “100% anabolic.” While a major selling point of these compounds is that they are drugs that can provide only the anabolic effects of anabolic-androgenic steroids, and that’s just not the case - at least not yet. Plus, many of the popular SARMs used within the industry still have androgenic components – thus, opening the door for androgenic side effects. And these go beyond potential visual changes, and suppression of testosterone and sperm development through suspending the hypothalamus-pituitary-gonadal axis.

SARMs have many of the same side-effects of oral anabolic steroids, including influencing a rapid breakdown to levels of HDL or high-density-lipoprotein cholesterol (the good stuff) and inflammation-induced rise in liver enzymes. While it’s possible these could be rectified by using an injectable form of SARMs, the reality is, that probably won’t be manufactured anytime soon. Keep in mind, these drugs were almost exclusively designed for oral use in therapeutic populations.

Many of negative sides of SARMs are exaggerated by supraphysiological dosages … you know, the “higher than suggested” standard doses used by athletes and bros alike.

Clinical studies on SARMs have only been done in vitro, isolated cells or in either animal studies (aka on rats) - or like many steroids, on the sick or old within clinical population settings. They have not been tested on healthy, young active males and females, and the doses within the research on SARMs are significantly lower than those required for performance enhancing effects. Even those lower doses have been seen to result in negative side-effects!

I think this is a good time to remind you that we’re dealing with the millennial anabolic. If after over 75 years we don’t know the full extent of AAS side effects, how do we know the health consequences of SARMs? We don’t.

We do not know the health consequences of SARMs.

Not only that, but by the time that we learn about a new SARM, it’s often already been re-configured by researchers. Currently pharmaceutical companies are testing “second-generation” non-steroidal SARMs (maybe even third by the time you read time) – leaving an entire flock of first-generation SARMs behind.

Why didn’t those ones go to clinical trial? Simple, they didn’t work like they were supposed too. Many first-gen SARMs had far too many risky side effects to ever get ‘stamp of approval’ required for their use.

No stamp = no approved used = no profit for drug companies.

And so, first gen-SARMs got scrapped by the pharmaceutical world. But you know what they say. One man’s trash, is another man’s treasure.

 

 

KILLING THE GOOSE

First-gen SARMs were found by researchers to dangerous and not actually effective, but that didn’t stop our industry’s serial snake-oil supplement gurus from manufacturing, propagating and making millions off sales. Unfortunately, this is one of many shortcomings associated with mainstream SARMs use.

The propaganda surrounding SARMs are plentiful. Much of it is nothing more than a myth – it holds small fragment of reality, and a whole lot of bs.  

For example, SARMs do build muscle. I can’t deny that. In some of the early studies on first-gen SARMs, there were ‘modest gains’ in lean mass – 1.0 to 1.5kg over the course of 4 to 6 weeks. Here’s the kicker – studies on injectable testosterone resulted in 5 to 7kg of lean mass gains over the same period. Plus, the modest SARMs gains came with nasty side effects!

 

If you’re familiar with SARMs you’ve probably noticed that many of them have code names, usually being made from a combination of letters followed by numbers. The reason for this is rather simple. SARMs are patented products that have not been approved for use, and are either still in – or never made it out of trial phases. They are experimental drugs that have not been offered for commercial sale by legitimate companies. Nevertheless, this hasn’t stopped the World Anti-doping Agency (WADA) or recent law changes from tightening the iron anti-doping grip on the sale and use of SARMs.

In early 2008, SARMs were added to WADA’s prohibited list, becoming one of the many substances banned for use in athletic competition. Mainstream use continued to fly under the radar. But in May 2016 that would come to an end when the FDA reportedly explored complaints of specific SARMs being marketed and sold by supplement companies.

Basically, a pharmaceutical company caught wind that one of the drugs they had been studying in clinical drug trials for nearly a decade was being reproduced by sport supplements companies and marketed to the masses. Under the guise of calling this drug a “dietary supplement”, these companies almost got away with it too! Obviously, there’s more than one legal issue here. One of these include that under US federal law, dietary supplements can’t include a substance being investigated as a new drug. Which as you’ve just read, many SARMs most definitely are!

 

There’s also been recent (and growing numbers of) reports discussing SARMs being found in various products that they shouldn’t have been included in… buyers beware: tainted supplements do exist!

As I mentioned earlier, SARMs are patented – that means any company manufacturing them without the consent of the founding pharmaceutical, is doing so illegally. While it’s recorded that at least one pharmaceutical company has begun sending cease-and-desist letters to stop the illegal manufacturing of a specific SARM, there remains numerous other SARMs still readily available for purchase.

 

How did supplement companies get away with selling SARMs illegally for so long?

Through the lovely legal loophole known as “research chemicals.” Discussing it is out of the scope of this article, but I’ll say this – at this time, SARMs are not available for resale under any circumstances in both United States and Canada. Yes, Canada too… contrary to popular belief SARMs are not licensed or permitted for medical or therapeutic use in here either. If you doubt this, just take a look at the numerous cases against athletes who have been caught using SARMs through the Sport Dispute Resolution Center of Canada.

There are also major questions being raised about the purity of SARMs currently being sold. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Those backyard black market labs who make dirty gear, are now also in the SARMs game too. Underground SARMs tested by academic researchers found that instead of containing a pharmaceutical-grade drug as claimed, the products were more like a D.I.Y. disaster – containing at least 15% impurities.

So, what does all this mean? Although SARMs can’t be legally defined as ‘anabolic steroids’ (since they don’t have structurally resemble testosterone), that doesn’t mean they are free game.

 

Thought to be the “future of androgen therapy,” SARMs were truly believed to be an alternative to steroids – a Utopian drug that would revolutionize the pharmacological world. It’s been nearly 20 years since their inception, and there has yet to be an approved drug in this category yet. Few have been close, and while there are a few hopefuls currently in trial stages, at this point in time the golden egg hasn’t had time to hatch. Ultimately, the golden goose of gains hasn’t even been laid yet.

Thankfully, this hasn’t killed the SARM dream yet. Researchers are continuing to reconfigure molecular structures at an astronomical pace, and the newest generation of drugs may be available for clinical use within the next few years. Presently, both the side-effects and suspicious claims are alive and causing a lot of potential harm for the future of these drugs.

For now, it looks like SARMs may be nothing more than a sitting duck.

 

 

 

© Victoria Felkar. All rights reserved. For informational purposes only, not to be construed as legal or medical advice.

 

 

The Vanguard Sessions Podcast: Drug Talk

The Vanguard Sessions with Andrew Rose #10

 

Back at podcast guesting thanks to Andy Rose and The Vanguard Sessions!

I first met Andy a few weeks back at the elitefts Sport Performance Summit. I was on stage just about to sit down with the other presenters for a Q&A session, when he introduced himself and asked me if I would be interested in coming on his podcast. In the days following, after exchanging banter and chatting about the current state of the industry, I knew that this was going to be a great podcast experience.

From the pervasive and historical use of drugs in sport, to talking about some of the current issues surrounding anabolics and women's health, we dive into the PED abyss. Thanks again Andy!

 

EPISODE LINK:

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-tapap-8dbc0c

 

ITUNES: 

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-vanguard-sessions-podcast/id1350278649?mt=2

 

Andy's Summary: 

I think it's high time we unbury our heads from the sand. Drugs - the performance enhancing kind - are here and they're here to stay. What's not here, unfortunately, is the data needed to help keep us healthy and safe. Sure, we're all getting bigger, faster, and stronger. Are we dying quicker? Are we destroying our bodies faster than we're repairing them? Will we ever have the answers? Or will we keep fumbling around in the dark using anecdotal broscience from some forum our old gym buddy once read on his ex-cousin-in-law's phone? This is a long episode, but I couldn't cut it short. There was way too much to be discussed.  Enjoy.  

 

spartan_2.jpg

 

Learn more about Andy Rose & The Vanguard Sessions podcast:
www.aefit.net
FB: @AndrewRose
IG: @vanguardbarbell
 

 

The Enigma of Anabolics for Her

 

Women & Steroids:
Ignorance & the Enigma of Anabolics for Her.

Lately I've found myself disgusted with the sheer amount of overly simplistic and dangerous discussions of female anabolic-androgen steroid (AAS) use. By no means is this an easy area to unpack. Quite frankly, it's an enigma, and in order to host a responsible conversation requires a lot more than just reciting 'scientific data' like it's gospel.

To begin to understand this massively intricate topic takes challenging certain personal beliefs like biological difference between the sexes, typical “masculine” or “feminine” characteristics, and knowledge about the body itself. It involves understanding physiology, biomedicine, the endocrine system, hormones, and of course androgens specifically, while not forgetting to mix in ‘personalized medicine’ – a method emphasizing evaluation and programming based on the individual and their uniquely dynamic characteristics. It demands a grasp of the physical and chemical properties of AAS, and basic clinical pharmacology of the effects of specific compounds is also essential.

Most critical of all, there needs to be context. Who exactly are we talking about? What other health and performance variables must be considered? What additional factors - whether internal or external to that particular individual's body must be explored? What drugs were used, for how long, and what source are they from? In this conversation, context is everything. 

As an academic researcher I am writing this not as scare tactic. In fact, I’m very critical of, and often appalled by, pseudo-scientific, unethical, and propaganda-like scholarly publications preaching the ‘evils’ of steroid use without citing relevant studies to back such claims. Nothing irks me more than reading information, hearing conversations, and seeing firsthand the damaging results of uneducated and ill-informed bro-pharmacists. I recognize fully the dangerous influence of Dr. Juice – the contest prep cocktail isn’t just a concern for females but all AAS users, but to say it simply – the body is complicated. 

 

Often I see athletes getting so focused on the ‘outside’, that what is happening on the inside gets ignored. At the crux of most sport is the desire to perform, and not just 'good enough' but to excel. To take your body to a new limit - whether it's an achievement of strength, speed or physical appearance. It's ok to want to win. It's ok to push the limits. But we have to start appreciating that by doing so, we alter and modified how well our internal systems can function. No matter how much 'science' or 'evidence' is involved during the process, many times the extent of this is unbeknownst until it's too late.

 

Fem chem.

While AAS are a class of drugs often containing synthetic testosterone, we all have this steroidal hormone flowing naturally in our bodies. Of course there are large variations in natural (endogenous) levels of testosterone. Since we are talking about women, I want to mention a hugely important point – whether genetic or due to other causes, some females have high levels of androgens. Indeed, androgen excess is the most common endocrine disorder in women of reproductive age.

Women naturally produce sex steroids in various parts of their body – primarily the adrenal glands and ovaries. Other tissues such as fat and skin can also assist in converting weak androgens to stronger ones. Furthermore, some women with excess androgens may have excess levels of circulating insulin (insulin resistance), which has a massive effect on metabolic function, and can manifest in a wide range of symptoms including weight gain and lethargy. High androgens are also a common marker for an endocrine disorder called 'Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome' (PCOS) (as I've discussed before, this is a misunderstanding panacea). While it may come with a list of sub-characteristics and manifestations, little is known about 'PCOS' in “fit” women. Currently there is a limited study exploring how AAS may interact with 'PCOS', metabolic function, or influence the body’s ability to create and use androgens naturally.

Why am I spewing this medical mumbo jumbo? All of this is hugely important to remember when discussing women and steroids for a number of reasons including the fact for whatever reason people seem to think the female body lacks any amount of androgens to begin with. Furthermore, there appears to be a lack of regard for the variance in natural levels of androgens, and the different ways in which women can metabolize these steroids. I told you, it's complicated. But guess what? All of this gets even more complex when you add in our abysmal knowledge of athlete steroid use in general.

 

Bro Knowledge

For over 50 years AAS have been a cluster of controversy and panic, which unfortunately has limited academically sound and clinically applicable information on these drugs. The studies that do get discussed within the industry often pertain to the use of AAS within medical populations, or are concerned with self-administration by males – neither can be translated for female use! So where do you go then to learn about women and steroids? Internet forums of course! And if that doesn’t work, hire a prep coach. If those thoughts crossed your mind, even for a second, please give yourself a very hard smack, as that assumption couldn’t be more wrong and dangerous.

Let's break a few things down –

Your prep coach is not a researcher and Internet forums are not medical textbooks. Many times the information isn’t even on the specific compound you are looking to better understand because (surprise) anabolic steroids are sold on the BLACK MARKET. They are unregulated and not controlled for purity or strength. Thus, there is a high chance they have been cross-contaminated. Please note that a little sticker saying “pharmaceutical grade” means absolutely nothing. For men this is important, but for women it is absolutely crucial. Although health risks exist with any AAS, there are certain properties associated with specific compounds that may pose less of a risk for some women (please note the absolute lack of any generalizing statement within this comment).

The effects of female hormone manipulation are murky. Even if you determine a particular steroid is acceptable for personal use, you’ll be lucky to get your hands on a bottle actually containing the desired drug. And this matters! You should know what you are taking as all AAS are not the same!

Different AAS elicit different anabolic and androgen responses- anabolic induced changes to rates of muscle growth AND androgenic responses such as acne, hirsutism (abnormal hair growth), and reproductive dysfunction. These vary from drug to drug, and are often described in the form of a ratio. For example, synthetic testosterone has an anabolic to androgenic ratio of 1:1. This is the one and only time you’ll read a specific compound name in this article. Why? There’s a sickening sense of “protection” associated with specific drugs due to this ratio. An assumed safety net has been cast over certain drugs deemed “ok” for female consumption simply because they have lower androgenic activity. This notion is not only irresponsible and foolish, but it’s created a lack of critical thinking and laziness around female anabolic use. It amazes me that someone will prep for months BUT won’t put in the time and effort to truly understand the drugs they are putting into their body, and the influence on their health. While there’s little assistance from medical sciences on anabolic steroids, education is not impossible.

 

I'm not getting off my soap-box yet. Please know, I’m all for personal choice. I completely respect an individual’s decision to build their body as they please, but regarding AAS, there is a responsibility to fully understand risks, rewards, and long-term consequences of usage. Who you are today may not reflect who you want to be tomorrow. While you may want to be the next Ms. Olympia, life changes - your health changes. If you really want to learn more about steroids for the female users start with the basics. Understand basic human physiology. Work with a health care practitioner to track your sex hormones and menstruation patterns, and know the interaction of these on the endocrine system. There is some work out there on women and steroid use - however, there is a lot of room for improvement... variables not controlled for or even mentioned, problematic methodologies, and just all around bad science. 

 

Ignorance & bad science

So no, women and steroids is not a topic that you can simply search on the Internet or ask a random bro about. As I mentioned above, unfortunately it's also one that recently some of the industry's "most educated" have completely dropped the ball on - spewing off preconceived notions and unsubstantiated information without any critical reflection of the impact that their words have on the health of others.

To be honest, I get sick to my stomach when I think about the far reaching consequences of the conversations happening on social media about women and steroid use. I'm not just talking about female AAS use either, but steroids and other pharmaceuticals used in hormone manipulation in all forms: androgens, peptides, selective androgen receptor modulators (SARMs), anti-estrogens, oral contraceptives, hormonal IUDs, hormone replacement therapies -  oral, injectable, implants, patches, creams, sprays, and powders.

 

Do I know everything there is to know about female hormone manipulation? Hell no. By no means do I see myself as an authority on this topic. Even with my doctoral research being on women and steroids - the use of AAS and oral contraceptives by female athletes, and all the time I have spent specializing in this area and working directly with female athletes, doctors and other professionals, I am no expert. 

Guess what? When it comes to women and steroids, I'm not afraid to admit that there is a lot that I don't know. Now that I've probably lost the confidence of a few by admitting this, I'll tell you something that I do know about this topic: I don't know because we don't know. We don't know because there is a complete lack of study, critical conversation and personal dialogue - not only as it relates to female hormone manipulation, but women's health issues as a whole. Especially, information from a female perspective, which when it comes to these topics isn't important - it's essential.

 

As a result, it's vital to get good, reputable and contextual information out there. It's crucial to host conversations about women and steroids openly and without bias. But, there is a warning that should come with doing this - 

Words have power.

When you have power, words become the divine

 

Be careful what you put out to the world because the publication of inaccurate or misleading data is no different than the ignorance you seek to destroy. Ignorance is not bliss - it is dangerous. Ignorance disguised as scientific knowledge has infinite power. It is an incurable disease that spreads like wildfire, and puts the health and safety of women in serious danger.

It's time to start respecting that anabolics for her is an enigma. You are not an expert on this topic because no one is an expert. Maybe once you do that, we can actually start helping women.

 

 

Ps. I am working relentlessly to be able to start sharing more of my research on women and steroids with you. After the recent events online, it's clear that right now - more than ever it's needed. 


Copy the link, share and help spread the word.
victoriafelkar.com/library/womenandsteroids

 

 

Ask Me Anything E2: Periods, Training & Hormonal Adaptations

Ask Me Anything

Can you breakdown the stages of a women’s menstrual cycle, and how training volume/intensity should be adapted to their cycle?

 

I tackle this question by discussing why in my opinion you can't actually adequately adapt training to an individual's menstrual cycle. To do so, I cover all of this and more:

  • Menstrual life cycle & the huge degree of individual variance
  • The influence of various hormonal adaptions such as birth control, exogenous hormones & training
  • Why lab work is hard to do
  • Training for your own individual menstrual cycle including controlling inflammation
  • Some key biofeedback markers to track and follow


If you like what you see, feel free to share. If you have any questions you'd like me to cover please feel free to shoot me a message.

Video Location: Android Bodies
www.androidbodies.ca
FB: Android Bodies Inc.
IG: @androidbodies

Video by: Alora Griffiths
aloragriffiths.foliodrop.com
FB: Alora Griffiths
IG: @aloragriffiths

 

SWIS 2016 Clip: PCOS

From my talk at the 2016 SWIS Symposium on Female Competitor Health. In this clip from the SWIS 2016 Video library,  I discuss PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) and the steroid list women may take for competition ... aka pixiedust. 

 

Learn more about SWIS:
http://swis.ca/
Access to SWIS videos
FB: Swis Video
 

SARMs for Women

In this Q&A I tackle a question about SARMs for women, but in doing so open up a bigger conversation about the "new" kids on the anabolic block and the importance of information literacy.

The 'Secondary' Side Effects of Steroids.

The Secondary Side Effects of Steroids: Sex, Gender and the ‘Unnatural’ Female Sporting Body

IN PROCESS

For over half a century controversy has swirled around the use of anabolic androgen steroids (AAS) by athletes and bodybuilders. They have received significant media and political attention though both the academic and clinical literature are sparse. Robert Goldman’s Death in the Locker Room (1984) helped to create and perpetuate hysteria and panic surrounding steroids, especially their use by women. Focusing on what he calls, “The New Unisex – Female Athletes Turning Male,” Goldman describes anabolic steroids as exclusively “masculine hormones,” and suggests that women who take them are ‘unnatural’, resulting in a ‘bastardization of the female form.’ Goldman is not alone in his concern for the female use of anabolic steroids. The little research that surrounds women and steroids tends to endorse powerful cultural norms about a ‘natural’ and ‘normal’ female sporting body. Often, discussions of female athlete steroid use echo long standing beliefs about the appropriate appearance, health and abilities of the female sporting body.

This project will examine why there has been so little attention to female steroid use and discuss the underlying assumptions on which biological determinism, sex, gender, and the ‘natural’ body have been built into the steroid discourse. As Nelly Oudshroon pointed out, ideas regarding the function of hormones, and the terminology surrounding these chemical messengers have embodied rigid cultural ideas about sex, gender, and the body. Although hormones, including synthetic hormones, do not possess an inherent sex or gender, the debate over anabolic-androgen steroids use in sports continues to distinguish anatomical and physiological differences in the ‘male’ and ‘female’ sporting body.

Despite recent scholarship on gender verification, sex testing and the female athletic body that challenge dominant ideas about ‘normal’ levels of ‘natural’ endogenous androgen levels in female athletes, little research has addressed exogenous androgens, women and AAS use in sport, or the gendering of synthetic sex hormones. Furthermore, although there is a growing body of critical literature on anabolic steroids, the gendering of synthetic sex hormones has not gained the same level of critical inquiry as other aspects of the topic, such as the reframing the philosophical debates of ‘fairness’, debating doping-control measures, or the unsubstantiated physiological and/or psychological ‘risks’ associated with male athlete use.

Drawing upon historical and contemporary medical and popular literature, this project will explore the interplay around the construction of biological sex, gender and hormones, with misrepresentations and myths about the use of steroids by female athletes. It aims to address the current ‘science’ of steroids as it relates to the sporting female body, and show how presumptions about what a ‘natural’ and ‘normal’ female should look like underscores much of the discourse around women’s use of AAS.

 

Want to learn more? Contact me for details. 

Resources on Women & Steroids

QA in 8:

Resources that Discuss Women & Steroids

In the first Q&A in 8, I try to start a much bigger conversation on women and anabolic steroids, specifically highlighting a question about potential resources.

 

The Bigger Prep Picture

 

VF Uncensored

The bigger prep picture
 

In this video I discuss a few key, yet often overlooked elements of contest prep. By asking some tough questions, I try to get critical in order to educate about the bigger prep picture.

My goal with VF Uncensored is to host a longer, uncensored conversation, on various topics that are taboo, lack information and scholarship, or simply have never been discussed before.

Muscle Minds: Sex, Gender & Anabolics

Advices Radio: Muscle Minds with Dr. Scott Stevenson and Scott McNally #19

 

I'm back with my good friend Dr Scott Stevenson, and his partner in podcast crime Scott McNally, on Muscle Minds to answer listeners questions and discusses gender issues and how they have impacted female anabolic steroid use

 

EPISODE link:

https://www.advicesradio.com/track/episode-19-3

 

ITUNES: 

https://itunes.apple.com/ca/podcast/advices-radio/id1104299645?mt=2

 

Stitcher: 

https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/scott-mcnally/advices-radio/e/51707031

 

 

Learn more about Advices Radio:
www.advicesradio.com
FB: @advices.radio
YOUTUBE: Advices Radio

 

 

Become Unf*ckwithable: Bodybuilding's Elephants

Become Unf*ckwithable with Mindy Harley #9

Discussing the Elephants in The Bodybuilding Industry

There's a lot of misinformation in the ever evolving world of bodybuilding. From the delicate hormones of women and gender specific training to the so-called "safer than steroids" SARMs", Mindy and I dicuss how it's become increasingly harder to find good solid research in a sea of one sided forums and outdated articles.

 

PODOMATIC:

https://www.podomatic.com/podcasts/becomingunfuckwithable/episodes/2017-09-05T12_49_37-07_00

 

 

Learn more about Mindy Harley:
http://www.mindyharley.com/
https://socialempireonline.com/
IG: @mindyharleyofficial
FB: @mindyrocksolidharley

 

 

 

#iamworthit: What is PCOS

#iamworthit with Abbey Orr of First Base Fitness #009

What is PCOS?

I joined Abbey Orr of First Base Fitness to about the history of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) and how there is much more research needed in this area. No two people have the same symptoms. We bust through the myths around PCOS, discuss ways in which you can help your self by being your own researcher, tips on nutrition and exercise to give you the best chance to reduce inflammation. As Abbey said, this discussion is helpful to all women regardless of whether you have PCOS or not. 

 

ITUNES:

https://itunes.apple.com/ca/podcast/009-victoria-felkar-what-is-pcos/id1233608388?i=1000390145928&mt=2

LISTEN NOTES:

https://www.listennotes.com/iamworthit-a-women-s-educational-platform-to-build-a-healthier-body-inside-and-out/episodes/16800109/009-victoria-felkar-what-is-pcos/

 

Learn more about Abbey Orr & First Base Fitness: 
www.firstbasefitness.com.au
IG: @firstbasefitness
FB: @firstbasefitness

EMBody Radio: PCOS

EMBody Radio with Emily Duncan #10

Part 1: PCOS History, Causes, Symptoms and Management

Super excited to share part 1 of the podcast I did with Em Duncan of #embodyradio on PCOS. In this episode, we chatted all things PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome), why it's such a mystery in the medical community, the history of PCOS, causes, symptoms, and strategies for PCOS management.  

 

ITUNES:

https://itunes.apple.com/ca/podcast/ep-05-pcos-history-causes-symptoms-management-interview/id1245411599?i=1000390308576&mt=2
 

SOUNDCLOUD:

https://soundcloud.com/user-250742329/ep-05-pcos-history-causes-symptoms-management-interview-with-victoria-felkar

 

Learn more about Emily Duncan
www.emilyduncanfitness.com
IG: @em_dunc
FB: @emilyduncanfitness
 

 

Elite Muscle Radio: PCOS

Elite Muscle Radio with Phil Graham #67

GETTING IN SHAPE WITH PCOS

Super excited to share with you the latest podcast that I had the honor of being apart of! Thanks to Phil Graham for letting me chat about Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) on Elite Muscle Radio.

As someone who has PCOS, a consultant working within the industry with countless women who have hormonal imbalances of all types, and as a researcher working to better understand androgens and the female body, this is a topic near and dear to my heart.

Going into this podcast, I really wanted to host a honest conversation about PCOS. Simply put, this syndrome is dynamic, it's complex, and even within the 21st century it is still virtually 'unknown.' As a result, PCOS has become a blanket term - one without medical consensus, or a clear definition, symptoms and treatment protocols. With that being said, by talking about it openly through a multi-disciplinary perspective, my goal is to better understand the elements that make up PCOS - and more importantly, reduce the stigma and misconceptions that surround them.


Itunes:

https://itunes.apple.com/ca/podcast/67-getting-in-shape-with-pcos-with-victoria-felkar/id771021324?i=1000383283644&mt=2

Soundcloud:

https://soundcloud.com/elitemuscleradio/67-getting-in-shape-with-pcos

 

Learn more about Phil Graham:
www.phil-graham.com
www.diabeticmuscleandfitness.com
IG: @philgraham01
FB: @philgrahamfitness