By Lou Melini
The supplement industry is a multi-billion dollar business. Everyone wants that edge in beauty, health, longevity, and for some, athletic performance. Have you ever thought about what it would be like to be able to not only stay with the pack but to attack the peloton and obtain a podium finish. Have you ever dreamed to see what effects testosterone, human growth hormone or erythropoietin (EPO) would have on your racing performance, maybe for just one year?
Andrew Tilin looked for someone that would admit to using performance-enhancing drugs (PED) in order to chronicle what life was like on the drugs. His search resulted in a lot of dead ends or at least no one that would fit his need for a good story. So he was stuck, without a subject; that is until he decided to become the doper. So he became his own subject to find out why an average racer takes the drugs and does the stuff work.
Andrew’s next puzzle was to figure out how to obtain drugs, which drugs to take and yet preserve his health. Through lots of research, Andrew comes to the conclusion that testosterone is his drug of choice along with DHEA, though testosterone is the primary drug discussed in the book. He obtains his drugs through the medical subculture of anti-aging physicians who dispense hormones as replacement therapy. Finally after making his decision Andrew faced his anxieties over the concerns about the possible contamination of his family (his wife’s testosterone level at one time became twice the normal reference range as a possible result of cross-contamination) and the relationship of his friends that he raced with.
The book is almost an autobiographical story of the life of Andrew Tilin. You will learn a lot about his life, his mom who spent every dime of money plus some and his father who divorced his mom and said he was gay, eventually dying from AIDS. These tidbits of his life are interspersed among the primary topic of the book: doping for performance enhancement. You will also visit the world of anti-aging medicine, which is in itself a worthwhile reason to read the book.
Overall the book is an easy read. This book was good, though it did bog down at times. Being somewhat conservative, I wasn’t particularly interested in the details of his wife’s abortion, but it was included to further discus the role of hormones in our lives. On the other hand, there was a lot I was interested in. Reviews of scientific articles regarding testosterone, Andrew’s continual self-analysis about what he was doing, his moods, and whether the effects he was feeling were real or placebo.
From the book: “Where does the training benefit end and the doping benefit begin? Scientists admit that there’s a dearth of evidence arguing for or against testosterone’s performance effect on the well-trained endurance athlete’s body. The researchers can’t ethically, and perhaps safely, load up a bunch of great riders’ bodies on testosterone and let ‘em rip for weeks or months on end. For the same reasons, science has little knowledge of how the T fully affects an athlete psychologically.”
Although Andrew did “T” to help write the book, he at first seemed to like the effects. No he didn’t get on a podium, but it did change him. It took some time for his “experiment” to consume his life, but after nearly a year he realized he like the Andrew off the testosterone.
There are numerous articles about the loss of testosterone as one ages. As an upper middle-aged male of 61, it has certainly has crossed my mind to ask my physician if I should have my testosterone level checked. On the other hand, I know that I’m fine just as I am. Reading this book was an eye-opener and confirmed that I’m OK and don’t need testosterone. I’m glad I read The Doper Next Door.
By: Andrew Tilin