Episode 10 |

Overcoming Andropause, the ‘Menopause’ for Men with Chris Gatchis

Chris Gatchis has been fascinated by the real effects that a properly balanced nutrition and fitness can have on your entire life since he was a teen. But when he started his own nutrition company, Axis Labs, he noticed something strangely off with his body. He was still following a fitness regimen he knew to work for him in the past, and was currently working for others, but found himself gaining weight, feeling sluggish, and just not feeling his prime. When he went to the doctor for a checkup as he and his wife were trying to conceive, the problem came to light. His testosterone levels were frighteningly low. Because he had the resources, he decided to do something about it himself, and find a way to help other men in the same situation.

I had the pleasure of sitting down with Chris and discussing some of the fascinating realities he found once he started researching his problem. What he didn’t expect was to find a problem that is relevant to every male over the age of 22. Testosterone therapy, Chris finds, can be the key to reviving your energy, your sex drive, and your natural vigor-and have you feeling like you did when you were 20. He details his insights on andropause, improving testosterone levels, natural healing and more.

Transcript

Hey everybody, this is Stephan Spencer and I have the pleasure of speaking with Chris Gatchis. I met Chris – oh what was it – about 2010 now in Fiji at a Tony Robbins event called Business Mastery Two. Chris and his wife Andrea were there and looking for ways to take their business to the next level, as I was, there in beautiful Fiji. Their business is around supplements and health supplements, and he’s got a particular passion for testosterone. Now I did not know the importance of testosterone until he and I started chatting. We became friends and I have had some really powerful transformations from the testosterone boosting supplements that his company offers. But I really wanted to bring to you guys Chris’ story and have you join him on his amazing journey. So, welcome Chris, thank you for joining us today.

Stephan, thanks. Thank you so much for having me. I really appreciate it and really an honour to be a part of what you’re doing here.

Well thank you. This has been such an amazing experience being in the Tony Robbins world together and all the great friendships that we’ve cultivated through this tight-knit community and you’ve been such a great friend and colleague. I’ve really enjoyed having you in my inner-circle. So, let’s start by if you could just share with our listeners a bit about how you got to the point of having a testosterone supplement – testosterone boosting supplement – business. There’s a whole journey there that got you to that point.

Yeah there was, and it was a frustrating one at first. It really dates back all the way to adolescence for me. I was always a husky kid and I always looked up to guys who were muscular and in great shape and were fantastic athletes. I tried very hard to keep at athletics myself all through adolescence and when I got into high school I went as far out as I could and wanted to become a body builder. So, I hit the weights really hard and started chugging protein and eating chicken and egg whites and doing all that and actually lost some fat and put some muscle on and actually competed in a few competitions in my late-teens. I loved it so much I wanted to incorporate that into my career. I wanted nutrition and health and fitness to be part of my life because I wanted a career that I just loved. And when I literally put down the weights and picked up the keyboard, I noticed that I started to fall back into the same husky build that I had as a kid. As a matter of fact, it started getting further and further out of control. I thought that was strange. I started going back to the gym on a regular basis but it just wasn’t getting the same gains for much of the clients I was working with, but I was deeply rooted in the nutrition industry – distributing dietary supplements to 26 countries at the time – but I didn’t look the part. Then, in 2007, my wife and I decided to conceive a child and it didn’t work for a while. 2009 happened and it still wasn’t happening so I went to the doctor and they said, ‘Chris, let’s test your testosterone levels’. And I didn’t think it was going to be much of an issue, but when the levels came back I – and just to let you know at the time I was about 29-years-old – I came back at 163 nanograms per deciliter. To give you an idea of what normal ranges are for a healthy man about that age would be somewhere between 500 to 800 nanograms per deciliter so I was at a very, very low level and I asked the doctor ‘well what do we do?’ And they said, ‘well the typical adage at this moment would be for us to give you testosterone to start injecting you with it, or a patch or a cream.’ But I was trying to conceive and one of the side-effects of synthetic steroids is sterility.

So, tell me, the low testosterone levels they found, that was a real problem for conceiving children, correct?

It was, it was. I had very low sperm levels and all of that is tied to testosterone. I asked the doctor ‘why is this happening to me?’ And they said, ‘we won’t know until we do an MRI on your brain. And I said, ‘well why the heck do we have to do that?’ And they said the scary word, ‘you might have a tumor’.

Oh wow.

And so, I did. I went to the University of Colorado Medical Centre and had an MRI done. And sure enough, I had a small but effective pituitary adenoma, which was a small tumor that sits on the pituitary gland and it prevents the release of a hormone known as luteinizing hormone or “LH”. LH is the hormone that’s responsible for activating the testes. And, so because of this tumor in my brain, I wasn’t creating testosterone. So all of it was creating quite a problem for me. We couldn’t conceive and I found myself out-of-shape and low on energy even though I was working out of the nutrition industry.

And you were hitting the gym, and you were doing all the right things but your body wasn’t responding in a normal way because of this tumor?

No, no and quite frustrating. The thing that I had – the advantage I had better than most – was I already owned a nutrition company. I thought, ‘I can go home, I can figure this out myself. I have scientists who work for me, I have molecular biologists who are some of my best friends’. And so I started trying to figure this out on my own because doing this – increasing testosterone levels synthetically wasn’t going to work because more than being in shape I wanted a child, I wanted to advance the relationship with my wife. And I started to look into what was naturally available so that I could increase the levels that were healthy but without using anything dangerous or synthetic. What I found while I was doing this research is that this is not – it may be uncommon for someone my age, but this is actually a very common occurrence for all men. Because I had gone through a low testosterone early in life whereas all men go through a process called andropause as they get older and this is analogous to what women go through that we all know as menopause, except for women menopause occurs at a much older age and it’s a much faster change in the body, where for men it happens much earlier in age and it’s a very, very slow process. And so for a while I was trying to solve my own problem, I also started to see that I could help a lot of other people at the same time. This was about the time that I met you in Fiji.

OK. So you’re saying that we as men start to feel the effects of lower testosterone levels earlier than women start with menopause? Our andropause starts in what? Our 30s?

It actually- a study done by –The European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology discovered that testosterone starts to decline in men at the age of 22.

Holy cow.

Yeah. Now, this was no small study, either. This study was done on over 30,000 participants. So it’s a great source, but also a scary result. So from the age of 22 we’re already heading downhill, and that level – the decline – is typically about one to two per cent each year that we age. So, by the age of 35, men in general are starting to feel the effects: the sluggishness, the weight-gain, the drop in sex drive and so on.

By the age of 35, men in general are starting to feel the effects: the sluggishness, the weight-gain, the drop in sex drive and so on.

Yeah, wow that’s amazing. That’s way earlier than I would’ve expected. I know that for me I’ve been taking the Hypertest and Myodrol that you guys sell for, I don’t know, at least four years I guess.

Yeah, yeah.

And it’s been amazing – the improvements to my energy levels, sex-drive and so-forth. I haven’t been tested to see what my testosterone levels are but I know that like Tim Ferris swears by this concept of just checking all your levels. I forget what it’s – oh, the quantified self-movement, yeah, that’s what it’s called.

Yeah.

And bio-hacking and all that. If you don’t know what levels your body is at in terms of all the different hormones and proteins and everything in your blood, then how are you going to make changes that improve those? Peter Druger said that ‘what gets measured, gets managed’. So if you wanna manage this stuff you gotta measure it and you start taking some actions and seeing what the impact is.

Well, and to add hubris to my findings, I actually challenged our customers to go get their levels tested, and the results we got were just stunning, almost unbelievable when we posted  the results on our website. People thought they were fake – they couldn’t possibly be true, but they were.Just to give you an idea, I’ll give you my own test results. After we developed Hypertest and Myodrol – which we now call Myodex – I increased from 163 nanograms per deciliter within one month I was already back up to average levels of about 500 nanograms per deciliter. And then, after 90 days of using the system, I was up to 1,200 nanograms per deciliter. And when the test results came back from the doctor he had [laughs] such a dubious look on his face: ‘Chris, what are you doing? How did you do this?’ And I said, ‘If you think I’m using steroids, take a look at my Estradiol levels, or my DHT levels, or cholesterol for that matter – levels that would skyrocket with synthetic use’. And they were healthy levels. Naturally his next question was ‘How do I get some?’ So, my doctor has been my client ever since.

That’s amazing. So you threw out some big words there like Estradiol and DHT. Maybe if you could share what the significance of some of those hormones are. Like DHT is a kind of testosterone, but the bad kind, so how does that work?

Yes. OK, so to try to chunk this down to a consumable way of understanding how the andropause process works I broke it up into what I call the four primary testosterone killers.The first is what’s called hypogonadism. That is what I was going through. It’s the slowing of luteinising hormone release from the pituitary or hypothalamus in the brain. As we age that hormone starts to slow down. That’s killer number one.Killer number two is a protein that is bound to testosterone called SHBG, or sex hormone binding globulin. Now this protein is really important because it’s kind of like a subway car: it allows the testosterone to move throughout the body and to get to certain parts of your body before it’s used so it renders the testosterone inactive. The problem is sometimes these proteins hang on for way too long and it’s never released; that testosterone never becomes active.Testosterone killer number three is DHT. Now, like you were saying, DHT is di-hydro-testosterone, a type of testosterone which is very prominent in men. It’s the hormone that gives men our deep voice, facial hair, you know masculine features. But too much of it can lead to things like hair-loss or, something very scary, prostate cancer. So you don’t want too much DHT. You want levels of it but not too much. And the last thing is estrogen conversion. That’s testosterone killer number four. If, while you’re increasing testosterone levels we have an enzyme in our system called the aromatase enzyme and this little bugger likes to convert our precious testosterone into the feminine hormone which is not great for guys, especially as we get older because it contributes to lots of things like weight-gain, low sex-drive and our always favorite gynecomastia, also known as man-boobs.

[laughs] Yikes!

Yeah. So, those are the four testosterone killers. And so when I chunk all those together we needed to develop the products to address those in particular. And we knew if we could do this we would solve the problem, and that’s exactly what Hypertest and Myodex do.Hypertest addresses killers one and two – the slowing of testosterone and the binding protein. Whereas Myodex addresses problems three and four – slowing the conversion of testosterone into DHT and inhibiting that aromatase enzyme from converting testosterone into estrogen.

So where would this thing of like we consume so much soy in our diets, particularly if you’re a vegetarian. I’m vegetarian so –

– Soy is actually what’s known as a phytoestrogen, which means that it literally has the molecular make-up practically identical to that of estrogen. And so, it’s something that we have been encouraging our clients for years to avoid. We actually – I don’t know if you want to go into all these – but we created the ‘Eight ways to increase you testosterone naturally’ that had nothing to do with my supplements. Our mission was so important to us that I wanted to say ‘Look, even if you couldn’t buy our system or you didn’t feel comfortable with it and wanted to look into it more here are eight things I had for you that you could do immediately just with your lifestyle to help increase testosterone naturally.

Alright I’m trumping at the bit – I wanna hear.

Alright. Alright. Well, number one. It sounds like a no-brainer but, you know as we all get older, we don’t exercise regularly and exercising is fantastic because it gets the blood moving, it gets the lymph moving. More importantly it stimulates the endocrine system – the whole system that has to do with the production of testosterone, the production of all different types of hormones. So the more you’re engaging your muscles, the more your body is going to be requiring protein synthesis, the process of turning proteins into muscle. And guess what the primary hormone that causes that to happen? That’s testosterone. And so exercising regularly will spike testosterone.Reducing body-fat is number two. Anything you can do to just eat a healthy diet. More and more research is showing that you know sugar and high glycimic  carbs are the highest contributor to body fat. So we wanna reduce those in our diet so we can reduce body-fat. Of course exercise will also contribute to this. Higher levels of body fat in the body actually increase estrogen levels which decrease testosterone. Number three: What you just mentioned, avoiding soy. Soy is just something that doesn’t belong in a man’s diet. It’s a great source of protein, but there are far better places to get it and getting it through your diet is by far the best way. Number four: Avoiding alcohol and other depressants. Stephan, I know you’re not a drinker and that is a huge advantage for you in this category. I live in Colorado [laughs]. Recently, as everyone knows, they’ve legalised marijuana here. No-one seems to understand these types of toxins in the system murder testosterone levels. Number five: Stress. Stress is a major killer of testosterone. And, more importantly, the hormone cortisol that comes along with stress. And so, of course, avoiding stress is always easier said than done but things you can do to do that: enjoying your family, having a better time with loved ones and-

Soy is just something that doesn’t belong in a man’s diet. It’s a great source of protein, but there are far better places to get it. Click To Tweet

Things like meditation and mindfulness and that sort of thing will reduce stress and the cortisol levels.

Absolutely. And reading your book of course [laughs]. The whole part of a better, healthier life will reduce stress. Getting seven to eight hours of sleep. I know our good friend Tony Robbins likes to preach six hours of sleep because the guy is wired and loves to work.

I think he only gets four actually and he thrives on it but he’s hacked his biology pretty significantly. I think for most of us that would be pretty unwise to try and live off of four hours of sleep.

I think so too. The pituitary access – the portion of our body that produces hormones – is most active when we’re in our deep levels of sleep. And so the longer and the better hours of sleep you’re getting the more you’re doing to increase all different types of hormones, not only testosterone but growth hormone, which is great for anti-aging energy and muscle tone.Number seven is consuming 20 per cent of your calories from good fats. Omega threes, having plenty of things such as olive oil, flax oil, canola oil, safflower, sunflower and fish in your diet.

Coconut oil?

Absolutely.

Yep, I like coconut oil.

Yeah, it’s really getting big – my wife and I use it all the time.Number eight: Increasing consumption of foods that contain what we call anabolic minerals. Those are zinc and magnesium. These two minerals love to support testosterone in a man’s body. And doing this is easy – we’re talking artichokes, broccoli, brown rice, cashews, yoghurt, tuna, spinach. You know, items that are rich in zinc are almonds, bananas, blackberries, eggs, fish, onions. There’s a whole list of this – and I have this on our website – of foods that are rich in magnesium and zinc.And so those are the eight things that men can do simply. Even if you don’t buy anything from me, please do these eight things to help yourself because testosterone is tied to so many parts of our life that once you regain it you forget how much you lost.

Right, right. So, we’ve been talking a lot about men and testosterone. What about in women? How does testosterone play a role in womens’ biology, and what if a woman has low testosterone levels? That can be problematic as well, right?

It can be, yeah. And just as men have estrogen levels, women also need certain levels of testosterone. It’s kind of funny, the science seems to be changing daily on this topic, and I do not suggest that women take our products for this exact reason. The science is not as conclusive and especially women over 50 who are going through menopause I highly suggest seeing an endocrinologist to get their levels tested and see what it is they need, but our job right now is mainly focussing on the gentlemen.

And just as men have estrogen levels, women also need certain levels of testosterone.

Right, OK. So, let’s circle back to your story cause you started getting some great benefits from just making some simple changes with the supplements. What happened, cause you were trying to conceive a child?

Well, I’m happy to say that I have a two-year-old little bundle of joy that I get the pleasure of going home to every day. Her name’s Sophia and I also have a boy on the way. He is due this March, end of March.

Amazing.

Yeah, it’s absolutely changed our lives. Not just with you know adding these wonderful children into our life but you know the energy and the vibrancy in our relationship. The vigor I have at work. One of my favorite all time books, of course I’m sure is one of yours, is Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow RichMy favorite chapter in the book is number 11, which is the chapter on sexual transmutation.

I thought you were gonna say that [laughs]. That’s a chapter that’s usually forgotten by folks. You know, they talk about masterminds and all these other great concepts in Think and Grow Rich. People tend to shy away from that chapter. I think its all part of the package.

It really is. You have to because, you know, not only owning yourself as man but holding opinions and using a word that is often used in a negative connotation, aggression, but using it in a positive way. There is positive aggression, and our good friend Keith Cunningham refers to it as a ‘gentle strength’. And that’s something that has impacted my life tremendously. I think about gentle strength all day long. How do I use my sexual transmutation in my business so that I’m aggressive in what I do and portray confidence so that I have the drive and un-dying passion for what I do and if you are dragging-ass, if you are not feeling the energy, if the passion to succeed and go out and have that hunter instinct is not within you, I’ve been there and business is not as good, but right now it’s thriving.

Oh yeah, that’s awesome. So you had this amazing transformation that occurred because you shifted your focus from just business as usual to exploring this whole testosterone path and now you have changed not only your own life but you’re changing lives all over the world; tell us a bit more about that.

Well, we had to because our first company was more of a sports nutrition company and had a much younger demo, but as I was going through my own personal transformation my own kind of period of enlightenment and I realized that it wasn’t just that the guys that were fitness conscience, it was also every man on planet Earth that needed this information. We had to get it out and that was the decision we made right around the time that we met you. We wanted to get this information out to everybody and so we re-branded, we re-packaged and changed our narrative so that we literally are able to help men of all different ages.

So your skew was a younger demo, or demographic, now it’s more across multiple age groups, right?

That’s right.

Even younger folks. This starts in your early 20s – the andropause, did I pronounce it right andropause?

Yes, that’s right, andropause.

So it’s really applicable to pretty much every one of us men, except maybe if you’re a teenager, right?

Right, yeah it’s oozing out of your eyes when you’re a teenager. Yeah, you’ve got plenty testosterone but right as you get into your 20s – I mean we do, we do work with men in their young 20s, even though I mean their near peak-levels. Athletes that are going through heavy stress from physical exertion, such as football players and what not. Men of many ages, even the younger guys who are going through not necessarily mental stress but physical stress from heavy active sports such as football or long distance running. We can help them as well. So what’s great about what we’re doing is that we’re able to help a large demographic, a much larger demographic and we’re able to do it without the harmful side effects of what is being advertised left and right, right now which is hormone replacement therapy, which is a benign euphemism for steroids.

Right, so tell us more about that. What’s the problem with hormone replacement therapy?

OK, well I have to give off my legal disclaimer here that there are those people who very much need hormone replacement therapy, such as the clinically ill. But I find that, and much of the research that I’ve gone through and my team that I work with find that, most men don’t need synthetic testosterone, such as injections, patches, creams, gels to achieve what they’re trying to get. It’s a very hot industry right now: anti-aging clinics are popping up everywhere, ads on television, the radio, magazines; HRT is huge and I’m not a big fan mostly because we as a society demonize athletes for using steroids. Lyle Alzado, or Barry Bonds, or Lance Armstrong, or you name ‘em. These men have been humiliated and destroyed publically for using steroids yet we’re ready to send our uncles and fathers and people we love off to the doctor to get induced with the same substances that we demonize others for using. To me that’s a strange part of our society. The side effects of synthetic testosterone are no joke, mostly – let me get the list – hypogonadism, this is testicular atrophy. We used to joke about this, those who use steroids would experience this, now it seems to be something people forget goes along with it. Gynecomastia, which is what we were talking about earlier, excess testosterone in the body converting into estrogen and so you can get man-boobs from HRT. Liver damage, such as high toxins in the liver. The big one, problems that concern me more than any are negative effects are cholesterol causing cardio-vascular problems and heart disease. Prostate enlargement – no problem we were talking about with DHT. Hair loss, acne, stunted growth, high blood pressure, extreme emotional swings, kidney problems, immune system changes and, of course, sterility, something we talked about earlier. So I would, if HRT is something someone is considering I would ask whoever is suggesting it about all of these and if the side effects are worth what they’re about to do and if they’re able to achieve higher levels of testosterone through a natural process I would strongly suggest exploring that avenue first or at least in addition.

With disclaimers consult your doctor, et cetera, et cetera.

Absolutely.

In fact, consult multiple doctors 

[laughing]

And then more!

Cool, so if you could kind of in one wrap-up sort of concept share a take away for our listeners, what would that be?

That’s a great question. The take away that I like to ask everybody and you know over the past five years we’ve worked with over hundreds of thousands of clients and we asked them you know no matter what age you are how different do you feel than when you were 20-years-old? What are the things that are different? And there is an added-benefit to realizing what you miss from a younger age, combined with the added wisdom you have these days. What would your life be like if you knew everything that you know now? You had the energy, drive and sexual transmutation of a 20-year-old; what kind of animal would you be in your life? How much dominance would you have at work, at home, in your finances, in what you do to enhance your spirit? What kind of man would you be if you had both? And it doesn’t have to be one or the other. It doesn’t have to be energetic and strong and young and naïve, or old but full of wisdom. Why not have both? And that’s what I’m trying to accomplish for everybody.

Very cool. So, let’s share your website URL. Your company is Axis Labs and where would people go to get those eight testosterone killers and what to do about them? Where would they get the various resources about testosterone that you put so much time, energy and effort into creating?

Yep, that would be our website. Axis Labs and axis is spelt A X I S L A B S dot com. On there look for the link for our free testosterone report, like us on Facebook for new updates, you know the science is constantly updating and so are we. We’re going to update right along with it and we keep everyone up-to-date on it so we’re very active on this and would love to keep your readers and listeners up-to-date as well.

Alrighty! Thank you so much, Chris, for joining us and for sharing your wisdom and your journey and there’s some real touching things. You’re very open and authentic and vulnerable and so forth with us and that’s greatly appreciated.

Stephan, for you man, I’d do anything. You are just a gem in my life and I’m just blessed to know ya.

Aw, thank you. That’s likewise, absolutely likewise.

Important Links:

Your Checklist of Actions to Take

☑ Feeling sluggish or don’t have the sex drive you used to? Get your testosterone tested! Ask for a test at the doctor’s office.
☑ Drop soy from your diet whenever you can. It is a phytoestrogen – not good for a man’s body
☑ Exercise regularly for a natural boost in testosterone because you’re prompting protein synthesis.
☑ Higher body fat correlates to higher estrogen levels. Cut down on your body fat however you can.
☑ Avoid alcohols and depressants, they murder testosterone levels.
☑ Spend more time with your loved ones and doing things that relax you! Stress naturally kills off testosterone, so keeping your stress in check is vital.
☑ 20% of the calories in your diet should come from good fats. That’s olive oil, coconut oil, sunflower oil, etc.
☑ Incorporate more anabolic minerals into your diet. That’s zinc and magnesium.
☑ Think about embodying a “gentle strength” in your everyday attitude, and use aggression to power drive for your work and your achievements.
☑ Check out axislabs.com to get a free testosterone report and see if you might have a testosterone problem. Check out Hypertest and Myodrol to eliminate the testosterone killers in your life.

About Chris Gatchis

Christ Gatchis is the founder of Axis Labs, one of the most reliable names in sports nutrition supplementation.

Disclaimer: The medical, fitness, psychological, mindset, lifestyle, and nutritional information provided on this website and through any materials, downloads, videos, webinars, podcasts, or emails is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical/fitness/nutritional advice, diagnoses, or treatment. Always seek the help of your physician, psychologist, psychiatrist, therapist, certified trainer, or dietitian with any questions regarding starting any new programs or treatments, or stopping any current programs or treatments. This website is for information purposes only, and the creators and editors, including Stephan Spencer, accept no liability for any injury or illness arising out of the use of the material contained herein, and make no warranty, express or implied, with respect to the contents of this website and affiliated materials.

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