Increasing Muscle Mass: Hello all! I am... - Advanced Prostate...

Advanced Prostate Cancer

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Increasing Muscle Mass

acuphealing profile image

Hello all! I am writing for my husband. I heard that working out can increase energy, but does it stop the muscle loss? He is taking Abiraterone (Zytiga generic). I am aware that testosterone can temporarily be increased by weight lifting.. Please, share if you have found success with certain supplements/lifestyle changes for muscle building safely with metastatic prostate cancer. Thanks all - such a wonderful community!

50 Replies

To the best of my knowledge weight lifting won't increase T while on ADT but it will help with muscle loss. Exercise in general may help with side effects like fatique./lack of energy. I personally have not had fatique/lack of energy or hot flashes and I exercise quite a bit riding my bicycle. My fitness based on speed and endurance have increased during ADT but it is something I love doing so I do it quite a bit year round. Best wishes to both of you as you deal with this disease.

Lulu700 profile image
Lulu700 in reply to treedown

Bravo! 🚵🏼‍♂️

acuphealing profile image
acuphealing in reply to treedown

Nice Treedown - cycling seems like a very viable way to exercise and a way to do resistance! Glad you are enjoying and staying active!

treedown profile image
treedown in reply to acuphealing

Thank you. My MO is convinced it is the reason I have tolerated ADT so well. I am convinced it has done much for my mental state through the exercise and all the time alone on the bike to think and try to gain perspective.

acuphealing profile image
acuphealing in reply to treedown

Nice point and I so agree that exercise helps mental/emotional well-being - both for cancer patients and non cancer patients alike!

Although it is counter-intuitive, cycling does not count as resistance or weight-bearing exercise. Trainers of cyclists recommend supplementing their riding with resistance training.

The purpose of ADT and Zytiga is to reduce Testosterone, so you really should not be thinking at this point about increasing T. Some people take a break from ADT if they have been on it for a while (opinions on how long you need to stay on ADT vary between 12 and 24 months and depend on the extent of disease) and get their PSA super low or undetectable, and that will let their T levels recover. That needs to be done on the advice of your doctor.

Any exercise will help with fatigue, but generally only weight bearing exercise will help with muscle loss, and my experience is it will not reverse the muscle loss but will control it. I am doing some physical therapy now for an old shoulder injury, and it is overall making me feel better, as the therapist’s goal is to get me stronger. She has also shown me how to get a full body weight bearing workout with nothing but Thera-bands. But going to the gym is probably easier.

Canoehead - thank you for your response! Interesting to hear about the ADT vacation - hadn't heard about that.. Yes - Thera-bands - that's a terrific idea and one I will order today for hubby!! Have a terrific day!

Every tim I took an ADT vacation my psa shot up quickly and I had scans which found bone mets which I hit with SBRT when psa was near 2.0.

Then I switched to estradiol patches and psa stayed low or undetectable for 2 1/2 years with few side effects compared to Lupron other than man boobs and some fatigue .

I prefer the sets of rubber band resistance sets that are in loops. Set of 4 can cover full body from very light shoulder exercises to very heavy dead lifts. Good alternative to the weights when traveling or preferring to stay home. You can get fancier sets with handles etc. But not necessary. The set linked below is just for the visual. They can be obtained for around $35 for the set or even less.Without testosterone the muscle and strength building effects of resistance exercise are significantly blunted. So we just have to persist and be consistent. There will be improvements, just not so fast for us.

I like to do long walks and mix in creative resistance “stations” for strength along the way, like my own par-course. Inclined push ups and dips using benches and rails or bike racks, walking deep lunges, step-ups on knee high planters, modified pull ups or face up hanging rowing pull ups. It is fun and good way to get workout outside. Be creative. Perhaps you can do it together.

This is over priced but similar to what I use:

Regardless of intent it is wise and greatly encouraged to exercise everyday which includes weight bearing exercises. The problem many men encounter is after a lifetime of doing little to no weight Training, they are now confronted with an activity that requires dedication and determination. Much like dieting, the participant gets bored and stops.

If your husband is in that category, hire a personal trainer to get the most of his training sessions.

TomTom111 - thanks for your offering - yes, been trying to get hubby to work out - he's so exhausted after his work day (works full-time at Home Depot) and often says he doesn't have the energy to accompany me in walking our dog Cali (though I think it would help him).. I will bring him to our gym in our apt. complex today and try and see if he'll go with me at least 3 x/week! Have a nice Sunday!

What dept? I worked pt for approx 6 mo. I loved working there. Wife said I was not home enough so I needed to sure he gets his walking in, I walked alot on that job. Depending on the dept., he may be lifting all day..

Can’t build muscle but can keep some

Lulu700 profile image
Lulu700 in reply to Anomalous

“Keep moving “ said Jack LaLanne…and he lived to 96 ⛹️

Boywonder56 profile image
Boywonder56 in reply to Lulu700

Didnt have apc.....he was a wimp

Lulu700 profile image
Lulu700 in reply to Boywonder56

96 no cancer was pretty good . He started exercise in America .. rip

I think you’re his great advocate . This is an important issue for us all . IMO there is no building muscle mass without T ..However since adt and no t slate us for osteo and cardio problems , we must watch out . Any weight bearing activity helps osteo strength . I went into painful osteopenia because I couldn’t really work out and I took two years of the worst antibiotics for constant uti’s from tubes in my back and a foley . I lost all muscle . They put me me on prolia. After two years of 20% and15% bone loss I have improved 10% on my latest dexa bone density scan . Whoo hoo . Until I got a nuclear scan . It shows a fractured rib ,hmm🧐 did not know ? joints in a collapsing state of affairs . I knew this already due to the pain . He doesn’t want any of this . So weight bearing and cardio workouts . Walking daily is great . Simple bone nutrients too might help . Not too much calcium . Just my opinions after 6 years . Don’t do as I’ve done . Being active and happy daily helps .. Any cheer to him is helpful . Keep acuhealing him . Love is the best medicine .❤️

WSOPeddie profile image
WSOPeddie in reply to Lulu700

I don't know about the argument that muscle can't be added when T levels are low. Female athletes seem to do OK. How much T do they have? I was on a six month eligard shot but continued working out. I didn't notice any muscle loss, of course I don't have an abundance of muscle to begin with. I believe that cardio fitness is very important as is the goal of raising metabolism so as to discourage fat gain and metabolic syndrome.

Lulu700 profile image
Lulu700 in reply to WSOPeddie

I do know how it’s been for me after six years of adt and 3T .. women have more T than that .. However we are the same we are different . I had a lot of muscle .Now just tiny cables .I had lifted since I was a teenager but after APC any lifting has hurt the joints .. Muscles gone ,the heart is a muscle too . My muscles and veins and ego once were big and prominent .. Now all very small. The heart being a muscle also is affected and diminished . So , Cardio is very important . The heart gets Many of us . Take care

WSOPeddie profile image
WSOPeddie in reply to Lulu700

Sorry to hear all that. This disease, and more particularly the treatments, are taking a toll on you I wasn't aware of. I don't think that you are a man who would let this discourage you. Fight on. BTW, any flooding where you are?

Lulu700 profile image
Lulu700 in reply to WSOPeddie

Thank you Sir . Flooding in Flagstaff and Utah canyons ..first good monsoons in year. Now the rest of the west hasn’t gotten any yet . Our perch is above the valley and the best place to watch these wonderful storms . Poor Germany got 3 months rain in 24 hrs. ☹️

Thanks WSOPeddie - nice addition!

Schwah profile image
Schwah in reply to WSOPeddie

That is exactly what my trainer told me. And it’s true

acuphealing profile image
acuphealing in reply to Lulu700

Thank you so kindly Lulu700! I appreciate the words of wisdom and I am monitoring his labs.. he starts his Zometa to help with his bone density.. yes, we have many happy moments and love is all around! 😍

Lulu700 profile image
Lulu700 in reply to acuphealing

Love and caring are the highest human qualities . You have these in aces ! I don’t worry about him because he has love ❤️🙏.

Resistance training, properly done, prevents sarcopenia. Give supplements a miss, as thereis no is no scientific proof for vitamins. T is suppressed by Zytiga and other hormone suppressants.

acuphealing profile image
acuphealing in reply to Poowater

Thanks Poowater for your response! I am my hubby's guide and motivator and we will be going to the gym at least 3x/week - starting today!

Lulu700 profile image
Lulu700 in reply to acuphealing

Whoo hoo! That’s the spirit .I applaud you .. I wouldn’t be here without my wife’s love and care . Going with him , is amazing . Fatigue can set in . A swift kick is sometimes Needed.. eating healthy is the same way . If you’re both doing it it’s easier than going it alone . Partners for life!❤️

Resistance training allows us to increase muscle mass despite prostrate cancerCreatine is also a supplement my oncologist has allowed

To me it's the best way to handle muscle and bone loss

I cut out red meat sugar and dairy

That was by choice

Thanks Bodysculpture - will follow up this week re. Creatine - great advice! Hubby has cut out red meat, sugar and dairy... (will say - we had a vacation to NYC - he slid, and so did I, on the sugar/dairy over a 3-day period... back to the grind now)!

Lulu700 profile image
Lulu700 in reply to acuphealing

I cut lose in Nola eating the entire cajun list after years of a strict no sugar or processed food diet . On my return flight home I had a rash over my torso . All of that seafood ,butter and sugar . Dam , that as good!

Hi, I have been dealing with metastatic prostate cancer and on adt for well over 5 years, I train at the gym using weights most days and can attest to the fact you can keep muscle mass I’m not a big guy and never have been but I am both fit and strong for a 59 year old guy. I firmly believe that training in the morning sets me up for the day getting my metabolism up and running, I rarely sleep during the day and have plenty of energy. It’s not all perfect I still have to pace my self occasionally but if I plan it I can do it!

acuphealing profile image
acuphealing in reply to Mick268

Mick268 - thank you! You are an inspiration to so many - keep up the great work!

Schwah profile image
Schwah in reply to Mick268

Exactly!!! I get frustrated when guys say it can’t be done.


Lulu700 profile image
Lulu700 in reply to Schwah

Really what I was saying in my case was( 2yrs with tubes and foley ,on terrible antibiotics ) ,I lost all muscle ,and the bone went by by and joints are done for ..I have over six years of 3T and adt I find it impossible to build muscle or to restore my joints …I was not able to lift during that time . I got taken down like a fake Rolex .

I built some muscle with T at 7. T has remained unchanged. PSA 0.02 after Proton and 9 months of Lupron, monthly. I go 3 times a week, NO EXCUSES. In and out in under an hour. I have been able to increase weight/reps SLOWLY over time. Visible differences, especially in my arms.

fish7days - thank you for that - sounds like you are on a nice regimen! Keep it up!

I was amazed how much muscle mass was lost on Abiraterone / PREDNISONE treatment. My cancer has spread to my spinal column and I was warned to stay away from weight lifting because of risk of fracture. I just walk and bike now but that doesn't seem to help with muscle loss.

acuphealing profile image
acuphealing in reply to Juju1979

Thank you Juju for your reply! Good advice and so sorry to hear about the mets to your spine 😒

Nirman profile image
Nirman in reply to Juju1979

Okay but can’t you do lying down weight lifting excercises like using bench? As it doesn’t involve spine

Juju1979 profile image
Juju1979 in reply to Nirman

The doctor said exercises that didn't stress the spine were ok if I used light weights.

One of the few positive things about Covid was that my gym (24 hr) increased the number of Zoom sessions online for exercise. This has been a great option that continues and uses household items (water bottles, etc) and your own body weight for resistance training. So much easier than driving to the gym.

acuphealing profile image
acuphealing in reply to JPnSD

Thank you for that reply- appreciated!

Exercise has not increased my muscle mass or tone, it has made me gain weight at a faster rate than before continued exercise, but exercise has also helped lessen the number of hot flashes I have.

Just piling on here….if he lifts regularly, no matter how tired he is, after a short time he will have no problem continuing. It’s not only good for keeping muscle loss at a minimum, it helps with every single side effect, felt or not felt. And of course the a symptomatic ones are dangerous!

Supplements are nice but decidedly less important than exercise. Diet and caloric restriction is the other must.

Don’t worry about any increase in testosterone from lifting. It’s fleeting, minimal and no chance of causing harm.

Coastal3 profile image
Coastal3 in reply to London441

Any exercise will be of some benefit, and we all have different conditions and abilities. I have mets through my spine, so my days of yoga headstands are over. But I still do weighs--none of the above-the-head lifts that would put pressure on the spine. And regular swimming--not weigh-bearing, I know, but still good for general health and hopefully some cardio benefit.

CAMPSOUPS profile image
CAMPSOUPS in reply to Coastal3

" we all have different conditions and abilities " is an understatement.I'm happy that I can stand and I can walk. Some of our brothers here can't do that. The other day I was talking to a brother who can still mow his lawn but it involves getting a chair out of the garage first on which to take a break after 30 to 60 minutes of mowing before going at it again. Anyway we all do what we can I guess. I have to be careful that I don't walk so far from home that I can"t make it back lol.

Hello, I have been a very consistent weight lifter for close to 20 years. I was Dx nearly 4 years ago at age 53. Been on 6 month Lupron since. Started Aberitone about a year ago.

I don’t feel like I lost much muscle mass until I took a year long break. Gyms closed from COVID.

I have put on more fat on my torso than I like. I do think I could trim down, but I am lazy with doing cardio.

I do take Creatine most days and I do take breaks from it for a few weeks every 8 weeks or so.

I did lose a lot of strength during my break, but have gained most of it back in the past 7 months. I record lifting amounts from 4 years ago and compare to recents lifts.

I agree with a reply I read on this post about a lot of guys not being involved with weight lifting and then needing to start to fight the SE of this disease. That is a very tough challenge. Don’t try to do it alone. I do see a trainer. They push me to do more than I would on my own and keep me committed to making my appointments.

I have wanted to quit lifting many times. Just have to keep fighting.

I can tell you from first hand experience that if he is willing to dedicate himself to tough weight training a minimum of three days a weekFor about and hour 20 each time, he can actually gain a little muscle on ADT/ Zytega. I have before and after pictures to prove it. But it’s hard work. Fear is a good motivator. If you can afford it get a personal trainer. If not, at least go 3 or 4 times to one to learn what to do.


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