TRT and Muscle Gains — There’s no Overnight Miracle, but You Can Perform Better
People are sometimes misinformed and can have unreasonable expectations surrounding Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) and muscle gains — it’s important to discuss what treatment through supplemental testosterone is and is not intended to do.
Let’s start with what it’s not — TRT is not a shortcut to make defined muscle mass magically appear.
Studies have shown that, over a 12 month period, most men on TRT will gain approximately 10 pounds of muscle mass and lose 2 pound of body fat. It is imperative to understand, however, that work still needs to be invested in the gym to obtain a “muscular” look. When it comes to TRT, weight lifting is critical if you expect to gain muscle.
That being said, the sweat equity invested (in terms of time and energy invested into workouts) pays a much higher dividend with optimal testosterone levels relative to those that are deficient.
If you already have normal levels of testosterone, TRT isn’t for you.
Testosterone Replacement Therapy is a medical treatment designed to treat hormone imbalance.
If your testosterone levels chronically fall below the optimum range and you’re experiencing symptoms that are damaging your quality of life, Testosterone Replacement Therapy may be an appropriate treatment.
The name, Testosterone Replacement Therapy, states its purpose — to replace testosterone that’s missing. It’s intended to boost your currently deficient level to a more stable and optimum range.
How Low T Affects Your Body’s Function and Development
The following are some of the critical bodily processes that testosterone levels affect in men:
- Fat distribution control
- Muscle mass creation
- Strength development
- Bone mass maintenance
- Red blood cell production
- Sex drive regulation (libido)
- Sperm production
You can easily see how the first 4 items from this list contribute to a healthy physique and a more vibrant appearance. When testosterone levels are healthy, your body looks and feels better.
However, just because you start TRT, muscle gains aren’t going to magically skyrocket.
Let’s look a little more carefully at how low testosterone and TRT can affect your health and fitness.
Consider TRT If You Have Little Energy
One of the most common symptoms of clinical hypogonadism (the medical term for low testosterone) is chronic fatigue.
It is often found that men (and women) suffering from low testosterone simply don’t have the energy levels they used to, and this loss of vigor can make working out or staying active more difficult.
Going to the gym or hitting the streets for a run can seem impossible, or at least very unpleasant, when you’re already exhausted.
Restoring testosterone levels through TRT to the optimum range may restore energy levels and get you back to feeling like yourself — it’s much easier to stay active and in shape when you feel energetic.
Consider TRT if Muscle Gains Are Unusually Difficult to Achieve
Let’s say that you are making it to the gym despite the chronic fatigue — you’re continuing to get your workouts in, but there is little-to-no result.
(Keep in mind that we’re assuming you have reasonable expectations — a sudden transformation into a professional bodybuilder isn’t going to happen.)
Testosterone signals the body to produce more lean muscle by binding itself to receptors found on muscle cells and initiating an increase in protein synthesis to grow more muscle tissue at a faster rate.
Without this necessary hormonal signal, your body simply will not repair and adapt normally to the exercise load you’re placing on it.
To put that another way, low testosterone could be slowing your progress and preventing you from seeing the gains you would be able to achieve if your body had a more optimum hormonal balance.
When you’re on TRT, muscle gains can happen at their normal rate again because your body now has the tools it needs to gain muscle.
Consider TRT if Weight Loss Is a Problem
Another calling card of Low T is the increased production of adipose tissue (the technical term for fat tissue).
If testosterone levels are low, then your system will be somewhat estrogen heavy.
Higher estrogen (in proportion to testosterone) signals the body to produce more fat tissue at the expense of lean muscle.
You can read more about how adipose tissue plays a significant role in sex hormone production, including estrogen production, in this article from the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.
TRT and Muscle Gains — What Benefits You Can Expect
Let’s be clear about what you can and cannot expect to achieve with TRT — muscle gains will normalize as your body becomes more efficient.
With TRT, muscle gains will be achieved through hard work, but, without the handicap of Low T, you should see the true results of your efforts.
People seeking to exploit testosterone to cut corners at the gym are not going to accomplish anything through TRT — muscle gains of that magnitude require dangerously excessive amounts of testosterone that no health care provider would ethically prescribe.
TRT is a medical treatment with the purpose of providing the testosterone your body is failing to produce, and it restores your hormone balance so your body can thrive and produce muscle the way that it should.
You can expect your workouts to be more effective when your testosterone levels are in the optimum range and in balance with your other hormones.
The following are some reasonable expectations:
- Efficient production of lean muscle
- Reduced production of fat
- Restored energy to stay active
While you can’t expect unnatural or unrealistic muscle growth through TRT, you can expect better results from the work you put into your physical condition.
Disappointed With Unusually Poor Results in the Gym?
Let’s summarize what we’ve covered:
- If you’re struggling to put in the fitness work to meet your goals due to chronic fatigue, you might consider the possibility that you’re suffering from low testosterone
- If you are having an unusually difficult time losing excess weight or you’re having trouble maintaining your weight despite proper eating and exercise, hormone imbalances like Low T might be the culprit
- If you’re working out and eating properly but seeing unusually poor progress, consider looking into TRT
If any of these describe your situation, you may be suffering from low testosterone — you may get a great deal of benefit from TRT. Muscle gains will come with steady work at the gym under the improved conditions that come with a healthy testosterone level that falls within your optimum range.
Click the button below to take our Low T Symptoms Quiz — find out if you might be a candidate for TRT. Muscle gains are not the primary benefit, but a healthy testosterone level can put you in a position to more efficiently achieve your fitness goals.