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How Testosterone Levels Affect Muscle Growth and Fat Loss

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How Testosterone Levels Affect Muscle Growth and Fat Loss

Higher testosterone levels are often equated with more muscle growth and fat loss. Is it that simple?

 

If you ask the average gymgoer what single physical factor most affects muscle growth and fat loss, they would probably answer “testosterone levels.”

And they’re right.

Testosterone is certainly a primary hormonal driver of muscle growth. Research has shown that anabolic steroids, which drastically raise testosterone levels, given to even young, healthy men can induce muscle growth and fat loss without any exercise whatsoever.

Thus, it would be fair to assume that the higher our testosterone levels are, the more muscle we build and the leaner we get, right?

Well, this is where things get interesting.

Testosterone Levels and Muscle Growth

how does testosterone affect muscle growth

We already know that dramatically elevating testosterone levels induces muscle growth.

Yes, if you take enough of the right steroids, your testosterone levels will skyrocket, and if you lift weights regularly, you will be able to achieve more muscle growth than if you were drug-free.

But here’s something that most people don’t know:

Fluctuation of testosterone levels within the physiological normal range does not affect muscle growth.

That is, if your testosterone levels are right-down-the-middle normal, and you increase them to a high-normal, you may feel a little better and notice a boost in libido…but it won’t enable you to build more muscle.

I know that sounds kind of blasphemous, but it’s actually been scientifically proven.

Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science conducted and published a study about a decade ago wherein they administered varying amounts of  testosterone enanthate along with drugs to inhibit natural testosterone production to young, healthy men for 20 weeks.

While higher testosterone levels did produce greater muscle gains, it wasn’t as pronounced as you might think.

What researchers found was that so long as testosterone levels were within the physiological normal range, between 300-1,000 ng/dl, muscle growth didn’t change very much. That is, the subjects on the low end of normal weren’t that far behind subjects on the high end in terms of muscle growth.

A statistically significant increase in muscle growth wasn’t seen until testosterone levels surpassed the top of “normal” by about 20-30%.

Now, this study does have a limitation: subjects weren’t exercising. While total amounts of muscle and strength gained would clearly have been higher if they had been weightlifting, the relationship between testosterone levels and overall muscle growth would still be seen.

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This was partially demonstrated by another study, this time conducted by McMaster University with young, resistance trained men.

Subjects lifted 5 times per week for 12 weeks, and followed a standard dietary protocol (high-protein intake, post-workout nutrition, etc.). The primary finding of the study was that the exercise-induced spikes in anabolic hormones like testosterone, growth hormone, and IGF-1, which all remained within physiological normal ranges, had no effect on overall muscle growth and strength gains.

That is, all subjects made gains in muscle, but the variations in the size of the hormone spikes among them had no bearing on the results.

The key takeaway here is not that you should take steroids, but that things you can do to naturally raise your testosterone levels are unlikely to affect your muscle growth.

And speaking of steroids, the above findings are in line with steroid research as well.

For instance, researchers at Maastricht University conducted an extensive review of literature related to the use of anabolic steroids and found that the muscle gains in people engaging in resistance training while on anabolic steroids mostly ranged between 2-5 kg (4.5-11 pounds) over the short term (less than 10 weeks). The largest amount of muscle growth researchers found was 7 kg (15.5 pounds) over 6 weeks of weightlifting while on steroids.

The point is this:

Even steroids don’t always dramatically increase the amount of muscle you can build (it depends what you take, in what dosages, and for how long), so what does that tell us about how fluctuations of testosterone in the normal physiological range relate to muscle growth?

As I talk about in my article on the best supplements for muscle growth, this is why buying natural testosterone boosters for muscle growth purposes is a complete waste of money. Even if they work (and most don’t), it’s just not going to help you build more muscle.

The only exception might be someone whose testosterone is at the absolute bottom of the physiologically normal range, or even below that, and who is then able to naturally increase it to the top of the range. That person would probably notice an improvement in muscle growth, not to mention overall well-being, libido, cognitive function, and so forth.

Now, I’m not saying that there’s no reason to do anything to naturally improve your testosterone levels. Improving muscle growth just isn’t on the list. Losing fat, however, is…

Want a workout program and flexible diet plan that will help you build muscle and lose fat? Download my free no-BS “crash course” now and learn exactly how to build the body of your dreams.

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Testosterone Levels and Fat Loss

how does testosterone affect weight loss

Unlike muscle growth, researchers at the Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science did find that fluctuations of testosterone within the physiological normal range had significant effects on body fat percentage.

The higher the testosterone levels, the leaner subjects were. And conversely, the lower the testosterone levels, the fatter they were. When researchers decreased certain subjects’ testosterone levels from the baseline average of 600 ng/dl to around 300 ng/dl, they saw a dramatic 36% increase in fat mass.

Although the exact mechanisms behind this aren’t fully understood just yet, research has show that testosterone directly inhibits the creation of fat cells and that low testosterone is a contributing factor to obesity.

So, doing things to naturally increase your testosterone levels can help you get and stay lean.

 

What are your thoughts about doing things to naturally boost testosterone levels? Worthwhile? A waste of time and money? Let me know in the comments below!

 

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  • Tracy Pike

    Great article. At age 54, I’ve found myself overweight, with sleep apnea & even tho I work out regularly, I’m not getting the results I used to & I often don’t feel like working out. I’ve tried a few products that are supposed to raise your test levels but I really don’t notice any difference. I don’t want to abuse them by taking more than the recommended dosage, so I feel like I’m wasting my money, what little I have of it. While I’m not a big fan of hard-core steroids due to the side-effects, not to mention the high prices, I would really like to find something that would boost my test levels enough to get me motivated in the gym & start showing some fat loss. I just wish I knew which product would be best for me to try.

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks Tracy! Really glad you liked the article.

      Hmmm have you gotten your hormone levels tested? Do you know if your T is low?

      You may also like this article:

      https://www.muscleforlife.com /9-ways-to-naturally-boost-your-testosterone-production/

      • Jan

        Will 1 mg Off sustanon every week, help fat lost??

        • Michael Matthews

          Don’t use steroids to try to get leaner.

          • Batmansfather

            I’ve read that decreasing ur sex hormone globulin frees up more Free T, which is what actual has the true anabolic effect on muscle tissue. Could help with fat loss, too. Try nettle root

  • james

    hey mike I want to raise my T level, what should I take, my doctor told me its fine, your low but just above the safe point, I can tell by my work out and diet that its to low.

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks for commenting James. There are several natural things you can do to increase T:

      https://www.muscleforlife.com /9-ways-to-naturally-boost-your-testosterone-production/

      D-aspartic acid has some science behind it as well:

      https://www.muscleforlife.com /recommendations/supplement-recommendations/strength-growth-and-recovery/finaflex-pure-test/

      Deficiencies in various vitamins and minerals such as D, C, zinc, calcium, and magnesium can all reduce T.

  • John B

    What are some ways to naturally increase testosterone?

    • Michael Matthews

      Check it out!

      https://www.muscleforlife.com /9-ways-to-naturally-boost-your-testosterone-production/

  • Cris Wagemans

    Great artical, very informative.

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks Cris!

  • Jarrod

    Mike, I was reading the back of my optimum nutrition 100% whey tub this morning whilst enjoying my post work out protien shake and I noticed that each serve contains on average 5.3 grams of Aspartic Acid. Is this the same as the supplement you recommend in your other blog post? If so then does that mean I am getting more than the recommended 3 grams per day just by having my protein shake? Is further supplementation pretty unnecessary then?

    • Michael Matthews

      That’s just the aspartic acid in the protein, which isn’t the same as D-aspartic acid. You can read more here:

      http://examine.com/supplements/D-Aspartic+Acid/

  • Jack

    Mike,

    I have been using Protein and etc. from Peak Nutrition and asked if they knew you. The answer was no. Their explaination for their products protein and etc. was their contents. Also, that taking Casein protein was that it gelled up in your stomach which increased the work load to digest. I am tired of getting so many variations in what to do. I have your books and etc. and am totally discussed with the type of info. given and type of exercises to do. The guys are well built and offer nutrition plans to help you achieve your goals. Medically, I have had a C3-6 laminectomy and recently L3-5 laminectomy. I have spoke with various ? trainers but I feel they do not know —-. I am a retired ICU RN. possibly could you shed some light on things for meThanks
    Jack

    • Michael Matthews

      Cool Jack. I feel like I’ve heard of Peak but no specific products come to mind.

      Were they saying casein is bad or?

      Regarding their nutrition plans, if they work, they follow the simple rules laid out in the book. My guess is they will probably work in something “fancy” like carb cycling so you think you’re really getting something special. But in the end it’s calories in vs. calories burned.

      Regarding workout plans, they will probably put you on a standard, 10-12 rep program that includes a bunch of supersets and such. This “works” in that your body will make SOME sort of progress, but it’s not the most efficient way to train.

      What I recommend is you give my BLS program a month or two and just see how your body responds. I think you’ll be really happy.

      Regarding your back, it sounds like no deadlifts and squats? Or can you squat?

  • Dave

    Mike
    I’m 57 years old and have been lifting regularly for almost 2 years now.I’ve maintained my weight while building muscle which means I’ve lost fat. I’ve decreased my waist size but cannot get rid of the roll around my waist. I’ve considered taking testosterone but am somewhat worried about taking enough to be of value in muscle growth and fat loss without taking so much to possibly increase my chances of prostate cancer. I’m 165lbs, healthy, and have never had any problems with my prostate. Should I consider taking testosterone or avoid it. Thanks for your dedication to the sport of health and bodybuilding.
    Dave

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks for writing! Great job on your gains so far.

      Hormone replacement therapy can be helpful for men in their 50s+, but I would only recommend it if you’ve tried everything you can do naturally and your testosterone levels are still at the bottom of normal or lower, because that will actually cause issues.

      That said, I wouldn’t assume that your testosterone levels are so low that it will inhibit the loss of the stubborn fat.

      Check out this article and let me know what you think:

      https://www.muscleforlife.com /the-truth-about-stubborn-fat-and-how-to-get-rid-of-it/

    • Steve Jakobs

      It is NOT the testosterone that causes prostate growth or cancer. It is the conversion of testosterone into estrogen. Think of it this way. If high levels of testosterone caused prostate cancer or growth, wouldn’t 18 year olds be the most effected, considering they have the highest levels of testosterone of any age group. This is why women that have been diagnosed with breast cancer are prescribed Arimidex(anti estrogen) If you take trt, it’s important to know that some of the testosterone will convert to estrogen. So it’s important to use an aromatase inhibitor.

      • Michael Matthews

        Thanks for the clarification Steve!

      • Tomas Samot

        I think you misleading people here. It’s DHT which is responsible for prostate problems. Estrogen have nothing to do with prostate.
        And Michael Matthews if you dont know such info-so reading your articles is just waist of time.

  • Devan Maingot

    Hey I just recently subscribed to you, and you’re doing an awesome. Your articles are informative and intriguing. I appreciate everything you do! Just be sure to keep it real and honest in everything you do. Also, do you have an opinion on C4 or Dymatize Super Mass Gainer? If so, your insights would be greatly appreciated.

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks Devan! Really glad you’re liking my work.

      Don’t like C4–it made my stomach funky. Probably the sweeteners and food dyes. Not a fan on weight gainers because they’re just full of junk carbs. Would much rather eat whole food instead…

      • Devan Maingot

        Thanks! Yeah I generally use the mass gainer because I don’t have the time or resources currently to load on whole foods. What pre workout would you suggest?

        • Michael Matthews

          Ah okay. Well it’s better than missing cals so that’s okay.

          ON’s PRE- is decent. Mine is going to destroy it though:

          http://www.legionsupplements.com/products/supplements/pulse/

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  • Preston Ray

    Hey Mike, I recently won a contest for a 30-day package of ZMA supplement. It isn’t something I ever would have wasted money on, but hell a free contest is a free contest, and I won. What I’m wondering is, is this going to help me at all with losing my last few percent body fat? I’m exercising 5 days a week, and eating a healthy diet. I admit, I only get between 6-7 hours of sleep a week because I’m in college and studies interrupt, but I don’t figure that one hour will make a giant difference in light of my other good habits. The ZMA is made by NutraBio, a company I’ve used in the past that has a similar motto to you: no bullshit ingredients. So, long question short: is it even worth my time to take, or should I just sell it on ebay? xD

    • Michael Matthews

      Haha cool, no it won’t help you lose weight. It might help you sleep better though.

      NB is a good company.

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  • Jay

    Mike, am 51 and 3 years ago weight was 320 low T was at 37ng Had checked today and was 1440ng. Dr is keeping me their for a couple reasons. Weight loss,muscle and strength building and help with osteoporosis,8 back surgeries,fused from S1 to L2. Both piriformis muscles decompressed, Both ulnar nerves in elbow decompressed and a left fused ankle.Have had a trainer for the last 7 months.Yesterday started your work out in BLS. In the book you point out the upper chest muscle . Today for the first time since lifting I am sore in the upper chest. WOW. That was yesterdays work out . Today I did back and calves and I did dead lifts. Yes with all them back surgeries with the approval of my Dr.I did them and feel amazing used muscles that have been sleeping. Thank you,keeping it simple for the average guy like me to understand. My diet has also been changed. One last thing I was out of the gym in 1 hour and 10 minutes. Best work out yet.What’s your thoughts on having my T at 1440ng?Look forward to your response.
    Jay

    • Michael Matthews

      Wow nice T reading haha. You must feel pretty damn good.

      I trust your doc knows what he’s doing, and with your T around 1500 ng/dl, you’re going to make great gains in the gym.

      That said, I’ve emailed with hundreds of guys in their 50s and 60s and many were surprised at how well they could do the program as laid out in the book. We did make a few tweaks, however:

      1. No heavy deadlifting or squatting unless the person was an experienced weightlifter. If you have any lower back issues, don’t deadlift at all unless instructed to do so by a PT. If you have any knee issues, no squatting unless instructed to do so by a PT. If you have no such issues, start your deadlifting and squatting in the 8 – 10 rep range and stay there until the exercises feel very comfortable. You can then move into 6 – 8 rep range and work with that until it feels completely stable and comfortable. You can then move into the 4 – 6 rep range, but it’s not mandatory. You have to see how your body feels.

      2. No heavy bench pressing or military pressing if you have shoulder issues. If you don’t have any, start these exercises in the 6 – 8 rep range and work there until they feel very comfortable and stable. You can then move into the 4 – 6 rep range.

      That’s it. Some guys had very particular circumstances that required further tweaks, but that was it for most.

      Nothing needs to be changed on the diet. The metabolism doesn’t slow down due to age nearly as much as most people think. My metabolism is, at best, only a few hundred calories per day more efficient than yours. (Ultimately your progress will dictate if anything needs changing, and I can help you tweak things if necessary.)

      • Jay

        Mike,your right about feeling great. Honestly I never felt as good as I do. Thanks for the info about how to lift correctly when you are over 50.

        • Michael Matthews

          Haha I’m sure. My pleasure let me know how it goes.

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  • matt

    Hello
    I am 5’10 and weigh 225 lbs so take it from that I have a bit of a belly but still lots of muscle from working out normally and from the job i do.
    Was wondering what I could take for supps that would help me gain muscle but lose fat around my waist.
    Or do I need to lose weight first then build muscle afterwards?

    • Michael Matthews

      Cool! That’s going to mainly be a matter of proper dieting and training:

      https://www.muscleforlife.com/build-muscle-lose-fat/

  • Jacob

    I’ve been on teatosterone cypionate 67mg every week alon with cytomel t3 everyday since march 3rd and I haven’t changed my diet and exterior and I went from 114lba to 124 lbs this morning. I am 18 5’8 and I was prescribed these by my doctor nd endocronologist due to hypothyroidism and hypogonadism, my testosterone was unreadable over 4 blood tests. Can you explain this weight gain, I mean I workout everyday and do cardio and only eat 2100 and before I started the mess I was loosing weight at this calorie amount

    • Michael Matthews

      I assume these gains are in muscle?

      • Jacob

        Today I’m 126.6 and it’s only been 4 weeks on low dose testosterone cypionate (67mg) and 5mcg of cytomel (t3) I’m eating so little calories (2100) and before I started te Meds I was loosing weight eating this amount. And you assume it’s muscle? I don’t think I am aw to gain that much muscle in that short of a time doing nothing different to my diet and training, it’s just psyiologically impossible 🙁

        • Michael Matthews

          Hmm. Water retention? Sorry I’m just not familiar with drug interactions. What does your doc say?

        • Tim

          Hypothyroidism wreaks havoc on body building. It’s as simple as that. You have to listen to you doctor, only chance you have getting your hormones right. I have hypo, and I cannot lose fat and I’m now eating 1300 cals a day, training six days a week of cardio acceleration with extensive weight training. It’s an impossible task to do much without hormonal balance. You TSH, T3, T4 all impact training and gaining.

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  • Evan

    Hi, I’m 5’5 and weigh 150, I’m pretty average not fat or skinny, just right down the middle. Would you say that test boosters will help with my small love handles? And are body weight exercises good for gaining muscle?

    • Michael Matthews

      No, don’t bother with T boosters. Just diet correctly and exercise. Yes, body weight training can work for building muscle.

  • Evan

    Would you say a fulll body workout using the 3 Big Lifts – Squat, Deadlift and Bench Press would be good three times a week – M, W, and F. Then Tu and Thurs I would go on a light mile jog. Sat and Sunday rest?

    • Michael Matthews

      Yeah you can do that so long as your workout volume isn’t too high. I would do 3 – 4 heavy sets of each per workout, not more…

  • Ben

    Hi there!, Im 35 years old and have been feeling low libido, no social life, depressive, for the last 10 years!.. yeah, really that long! I´ve checked once my test levels at 26 (age), can’t remember how much I had but they said I had low levels but in the “normal” so I was good to go. Now 9 years later, I did check again, and I have 316 ng/dl . or what they call in norway 11nmol/L

    Thats low!.. and my doc won’t give me anything cause he means Im ok.. Im in the normal range! right?

    So Im thinking of taking testosterone on my own!.. injectable vs gel? or any other stuff I should take (anti-androgen?).

    Im being medicated for high-blood pressure (its closer to normal now after a month, but was 170 over 130!), and have resting pulse at 90 now… 105 before. (1 and a half month ago)

    Will testosterone, make my blood pressure even higher?.. or my pulse? what can I do?

    I do intend to start going to the gym, and would like to see results in 6 months!, height: 5.9″ weight: 183 pounds, and have 22% body fat. (but don’t look fat at all!… got belly though), my diet isn’t that bad either: I eat chicken, beef, salmon, veggies, brown rice, fiber pasta, etc..

    What should I take? how much? to see results in the gym (going to train 3-4 days a week)

    thanks in advance.
    -B-

    • Michael Matthews

      Yeah that’s fairly low.

      IMO you should start with a natural regimen. There are quite a few things you can do, mainly revolving around dietary fat intake and heavy compound weightlifting.

      Have you already tried these things?

      • Ben

        Hi there Michael, thanks for fast reply!

        Well, I have a pretty nice diet already… never eat burgers, pizzas, potato chips or drink coca-cola.. instead Pepsi Max 3 litters a week (2 bottles). But that has no sugar/calories (well a kcal for 250ml so a bottle 1.5 liters is just 6, so 12 kcal on soda drinking a week, should be allowed) 😉

        Heavy compound weightlifting, its been quite some years since last time, but even doing it for over a year, I may have build some muscle, reduced some fat% but what I did in a year, a friend did in a month.. practically.

        Its really depressing, nothing works… I never feel happy, not even when receiving gifts at birthday or christmas!.. All I want for those dates are = nothing!.. that way I can save the fake smiling I must put when receiving something.

        Anyhow I will start at the gym tomorrow, and will train for 5-6 months, before going on a “year” around the world travel. yeah… I have to get out of here, and live life a bit, in hope that it cheers me up!…

        The thing is, if I just started with some testosterone treatment now (beside training and eating well), I would must certainly, build some muscle, loose some fat, have more energy, be more happy, and face the traveling with a lot more “full package” satisfied feeling than if I don’t do something, and I really want have a good time! (I don’t smoke, don’t drink alcohol, and will not party either… for me a good time, is relax, seeing places, photographing them, experience new things, have some challenges (Kilimanjaro trek, Yoga 500hr teachers course, a Padi DiveMaster certificate, learn to fly in a paraglide, camel trek in morocco, etc..).

        I won’t have access to a gym, but thought of doing bodyweight workouts, and maybe get some TRX suspension training equipment, I can bring with me.

        Still as you tell to Jay (51 year old), that he will see great progress in the gym cause he has almost 1500! Im afraid I won’t see “almost” anything being at 316ng/dl at 35!, I may be able to make it a bit higher after 3-6 months of hard training, but still… it won’t be over 600 if Im lucky!

        -leave it there… I trust you have some nice experience, and are going to give me a good reply 🙂

        thanks in advance.

        • Michael Matthews

          Well there are pretty extensive routines for naturally boosting T levels and they revolve around dietary and exercise protocols.

          Check this out:

          https://www.muscleforlife.com/how-to-increase-testosterone/

          Sure getting on drugs will fix the symptoms but not the problem. You’ll have to inject for the rest of your life.

          • Beni

            I see, thanks for the info.

            Now I have a doubt here, cause the gym people didn’t know shit! They told me to do 1 hour of running or cycling a day!, no weights!, I told them that I would do weights, cause Im not paying a gym membership to run or biking, cause that I can do on the street!

            I know how to train (heavy compound weightlifting), 3 sets of 8 reps is ok, I guess for each exercise (muscle group), but.. what do you mean with a “dietary fat intake” ?

            And.. how many calories should I aim for each day?… I read that someone over 18-20 fat percent, should focus only in weight loss, before of building muscles. Then theres the “the more muscle you build – the more fat you burn”.. and the newbie gain thing.. I would consider me a newbie, cause its maaany years since I did any form of training. But Im unsure if I should go under, over, or just there in my calories.

            So.. Im 5.9″, 183 pounds at 22% (thats what my omron hbf-306c says, and its quite used at many gyms worldwide instead of callipers).

            I know there are many questions, but if you could help me out, I would greatly appreciate. (and yes, I know I will write a log of my training and eating, and adjust a bit each week, as my progression takes form).

            Any idea of a very easy diet to follow… I mean not many different grocery products.. I prefer to eat the same day after day, as to make a routine. No need to be creative here. 🙂

            oatmeal, veggies, chicken, salmon, can of tuna (in water right?), protein shakes, maybe some creatine? or any other supp?

            thanks man… you’re the best!

          • Michael Matthews

            Honestly naturally boosting T isn’t my specialty. I’m familiar with the basics but I’ve never done a thorough routine myself.

            Did you read the article I linked?

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  • vijay

    Sir. Iam doing weight traning from last year but still the mesuerment are same why ?

    • Michael Matthews

      Start with these articles of mine:

      https://www.muscleforlife.com/5-common-fitness-mistakes-to-avoid/

      https://www.muscleforlife.com/the-hardgainers-guide-to-guaranteed-muscle-growth/

      https://www.muscleforlife.com/the-best-way-to-gain-muscle-not-fat/

      https://www.muscleforlife.com/the-best-supplements-for-muscle-growth/

      If you like those, then you should really check out my book Bigger Leaner Stronger:

      https://www.muscleforlife.com/books/bigger-leaner-stronger/

      It lays out EVERYTHING you need to know about diet and training to build muscle and lose fat effectively…

      What do you think?

  • Sean Doherty

    You performed zero original research. You found articles on the internet (whose accuracy and authenticity is yet to be determined) that told you what you wanted to hear in order for you to tell us what you want us to hear. You accomplished nothing. Is this what Muscleforlife does? I would say hire me, I’d do a better job, but I’d turn it down. Obviously your editors don’t care about what original, insightful, meaningful, and most important FACTUAL research is actually performed by it’s own staff. This is comical at best.

  • Johnn87

    Hey I took a testostorone booster and developed a hard painful lump under my right nipple… Can you please help I wasn’t sure if I should take anything to reduce it

    • Michael Matthews

      A prohormone or?

    • jc

      Dude its called gynocomastia if its not too late an aromatase inhibitor will take care of that look it up if not im afraid surgery is the other option its not dangerous but a little costly.

      • jc

        Letrozole can help check out rui products if you want to get ur hands on it:)

      • Michael Matthews

        I would also recommend getting off the test booster product.

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  • alireza doliof

    Hello., I’m 22, I’m taking testosterone, what is mind?please help me!

  • Francesco Lombardi

    if you use natural supplements there is no risk you little Probolan 50 the original, one sold on http://www.problan50.com

  • EnellGmz

    This is one reason why I think that carb cycling is good. You see eating enough protein, many carbs and many fats is the diet that is supposed to increase your testosterone and build muscle (combined with enough sleep). But such a diet is only possible when bulking. When cutting you need to either lower carbs or fats. Lowering carbs will make your workout performance suffer and lowering fats will make your testosterone levels suffer (maybe). So here is where carb cycling comes into play, when cutting. The days when you exercise you should follow high carbs and low fats but at the rest days – high fats low carbs. In general carb cycling is not necessary, but maybe it will help keep testosterone levels high while cutting.

    What do you think?

    • Michael Matthews

      I’m actually not a fan of carb cycling and here’s why:

      https://www.muscleforlife.com/the-definitive-guide-to-carb-cycling/

      • EnellGmz

        Hmm I see. Workouts are not as high in intensity as they should when cutting ( calorie deficit) and low carbs make the situation even worse. Thank you for your reply!

        • Michael Matthews

          YW! You may like this too:

          https://www.muscleforlife.com/low-carb-diet/

  • Adel-Alexander

    Hey Mike I wanted to know, while the normal testosterone levels are between 300-1000 ng/dl, are they talking about total testosterone or free testosterone?

    • Michael Matthews

      Good question. I’m actually not sure. I’m going to be writing an extensive article on T soon, so I’ll be looking into this.

    • They are talking about Total.
      Free is normally between about 10 and 35.
      Total is between 100 and 1000 ng/dl

  • Luke Randolph

    Hey Mike. I heard that working out your legs releases more testosterone to make your whole body. I’m sure you’ve heard this before. True/False?

    • Michael Matthews

      I think there’s some evidence of this but it’s not going to dramatically alter your hormone profile.

  • Dennis Fallo

    Mike….we’ve talked before and I thought I’d lend some input…..I get testosterone shots every few months from one of my doctors. I’m in the “mature” age group of weight training! Please keep in mind, you must have complete blood work done once per year to make sure all areas are in the norm or safe zones, before the shots. People should talk to their doctors. I leave my prescription with my doctor and go in and get my shots on whatever time schedule is set. This way your getting what all of us normally lose with the aging process and you get it in a safe manner. It has helped me with body building certain areas, along with some guidance from your book. It does not however, provide a “magic” way to lose weight. Yes, the energy helps you to work out a little less tiring and that helps you trim a little, but you have to attempt to eat smart! It does not put you in danger of prostate cancer if your blood work shows normal levels and your under your doctor’s guidance. I also teach Tai Chi /Qigong and utilize principles of TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) in my daily life and those elements will also assist you in living and aging in a “youthful way!” There are areas of fat that will always be a little difficult to manage, but can be doable! People should stay away from all the Testosterone booster products and claims and listen to sound, safe and proven advice…..Great article Mike!

    • Michael Matthews

      I’m all for TRT if your T is low and you’ve tried everything you can to naturally raise it.

      Based on what I’ve heard from guys in your position, it’s a HUGE improvement in overall quality of life.

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  • albert

    I’m thinking about trying python extra testosterone….any thoughts or suggestions about this product

    • Michael Matthews

      Don’t waste your money.

  • TOG

    I just started TRT recently as my T levels were 158 at 41 yrs of age. Just started 200 inject biweekly of test cyp and will begin the BLS program in a few weeks as I need to being my cardio endurance up before I jump in. Any changes needed due to being on TRT in regards to diet? I want to go from 211 33% bf to 185 and 15-18%. Also, any opinion on the use of prohormones? A friend of mine has extensive experience and has seen fairly good results. Thx!!

    • Michael Matthews

      Cool. Nope no real changes. Your metab will run a bit faster but we can adjust for that.

      Check this out:

      http://www.muscleforlife.com/healthy-meal-planning-tips/

      I wouldn’t mess with orals. They’re hard on your liver and drugging just isn’t necessary…

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  • Ben

    Mike you piece of scum. misleading everyone so you can sell your bullsh*t products and meal plans. I’ve been on testosterone replacement therapy for 2 years and I’ve gained more muscle in those two years then any other points in my life. Eat a d*ck you jag off. It is simple folks. if you think its bad for you then do not eat it.

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  • RICH

    RICH

    I AM 69 YRS OLD AND WORK OUT WITH WEIGHTS—PRETTY REGULAR 3 DAYS A WEEK –HOUR A SESSION—MIDDLE RANGE LEVELS OF TESTERONE–BENCH 130 —WEIGH 175—AT 200 LBS 20 YRS AGO I WAS BENCHING 175—-IS IT AGE??—–CANNOT MAKE EVEN REASONABLE STRENGTH PROGRESS—-I PROBABLY COULD GAIN STRENGTH IF I GAINED WEIGHT–BUT BEEN I65–175—FOR 6 YRS NOW AND FEEL GOOD AT 5’6″——–MY EXPERIENCE OVER THE YEARS HAS BEEN NO MATTER THE WORKOUT SEQUENCE—THE HEAVIER I WAS THE STRONGER—NO OTHER FACTORS AT SAME LEVEL OF TRAINING COUNT.–LOSE WEIGHT—-EVEN WITH VITAMINS AND SUPPLEMENTS AND LIFTING—-AND I GET WEAKER—-THANX FOR YOUR ARTICLE AS I WAS THINKING OF TESTOSTERONE TO HIGHER NORMAL LEVELS—YOU ARE RIGHT—-ENHANCERS DO NOT WORK—-I AM LIVING PROOF—TRIED PT FOR PROFESSIONAL HELP—NO DICE—NOBODY SEEMS UNDERSTAND MY PROBLEM.—ENHANCERS AND TRAINERS WERE A WASTE OF MONEY—-HOURS AT THE GYM FOR BENCH GAINS A WASTE OF TIME—PROGRESS MADE BUT SNAIL SLOW.———-MARKAMFREE@AOL.COM

    • Great on what you’re doing!

      It sounds like we should check out your diet:

      http://www.muscleforlife.com/healthy-meal-planning-tips/

  • Thanks for stopping by and checking out my article! I hope you enjoyed it.

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  • Shaikh

    What are the factors that lead muscle growth? What would cause one person to have faster muscle growth than another?

  • Killermusk

    How to build muscle as fast as humanly possible…That’s what we all want to know.Most of us don’t have the genetics of an NFL running back or pro bodybuilder.So it’s not all your fault.I was mixed-up until I got this plan about testosterone,see my review of it:> bestfitnessandmusclebuilding(dot)com/tmd <

  • Dana Casey

    What about women and muscle growth whilst taking androgen blocker medication taken for skin issues (acne)? I’m trying to put on more muscle but am on an androgen blocker (low dose, but may have to increase). Will this type of medication slow down my muscle growth and retain more body fat? I know women genetically hold more body fat than men, but just wondering whether medications like this will prevent me from seeing the results I may see if I wasn’t taking them.

    • You know I’m not sure due to the drug. I’ve never worked with anyone on a drug like that. Sorry. 🙁

  • Ismail

    Hello mike
    I am 19 years old. I’ve been working out since 3 years. In phases on and off, but mostly been regularly weightlifting. I am a typical “hard gainer” as they call it. Height 6″3 inches. Waist 30. I didn’t gain any significant muscle mass until last year. Started off from 59kg and now currently 69kg. The problem is that I masturbate a lot ( 3 times on average per week ). Would you say this is the reason for my slow gains or is it something every guy, even professional builders do? It’s an addictive behavior I can’t really control. Would you recommend any specific exercises that are designated for this problem or some testosterone supplement I should take( I was thinking ZMA ) as zinc levels may have gone down.
    Thank you
    Ismail

  • Rob

    I gained 80lb in 6 months due to low testosterone. I lost 35lb in the first month after starting testosterone shots. The “normal range” is a scale for doctors to use so they don’t get arrested. It is meaningless for patients. The only way to find your “normal range” is to get tested when you are young and healthy. Some men just need more testosterone than others to be healthy and lean.

    Some guys feel good with levels in the 400-500 range. Others feel terrible below 700. Whenever doctors and government get involved in any treatment, their need for guidelines always leaves some people out in the cold.

    With my testosterone at 250, I was obese and exhausted all the time. At 900, I am lean. At 1200, my muscles grow without much exercise. Body builders don’t get bigger muscles than everyone else by being dedicated in the gym….

    • I’ve never met anyone that feels “terrible” below 700 but yes, ranges do vary.

      You can build muscle with high T and no exercise but that won’t get you very far of course.

      • Rob

        My point is that there shouldn’t be any “ranges” at all. I believe that people should be able to choose for themselves based on how they feel and what they are trying to achieve with their body.

        Most doctors know nothing about prescribing testosterone. We are no safer under their control, just financially worse off. Anybody who has been denied treatment for low T because they are not below some range, is likely to have considerably worse health.

        Soon they will be arresting all men for having illegal testosterone manufacturing plants in their testicles. They really seem to have become that stupid.

        • Well I guess that depends on how high you think you should be, haha.

          Try to cruise at 2k+ ng/dl for long enough and you’re probably going to have some health issues one day…

          • Rob

            Maybe but using anything to excess can be bad for you. Water, alcohol and refined sugar have all killed more people than testosterone. The hysteria around testosterone is a ridiculous double standard without any basis in fact.

            I would be more scared about the unknown risks of antidepressants which are handed out like candy without a single medical test

          • Definitely agree on both points. I try to discourage psychotropic use for that reason. Scary fucking sides.

    • How are you getting to 1200? Certainly not through prescribed TRT. The only way you are getting to > 1000 is self medicating and self dosing or a corrupt doctor. And correct me if I’m wrong, but the article states that once you get to 20-30% greater than the top end 1000 ng/dl you could see significant improvements. You are at 1200, so it’s no wonder you see a difference – you are in levels that pro juicers start to dabble in. On TRT, I got from 290 to 550 on Nebido. You got to 1200. The fact that you admit to being obese at 250 and then admit to having muscles grow at 1200 without much exercise simply indicates that you are lazy and using testosterone to make up for your shitty lifestyle and training. That coupled with an anonymous profile pic should alert anyone reading this to take anything this guy says with a pinch of salt.

      • Rob

        You don’t know what you are talking about.

        I go to the gym 5 times per week and I’m definitely not lazy. I gainEd weight when I had low T without eating more. Gaining weight is a common side effect of low T. I lost the weight when my T was restored to normal levels again without changing anything. I always eat healthily.

        One 200mg injection is enough to push my testosterone levels to over 1200. That is the dose that I was prescribed by my doctor (200 mg per week). If you only went from 290 to 550, you should up your dose or switch to a different method of using the testosterone meds. I didn’t go up much with androgen but test cyp injections work for me.

        It sucks that you’re not having a good experience with TRT but don’t take it out on me.

  • Scott Diamond

    So you need to get your t over normal high range to see significant growth , that’s what your saying , pulse I’m doing 500ml cypionate per week , do you thing this is sufficient to achieve large gains, I’m at the start of a cycle, I was thinking of upping it to 600ml pulse I’ll be stacking with another steroid, 6week cycle , anywho just asking, thanks
    Scott

  • daybreak

    What do you think about stacking halotropin (test booster) with Anabol? Not doing the full 50mg a day just 25mg to start and run on a 4 week cycle.

    • I’ve never run any drugs so I really don’t know. Check this out:

      http://www.muscleforlife.com/side-effects-of-steroids/

    • Chief Presiding Judge

      Get the hell out of here with that confederate avatar you hick. Your slavery rag is nothing to be proud of.

      • Bye Felicia

        You’re such a stupid little fuck! The confederate flag was a sign representing the south not slavery! Yes slavery was bad but people died in war you disrespectful cunt! Know your history! Its call “REBEL FLAG” Cuz clearly it ment they disagreed with something.. Slaves weren’t just black.. The only real problem blacks had to go through was segregation! But you yourself shouldn’t be offended cuz you weren’t part of any of that! If anything the military should be offended cuz the flag is a signal and sign.. Not to represent race or slavery.. like now us killin ISIS and using the american flag so does this make us racist?! Also Racist isnt even a real fuckin problem people just believe it is but we all have the same rights and same laws but you being disrespectful to the flag is just as bad as being racist!

        • Chief Presiding Judge

          Objectively incorrect. The confederate flag WAS about slavery, and not the “south”. It’s literally plainly stated in the concession articles that the reason for concession was the fact that the “right to own slaves” was not being recognized by the government. Also that particular rendition of the flag was the battle flag which drives home the point even harder. Nice try, dumb shit.

          The rest of your post is in retard speak and isn’t even decipherable. I recommend taking an English class before you try to play devil’s advocate for your racist traitor rag again if you want it to go more successfully. You type like someone inbred and with 80 IQ which makes it pretty clear to me why you’re someone who would like the confederate rag. Lol.

          • SouthernBorn

            You need to watch what you say boy.

      • I’m proud of my Souther heritage, you ignorant, slack-jawed moron. You, on the other hand, have no history, which makes you strike out at anything you don’t understand.

      • SouthernBorn

        You stick to your beliefs and we will stick to ours. If you dislike our culture then keep your ass in New York.

  • robbyh1

    This is a bit of a double-whammy. Ok, it’s news to me that fluctuations within ‘normal’ range of testosterone have a profound ability to affect body fat and not muscle mass so much, but lower body fat promotes higher testosterone anyway – at least in men that are already on obese side to start with.

    • That’s true–leaner people will generally have higher T than overweight.

  • kat

    Hi there im a girl and just wanted to say test is doing all i wanted it to do for me its amazing, one let down is the fact that I want to eat more, but other that that it works, I see noticeble gains already!

    • Hey Kat,

      I’m glad you’re doing well but am generally not a fan of drugs if they can be avoided. Here’s why:

      http://www.muscleforlife.com/side-effects-of-steroids/

  • omar

    for years I was struggling with fat loss, I do everything from hard training to a healthy diet, itis hard for me to loss fat and very easy to gain it, recently I just orded a T-test , to my surprise it was extremely low,,,66.2 ngdl,,, reading your article just prove my case in point, I need a T therapy

    • Possibly but there are quite a few things you can do naturally as well. Have you tried?

      • omar

        hello Michael and thanks for the replay , the answer is yes, a healthy diet to increase the T rich in zink as example, wight lifting 3 times a week with heavy wights, (I am 150 KG dead lifting 150 kg, and squat 120 kg for example) some times I do TRX and circuit training (this is my September workout),finally I just tried the T test, just by chance , and to my surprise it was very low, I dont have ED problems though I am still virgin, 36 years virgin man, but I do the (gentlemen hobby I might say) almost daily, because I wont be shy about it I feel lust for the oppset sex and I cant break my own moral values.
        last week I got my first t shot and I should take another in 2 weeks, yet still I didnt notice any enragy level increase , wich is low almost all the time

  • Brodey Henry-gilbert

    is it true that if you dont have sex your testosterone levels will increase and if so how long would one have to go without sex for the individual to start seeing results in athletic performance and improved strength and muscle growth

  • Bob Crang

    Just chiming in. I am a man that was diagnosed with Hypogonadism years ago and have been on AndroGel and shots in the past. Dr. was trying to keep me around the 500 mark. A couple years back my wife and I decided to try to conceive which means no AndroGel or the “swimmers” die and there is no chance. All that to say since February 2015 – September 2015 with proper diet and 6 days in the gym a week I lost 67 lbs. I have now put on 5 lbs. in one month with a clean increase in calories as I try to gain muscle to replace the fat I shed. It can be done… Fight through the fatigue and lethargy and go for it fellas the bottom line is hard work and long term goals. Sure a T boost would make things easier, but who here really believes improving ourselves should be all that easy?

  • mainemike68

    You telling us this cat ain’t on steroids? He is within the “normal” range? I tried for years with heavy lifting, healthy diet and exercise, if your body is deficient in testosterone you simply can’t build muscle or lose fat.

  • Aikas

    Hey Mike,
    Where does the line of a high-fat diet really begins? I’m upping my fat intake but don’t want to go too high. So what’s the very maximum amount of fats per kg you’d consider while Bulking?

    • Personally I probably wouldn’t go above 100 g/day. I would try to keep closer to 70g.

  • anmo

    hey mike ,i am 22 yr old guy and trying to gain weight without taking any supplements and only consuming natural proteins.I am striking the gym 5 days a week and consuming a vegetarian diet(approx 2000 cal.) including eggs.I have gained300 grams in one month .Is this quantity normal or below normal??would you recommend i increase my intake of calories??plz reply

    • I get what you’re trying to do! When bulking, the goal is to gain 200-500g per week. So, you need to be eating more. 🙂

      To calculate what your intake should be for bulking, take a look at this:

      https://legionathletics.com/diet-meal-plans/

      To make sure you’re doing everything else right, check this out:

      http://www.muscleforlife.com/bulking-up/

      Hope this helps! Talk soon!

  • Frank Arrietta

    What kinda daily carb intake and cardio duration are you putting yourself through to lose that last 10lbs before you are shredded-shredded? I was diagnosed with low T years ago and have seen magnificent results at 200mg/week… once my test caught up to my lifestyle, I had a vague six-pack in weeks (had been training for nearly ten years prior, though, so my body was READY for it). But I’m tired of the soft six pack that requires good lighting to be proud of. I can get pretty lean on an hour of walking every morning (up to two hours), carbs below 75g/day, protein high, fat moderate..but I still have that last bit of hanging on lower ab fat. I feel like weight lifting 5x/week, 2hrs of cardio daily, fat burners, and 200mg t-cyp/week in the nearly full absence of carbs (shy of a spike every 5 days or so) SHOULD be enough to get me super lean…but I always end up burning out because I feel like i physically CANT train any more or eat any less. I literally had to go full days on just BCAAs, fish oils, fat burners, and a couple protein shakes before I looked remotely magazine-worthy. It made me feel like a zombie, though. Would more weekly test make things easier on me? It’s kinda unfair training 3-4hrs every day and being softer than a 17yr old with naturally high test. =/

    • Yikes you don’t have to do any of that to get really lean. Here’s what I do:

      https://legionathletics.com/how-to-lose-belly-fat/

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