T Nation

Body Comp to Expect with "High Normal” Free T

Just started TRT 3 months ago. Started at 160mg a week, after first labs doc raised me to 210 a week. Here are my T numbers after first 6 weeks of TRT:

I got into lifting 4 years ago because I wanted to look better naked and actually look like a guy who lifted. At first I was clueless as to how to do this but read nonstop from guys like John Meadows, Paul Carter, John Rusin, Christian Thibideau etc and would now consider myself an intermediate lifter. But it has been a struggle, 3+ years of lifting and only gained minimal muscle (less than 10 pounds) and any time I went into a caloric surplus I gained way more fat than muscle, even when that surplus was from totally clean eating.

I eventually realized something was not right, no libido, losing or difficulty gaining muscle despite perfect diet and weight training so I got my blood tested and sure enough, my free T was actually below the bottom end of the normal range (see my other thread for all my lab numbers). Help Understanding Lab Numbers, Appt with Doc Tomorrow

So back to my question. You see so many amazing physiques on men in their 40s (I just turned 40) on social media but it’s impossible to know if they got there naturally, or with HRT, or with AAS. Now that I am on TRT (and my doc wants to see my free T at a very high level so no issue there) can I expect to build some appreciable mass and build a lean and chiseled physique? I would absolutely love to put 15-20 pounds of pure muscle on my frame and trim down to about 8% BF. I am currently 5’11”, 175 pounds and probably 13-15% BF

My nutrition and training are dialed in, currently using Dr John Rusin’s “Functional Hypertrophy Training” program. I am starting to notice some strength gains in the gym and progressive overload is the name of the game every week.


I can tell you I’m one of those who have no gains slightly above midrange and need Free T at the top of the ranges or higher to notice improvements across the board.

The optimal ranges are 20-26 pg/mL per labcorp. You have a long way to go to see massive improvements.

Onset of effects of testosterone treatment and time span until maximum effects are achieved

Changes in fat mass, lean body mass, and muscle strength occur within 12–16 weeks, stabilize at 6–12 months, but can marginally continue over years.

Yeah I’ve read that study and info you linked before but “increased muscle mass” and “decreased fat mass” is still pretty vague.

I’m just wondering if putting on 15-20 solid pounds and really shredding out is achievable for a 40 year relatively new to lifting with only TRT.

IF it is not achievable, so be it. I’m not interested in steroid use and will still keep on lifting and eating right. Just curious how far I could take this from a physique standpoint with very high normal free T levels. My last labs had me at like 27pg/ml so I am right there with good free T.

Building muscle isn’t just about testosterone, genes play a huge part, so if it’s not written in your genes, then 10-15 pounds is not going to happen.

I don’t know if I’ll be able to build 10-15 pounds of muscle, but I know I’ll be lean.

Brando what kind of blood test can you show us? TRT is not going to give you the muscle growth you seek. You need to move to the pharma forum these TRT guys will just confuse/screw you up.
They take a load of BS and have little to know real experience.

That’s a great goal to shoot for brother, and it’s very achievable.

Just food for thought here…Reaching 8% BF and maintaining that level are two completely different things. Don’t get too hung up on that number. 10-12% can be a very good look for you with an added 8-10lbs of muscle, and it probably would be much healthier for you. It sounds like you have three years of eating clean and lifting hard. Genetics aren’t everything, but there is something to be said for your body trying to always obtain its own balance. Your body is always trying to get back to equilibrium, so to maintain something long term that is not natural for you (genetically speaking) means keeping your body in a constant state of unbalance. This is not healthy long term.

For contest reasons, and for personal goals…sure. Go for it. For a way of life, it sounds like a miserable existence.

Keep killing it bro, but don’t forget to live your life and enjoy it every now and then!

Edit to add…

If your trying to gain muscle, you’re going to have to keep the caloric intake high, which means you won’t be doing much for cutting fat. A lot of BB’s will tell you that they have “sweet spot” when it comes to BF% while trying gain muscle mass. Too high and they add too much fat to be able to effectively cut for contests. Too low and they don’t see any gains in muscle. It varies for everyone, but that gaining phase usually finds most BB’s in the 10-15% BF range.

Keeping in mind we are all different with different genetics, I lost 15-20 lbs of fat and gained 10-15 lbs of muscle with TRT. Changes were dramatic at around six months. This was with a reasonable, no junk diet and a basic training program.

My dose is 200mg a week.

I’ve been off trt for almost 3 years and will be going back on shortly and have been asking myself similar questions.

These 2 studies might be worth a read. Your goal seems aggressive but achievable over time.

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@hardlvn my other thread has my bloodwork " Help Understanding Lab Numbers, Appt with Doc Tomorrow And below are my numbers after 6 weeks of TRT

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@bmbrady77 definitely understood there. I leaned down to around 10% last year and just accumulated a bunch of diet fatigue. Been in a very conservative calorie surplus since then trying to gain muscle with very limited fat gain. Been on T for 3 months now and that definitely seems to be at least starting to help with that process. I definitely don’t want to stay at 8% but for things like beach and lake trips etc its nice to look shredded.

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Thanks bud, that is good tangible info there! I’m 3 months in so hoping for some very visible changes this summer.

Those blood T numbers will help you at the gym but at those levels you need to monitor your blood thickness thats HCT and if it gets over 52% you need to go donate a pint of whole blood. If you find you can’t keep your HCT down with 2 donations a year and you need more you need to add ferritin to your mini blood tests. Too many donations can crash your ferritin then your super high lvl TRT is done you will need to drop back to 80mg/wk and rebuild your ferritin. It took me 8 months.

Thanks man. Getting more labs in 2 weeks and following up with doc. I’m sure he’s keeping and eye on the blood counts also.

@hrdlvn, you may have heard both sides of the phlebotomy argument. Are you aware of anything in the literature that says TRT causes blood clots, stroke or heart problems? Some well known doctors (Neal Rouzier) say there is none and the American Urological Association came out with a position paper almost three years ago that TRT does not cause stroke, clots, or heart attacks.

I just know what Defy tells me and if I let my HCT go over 52% I lose my script for T.
Even though I live at altitude they will not accept anything over 52% and I have to admit I have blood pressure issue when my blood gets too think. At 52% my BP goes up 10 points top and bottom. Fro 120 75 to 130 85 so no matter what the literature says my doc and my blood pressure cuff says don’t go there.

Thanks, that’s interesting. Dehydration is a common cause of elevated hct, and with dehydration the BP drops. But, you’re not dehydrated, with an elevated hct. I’ll see if I can dig something up on any association between BP and hct.

Curious on your e2 control if needed?

No AIs, Dr Nichols does not believe it is needed. There is a lot of interesting info out there about all the protective benefits of estrogen and that it should not be blocked when increasing T levels. I’ve read some pretty nasty things about anastrozole also (bone density issues).

So far so good, I’m not experiencing any symptoms of high E2 even though it is elevated. Dr Nichols says elevated E2 with high T is a very good thing

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Love it!

Are you monitoring prolactin? Over range E2 and over range prolactin is how man boobs are made. Is Dr Nichols going to take care of any gyno you get by offering free surgery? Don’t take my word for it google it.