T Nation

Difficult to Put on Muscle Mass

My last T test showed that I had 17 nmol Total testosterone and 9 nmol free testosterone.

I have been weight lifting for years without any significant result in putting muscle mass. At the gym I stayed for same weight in months or years.

So I have two questions here;

  1. Can you say from that 17 nmol are not enough to build muscle? And even if I get up to 30 nmol naturally it will not make a huge different? I’m asking because I don’t know how testosterone works in term of different ranges.

Some says it’s not different from someone who have 15 nmol and someone who have 30 nmol when it comes to symptoms. Is that true?

  1. if my own production can’t do anything for me in term of building muscle how much do I need to inject if I consider to jump on TRT?

My brother-in-law is built like a tank and until Covid was a personal trainer. He didn’t know until a few months ago that he had low testosterone. If you haven’t made any progress for years it’s probably more a function of poor diet and a training program that is no longer effective.


My training program look like this:

4 times per week 1-2 muscle group
3 hard set 4-6 reps with progressive overload.

Do you have any recommendations for better training program?

When was the last time you changed your program?

Do you do cardio?

How much effort do you put into lifting? An example of your weight, height, picture of your body, along with the weights you are pushing/pulling would be helpful.

There are many reasons a person can’t build muscle.

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Is your strength increasing?

There is a genetic component to building muscle and have even seen guys on TRT with levels at the top of the ranges or higher find it difficult to build muscle.

The inability to build muscle could also be diet related.

What lifts are you doing? What are your set and rep schemes? For example:

squats - 5x5 with 100k, max single 140k.

Hate to sound so primitive, but the most ‘anabolic’ substance I’ve put in my body thus far? Food. My biggest lifts were actually pre-TRT (gym closures etc haven’t helped tbh) and when I was eating around 4000 calories a day and sleeping no less than 6-7 hours a night.

When I eat and sleep ‘big’, I gain - and I’m very much a classic hard gainer. Even TRT itself hasn’t been able to outperform the magic of dialled in food and sleep; but I really do mean a LOT of food, as so few eat as much as think they do for muscle gain purposes. I’m yet to do a blast or steroid cycle and im sure that would lead to substantial gain, but even then I still don’t think much would happen without absolutely ensuring your food and sleep basics are in check.

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Not primitive at all. It’s a fact, written into the stone walls of every gym on earth. If you don’t eat to gain then you’ll never gain.