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5 Testosterone Myths

Updated: Aug 1, 2023

Just started testosterone as the next step in your transition? Here's 5 things you might have heard relating to HRT and the gym, and why they're myths!

Sam Barnes Lifestyle ftm transgender online coach personal trainer

You'll Gain Muscle

Will the simple act of injecting testosterone mean you grow muscle? No. However, the amount of muscle you'll be able to gain from working out will increase.


Just like when a cis guy starts taking steroids, you still have to lift weights and eat the correct amount of calories in order to grow new muscle. This is no different for us Trans guys. Testosterone is one of the building blocks involved in muscle building, but you've still got to show up to the gym as well.


You'll Be Able To Eat More

Your daily calorie needs are defined by your weight, levels of lean tissue, your metabolism, and your daily activity levels, amongst a few other things. Taking testosterone alone doesn't equal being able to "just eat more". However, one side effect of testosterone you'll notice very early on is an increased hunger level. This can be due to a number of things, one being an increased metabolism, another being the new, higher levels of muscle mass you are holding. This means you'll likely need to consume more calories than before. Does this mean as soon as you've had that first shot of T you can live on donuts and fast food? Nope. Allow your calories to increase gradually and make sure to monitor your body composition.


Your Chest Will Get Smaller

For a deeper look into why this isn't possible, give this post here a read.


In short, breast tissue is made up of two different kinds of tissue. These are fatty tissue and glandular tissue. Fatty tissue can be burnt off just like excess fat on any other part of the body. This can be done with a calorie deficit and the correct level of exercise, but cannot be spot burnt (so you can't just lose fat from one, chosen area).


Glandular tissue cannot be burnt off. It is not a fuel source for the body. The only way it's coming out is when a surgeon takes it out.


If you're an individual who is holding too much body fat, there is a chance your chest size will reduce with general weight loss. However, if the bulk of your chest is made up of glandular tissue, testosterone will not change this.


You'll Become More Veiny

Again, to a certain extent this is true, but it isn't just a case of taking testosterone and waking up with veiny arms.


As your body fat redistributes (usually around 1.5+ years on T) areas like your arms and legs might stop holding quite as much body fat as before, especially if you're also hitting the gym a lot. This means your veins can start to pop out more than before. If you're still holding a lot of excess body fat, your veins aren't going to be able to pop out and be visible.


Your Hips Will Get Smaller

For a deeper look into decreasing hip width and what is and isn't possible, check out this video here.


In short, we first need to establish what it is we're looking at when we're talking about hip width. Is it bone or fat? If it's body fat, we can reduce this by eating in a calorie deficit. If it's bone, unfortunately, it is what it is.


But what about redistribution? True, after being on T for a fair while, your body fat will begin to redistribute and, most likely, move away from your hips. But what happens to it after this? It's simply moving, not being burnt off. It tends to move to areas that are typically more male, such as the front of the stomach. If you want it gone altogether, you'll still need to lose weight.


Losing weight and/ or building muscle can feel like a minefield. Add new levels of testosterone on top of this and changing your physique can feel like an impossible challenge. Need help? Book in for a free discovery call with me here.


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