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Trans Fitness Myths: Busting The BS

I find a big part to my job as a coach in the Trans space is to bust a lot of the BS that goes around. So, in a further effort to do that, here are three commonly heard Trans fitness myths and what the truth actually is behind these statements.


Sam Barnes Lifestyle ftm Trans fitness coach

Myth One: You can make your chest smaller by training it.

Those who are carrying a little extra body fat and need to lose some weight will most likely find that breast size will reduce when weight loss occurs. However, glandular tissue (i.e. actual breast tissue that gets removed during top surgery) cannot be burnt through diet and/ or exercise. It's not a fuel source for the body, therefore it's going to stay put until a surgeon comes along and takes it out. No amount of chest pressing or calorie reductions will change this.

Truth: You can reduce body fat levels in your chest by creating a calorie deficit through diet and exercise, but you cannot burn breast tissue. If you generally need to lose weight you'll probably see a difference in chest size. If not, top surgery is the only way to reduce chest size.


Myth Two: You'll never be able to grow as much muscle as a Cis guy can.

The main driving force behind being able to build muscle is testosterone. This is the reason men build more muscle than women, and also why guys taking steroids build more muscle than guys not taking steroids. If your testosterone levels are within natural levels, and are stable, your ability to build muscle is not hampered by you being Trans.


If you are struggling to build muscle, and you have good testosterone levels, the issue is most likely going to be with your training and/ or nutrition.

Truth: If your testosterone levels are within the correct range, your ability to grow muscle will not be affected solely by you being Trans.


Myth Three: You have an advantage over Cis men when it comes to building muscle.

As we established above, if your testosterone levels are that of a natural, non steroid taking Cis guy, you're on a level playing field when it comes to the building of muscle. However, where you do have a possible advantage is during a prolonged dieting phase.


Testosterone levels will dip in Cis guys when they get super lean and have been dieting for a prolonged period of time. If you're on HRT this won't happen. This can mean you have an advantage in maintaining muscle levels during a diet, and can also mean your overall health markers are better during a dieting phase as well. This is the main reason that, on the off chance you ever wanted to enter a bodybuilding show, you'd have to enter a non-tested one, not natural.

Truth: If your testosterone levels are within the natural range, you have no muscle building advantage over a Cis guy. You do however have an advantage when it comes to muscle retention and overall health when in a prolonged dieting phase.


What myths have I missed here? What areas of fitness confuse you? Send me a DM to @sambarneslifestyle on Instagram and let's bust some more lies together!


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