How Much Muscle Should You Expect To Gain On Testosterone
I'm constantly asked exactly how much muscle you can expect to gain from high dose testosterone, or a myriad of other performance enhancing hormones.
“If I take X amount of testosterone, how many pounds will I gain?”
Obviously, this isn't something you can just answer flat out.
The result will be based on caloric intake, training, adherence, genetic response, Myostatin levels, and a million other factors.
However, there is a great study that evaluated how much muscle gain would occur in a controlled setting using supraphysiological doses of testosterone in healthy young men.
To date, this is the best study available for illustrating with exact figures what happens to men when they take low dose Testosterone vs high dose Testosterone.
Testosterone Dose-Response In A Clinical Setting
This study evaluated the results of weekly administrations of Testosterone at dosages of 25 mg, 50 mg, 125 mg, 300 mg, and 600 mg for 20 weeks.
Keep in mind when you interpret these results that fat-free mass also accounts for water, it's not just pure muscle tissue.
As you would expect, the higher these testosterone doses get, the more aromatization occurs.
Therefore, more water retention, which is going to play a role here too.
- Nutritional intake was controlled
- The exercise regimen was controlled
- The dose was controlled
- Used pharmaceutical-grade testosterone
Energy and protein intakes were standardized at 16.33 calories per pound per day, and 0.544 grams per pound per day.
Participants were instructed to not partake in strength training or moderate-to-heavy endurance exercise during the study.
The only thing that differed between the participants was the dosage administered.
The reason this study is so eye opening is because it outlines what kind of changes can occur just from the dosage of Testosterone alone without any interfering data deriving from specific individuals who happen to have better adherence to their diet, or better training principles than another person.
- The participants are of 18 to 35 years old
- Have prior weightlifting experience
- Have normal natural testosterone levels
- Have not used anabolic agents
- Had not participated in competitive sports events in the preceding year
- Not planning to compete in any competitive sports events in the following year.
What we saw was a dose-dependent change in muscle mass and strength, which is what we would logically expect.
The exact amount of muscle relative to the other dosages is what was interesting though.
Fat-Free Mass Gain 25 mg Testosterone
In the 25 mg per week dosage group, fat-free mass actually went down by an average of 1 kilogram.
The reason that the men administered 25 mg lost muscle is that if you take a healthy young man who has a normal in range natural testosterone level and you administer an exogenous source of Testosterone, the feedback loop in his body will shut down his natural production.
A healthy young man produces between 3-10 mg of Testosterone per day with no ester attached to it.
By shutting down the natural production of a young man with 25 mg of Testosterone Enanthate per week, they will actually be operating with less Testosterone than their body was naturally producing.
The consequence of that is the 25 mg group actually lost muscle mass.
Fat-Free Mass Gain 50 mg Testosterone
The 50 mg per week dosage group gained an average of 0.6 kilograms of fat-free mass.
Fat-Free Mass Gain 125 mg Testosterone
The 125 mg per week dosage group gained an average of 3.4 kg of fat-free mass.
Fat-Free Mass Gain 300 mg Testosterone
The 300 mg per week group gained an average of 5.2 kg of fat-free mass.
Fat-Free Mass Gain 600 mg Testosterone
The 600 mg per week group gained an average of 7.9 kg of fat-free mass.
Strength Change And Other Notable Markers
Muscle volume, strength and power, hemoglobin, and IGF-I were positively correlated with Testosterone concentrations.
Expectedly, changes in fat mass and plasma high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol were negatively correlated with Testosterone concentrations.
The higher your Testosterone level goes, the worse your lipids are going to be.
The amount of muscle gained in the 125 mg group was pretty substantial.
Despite the 600 mg group's 7.9 kg increase being very impressive, it took 4.8 times as much testosterone that achieve that extra 4.5 kg fat-free mass gain.
This solidifies the theory I have about Myostatin increasing in a dose-dependent manner in the body.
The greater the amount of anabolic hormones are in your body, the more Myostatin your body will produce in response to inhibit you from gaining too much muscle.
High dose testosterone use comes with a drastically increased risk profile for a ROI that likely doesn't justify its implementation in my opinion.
If you're interested in bodybuilding pharmacology, hormone management, or just health and quality of life optimization in general, this is a good read.
The study is titled “Testosterone Dose-Response Relationships in Healthy Young Men.”
Disclaimer: Testosterone Enanthate was used in this study and you need to consider ester weight when interpreting the blood work results, as well as the infrequent administration frequency.
Objectively, in a performance enhancing context, protein intake was low.
Also, not permitting the participants to undertake strength training or moderate-to-heavy endurance exercise during the study very likely greatly impacted potential muscle accrual.
However, the standardizations implemented ensured that the results were entirely derived from the differing dosages of Testosterone.
The ratios of fat-free mass gain between the different participant groups still illustrate what kind of diminishing returns occur as Myostatin increases in the body, how potent of a muscle building agent Testosterone is, as well as how deleterious supraphysiological dosages of Testosterone will or will not be on health markers in blood work.