When you think of a guy with high testosterone, you probably think of somebody filled with mounds of lean, mean muscle and little fat. Someone like Arnold Schwarzenegger in his prime bodybuilding days, for example. The question is, does having higher testosterone automatically mean you’ll have bigger muscles? We’ll aim to answer that today.
Walk into any gym and ask a guy what one physical factor boosts muscle growth and weight loss, and he’ll probably answer with “higher testosterone.” That’s a correct answer due to the power of testosterone as a primary male hormone. And if you want further proof, just look at studies on anabolic steroids that boost testosterone big-time. In those studies, young males were able to get dramatic muscle mass increases plus fat loss without having to do any exercise at all.
With that being said, we can assume that higher T levels automatically equal more muscle, right? Not necessarily, as it becomes a bit more complicated than that.
Yes, increasing your testosterone can trigger muscle growth, but that’s usually only if your testosterone increases drastically, with “drastically” being the key word in this entire muscle growth equation. If your testosterone only increases within the normal range, muscle growth will hardly be affected, if affected at all.
For example, let’s say you get your T levels tested and you are right in the middle of the normal range. In other words, you’re a healthy male as far as testosterone is concerned. If you increase from normal to high-normal, you won’t get an automatic trigger of muscle growth. Sure, you may feel a higher sex drive and maybe even a bit more confidence and happiness, but muscle growth won’t see much of a nudge.
The fact that increasing T doesn’t automatically equal muscle growth may sound absurd, but it has been proven scientifically by a study from the Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science.
In the study, scientists increased the testosterone of healthy men over a 20-week period. The participants who resided within the normal T range of 300-1,000 ng/dl saw a bit of muscle growth, but there weren’t many differences within that range. In short, the low-normal men saw the same gains as the high-normal men, since both were in the normal range.
On the flip side, the men who had T levels 20-30% above the normal range did see a significant increase in muscle growth. Even though none of the men exercised for this study, which would have resulted in obvious muscle growth, the results go to show you that higher testosterone within a normal range alone will not turn you into a muscle-bound beefcake.
Does this mean you should go all out and take steroids to boost your T above the normal range so you can see muscle growth? Not at all. It just means that you’ll have to combine exercise with whatever T-boosting regimen you choose in order to see the maximum results. As the saying goes, “no pain, no gain.”