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I am male,35 years old, 75 kg (with a lot of fat around the chest and belly), and 180 cm. I have been doing Karate for 20 years since I was 7 years old. I was very fit but after my back injury (I have taken so many anti-inflammatories), I then got Helicobacter which has been eradicated after long years, from this moment everything in my body/mind has changed to the worst.

I have been tested for testosterone level and it was so low, 350 ng/dL. Before I did the test, I was complaining of very low energy, struggling to improve my weight lifting, long time recovery, and to gain muscle.

I have improved since I started lifting but I feel I am very slow, I gained a little of muscles but not much compared to the amount of time spent. I have been in the gym for 9 months to train but the result does not seem great. I have hired a personal trainer but it seems he does not understand that I am far from a normal healthy person that I can follow his program.

My doc suggested to try for two weeks TRT but he said only two weeks since he said it has side effects that could worsen my situation (I have histamine intolerance). I would say I have been through a lot of health issue form the Herniated disc( helicobacter and gastritis were for years), Now facing Histamine intolerance which makes me hard to get enough protein since I do not tolerate almost all rich protein food and the protein shake as well(I can take with suffering from histamine reaction) My training plan is 03 times a week, 1H15 each time. with a cardio (hiking, swimming, treadmill for 30min)

the plan for 8 weeks is:

1-Turkish Get Up: 03 sets of 03 rep for each side with 6Kg.

2-Deadlift: 03 sets of 10 reps with 18Kg.

3-Pelvic tilt: 03 sets of 10 reps.

4-Chin up: 03 sets of 8 reps.

5-Lat pull: 03 sets of 10 with 9 Kg.

6-Single leg squat: 03 sets of 8 reps.

7-Gladiator: 03 sets of 7 reps.

Note: I feel very exhausted during the chin up, single-leg squat, Gladiator which was not the case when I used to train for 4 hours without any a problem.

Nutrition: I just try to eat as much as Protein I can tolerate:

1-Protein: Yellow egg (6 per day), cheese (Gouda 60-90mg per day ), chicken 250gr per day, 30gr rice protein shake, a lot of olive oil, sometimes salmon fish.Can't eat red meat(anaphylaxis reaction).

2-carbs: I really don't count that. But, Yes I exaggerated with the sugar intake(a lot of fruit and chocolate around 70gr of sugar per day).

My questions:

  • How can I adapt my training to gain muscles with my Low T?
  • Is it safe to train with Low T and is there specific programs for men with Low T?
  • Is there hope in boosting my testosterone with diet?
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    I think males tend to focus on their "low T" number and tunnel vision on getting it higher. What has your diet and exercise regime looked like, low testosterone aside? – C. Lange Jul 17 at 13:58
  • I have never wanted to test it but my doc asked for it and it might be explained why I have low resitance to exercice – Yaakov Jul 19 at 12:43
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    350 ng/dL is within a normal range for testosterone. It's only barely below average for 35 year old males (50th percentile ~450 ng/dL). If Jeff Nippard can build an amazing physique with a testosterone level equal to yours, I don't see why you would have any issues purely based on testosterone. youtu.be/Oml-f1yUz2w – JustSnilloc Jul 19 at 13:11
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    @JustSnilloc What is that range based on? Thousands of men between the age of 18-85 with a normal distribution where a few standard deviations to the left is 300-ish and a few to the right is 1200-ish? Yet, somehow, magically, if he slipped in at 299 (assuming that was the cutoff), he is suddenly diagnosed with low T and now all his symptoms are validated? I was told this same line from my doc for years because I was “normal.” When I finally got on TRT it changed my life. Anecdotal, sure, but I was denied treatment because of a reference range and spent years wondering why I didn’t feel right. – Frank Jul 30 at 11:35
  • @Frank, are you taking injections or gel? – Yaakov Aug 11 at 14:40
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You do not have "low testosterone" and even if you did, you would build muscle and overall fitness the same way that everyone else does - through training. 350 ng/dL is within a normal range for a 35 year old man, for reference 450 ng/dL is the 50th percentile (the exact middle, neither high nor low).

Getting to a healthy bodyfat level will likely improve testosterone levels, being too high or too low will decrease testosterone however. Based purely off of observation, I would imagine that 10-20% bodyfat for a male is the range that you'd want to be in. To that end, your nutrition and training can help to improve testosterone if you aren't within that bodyfat range. However, changing your testosterone levels within a normal range isn't going to change much.

However, I would strongly urge you to not worry about it. If you really want to do TRT, that's fine if your doctor thinks it's fine. It would likely improve your capacity to build muscle and get fit, but you still have to put in the work to make it happen. TRT isn't going to provide the stimulus that causes your body to adapt towards building muscle and being fit. Instead, TRT will simply make such efforts more effective.

What should you do then? Focus the majority of your training efforts on big compound lifts like deadlifts, squats, and bench press. Including things like overhead press, lat pulldown/pullups, and rows would help to ensure everything is being worked. Include some cardio training if you want to improve cardiovascular fitness and burn extra calories. For nutrition, eat an appropriate amount of calories (start with your TDEE and adjust from there) and get enough protein (2.2g per kg of lean mass) and you'll be on the right track.

For further reading, I would recommend the following article. https://examine.com/nutrition/increase-testosterone-naturally/

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I have low T also (390) and have been able to gain muscle by training hard 3x a week (5 sets, 6 reps of bench, press, squats, pull downs, dead lifts). The key, however, it eating a ton (4 protein shakes a day with 30-50 grams of protein, along with three big meals a day). Do this and I GUARANTEE you that you’ll gain muscle, but you HAVE to train three days a week CONSISTENTLY! DONT MISS A WORKOUT!!!

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  • SO you are always doing the squat,pulldowns and deadlift in each session? I struggle to get enough protein. I have somehow intolerance to protein – Yaakov Jul 19 at 13:06
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Low testosterone in men is only caused by two main factors, there are actually more possible things happening here but the two most common are being fat and old.

Some people look skinny, even though they are fat. You can be a stick man of 60 kilos ( 144 pounds) but 25% bodyfat...which means you are borderline obese. Obesity is not about how much you weight but about how much of you is pure fat.

The other factor is age. In the first case you can just lose weight and have normal testosterone. In the second factor a medical doctor can prescribe you testosterone. It is legal and safe and healthy if monitored by a doctor, after all you are not taking excess testosterone which can cause various problems, but you are just restoring your normal healthy amount.

But what if you want to avoid injectable testosterone and being reliant on drugs? Guess what?! Women have 15 times less testosterone than men and they can build muscle up 60% or 70% as fast as males.

And unless you are a woman or your testicles were removed surgically, then there's no way you have such low testosterone.

So women can build muscle with 15 (ng/dL) of testosterone, not as fast as men but half as fast or slightly faster than half the speed of a man. You have 350 (ng/dL), that's way more than enough.

After the age of 20 males lose testosterone every single passing year, but they are never gonna get to the level of a female.

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  • THe DOc said I have too low T for my age.(It is legal and safe and healthy if monitored by a doctor, after all you are not taking excess testosterone which can cause various problems, but you are just restoring your normal healthy amount.),he suggested me to take it (TRT gel 2%) only for few weeks as he said there are well know side effect for long term use. my question if i stop will the fat will be back and is it good at my age to start this? – Yaakov Jul 19 at 12:52

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