Is Testosterone and exercise alone enough to gain muscle mass?


Hi Nelson,

I am on 5g of Androgel a day which I put on every morning. My testosterone was borderline low for a normal male age 36, but with HIV present, who knows really what the norm is for testosterone levels.

I have been positive since 2003 and am not yet on medications, my CD4 count is around 850 and percent remains high at around 45%.

I do not get sick very often at all, I have had a toe fungus in my big toe which I treat topically. But nothing major yet.

I would say I have mild lipo issues as I can tell some of the fat on my face, forearms, legs, and buttocks has vanished. Although most people would not notice.

I was wondering if just taking testosterone alone and exercising is enough to gain muscle mass? My doctor doesn't see the need to add an anabolic, but I've been tempted to go on my own and get something like Anavar taken orally and see if that helps me bulk up at all.

Should I also take protein drinks or supplements like isopure? Is Boost high protein and good or ensure? I did try Juven for a while, but it is so expensive and I didn't really notice a difference.

I don't want to become huge, but I would like to put on maybe 10-20lbs of muscle. I'm 5 foot 6 and I weigh around 140.

Thanks for any advice.



First of all, you need to find out what your total and free testosterone are right now after using 5 grams of Androgel per day. Some people need to increase the dose to 10 grams since their testosterone blood levels do not raise to the 500-1000 nanogram per dl range using the lower dose.

A study that looked at testosterone replacement in HIV positives with or without exercise showed an increase of weight (they did not measure lean body mass) of almost 6 pounds at week 16. But these patients were in the low side of testosterone and had at least 5% weight loss prior to starting the study. But in my experience, this weight gain (most of it being lean body mass) is not far off what we see in healthy men who start testosterone replacement.

Anavar is Oxandrin, an oral anabolic widely used in treating HIV related weight loss. If you use it, you'd better do so with testosterone replacement. It has shown good increases in lean body mass in HIV studies. But be careful with liver enzymes and lowering of your HDL levels.

I like Isopure since it is the lightest protein in the market. Adding 5 grams of creatine monohydrate is also a good idea. But make sure your doctor follows your creatinine blood levels and creatinine clearance if you start using both.