Victor Martinez tells all on TRT, aka Testosterone Replacement Therapy, and how it differs from using steroids for performance enhancement.

Over the past few years, Testosterone Replacement Therapy, often shortened to TRT, has blown up in the public consciousness of the fitness world. It is a perfectly legal therapy that is often misunderstood. Some consider it to be a form of performance enhancement drug – providing an edge to athletes. This couldn’t be further from the truth. That’s why on this week’s episode of the Generation Iron Podcast, Victor Martinez talks in-detail with the GI crew about TRT, the pros, the cons, how to know if you need it, and which myths need to be debunked.

Let’s get this out of the way first. Yes, TRT is a form of testosterone enhancement. It is typically an injectable therapy provided by a medical professional to raise your testosterone levels. However, this therapy is used as a medical tool to help those who suffer from natural low testosterone. TRT, in essence, is only used to bring your body to normal levels of testosterone for your age. It is not used for performance enhancement, it’s perfectly legal, and is often allowed by athletes in professional sports.

Victor Martinez, having lived an entire career as a pro bodybuilder, is very familiar with TRT, the pros, the cons, and how to know when you may need it. Testosterone Replacement Therapy has been in many headlines over the past few years. This is due to a new openness about talking about the procedure. Most notably, bodybuilding and strength sport influencers Larry Wheels and Liver King have announced and been publicly chronicling their use of TRT.

Unfortunately, due to the increased exposure of this treatment, there has been quite a bit of misinformation and misunderstanding surrounding TRT. It should be noted that Victor Martinez nor any of the GI team are medical professionals. But with Martinez’s experience in the sport – he feels the need to address the TRT trend so that others can better understand the treatment. Let’s jump into it.

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How to know if you need TRT

As we age, our bodies change. It is not uncommon for a person in middle age to start producing less natural testosterone. This is for many reasons. It is partly an unavoidable part of the aging process – our body’s natural decay. Low testosterone is also caused by our lifestyle choices as we age. An entire childhood and young adulthood of poor dieting, poor exercise, and sedentary lifestyles can lead to low testosterone production later in life.

In bodybuilding and other high level pro sports, low natural testosterone can also be caused by long term steroid and PED use. After taking large amounts of steroids consistently for a long time – your body will lose its ability to naturally produce testosterone. This is why many pro bodybuilders and strength athletes have been open about their use of TRT. This includes the likes of Dorian Yates, Larry Wheels, Liver King, and many more.

Low testosterone can lead to many side effects, some of which can cause an individual much pain and suffering throughout late adulthood. Common symptoms of low testosterone are:

  • Low sex drive and sperm count.
  • Sleep problems such as insomnia.
  • Decrease in muscle size and strength.
  • Bone loss.
  • Increase in body fat.
  • Depression.
  • Fatigue.

As you can see, some of these symptoms can be very life altering. It can put your entire perspective into a more challenging and negative headspace. Not only that, but the physical side effects, such as weight gain, can have a long term affect on your health.

If you are an individual who is 40 years or older and suffer from these symptoms, it might be a good idea to consult a doctor. TRT can be a treatment prescribed after a thorough examination. This includes a full panel blood test to determine if low testosterone is the cause of your symptoms.

It must also be noted that a doctor will also require other aspects of your health are in good condition in order to use TRT. Often a doctor will determine if your liver function, prostate function, and blood pressure are in proper order. If not – those conditions may need to first be addressed before beginning TRT.

The pros and cons of TRT

If it is determined that you are a good fit for TRT, then the treatment can begin in earnest. Keep in mind that this therapy is meant to be done consistently and is often required for the rest of your life. This treatment should not be used as a legal form of performance enhancement. Nor should it be seen this way by the general public. It is a medical therapy, completely legal, that helps make lives healthier and better.

That being said, there are also cons that come with the use of TRT alongside the pros. Let’s break it down:


The pros of TRT often reflect fixing the ailments that you experiencing from low testosterone. This leads to an overall healthier sense of self.

  • Increased positive mood and sense of well-being.
  • Higher energy levels.
  • increased sex drive and function.
  • Leaner body mass.
  • Increased bone mineral density
  • Some benefits to cardiovascular risk factors


The cons of TRT are often slighter and similar to the stereotypical side effects you associate with steroid use. Ultimately, you are still taking an increased dose of testosterone – which will have some side effects on your body.

  • Acne or oily skin.
  • Hair loss.
  • Swelling or tenderness of breasts.
  • Swelling of the ankles (fluid retention)
  • A decrease in the stream or frequency of urination.
  • High blood cell counts (which could increase the risk of blood clots)
  • Sleep apnea or worsening of sleep apnea (difficulty breathing during sleep)

Debunking TRT myths

In the sporting world, TRT is sometimes misconstrued as being a form of performance enhancement. If an athlete is using TRT and competition in a pro sport – it can be frowned upon by those who don’t understand the treatment. Some even believe that it is an unhealthy grift of a procedure. These negative associations often come from the general taboo around steroid use.

Often times, a person who needs TRT is 40 years old or over. Due to this, you don’t see too many athletes who are using TRT while active in their career. However, there are some choice cases. Often times in this kind of situation, the athlete will work with the league or agency to ensure no cheating is occurring.

Victor emphasizes that low natural testosterone is a form of illness. It can lead to some serious suffering in adult lives. If a you or a person you know are recommended TRT by a doctor after detailed tests – it should not be something to be afraid of or avoid. Ultimately, TRT is a treatment that helps make lives better and healthier. It has stopped suffering for many middle aged men and women alike.

So when the topic of “natty or not” comes up. When debating if an athlete or person is natural or enhanced – TRT should not be in the conversation.

Wrap Up

Victor Martinez and the GI team go into great detail while discussing Testosterone Replacement Therapy. While none of our podcast hosts are medical professionals – they provide some valuable insight and real world experience in the hopes that the taboo around TRT can be reduced. If you believe that you might be suffering from low testosterone – always consult a doctor first.

You can watch Victor Martinez and the GI crew’s full comments on TRT in the latest episode of the Generation Iron Podcast above. Make sure to check back every Tuesday for new episodes only on the Generation Iron Fitness Network or wherever podcasts are downloaded.

Austin Letorney
Austin Letorney is a writer, actor, and fitness enthusiast. As a former rower, he has shifted his focus to sharing his knowledge of the fitness world and strength sports with others.