Question: Agender fitness without being on T?

Adrienne asks…

I am a FAAB agender (neutrois, specifically), and I was wondering if you all could give me some support/ideas.

I really want to become stronger and have a bigger and more muscular body, but I don’t want to go on T, because I’m worried that all the rest of the changes compounded will take me too far in the other direction toward being male, which is where I don’t want to go

With the female body that I was born with, is it possible for me to become much stronger without taking supplements or things like body builders do?
…more like Scott from Teen Wolf (minus the shirt and flat chest).

Thank you so much.

Please post your response in the comments below.

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Posted by on September 22nd, 2013 at 08:00 am

Category: questions 14 comments »

14 Responses to “Question: Agender fitness without being on T?”

  1. Callista

    Hmm, well–As far as I’ve learned, starting from female biology and going with weight training, you’d tend to get a sort of athletic, wiry look rather than a more bulky one like you’d get with testosterone in your system. I highly doubt it would make you look any more feminine.


  2. Charlotte d'Arcangelo

    Frankly, I have no idea what Callista (above) is talking about. Resistance training (weight lifting, bench pressing, etc.) as opposed to cardiovascular training (running, etc.) definitely allows anyone bulk up, regardless of biology. You don’t need a diet of 100% whey, just exercise regularly and eat healthy.

    To answer your question: YES, absolutely. Ever seen female water polo players? Even the ones in high school? And when it comes to these sorts of things, having a buddy tag along is *invaluable.*


    Callista replied:

    Sorry, I don’t think I came across right. I didn’t mean that your muscles wouldn’t get bigger at all–just that you don’t get the bulky bodybuilder look. Look at female athletes, you’ll see what I mean–you can see the muscles, they’re bigger than the average woman’s, but they’re more streamlined than a male athlete’s, sort of a functional build.


  3. wendy

    without testosterone a female bodied person can not get “bulky”. if you can figure out your total daily energy expenditure (tdee – there are calculators online) you can determine your caloric needs in order to gain, lose, or maintain your weight. if you want to gain weight in the form of muscle, you must lift weights, eat at a 15-20% surplus, and do your homework on protein intake. but no matter what, without testosterone, you can not develop male musculature.


  4. Ryan

    So, the reason everyone’s giving different answers on this is because there is no one right answer. It really depends on your body and what kind of exercise you can do and enjoy doing.

    First of all, though, in response to the above comment, yes, female bodies absolutely can get bulky without testosterone, but they don’t look the same as bulky male bodies, and individual bodies doing the same exercise still will vary significantly from each other. My sister did powerlifting for a while and developed a body like a brick house, but it was still clearly a female body with female fat distribution. She could easily lift me (150 lbs at the time) with one arm and she was leg pressing about 1000 lbs daily. She was definitely bulky and had massive muscles. I could barely get both hands around her biceps, and I have long fingers. Because of the way she and all the women in our family distribute fat, she didn’t have the crisp defined lines of a bodybuilder and she still had feminine-looking hips, but if she flexed, her muscles clearly bulged and became defined. Also, they felt like solid rocks.

    What you’ll get from powerlifting could be really different, though. Also powerlifting is really hard on your body, and it may not be the look you’re going for anyway. Personal trainers will often give men and women different training because they think people with female bodies DON’T want to bulk up, but if you hire a personal trainer and say that’s exactly what you want, it may get the results you want.

    My advice would be just to try a variety of exercises (and you really need to stick with one routine for at least 3 or 4 months to see clear results) and see how they affect your body and what gives you the look you like. Also, pick something you will actually like doing. If you aren’t having fun while you’re exercising, or getting some other kind of serious validation or affirmation, you aren’t going to keep doing it unless you’re just a super disciplined person in general. Personally, as someone with a slender male body who doesn’t want to get bulky and masculine-looking, I like what rockclimbing does to my body and I find it incredibly enjoyable.


  5. Anonymous

    This made me think of Heather Cassils — trans* artist and personal trainer.


    Callista replied:

    [They] took steroids for eight weeks, though…

    I wonder–is T absolutely out of the question, or would a low dose be something to think about? Maybe if you didn’t go too far to the male side, you could stop nicely in the middle.


    Callista replied:

    Oops, pronouns. I didn’t realize “she” probably isn’t the correct pronoun to use here. I just saw “Heather” and figured “she”. On the web site there aren’t any pronouns, just names, so… Oops. Wish this thing had an edit button.


    tigr replied:

    There is an edit button, but only for top-level comments, not for replies. (Comment editing and replies/threaded comments are provided by two separate WordPress plugins, which apparently don’t fully cooperate. If anyone’s got a solution, I’d be happy to hear.) I took the liberty of editing your other comment, hope that was in your interest.

    Anonymous replied:

    I am the original poster about Heather Cassils. I have wondered what their preferred pronouns would be and it’s not easy to find out, which I think may be an intentional wish to avoid being tied to any identity. On Facebook, there is an artist’s bio using ‘she’ and ‘her’ though (unlike mine which avoids all pronouns!):
    But also gives Gender as ‘Plural (mixed)’.

    Really looking forward to seeing them perform ‘Becoming an Image’ in the UK in a couple of weeks though.

    (I mean use of they/their here in an inclusive way, intended to respect the ambiguity of HC’s identity.)

    Callista replied:

    Thanks, tigr. :)

  6. Bit

    Hey, Andrienne, I’m also faab and androgynous and trying to look more muscular and not interested in medical interventions.

    Some people build muscle more easily than others. I don’t build muscle easily, and none of the men in family do either (they are all thin and wiry); yet my wife can build massive amounts of muscle pretty fast without any special diet or hormones, so I think it has a lot to do with genes.

    I had some success with upper body training. I used a pullup bar, which is good for balanced, all-over upper body strength and works your back, arms, chest, shoulders, and abdomen. It was really hard starting out, so I used resistance bands to help lift me up until I was strong enough to do unassisted pullups.

    Any time you strengthen a muscle, it will get bigger– maybe not much bigger, but bigger. After six months of hard work on the pullup bar, a friend of mine squinted at me, tilted her head, and said, “Have you put on weight or something? You look more masculine somehow.”

    The effect was very subtle, but it was enough to make people look at me more carefully before calling me “m’am,” and it made me strong enough to lift things at work without having to ask my male co-workers for help, and for me, that was enough.

    Tell us how it goes, yeah?


  7. El

    Look up Trans Queer Nation, you have to sign up to get information. It’s like facebook for gender variant people with resources. I just heard about this guy Tristan Skye who transitioned FTM using a natural method, no hormones, just food and exercise/work outs. I’m gender queer too and hoping the right work out will sculpt my body a little bit more like I see it. Any way I heard on Gendercast (a podcast talking about transmasculine issues) that this is a great resource for changing your body naturally.
    Good luck.


  8. S.

    I’m also Agender and don’t wanna take T. My means of exercise is power walking long distances with two bags of heavy groceries. I could take the bus, but in the past, this technique has worked well in keeping me in shape.


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