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A skinny, rail-thin man who felt self-conscious about his thin frame has transformed himself from scrawny to brawny, like the “Before/After” photos in the comic book advertisements for muscle-building, mail-order courses...after doctors told him to take testosterone injections.
Danny May, 25, from Liverpool, United Kingdom, struggled with his body image for years until he discovered that he suffers from a condition that prevents his body from producing testosterone, the 'male' hormone, naturally.
But since he began medically supervised testosterone replacement therapy (TRT), the bartender who was once mistaken for a child by a waitress has become a bodybuilder with a commanding presence that lets people know without asking what he does in his spare time: hit the weights.
Danny had suffered as a result of his body image throughout school, and always felt significantly smaller than friends and was unable to find a girlfriend because of his boney, scrawny physique.
But When He Was 20, He Discovered What His Problem Was
He had a condition called Kallmann Syndrome, a rare disease which affects one in 50,000 and means the body doesn't produce testosterone.
In essence, he had the body of a pre-pubescent 11-year-old.
Fed up with the slights and insults, Danny declared war on his weakness and hit the gym.
Finally, Danny's body began to change, and as a result of his hard work, he achieved the muscles he had always dreamed of.
He said: 'After a lot of hard work I have a superhero's body. When people see me now, they can't believe I'm the same person. I have gone through a complete transformation. People I've known since school see me on the street and do not realize it's me.”
For years as a slight young man, watching his friends grow and change while he stayed the same, Danny became increasingly anxious about his body.
He dreaded team sports since he was usually picked last, and his self-confidence was rock-bottom. He honestly felt like life was passing him by.
The Final Humiliation
The final humiliation came when out to dinner with his family for his 18th birthday when a waitress assumed he was young and handed him a children's' menu when they sat down to eat.
He said: 'I can laugh about it now, but at the time I was devastated. The menu was for children under ten years old. Everyone else around me was growing up, and I wasn't. I felt trapped in the body of an 11-year-old. I was worried I was going to stay a kid forever.”
He continued: "My friends started going on nights out. I hated being asked questions about my size all the time, and I was always asked for my ID by bouncers. I shut myself off and stayed in rather than spending time with friends. I got lonelier and more self-conscious."
In desperation, Danny visited a multitude of doctors who eventually diagnosed him with Kallmann syndrome which means he can't naturally produce testosterone: the hormone which helps men develop reproductive tissues such as the testis and prostate.
It also promotes secondary sexual characteristics such as increased muscle mass and growth of body hair.
His physicians put Danny on a course of TRT.
He receives 250mg of the hormone via intramuscular injections every two weeks.
He said: 'It took a while for medics to get the right levels of testosterone for me. I saw a very little change for the first couple of years.'
6,000 Calories a Day
To escape his childlike body, Danny joined his local gym and started pumping iron.
Danny also started consuming close to 6,000 calories a day while trying to add muscle mass, eating seven times a day.
He ate loads of turkey bacon, a steak, spinach, half an avocado, two slices gluten and wheat free bread, scrambled eggs cooked in coconut oil, lactose-free milk, oats, one multi-vitamin pill and a vitamin D pill...just for breakfast!
Throughout the day Danny would eat protein-rich meats, complex carbohydrates, and fresh vegetables.
He said: “Going to the gym was like therapy. I went religiously for six years. I didn't see any progress for a year. I looked the same, and I wasn't getting stronger. I kept at it, and I kept working on my diet and training. It took longer for me to build muscle than the average person.”
Danny has devoted the last six years of his life training up to five times a week in the gym, with an almost religious fervor.
He has bulked up from 7 stone (91 pounds) to 13 stone (182 lbs).
When he began his training, he could not even lift a 20kg (45 pounds) bar.
Now he can bench 105kg (231 lbs, more than his body weight), and can deadlift 200kg (441 pounds), more than the weight of an adult male lion.
'When I first started going I used the 2kg dumbbells, (4.4 pounds)' said Danny. 'I'm getting much better now, and I have an excellent understanding of the human body.'
Despite his fantastic transformation and a physique that screams “I mean business,” Danny said he still lacks confidence, is somewhat shy and hasn't managed to find a girlfriend yet.
He said: 'It's weird, but I still feel like the same person inside.
"I don't have much more confidence; I'm a shy reserved person.
'The gym is one of the places I do feel confident. I know what I'm doing in there. I have managed to achieve what I thought was impossible by building muscle. I'm sure a better tomorrow is around the corner.”
His journey and startling transformation echo that of Captain America, the superhero leader of The Avengers.
The Marvel superhero is 'created' after a frail Steve Rogers is transformed into Captain America with the help of Super Soldier Serum, providing him with increased stamina, speed and strength.
Not Everyone Is Convinced
However, unlike a comic book, doctors warn that testosterone replacement therapy should be treated with extreme caution in real life.
Dr. Richard Petty, the founder and medical director of the Wellman Clinic, said: 'It would not be a very good idea to give excess testosterone to someone with normal levels of the hormone.
'Your body will make more estrogen to offset the excess testosterone, men produce some anyway but not nearly as much as women.
'If a man has too much estrogen, then feminization will begin -- he will develop feminine qualities.
This could lead to the development of male breasts, or “bitch tits,” which is commonly used as slang in the world of bodybuilding.
'It won't do any harm other than that; it has now been widely disproved that excess testosterone causes prostate cancer. In my experience though most men don't want female characteristics to develop.
'A lot of men, particularly in America, seem to get it into their heads that TRT will help them in the bedroom.
'However, they may find the opposite happens, and they lose their sex drive and grow breasts.'
These last few paragraphs drive home a serious point: don't try this alone.
Testosterone replacement therapy is not to be undertaken lightly. If you decide to try hormone therapy, contact our clinic. We will ensure you receive the maximum benefit from your treatment and receive it safely.
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