Why Dax Shepard’s Alleged Hack for Bigger Biceps Seems Like a Bad Idea
Testosterone injections are not the answer. Here's what you need to know.
Dax Shepard has a pretty big audience these days. His podcast Armchair Expert averages 20 million listeners per month, and was the fourth-highest earning show in 2020, raking in $9 million. At the beginning of July, the podcast officially moved over to Spotify, where President Barack Obama was the first guest for the newest iteration of the show. He’s the new host of a reimagined American edition of Top Gear. He’s one-half (with Kristen Bell) of one of America’s most beloved Hollywood power couples.
That’s all to say — people pay attention when Shepard says things, and a week ago, while hosting Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis on the show, Shepard vouched for testosterone injections as a workout supplement. After Kutcher complimented Shepard’s frame (saying he looks “phenomenal”), Shepard replied: ‘”I spent my whole life as a medium boy, and now I’m a big boy and I like it.” He explained that he combines heavy weights with “heavy testosterone injections.”
To the credit of Kutcher and Kunis, both actors immediately questioned the safety of Shepard’s regimen. But Shepard countered that his family has a history of low testosterone, so … case closed.
Except, the context in which Shepard revealed his use of testosterone injections — as part and parcel with his weightlifting routine — is really all we need to know. The 46-year-old is looking to give his biceps a boost with a little extra T. It’s an idea that’s been marketed to men for decades, and one that many have latched onto and obsessed over: Do I have enough testosterone? And if I want to get big, will I need more?
There are a few legitimate medical reasons that a man would need to have testosterone supplements administered (via oral, topical or injection treatments). Those include genetic disorders, gender-affirming care, a history of drug abuse, and yes, family history, as Shepard alluded to. These can all contribute to male hypogonadism, defined as “a condition in which the body doesn’t produce enough of the hormone that plays a key role in masculine growth.”
We can’t know for sure what T-levels look like on the Shepard family tree, but it’s possible he needs testosterone injections due to his history of drug abuse. In 2012, Shepard told Playboy: “I just loved to get fucked up. Drinking, cocaine, opiates, marijuana, diet pills, pain pills, everything. Mostly, my love was Jack Daniel’s and cocaine.” In 2020, he opened up about his relapse after a recent motorcycle accident.
If Shepard is receiving testosterone injections expressly for one of those serious reasons, then that’s totally understandable. But his framing suggests it’s for bulking purposes. And while testosterone therapy has been linked to increases in muscle mass and improvements in fat distribution, it’s ultimately just not worth it. Taking testosterone without real cause can heighten one’s risk of blood clots, trigger mood swings, sabotage sleep, and ironically, actually shut down the body’s own production of testosterone. If those hormone receptors think they aren’t needed anymore, they’ll go dark for a period of time, if not permanently.
This isn’t the first time a podcast host has unleashed dubious pseudoscience on credulous masses (hey there, Joe Rogan), and it will not be the last. Just take it as a reminder to Google around and get the facts before your start injecting things into your body. And if you’re really struggling to get bigger arms, check out our hardgainers’ guide to putting on muscle.
Thanks for reading InsideHook. Sign up for our daily newsletter and be in the know.
Suggested for you