dax shepard sitting in front of green brick background

How TRT Helped Dax Shepard Build 24 Pounds of Muscle

At nearly 50, the Armchair Expert host got swole with the help of testosterone, protein shakes, and this specific workout routine.

What prevented Shepard from comfortably slipping into his dad-bod era? Dedication and motivation to popping bicep veins and regularly waging wars with The Rock on Instagram. Apparently, Iron Paradise has nothing on his Black Mold Paradise. To each his own.

From TRT to protein shakes, here’s everything that keeps Shepard moving wonderfully through his late forties.

He’s on TRT

“I spent my whole life as a medium boy, now I’m a big boy and I like it,” Shepard said of his new physique.

Because unlike those who struggled to stick to fitness goals during the pandemic, Shepard emerged from lockdown more swole than ever. In an episode of The Armchair Expert, he opened up about his transformation with guests Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis, who compared his physique to He-Man.

Shepard explained after starting testosterone replacement therapy, he was able to pack on 24 pounds of muscle, bringing his weight up to 210 pounds. Yep. Testosterone injections actually build muscle (1).

Kutcher and Kunis expressed concerns about him using TRT, but Shepard reassured them that low testosterone runs in his family.

Plus, regardless of a well-balanced diet and solid exercise regimen, your body changes as you age, and your hormone and testosterone levels naturally drop approximately one percent per year (2). After getting tested, his physician was able to prescribe him with the appropriate dose of TRT to help normalize his T levels and allow for that insane muscle growth.

Hone’s testosterone assessment is the simplest way to uncover whether your levels are low. It’s fast, simple, and you can do it from home. And if low T is the problem, Hone can help you get you back on top of your game.

He Works Out Like a Horse

TRT can help boost muscle gains (1), but not without a regular strength training program. In tandem with TRT, he’s taken up a rigorous routine that involves heavy lifting six days out of the week and downing protein shakes to fuel muscle growth.

Shepard and Bell are often spotted working out with celebrity trainer and friend Charlie Curtis, who regularly posts heavy strength workouts, prioritizing progressive overload and functional training. We’ll assume Shepard’s subscribed to a heavy dose of all of the above.

He Used to Be a Vegetarian But Is Back to Eating Meat

Shepard first took up the veggie lifestyle in January 2012 after watching the documentary Forks Over Knives. “It’s nothing like the pill in The Matrix but damn good, like 15 percent across the board in every respect,” he told Playboy magazine. “I sleep 15 percent better. My allergies are at least 15 percent better. I have fewer body aches. My skin looks better.”

Despite claimed life-changing effects, his plant-based diet was short-lived. “I’m really flattered to be named ‘Sexiest Vegetarian’ with Kristen Bell, but sadly I can’t accept in good conscience because I eat chicken,” Shepard tweeted in 2013, “I was vegan for a year, but ended 6 months ago.” The tweet has since been taken down. Perhaps seeking atonement, Shepard now posts burger thirst traps. We’ll have what he’s having.

He’s Had a Vasectomy

The actor panicked when Bell thought she was pregnant again in 2016. “I was like, ‘We’re going to turn into John & Kate Plus 8 or something. We already have no life! This is going to be not worth living.’ I freaked out. It was so bad,” he confessed on Jimmy Kimmel.

Both stars had been previously vocal about wanting two children, which they already have—Delta and Lincoln. “We don’t want to be outnumbered,” Bell told Ellen Degeneres in 2015. “We’re gonna cap it at two.”

“For eight hours I was imagining my life with all these kids,” he said. It turned out to be a false alarm. “That was Tuesday. I flew home Wednesday. Thursday morning, I had a vasectomy.”

He’s Sober

Shepard is refreshingly open about his struggles with drug and alcohol addiction. “I loved to get fucked up—drinking, cocaine, opiates, marijuana, diet pills, pain pills, everything. Mostly, my love was Jack Daniel’s and cocaine,” he told Playboy in 2012. “I lived for going down the rabbit hole of meeting weird people. Come Monday I would be tallying up all the different situations, and each one was progressively more dangerous. I got lucky that I didn’t go to jail.”

After celebrating 16 years of being clean, the actor recently relapsed on prescription painkillers after a motorcycle accident in July 2020.  “I still feel very proud that I haven’t drank or done cocaine in 16 years,” he said on an episode of The Armchair Expert, “And also, I haven’t been sober in the way I would like to be sober—where you don’t have secrets, and you’re not afraid to tell people about the gray area you’re going through.” 

Luckily, when Shepard came clean to his loved ones and his Alcoholics Anonymous support group, “The outcome wasn’t anything like I feared it would be,” he shared. “There was so much understanding and kindness and unconditional love. It’s the only experience I can remember having that was just grace—the definition of grace—and it was very emotional. It was a really, really surreal experience. And when it was over, I actually, mentally—for the first time in a very long time—felt optimistic.”

He’s Not a Morning Person, But Coffee and Yacht Rock Help

Shepard and Bell are not morning people. “I have two kids, two and four years old, so whatever time they start screaming, I then get up and go deal with it. But that averages out to be about 7 o’clock in the morning—which has completely changed my routine because I’m a bit of a vampire by nature. My circadian rhythms would have them go to bed at 2 and wake up at 10, but that’s off the table,” he told TODAY in 2017.

Shepard suffers from insomnia and admitted that Bell helps monitor it and let him sleep in when needed. When Shepard is up, “we start our day with yacht rock. When we get in the car, we usually then switch over to hits.”

Before officially starting his day, Shepard has one condition. “Drink coffee: Starbucks French Roast, the 18-ounce cup,” he said. “Get as much down as you can.” Good idea. One study found that people who drink coffee live longer (3).

He Suffers From Psoriatic Arthritis

When Shepard first started feeling severe pain in his feet, at age 33, he thought it was from an old motorcycle injury, he told Laughing With a Leaky Gut. A podiatrist gave him cortisone shots and prescribed dietary changes, surgery, and other treatments, but nothing helped.

After four long years of pain, a dermatologist detected the condition by looking at Shepard’s fingernails—which are known to relay a host of psoriatic arthritis symptoms.

“I’ve known I had psoriatic arthritis for eight years, and once I got that diagnosis, I really started focusing on what I was eating,” Shepard told Eat This, Not That! “For me, it’s eggs, dairy, and gluten. If I can stay away from those three things, generally, my arthritis is way better and I don’t have to take medicine, which is my goal.”

1. Saad, F. et al (2011). Onset of effects of testosterone treatment and time span until maximum effects are achieved. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3188848/
2. Travison, T. et al (2007). A Population-Level Decline in Serum Testosterone Levels in American Men. https://academic.oup.com/jcem/article/92/1/196/2598434
3. Liu, D. et al (2022). Association of Sugar-Sweetened, Artificially Sweetened, and Unsweetened Coffee Consumption With All-Cause and Cause-Specific Mortality. https://www.acpjournals.org/doi/10.7326/M21-2977