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  1. #1
    Registered User Brentv's Avatar
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    Calorie deficit and muscle gain

    I'd just like to know, when i'm eating a clean diet with a +- 500 calorie deficit, is it possible to still gain muscle? I ask because i'm doing a low volume high intensity workout program while on a deficit because i'm in the process of a cut, and don't want to build any muscle at the moment.
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    Registered User imccarthy's Avatar
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    Extremely unlikely unless you are 'enhanced' or have just started training.
    Food quality does not change the laws of thermodynamics. Provided you consume adequate protein, EFAs, fiber, and vitamins and minerals you can eat whatever you want.

    The only difference between a 'clean' and a 'dirty' food is how much of it you eat.

    The Glycemic Index is meaningless unless you eat carbs alone in a fasted state. As soon as you add fat, protein, or fiber to a meal or have eaten in the previous 4-6 hours the GI is irrelevant.
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  3. #3
    boyunderthebridge.com Ricky_k's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Brentv View Post
    I'd just like to know, when i'm eating a clean diet with a +- 500 calorie deficit, is it possible to still gain muscle? I ask because i'm doing a low volume high intensity workout program while on a deficit because i'm in the process of a cut, and don't want to build any muscle at the moment.
    i wont kil your motivation by saying NO,

    ill remind you that the lower the cal deficit the less chance of muscle loss.

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  4. #4
    Registered User Brentv's Avatar
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    Yeah i just don't want to bulk up right now. I'm happy with my physique, i just want to cut off excess fat.
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    Registered User Jules Verne's Avatar
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    I think you're doing the right thing. For nearly anyone I can imagine 500kcal deficit is too much to build muscle at the same time.

    Plus low volume, high intensity is good for maintaining or even increasing strength without as much hypertrophy (even if eating around maintenance) as a higher volume, lower intensity program.

    By 'high intensity' I guess you mean working in the 1-4 rep range? Or at least in this context you should be.
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  6. #6
    Registered User Brentv's Avatar
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    Yes by "high intensity" i mean 1-4 reps.

    So i can expect to cut alot because of the calorie expenditure, but not grow much or any muscle...
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    Registered User Jules Verne's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Brentv View Post
    Yes by "high intensity" i mean 1-4 reps.

    So i can expect to cut alot because of the calorie expenditure, but not grow much or any muscle...
    Cut calories until you are losing ~1lb/week on average, then you'll know you are in a good calorie deficit,then YES, that's exactly what I would expect.

    The only other point I would make is that depending on how long you are cutting for, you might want to include some higher rep work on smaller muscle groups (maybe some isolation stuff) to maintain those. Also if you are going to cut for a while (definitely if more than 8-12 weeks), I would swap in a week or two of lower intensity work every now and then. Maybe 1 week out of every 4-5 @ 6-10 reps depending on bodypart and probably a rest week somewhere in an 8-12 week cycle too. Exactly what you do is very individual though.
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  8. #8
    Registered User Brentv's Avatar
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    Great thanks! It would obviously be important to maintain strength in all the muscles.

    I haven't been able to train for awhile due to a shoulder injury. However i've maintained a high-protein diet so in theory the muscle-loss should be minimal? Of course i'll lose strength though. My weight hasn't dropped at all so i can't be losing muscle? I know i'm not gaining fat because my definition is improving due to my extremely clean diet.
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    Back for more liftjunkie06's Avatar
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    You just defined a cut in a simple way. And no, naturals cannot build muscle while cutting, except in extremely rare circumstances, from what I understand. After dieting, you can be more primed for growth though, so hit it hard after the diet. Just somewhat ease back into the higher calories.
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  10. #10
    nevigsawkufelgnisaton in10city's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Brentv View Post
    Great thanks! It would obviously be important to maintain strength in all the muscles.

    I haven't been able to train for awhile due to a shoulder injury. However i've maintained a high-protein diet so in theory the muscle-loss should be minimal? Of course i'll lose strength though. My weight hasn't dropped at all so i can't be losing muscle? I know i'm not gaining fat because my definition is improving due to my extremely clean diet.
    A high protein diet won't prevent muscle loss in an of itself. Unless you've built an appreciable amount, there probably wasn't a tremendous amount of loss anyway.

    Strength maintenance and improvements are related in part to improvements in neuromuscular / motor unit / muscle fiber activation and recruitment. Since you're starting up again, you'll likely have neural improvements since that is something that drops off with detraining. So strength may not be indicative of actual muscle gain or loss.
    It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.
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  11. #11
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    I going to ask this question.. If he found a weight that wasn't too light for him, wouldn't it be better if he bang out 4 sets and 10 reps with that. Maybe just drop 5 -10lbs. Then have little to no rest in between. Maybe I'm talking out of my ass but I would figure that would be a high intensity regime and it would burn the fat.
    Opinions?
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  12. #12
    nevigsawkufelgnisaton in10city's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by NFTactics View Post
    I going to ask this question.. If he found a weight that wasn't too light for him, wouldn't it be better if he bang out 4 sets and 10 reps with that. Maybe just drop 5 -10lbs. Then have little to no rest in between. Maybe I'm talking out of my ass but I would figure that would be a high intensity regime and it would burn the fat.
    Opinions?
    Doubtful for most when you base your training upon metabolic/depletion training. But metabolic/depletion training has it's place. A combination of the two makes more sense if anything.

    If heavy training works for you to build muscle it will help to retain muscle. Switching to some "high rep" training style for the sake of "cutting" is an old story that won't die.
    Last edited by in10city; 09-30-2008 at 07:03 AM.
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  13. #13
    Registered User RNRW's Avatar
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    Unless youre a beginner, you wont be able to gain any muscle while in a hypocaloric state...what could the muscles possibly build off of, they need something extra...
    Remember that, even professional bb's who are often full of several drugs STILL lose muscle when dieting for a show...
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  14. #14
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    Actually, I was on an 800 cal deficit and I gained 1lb of muscle over a 1.5 month period.

    I think this has more to do with the fact that I had VERY VERY low muscle mass.

    I basically went from 122lbs lean muscle to 123lbs lean muscle...so sad...

    Oh and I got dunk tested, that's how I know.
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    it is possible, but unlikely. I have gained muscle on a calorie deficit before and that was because i consumed a lot of protein
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    Originally Posted by chenrko420 View Post
    and that was because i consumed a lot of protein
    Err, no it wasn't.

    It's going to depend a bit on your nutrition, but to a greater extent on how close you are to your genetic potential in LBM and your current BF% as well as your training regime.

    In other words IF you are very far from your genetic potential and are not very low BF, THEN if you eat well and follow a good training program, it is certainly possible you will/can gain some muscle on a calorie deficit.
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    I think it's question to genetics, I used to eat less calories than I burnt but was gaining muscle. Now I am bulking and with proper diet muscles are skyrocketing, 1 cm biceps gain in a month is a must
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    Question Somatotyping and muscle gain.

    Originally Posted by fxtrader777 View Post
    I think it's question to genetics, I used to eat less calories than I burnt but was gaining muscle. Now I am bulking and with proper diet muscles are skyrocketing, 1 cm biceps gain in a month is a must
    I have a question for anyone willing to answer. Could it be at all possible for an endomorph( easy mass/ fat gain) to build muscle on a calorie deficeit since we( endomorphs) are predisposed to gaining mass easily.
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