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  1. #1
    Registered User fitfennel's Avatar
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    Can you gain muscle while losing weight?

    Ive heard that when you lose weight you can't put on muscle. Is this true? Im keeping to a 1700 calorie diet which should allow me to lose a pound/week. Im also eating close to a 100g of protein/day. Im not trying to enter a weight lifting competition or anything. My goal is to lose fat and get some good definition. Im new to weight training, started about 4 weeks ago. What do you guys think about this and if you have good advice please help! thanks
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  2. #2
    Registered User mellie369's Avatar
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    I know it is possible. Last year I lost 40 lbs and gained a crap load of muscle (went from benching 85 lbs to benching 170 lbs). But, at 123 lbs, how much more are you looking to lose? I'm the same height as you and about 25 lbs heavier (granted, I still have some fat to lose myself).
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  3. #3
    Registered User fitfennel's Avatar
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    Well i have more body fat than i want right now and id like to get rid of it. I think my ideal body weight would be around 115- 120. Just not sure what my plan should be right now. Should I keep eating at a deficit or should I maintain my current weight, possibly eat more n once i have put on some muscle, get rid of fat?
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  4. #4
    Registered User EricaJuneBaby's Avatar
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    Yes there have been lots of examples of beginners you have been able to put on lean body mass and lose fat at the same time, at first it happens quite quickly actually but it does slow down so you may have to decide at that point what you want to focus on, because when you get leaner it gets a lot harder to do that.
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  5. #5
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    Originally Posted by mellie369 View Post
    I know it is possible. Last year I lost 40 lbs and gained a crap load of muscle (went from benching 85 lbs to benching 170 lbs). But, at 123 lbs, how much more are you looking to lose? I'm the same height as you and about 25 lbs heavier (granted, I still have some fat to lose myself).
    You can gain strength while losing weight. Muscle you can not.
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  6. #6
    ArmyWife65 armywife65's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by EricaJuneBaby View Post
    Yes there have been lots of examples of beginners you have been able to put on lean body mass and lose fat at the same time, at first it happens quite quickly actually but it does slow down so you may have to decide at that point what you want to focus on, because when you get leaner it gets a lot harder to do that.
    That's where I'm at right now. For the past 3 months, I have lost 6#, gained strength and some muscles, but now I'm at a stand still. And you sort of answered my question.... Where do I go from here?. I guess from what you are saying is, at this point, I need to focus on...which is almost everything...hahah! =D. but mostly my ABS, we all know how that is or for some, was.

    thanks for the info
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  7. #7
    Plain Jane Who Lifts **** kimm4's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by mellie369 View Post
    I know it is possible. Last year I lost 40 lbs and gained a crap load of muscle (went from benching 85 lbs to benching 170 lbs). But, at 123 lbs, how much more are you looking to lose? I'm the same height as you and about 25 lbs heavier (granted, I still have some fat to lose myself).
    I'm sorry, but when a person is eating in a deficit they don't gain a "crap load" of muscle...not even close...

    Yes there will be newbie gains...but it's not as earth shattering as people seem to think.
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  8. #8
    Registered User EricaJuneBaby's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by armywife65 View Post
    That's where I'm at right now. For the past 3 months, I have lost 6#, gained strength and some muscles, but now I'm at a stand still. And you sort of answered my question.... Where do I go from here?. I guess from what you are saying is, at this point, I need to focus on...which is almost everything...hahah! =D. but mostly my ABS, we all know how that is or for some, was.

    thanks for the info
    Yeah it can be hard to Decide what to do, most women have a tendency to want to lose weight instead of focus on gains.. watching that scale go UP is really hard! But in order to actually "cut" past a certain point if you don't have much muscle you will just look skinny and emaciated once your body fat gets low, on the other hand if you have been building muscle for a while then decide to cut it will look so much better! But if you want abs that all comes down to diet so if you're bulking you would probably lost some of the definition there
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  9. #9
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    Originally Posted by fitfennel View Post
    Ive heard that when you lose weight you can't put on muscle. Is this true? Im keeping to a 1700 calorie diet which should allow me to lose a pound/week. Im also eating close to a 100g of protein/day. Im not trying to enter a weight lifting competition or anything. My goal is to lose fat and get some good definition. Im new to weight training, started about 4 weeks ago. What do you guys think about this and if you have good advice please help! thanks
    To answer the thread title. Yes you can gain muscle while losing weight.
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  10. #10
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    I think so. I did it in the past, I don't know if people can do it "all the time", eg, when you become an advanced lifter, muscle growth becomes more difficult...
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  11. #11
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    I am going with a yes answer. I made a comeback at 40 and my bodyweight never changed much but my waist shrunk several inches. I went from fat and out of shape to lean and muscular without changing body weight so draw your own conclusion. I would say to you no matter what the opinion is here go for it! If you try and succeed at it you will have your answer. If you fall short of your goal then you will still be better off than you are now. If you choose a a destination for a trip and never leave your house it is guaranteed that you will never arrive there. If you leave even not knowing which way to go you can get on course and make it.
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  12. #12
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    I've lost 3 inches off thighs, 3 off waist, a few off not my hips, but the love handle area..and my weight has only gone down about 10-20 lbs...as I always fluctuate in that range....
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  13. #13
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    Originally Posted by kimm4 View Post
    I'm sorry, but when a person is eating in a deficit they don't gain a "crap load" of muscle...not even close...

    Yes there will be newbie gains...but it's not as earth shattering as people seem to think.
    I agree. I think that aside from those gains mentioned, due to recruitment of previously unused motor units (muscle fibers) strength also increases dramatically. This probably aids in improvement of muscle composition, and the rest of the 'gains' come from muscle surfacing through fat that once covered it.

    Which, isn't a bad thing by any means.
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  14. #14
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    My opinion is that it is possible over a period of time, but you have to be a little more aware of your nutrition as part of the process.

    --There are times when you will be anabolic (building muscle), and times when you will be catabolic (hopefully losing fat, not muscle).

    --To lose weight, you would be catabolic more often than anabolic. But you still need times when you are anabolic (or eating at maintainance/over maintainance for a SHORT period of time -- postworkout).

    --To maintain or gain muscle, you need to life HEAVY, so that your body will think "I need to keep this muscle, because my body really needs it to survive!"

    To sum, you CAN build muscle and lose fat at the same time, you just need to know what you are doing, and be careful to feed yourself (with lots of carbs and protein postworkout to promote an anabolic state), yet still eat fewer calories than you previously were (to lose weight/fat).
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  15. #15
    Registered User mellie369's Avatar
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    Well, it was a crap load to me, lol. And even if they are newbie gains, I think it's still pretty earth shattering to me, at least, thank you very much!

    Originally Posted by kimm4 View Post
    I'm sorry, but when a person is eating in a deficit they don't gain a "crap load" of muscle...not even close...

    Yes there will be newbie gains...but it's not as earth shattering as people seem to think.
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  16. #16
    Registered User mellie369's Avatar
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    Hum.... have you seen this article? It makes sense to me:

    http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/fat_...gain_trick.htm

    Here is a little from it (but the whole thing is worth a read!):

    Body Fat Is The Solution

    Here's what they don't understand. Yes, you need sufficient calories to build muscle and you need a deficit to burn fat. However, body fat is actually the solution! What is body fat?

    Stored energy or stored calories, if you will. If you don't meet your caloric needs through food, you tap into your 'stored calories' to do the job. Since those stored calories are in the form of body fat, you therefore have to lose fat in order to build that muscle.

    Do you see what I'm saying here? Let's say a guy eats 500 calories less than what his body needs to get him through the day (his maintenance calories including exercise). How will his body get those extra 500 calories needed to energize him and build muscle?

    Answer: by burning his body fat. There are about 3500 calories in a pound of fat. 500 calories times 7 days equals 3500 calories, i.e. in this example, our guy fuels protein synthesis (building new muscle) and loses 1 pound of fat per week in the process - that's nice, very nice.



    Originally Posted by EthanHun View Post
    You can gain strength while losing weight. Muscle you can not.
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  17. #17
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    It's definitely possible to recompose your body - you don't need to eat excess calories to build muscle unless you're talking about the kind of muscle bodybuilders have. If you are just interested in getting a leaner, more defined look, you can do that without dropping much weight. I have lost body fat while barely moving the scale at all. That means I gained muscle. And I didn't do it in phases. I think the bulking and cutting process is for more advanced bodybuilders who are already quite lean.
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  18. #18
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    Originally Posted by EthanHun View Post
    You can gain strength while losing weight. Muscle you can not.
    I lost 68lbs and in the last 4 months of losing weight, I did weights every day for 1 hr and gained muscle by lifting heavy. It can be done, but diet is the key and cardio too. Do your cardio and lift heavy. Newby's can gain muscle I did so I know it is possible.
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  19. #19
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    I believe you can lose BODY FAT whilst buiding muscle....

    I am in the process at the moment. For the last 3 months my body fat has steadily dropped every fortnight whilst my scale weight has stayed exactly the same!!

    My measurements are all down, big difference in progress photos and my clothes are hanging on me...all with the same scale weight

    What does it matter what the scales say??? Look in the mirror and the way your jeans feel
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  20. #20
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    I don't feel like I gained a ton of muscle while dropping plenty of fat. I dropped fat until I got to my current weight, now I'm trying to add muscle, then lean out a little more. I don't know, sounds silly, but it makes sense to me, lol.

    I know I got stronger, but certainly didn't gain serious muscle. But I wish I did! I'd look better now.
    Start - 220lbs Current - 134lbs. Workout journal - www.gotthatpma.com

    "I was not delivered unto this world in defeat, nor does failure course in my veins. I am not a sheep waiting to be prodded by my shepherd. I am a lion and I refuse to talk, to walk, to sleep with the sheep. I will hear not those who weep and complain, for their disease is contagious. Let them join the sheep. The slaughterhouse of failure is not my destiny. " - Og Mandino
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  21. #21
    Gettin' back up again Rowyn's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by OnTheRoad View Post
    I believe you can lose BODY FAT whilst buiding muscle....

    I am in the process at the moment. For the last 3 months my body fat has steadily dropped every fortnight whilst my scale weight has stayed exactly the same!!

    My measurements are all down, big difference in progress photos and my clothes are hanging on me...all with the same scale weight

    What does it matter what the scales say??? Look in the mirror and the way your jeans feel
    ^^This^^

    The OP asked if you could lose weight while gaining muscle. Losing scale weight is not necessarily the same as a body recomp in which one is less concerned about the actual weight and more focused on fat versus muscle and bodyfat percentages. Better to ask if you can lose fat while gaining muscle....
    "A champion is someone who gets up even when he can't" ---Jack Dempsey

    I eat for living, not just lifting.
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  22. #22
    Registered User EricaJuneBaby's Avatar
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    Just want to add somethin here, my weight has stayed about the same since I started at the gym but my bodyfat is down 5lbs and my lean body mass is up 5lbs according to the bodyfat and composition tests, that's about 4 months and I can't say I was trying very hard in the first one or 2 months.. Mind you I haven't been counting calories religiously, just keeping my protein high, so some days I was eating in deficit and others not. Seems to have been working so it is possible at least as a beginner!
    "The word aerobics came about when the gym instructors got together and said, "If we're going to charge $10 an hour, we can't call it jumping up and down." ~Rita Rudner
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    Registered User firmgrrrl's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by rob440 View Post
    I am going with a yes answer. I made a comeback at 40 and my bodyweight never changed much but my waist shrunk several inches. I went from fat and out of shape to lean and muscular without changing body weight so draw your own conclusion. I would say to you no matter what the opinion is here go for it! If you try and succeed at it you will have your answer. If you fall short of your goal then you will still be better off than you are now. If you choose a a destination for a trip and never leave your house it is guaranteed that you will never arrive there. If you leave even not knowing which way to go you can get on course and make it.
    Yes, this!!!!! What can you lose for trying?

    I am currently training for my first figure comp. and my trainer seems to think I can!
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  24. #24
    Wonder Woman born2dothis's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by aussieangie View Post
    I lost 68lbs and in the last 4 months of losing weight, I did weights every day for 1 hr and gained muscle by lifting heavy. It can be done, but diet is the key and cardio too. Do your cardio and lift heavy. Newby's can gain muscle I did so I know it is possible.
    ITA with this statement...

    I have lost over 40 so far and have gained muscle in the process. It's harder though than just simply gaining (when I was focusing solely on lifting only I barely lost a lb if anything...) However you need muscle to burn the fat, so weight lifting plus cardio will get you the results you want.
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  25. #25
    Registered User HalfPastGone's Avatar
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    You can minimize muscle loss by eating 1 gram of protein per 1 pound of body weight a day. In general you'll lose a little.
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    Registered User Marion78's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by fitfennel View Post
    Ive heard that when you lose weight you can't put on muscle. Is this true? Im keeping to a 1700 calorie diet which should allow me to lose a pound/week. Im also eating close to a 100g of protein/day. Im not trying to enter a weight lifting competition or anything. My goal is to lose fat and get some good definition. Im new to weight training, started about 4 weeks ago. What do you guys think about this and if you have good advice please help! thanks
    Depends on your starting point. If you're obese you should rather lose weight than gain it.

    I started in Dec 2008, pretty slim with about 16.5 percent body fat, but no visible muscle at all.

    Until now, I'm dropped below 10% body fat and built pretty much muscle.

    My starting weight: 137 lbs
    Today: 153 lbs

    I gained 16 lbs in about 16 months of consistent and intense training and LOST body fat. In conclusion, the weight I gained should be muscle mass.
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  27. #27
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    Originally Posted by fitfennel View Post
    Ive heard that when you lose weight you can't put on muscle. Is this true? Im keeping to a 1700 calorie diet which should allow me to lose a pound/week. Im also eating close to a 100g of protein/day. Im not trying to enter a weight lifting competition or anything. My goal is to lose fat and get some good definition. Im new to weight training, started about 4 weeks ago. What do you guys think about this and if you have good advice please help! thanks
    I think losing muscle during fatloss only applies to those with A LOT of muscle.
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    Registered User Marion78's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by a4729 View Post
    I think losing muscle during fatloss only applies to those with A LOT of muscle.
    Or those who stay on a dramatic caloric deficit for too long.
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  29. #29
    Registered User djhavoc's Avatar
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    My shirts from my chest, shoulders and arms are fitting me tighter (muscle gain) but my pants fit me looser (fat loss) so yes I think it's possible but as some have said it's a slow process as opposed if you were to focus on just one, the proof is my clothes.
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  30. #30
    Registered User karoline8's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by djhavoc View Post
    My shirts from my chest, shoulders and arms are fitting me tighter (muscle gain) but my pants fit me looser (fat loss) so yes I think it's possible but as some have said it's a slow process as opposed if you were to focus on just one, the proof is my clothes.
    This^^^I've had to buy larger shirts but smaller pants, a full size difference on top and 2 sizes smaller on bottom, so I too agree it can be done but it has been taking a long time.
    ...karoline...
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