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  1. #1
    Registered User TheProfIsIn's Avatar
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    Eating for hypertrophy vs. longevity

    I'm wondering if any members of this forum have put any thought into this. It is particularly relevant for those of us in our 30s and beyond. Note that I am not an expert in the nutrition and longevity field. My knowledge comes from listening to interviews with experts on Joe Rogan, Ronda Patrick's Found My Fitness podcast, and Peter Attia.


    High protein diets facilitate hypertrophy. They provide the building blocks for muscle tissue and the influx of amino acids keeps MTOR activated, facilitating muscle growth. However, upregulation of MTOR has downsides when it comes to longevity because it can inhibit apoptosis (programmed cell death). As we age, we are likely to produce more and more damaged cells that we don't want around. We want our body to recognize that they are damaged and kill them; but MTOR activation can override this. Thus, the performance-longevity tradeoff is something that becomes important for us as we age and are interested in building muscle mass.


    I'm wondering if anyone has formulated any strategies for addressing this. A few ideas might be.... 1. Keep protein on the lower end of the acceptable range for growth (e.g., .6 - .75 g/lb) and only increase when gains have slowed. 2. Intermittent fasting: eating during an 8 hours window allows for enough time to consume sufficient calories and protein, but can also allow for enough time to experience autophagy, clearing out some of those damaged cells. 3. 2-4 cuts a year done on a ketogenic diet; the lower protein can keep mtor levels lower and this can be paired with longer-term intermittent fasts to facilitate autophagy (BHB seems to have a muscle sparing effect, so this would not necessarily sacrificed much gains accrued during a bulk). 4. 2-4 week long fasts per year for autophagy and down regulation of mtor (similar to ketogenic diet, this need not result in much muscle loss, as BHB levels will rise quickly and protein should be spared after a few days - Peter Attia did an AMA about his first week long fast addressing some of these points. Anecdotal, but he lost very little muscle mass.).


    I don't know if any of the above approaches are viable, I'm just hoping to get some type of conversation going and benefit from the wisdom of the board here. Looking forward to your comments.
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  2. #2
    Last otter standing Jtbny's Avatar
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    I'm sure there is loads of science to suggest some of what you mention has merit but how much does it really make a difference, IDK. My take is if you can fit some any of these eating protocols into your daily life with no impact then give them a try. For myself, I have practiced a form of IF for years. I'm not super strict anymore as in 7 days a week but on most days I don't eat until 2-4pm and close the "window" at 10pm. I train fasted as I train in the mornings 4 days a week. My performance does suffer some as I've noticed I'm marginally stronger if I have to train at night.

    I'm real leery with the idea of anything associated with the word "cleanse" but the idea of clearing out damaged cells via some sort of structured eating is interesting. I really don't know much about it, but like you, have heard it mention on Rogans podcast before.
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  3. #3
    Kicking sarcopenia's azz ljimd's Avatar
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    I've been eating higher protein for 30 or so years.
    Been doing IF for@10yrs, before it had a name.
    Just a comfortable lifestyle.

    I'm still on top of the grass and still training.
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    This too shall pass dazlittle's Avatar
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    Life and longevity of, is too much of a crap-shoot to be overly concerned about the minutiae.
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  5. #5
    Weak and foolish OldFartTom's Avatar
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    Wow, what a lot of complex assumption and conjecture. Sadly not a huge amount is understood about longevity and even things assumed to be true (like large amounts of antioxidants will increase longevity) have turned out to be false.

    What can be observed is that populations who do healthy exercise, incorporating strength training and a protein rich fresh vegetable rich varied diet live longer and have a better quality in later years. But.. If you as an individual will enjoy these benefits? I can't predict.

    Whatever the genetic expression of this or that (mToR or any other) nobody truthfully knows the effect on longevity. If you knew the answer to your question (and could prove it and explain why) you'd be in line for a Nobel prize
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    Registered User Plateauplower's Avatar
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    I try not to get hit by cars and stuff....

    Special Eating protocols < exercising and maintaining a leaner body composition.
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    Registered User JeremyM07201978's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Plateauplower View Post
    I try not to get hit by cars and stuff....

    Special Eating protocols < exercising and maintaining a leaner body composition.
    Agreed. I think worrying about longevity likely impacts ones longevity...eat well, work hard in the gym, live well, let the rest sort itself out.
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  8. #8
    Weak and foolish OldFartTom's Avatar
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    FWIW... One of the biggest changes in diet you can do for longevity apparently would be to give up eating bacon and processed meat.... avoid anything that contains curing salt.

    Curing salt is ordinary salt mixed with nitrate (sodium nitrate mainly). This has been proven years ago to significantly increase the incidence of bowel cancer. Since some meat products like Parma ham have banned nitrate for a few years and it still tastes and keeps well, IMHO it should be banned in other places too, bacon might become very slightly more brown when raw in the shops, but otherwise the same, so what about a small color change if they banned nitrate?

    The research has been ignored, mainly because the foods are so established. I've got to admit I still eat bacon, sausages etc, but I do eat less. Every few years this comes back into popular consciousness (then forgotten for a few years) currently it's back in the spotlight. Some actuary somewhere produced the statistic of 1 bacon sandwich = 4 cigarettes in terms of risk, not sure if/how that can be equated but that's the stat to grab attention.

    One link for example
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p049b6b0
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  9. #9
    Registered User shaneinga's Avatar
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    Agree with what others have said additionally if you heard anything recent from Peter he has changed his rigid stance on MTOR and now agrees that higher MTOR at times isn’t a bad thing.

    I believe the final stance was what’s the point of living to 100 if you don’t have the muscle mass to do the simplest functions in life.

    Quality of life matters.
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  10. #10
    Last otter standing Jtbny's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by JeremyM07201978 View Post
    Agreed. I think worrying about longevity likely impacts ones longevity...eat well, work hard in the gym, live well, let the rest sort itself out.
    IDK I take fish oil. That shows some concern for longevity and I doubt it impacts my longevity, if anything, slightly improves my chances. "Biohacking" is an interesting topic but it sometimes leads to stupid shti like older folks transfusing younger folks blood.

    @OldFartTom
    Nitrates - Agree 100%. Not sure your local but here in the U.S we have more non-nitrate options with meats. I still eat turkey sandwiches a couple times a week but nitrate free. The science is pretty compelling w/regards to nitrates.
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  11. #11
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    Originally Posted by Jtbny View Post
    Not sure your local but here in the U.S we have more non-nitrate options with meats. I still eat turkey sandwiches a couple times a week but nitrate free. The science is pretty compelling w/regards to nitrates.
    I'm going to have to research what I've been buying and what I should be buying as I eat 2-3 lbs of lunchmeat per week. I love the taste of a good sandwich (with 80 calorie wheat bun and a slice of pepperjack cheese!), and my wife at least woke me up to the fact that I shouldn't be buying the $3/lb meats sold in the refrigerated grocery case but I'm not sure if my $7/lb deli meat is much better.

    Do you have some nitrate free suggestions for me?
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    Registered User JeremyM07201978's Avatar
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    Good point @jtbny. I was joking a bit, as there are definitely good choices to be made in pursuit of longevity. I was not trying to make light of the subject, just saying there's no need to stress about protein's potential affect on longevity when it has so many great health benefits overall when Incorporated with physical activities and good nutrition. The positive outweigh the negatives. For myself, I eat about .8g/lb bodyweight which would be considered low by many standards. I just do this as a preference though, and not from worry of how higher protein would impact my longevity.
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    Powerlifting in disguise induced_drag's Avatar
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    Longevity does not go along with 'bodybuilding'. Carrying around more mass is hard on the body. Many longevity studies lean towards carrying the least amount of LBM may be more beneficial.

    In the end....you have to realize that we can shift the curve but you also wont override completely your genes. I am not sure I would enjoy an existence when I fasted excessively and weighed about 130lbs.

    But....if I were on my death bed tomorrow I might change my tune and be happy for any days I have regardless the vessel my body is in.

    I have had the unique experience of coming about as close as you can to dying in my mid 30's. That really changed me forever and there are very few things that not purposeful when it comes to the direction of my life. I do enjoy every day and look at each one as an opportunity. I also realize just living longer is not necessarily better if you have to sacrifice the qualities of all of those days to get to the goal.

    In the end, make as many 'healthy' choices as possible....but enjoy each day. It is a gift and can go away very quickly without you even knowing it despite all your planning otherwise.
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  14. #14
    Last otter standing Jtbny's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Payton1221 View Post

    Do you have some nitrate free suggestions for me?
    I usually just buy Hormel. They make a nitrate free version (uses celery juice in its place). My kids eat the Oscar Meyer angus nitrate free hotdogs and they are really good.

    Originally Posted by induced_drag View Post
    Longevity does not go along with 'bodybuilding'. Carrying around more mass is hard on the body. Many longevity studies lean towards carrying the least amount of LBM may be more beneficial.
    Are we talking the sport of BB or the at of just adding above average muscle mass? If it's the later IDK if I'd agree. Sure, one can say me at 220 carrying around a good amount of LBM might be more taxing on the body, but the added muscle mass will allow me to avoid injuries like lower back, knee, hips ect that might make me sedimentary at an older age. And if I do sustain an injury I'd likely recover much quicker.
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    Powerlifting in disguise induced_drag's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Jtbny View Post

    Are we talking the sport of BB or the at of just adding above average muscle mass? If it's the later IDK if I'd agree..
    I am talking about ANY excessive mass.....natural or otherwise. (otherwise being even harder on the system for obvious reasons). A good amount of scientific studies on animals and LOTs of anecdotal human examples show least possible body mass contributes which is supported on a healthy frame, is ideal. Think of a marathon runner frame. Obviously very fit, low bf, but zero excessive mass.

    A good amount of study show semi-starvation staves off aging and cellular damage associated along with it.


    Now dont get me wrong....you are folding other things into the equation. If we did not live in the 'modern' world and had to defend ourselves from other people and animals, had to fight for our food, then the scale may shift as to the cost/benefits of having additional body mass. But in this day and age, extra mass, on an otherwise healthy frame has no positive benefit. Only down sides. Obviously systems have to work harder to accommodate said mass. Heart pumps more blood, more food has to be processed. If you are attempting any kind of 'bodybuilding', the protein requirements contribute to extra stress on kidneys. The liver is taking a constant beating with the excessive nitrogen breakdown.

    Just look at liver enzymes. I made the mistake of doing a heavy deadlift session a few years back 2 days before an annual physical just after switching to a new Dr.. My alt and ast came back almost triple range! Mr new Dr freaked out and wanted to get me to a specialist, liver biopsy, and ultrasound. I looked back through my previous years and all were elevated (not quite that much). I remember my old dr told me about transient spikes in liver values in weight trainers so he also tested for GGT. My new doc was not familiar with it and passed along the info. He asked me to take it 'light' for a week and come in and re-test. I tested 10 days later and was mid-range normal in all tests.

    Anyway....bodybuilding it NOT something one would do with longevity as the main goal. Of course if you contrast it with a sedentary overweight lifestyle it will be better. But if the goal was longevity, bodybuilding is not ideally suited to achieve those results and will be considerably less effective than just maintaining a lower mass frame in a healthy state with enough stress to maintain cardiovascular health and not much else.
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  16. #16
    Last otter standing Jtbny's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by induced_drag View Post
    I<<Snip>>
    Ya we will have to agree to disagree here. My own observation as well as stories from the many Physical Therapist friends I have don't support that. For example my grandfather on my fathers side, who is 88, still goes to the gym 4 days a week and has for over 70 years. Over the x-mas holiday he was t-boned in his truck which totaled it and broke a few of his ribs and banged up his knee. He was back in the gym 2 weeks later. Because he's always been into lifting his recovery time was far better than my other grandfather who 3 years ago became so immobile he eventually got sick and died. Because his recovery was better he wasn't left immobile which can lead to a whole bunch of other issues especially at 88.

    My PT friends have told me their clients who lift ( talking about elderly here ) recover far faster than those who don't and that goes along way towards longevity. My opinion is immobility is far more detrimental to longevity than hitting your natural limit of LBM. Guess i'll find out
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    Originally Posted by Jtbny View Post
    Snip snip
    You are contrasting bodybuilding vs general population. Of course an active person engaged in activity will be better than an over weight sedentary person. I dont call a 70 y.o. who engages in weight training a 'bodybuilder' though. Weight training in general is showing great promise in promoting the health of elderly people. We dont disagree there.


    I am simply saying, living a "bodybuilding" lifestyle is not the ideal lifestyle if your main goal is longevity. Too much stress all around. Stress on body from carrying around and supporting extra mass, the stress on organs to support the diet...etc.

    If you are saying what lifestyle is the best for longevity, "bodybuilding" would not be close to the top. I agree it would be above "average American lifestyle" by quite a bit. But, it would be nowhere close to say a traditional eastern lifestyle of people with low body mass, eating relatively low protein diets based upon unrefined carbohydrates and staying generally active and fit.
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    Originally Posted by induced_drag View Post
    You are contrasting bodybuilding vs general population. Of course an active person engaged in activity will be better than an over weight sedentary person. I dont call a 70 y.o. who engages in weight training a 'bodybuilder' though. Weight training in general is showing great promise in promoting the health of elderly people. We dont disagree there.


    I am simply saying, living a "bodybuilding" lifestyle is not the ideal lifestyle if your main goal is longevity. Too much stress all around. Stress on body from carrying around and supporting extra mass, the stress on organs to support the diet...etc.

    If you are saying what lifestyle is the best for longevity, "bodybuilding" would not be close to the top. I agree it would be above "average American lifestyle" by quite a bit. But, it would be nowhere close to say a traditional eastern lifestyle of people with low body mass, eating relatively low protein diets based upon unrefined carbohydrates and staying generally active and fit.
    Ahh that's why I asked for clarification. You said ANY extra LBM which I thought included lifting for fitness and building. I would never call the sport of BB a healthy sport. It does have some aspects of health associated w/it but it seems to go off the rails into unhealthy living. I just like to pick things up and look like I lift in a shirt while paying attention to my diet 80% of the time

    FTR My other grandfather was not over weight. He got hurt, stopped moving, atrophied, got phenomena, and died from complications. If he had been a lifter I'm convinced he would have recovered from his injuries and not atrophied which made him even more immobile which led to his death. The moral - just keep moving, and lifting helps that happen.
    Last edited by Jtbny; 03-14-2019 at 12:22 PM.
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    Holy overthinking OP

    I feel hypertrophy has far more to do with your training style and rep ranges than eating.

    If you lift a pencil all day long your body will only be as big as it takes to lift that pencil, no matter what diet you are on.
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    Originally Posted by smokinal View Post
    Holy overthinking OP

    I feel hypertrophy has far more to do with your training style and rep ranges than eating.

    .
    You might want to rethink that. I am the exact opposite.....I feel hypertrophy has more to do with eating than reps/sets/programs. I can prove it to you. Interesting fact, a sumo wrestler has more LBM than most IFBB pros. Insulin is FAR more anabolic than testosterone.


    Here is an interesting experiment. Stop training. Over eat for a year 500 cal per day. Somewhere between 20-30% of your weight gain even when not training will be LBM. Now start training and go on a nice structured deficit. I guaranteed after you drop the weight, you will have more mass than you would if you just spent the prior year eating maint (or not tracking).

    Working out is only the stimulus. How your body responds to said stimulus is almost totally determined by the QUANTITY and quality of your nutrition.
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    Sooooo...all these bodybuilders who bust they a$$es in the gym on bulk are just wasting their time? We should all just eat in a surplus for a year, then cut and have larger muscles than we did before?

    Gonna have to go with a respectful disagree on this one man
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    Originally Posted by smokinal View Post

    Sooooo...all these bodybuilders who bust they a$$es in the gym on bulk are just wasting their time? We should all just eat in a surplus for a year, then cut and have larger muscles than we did before?

    Gonna have to go with a respectful disagree on this one man
    Mine was just an extreme example to illustrate a point. By all means we train to try to shift our nutrient partitioning towards to creation of new muscle.

    On another 'hardcore' note natural trainees actually should not be 'busting a$$' in the gym if you are referring to the old bro-lore about squat till you puke. Really very effective workouts (at least for me) were only 3-4/week and I never once puked, or even came close. Bodybuilders , at least ones with good mass, (natural or not) do however bust thier a$$ eating to get it 7 days a week. It is by FAR the harder part than just showing up to the gym and lifting. Hell that is super easy by comparison. Going 4-5 months eating constant surpluses, EVERY day straining to get the food in. THAT is when I felt like I was going to puke. Not in the squat rack. Bringing your bodyweight up 30lbs and then dieting back down. Over and over and over. That takes work and years of not staying the same weight 2 weeks in a row....ever. That is at least in my opinion what is required to max out one's potential naturally. But what do I know?

    If all I were worried about was looking good in board shorts and having abs....well thats pretty easy... It took me all of 11 weeks of training after a decade off to do that. (Disclaimer, I am not claiming I was in constest shape....just that being skinny and fit is pretty easy.) Yes....just train and eat decent. If you want to get BIG, (or at least as big as what nature will allow you) You have to get uncomfortable. It is the hardest thing I ever did. Lots of fitness gurus out there say 'bulk/cut' is a waste of time. And most are skinny and weak and need the board shorts to cover up legs that are smaller then my wifes.

    Sorry man....I think you are off on this one. If you were not so worried about your abs, you might try eating up and see what you are missing. Bulk/cut is the most effective way to gain size and strength period. (Natural or otherwise).
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    There's a pretty comprehensive discussion below on this topic...After reading, I wondered if this sparked the question from OP.

    I still have the opinion that good nutrition, hard work in the gym, and living well will allow for great longevity and quality of life. Agree with all points that it is definitely a balance and extremes will not be ideal.

    https://www.quora.com/Does-bodybuild...ity-in-any-way
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    Originally Posted by induced_drag View Post
    Longevity does not go along with 'bodybuilding'. Carrying around more mass is hard on the body. Many longevity studies lean towards carrying the least amount of LBM may be more beneficial.

    In the end....you have to realize that we can shift the curve but you also wont override completely your genes. I am not sure I would enjoy an existence when I fasted excessively and weighed about 130lbs.

    But....if I were on my death bed tomorrow I might change my tune and be happy for any days I have regardless the vessel my body is in.

    I have had the unique experience of coming about as close as you can to dying in my mid 30's. That really changed me forever and there are very few things that not purposeful when it comes to the direction of my life. I do enjoy every day and look at each one as an opportunity. I also realize just living longer is not necessarily better if you have to sacrifice the qualities of all of those days to get to the goal.

    In the end, make as many 'healthy' choices as possible....but enjoy each day. It is a gift and can go away very quickly without you even knowing it despite all your planning otherwise.
    I definitely agree with you on this. I struggle with the fact that I might be reducing my life expectancy by an unknown amount. I spent my early 20's through the end of my 30's doing tons of cardio and what I would call 'fitness weight lifting'. I weighed about 180lbs. Now I work out more like a body builder and weigh 205 lbs. I still do cardio 2-3 times per week, but I used to do it probably 6 days a week on average. Back then my cardio workouts would be running 3 miles one day, then riding my MTB bike for 2 hours the next day, followed by maybe a 2-5 hour hike on the weekend.
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    Originally Posted by Payton1221 View Post
    I'm going to have to research what I've been buying and what I should be buying as I eat 2-3 lbs of lunchmeat per week. I love the taste of a good sandwich (with 80 calorie wheat bun and a slice of pepperjack cheese!), and my wife at least woke me up to the fact that I shouldn't be buying the $3/lb meats sold in the refrigerated grocery case but I'm not sure if my $7/lb deli meat is much better.

    Do you have some nitrate free suggestions for me?


    point of order

    deli meats are on the same level of carcinogen, as the banned (in Canada) herbicide 24D
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    Originally Posted by startingat56 View Post
    point of order

    deli meats are on the same level of carcinogen, as the banned (in Canada) herbicide 24D
    Darnnit, am I going to have to stop drinking 24D as well..? Why can't we just enjoy the simple pleasures any more

    Originally Posted by Jtbny View Post
    ... ... my grandfather on my fathers side, who is 88, still goes to the gym 4 days a week and has for over 70 years. Over the x-mas holiday he was t-boned in his truck which totaled it and broke a few of his ribs and banged up his knee. He was back in the gym 2 weeks later....
    always pleased to hear stories like this, about people who look after themselves and bounce back.
    Sorry to hear about your other story though!
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    Originally Posted by induced_drag View Post
    You might want to rethink that. I am the exact opposite.....I feel hypertrophy has more to do with eating than reps/sets/programs. I can prove it to you. Interesting fact, a sumo wrestler has more LBM than most IFBB pros. Insulin is FAR more anabolic than testosterone.


    Here is an interesting experiment. Stop training. Over eat for a year 500 cal per day. Somewhere between 20-30% of your weight gain even when not training will be LBM. Now start training and go on a nice structured deficit. I guaranteed after you drop the weight, you will have more mass than you would if you just spent the prior year eating maint (or not tracking).

    Working out is only the stimulus. How your body responds to said stimulus is almost totally determined by the QUANTITY and quality of your nutrition.
    I've done exactly what you said more than once. and I usually end up looking better after I get lean than I did before.

    Get fat, train to get lean.. Stop training for a year and overeat, get fat then start training in a deficit and I always end up looking better than I did before.
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    Originally Posted by induced_drag View Post

    A good amount of study show semi-starvation staves off aging and cellular damage associated along with it.
    This is very true. The studies have been done on disparate species including mammals, insects, arachnids, and worms, and the results are similar across the board. The animals live significantly longer, remain healthy (but hungry), and do seem to slow down the advent of senescence.

    The trouble, I think, is concluding that this technique is the only thing that increases longevity.
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    Of course any serious bodybuilding lifestyle has nothing to do with longevity, since any decent longevity plan assumes CR. I’ve been on plant based diet for over six years now and hardly look like a bodybuilder anymore (although I still lift weights several times a week). How can I being on a diet which only allows to maintain my current 150 lbs bw? I don’t even know what I’m doing on this forum...
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    Muscle Mass Index as a Predictor of Longevity in Older-Adults

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4035379/
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