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  1. #1
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    Question What are your guys thoughts on Greg Doucett's Main-Gaining?

    I've not seen hardly anybody post or discuss this in the forums. It's an interesting watch, it explains that the bulking and cutting phase isn't always necessary and you can stay lean and build bigger muscles by just main-gaining.

    I model for some companies and a 3/6 month bulk then a 3/6 month cut isn't always easy as it would change my apperance and lose my abs which my agency love and which I would like to keep year round. It would lose me my work but I want to get bigger and a bigger chest.


    I'm unable to post links so either search on YouTube for the title: BULKING & CUTTING vs. "Main-Gaining" - Best Way To Maximize Long Term Muscle Growth


    watch?v=DjEnkzhz5T4
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    Registered User air2fakie's Avatar
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    Didn't watch the video you didn't link, but is main-gaining just his branding of eating at a slight cal surplus and putting on lean muscle slowly?
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    Time is Muscle ECGordyn's Avatar
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    The vid link and search terms are in the OP. I watched the summary in the first 7 minutes.
    It's basically lean bulking, and it works overall over time. If you want a bigger chest, you need more volume, but also take care of your shoulders and your overall proportions.
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    I didn't watch the video but in the nutrition section of this forum we commonly discuss that bulking/cutting is likely not necessary/advantageous (in the traditional sense of gaining excess bodyfat to lose it later). A lot of people feel you only need to eat as many calories as necessary to consistently get stronger over time. Beyond the beginner stage it's unlikely to gain more than 1 pound of skeletal muscle mass per month; it's unlikely to need more than a 200-300 kcal/day surplus to achieve this.
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    It really depends on how skinny/fat you are and what your current level is. Obviously you won't tell a fat noob to get fatter lol. I aim for 1lb a month and after 6-8 months I cut down for about 4 weeks. Greg Doucette is a very smart guy but his channel has a ton of drama so I think that turns a lot of people away.
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    I've always been iffy about that guy and he seems to create a lot of drama to get views. He does have some good advice when it comes to general nutrition practices but this has always been on of the things that have put me off.

    Dissecting up that video:

    2:42 - he starts off by saying they are in maintence, and in his own words, they consistently maintained that. Yet he tries to say they gained 4lbs of *muscle*. Firstly, what population are we talking to here? But beyond that, you can't say someone maintained yet gained 4lbs of muscle. That amount of muscle is going to come alongside a certain amount of fat, water, glycogen, blood, etc etc etc. No matter how slowly you gain that weight...its still weight! As both air2fakie and ECGordyn pointed out, this is a description of lean bulking, not maintaining. So Greg's entire argument that he spews throughout the video is false, considering his basic definitions of how he defines the terms are false.

    3:32 - Now he starts talking about scenario #3 and if you actually pay attention to the math here, you can tell there's something off. Person #2 has gained 4lbs of pure muscle in 6 months in what he tries to make it sound isn't a surplus. Person 3 has been in a surplus, gained an extra 10% of bodyfat, but only 1 extra pound of muscle? Does not add up. If person 3 did that in 2 months, instead of 6 months, then yes I can see the logic there. But not in the way he describes this.

    4:17 - Here things get even sillier and more hypocritical. He says person #1 is done cutting @10% BF and goes into a 'main-gaining' phase. First off, by this point you should be questioning what the defintion is. By main-gain does he mean actual maintenence of lean bulking? Because in the case of person #2 he called it maintaining but showed the data of some unnatural level of results. If you're coming from a cut, into maintence (be it the actual definition of maintence or lean-bulking), you're going to see an increase in muscle growth. But what does this guy say? That person #1 gained 3lbs of muscle while in fairly harsh deficit, but only gained 1lb of muscle for the other half of the year when in a maintence/main gaining/lean bulking phase. Sorry but..what?? So when it comes to spinning his own narrative he's using the numbers he wants to make the alternative possibilities seem wrong.

    5:25 - This here is a completely hypothetical scenario. Going from 20% BF down to 10% yet claims they lost no muscle whatsoever, in reality, you're probablyyyy going to find that that's not how things play out. Not saying its impossible to maintain all your muscle mass, but in most cases, you will lose some amount.

    6:24 - His entire point about losing 1lb of muscle to come down to 4lbs of muscle ends up being false due to my previous points.

    13:15 - This what he says here is yet another problem. He treats this whole thing as being constrained within time without factoring in rates. You still need to consider how much muscle you build in those 7 vs how much you lose in those 5 months.

    At the end of this video, he does try to sound a bit more liberal, but I know in other videos he has tried pushing his agenda and trashing bulking and cutting, but I think this video does highlight the flaws in his own logic. But I mean, we're talking about a guy here who says you can build muscle in a deficit because the fat gets broken down into energy and the energy gets converted into muscle from the fat...

    In summary, I'm with most of the posters above me. The video has a bunch of different flaws in it, but if you were to ignore the whole video and all the mis-matched terms and numbers, and instead do a slow lean gain, then that would be the best way to minimize fat gain while building muscle in the long term.
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  7. #7
    Time is Muscle ECGordyn's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by rsid97 View Post
    I've always been iffy about that guy and he seems to create a lot of drama to get views. He does have some good advice when it comes to general nutrition practices but this has always been on of the things that have put me off.

    Dissecting up that video:

    2:42 - he starts off by saying they are in maintence, and in his own words, they consistently maintained that. Yet he tries to say they gained 4lbs of *muscle*. Firstly, what population are we talking to here? But beyond that, you can't say someone maintained yet gained 4lbs of muscle. That amount of muscle is going to come alongside a certain amount of fat, water, glycogen, blood, etc etc etc. No matter how slowly you gain that weight...its still weight! As both air2fakie and ECGordyn pointed out, this is a description of lean bulking, not maintaining. So Greg's entire argument that he spews throughout the video is false, considering his basic definitions of how he defines the terms are false.

    3:32 - Now he starts talking about scenario #3 and if you actually pay attention to the math here, you can tell there's something off. Person #2 has gained 4lbs of pure muscle in 6 months in what he tries to make it sound isn't a surplus. Person 3 has been in a surplus, gained an extra 10% of bodyfat, but only 1 extra pound of muscle? Does not add up. If person 3 did that in 2 months, instead of 6 months, then yes I can see the logic there. But not in the way he describes this.

    4:17 - Here things get even sillier and more hypocritical. He says person #1 is done cutting @10% BF and goes into a 'main-gaining' phase. First off, by this point you should be questioning what the defintion is. By main-gain does he mean actual maintenence of lean bulking? Because in the case of person #2 he called it maintaining but showed the data of some unnatural level of results. If you're coming from a cut, into maintence (be it the actual definition of maintence or lean-bulking), you're going to see an increase in muscle growth. But what does this guy say? That person #1 gained 3lbs of muscle while in fairly harsh deficit, but only gained 1lb of muscle for the other half of the year when in a maintence/main gaining/lean bulking phase. Sorry but..what?? So when it comes to spinning his own narrative he's using the numbers he wants to make the alternative possibilities seem wrong.

    5:25 - This here is a completely hypothetical scenario. Going from 20% BF down to 10% yet claims they lost no muscle whatsoever, in reality, you're probablyyyy going to find that that's not how things play out. Not saying its impossible to maintain all your muscle mass, but in most cases, you will lose some amount.

    6:24 - His entire point about losing 1lb of muscle to come down to 4lbs of muscle ends up being false due to my previous points.

    13:15 - This what he says here is yet another problem. He treats this whole thing as being constrained within time without factoring in rates. You still need to consider how much muscle you build in those 7 vs how much you lose in those 5 months.

    At the end of this video, he does try to sound a bit more liberal, but I know in other videos he has tried pushing his agenda and trashing bulking and cutting, but I think this video does highlight the flaws in his own logic. But I mean, we're talking about a guy here who says you can build muscle in a deficit because the fat gets broken down into energy and the energy gets converted into muscle from the fat...

    In summary, I'm with most of the posters above me. The video has a bunch of different flaws in it, but if you were to ignore the whole video and all the mis-matched terms and numbers, and instead do a slow lean gain, then that would be the best way to minimize fat gain while building muscle in the long term.
    awesome write-up, repped
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  8. #8
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    GREG SHOUTS TO MAKE YOU THINK HE KNOWS THINGS and calls people morons.

    People like to hear others who are confident and who only use right/wrong statements.

    Gen pop doesn't want to hear "maybes" and the truth is, its all maybes. They want a person to tell them exactly what to do so they don't have to think for them selves, and the loudest guy OBVIOUSLY the best choice.

    The simple truth is.. He doesn't know as much as he thinks, his degree is 20+ years out of date and many of the things he says have been debunked. He doesn't even understand progressive overload...

    And confirmed liar, Lost drug tested world records for not passing the tests. More proof he isn't as smart as he thinks.

    Ignore anything he thinks past the basics..
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    Originally Posted by MyEgoProblem View Post
    And confirmed liar, Lost drug tested world records for not passing the tests. More proof he isn't as smart as he thinks.
    Yes I forgot about that. I think he also has a video making excuses on why he failed the test.
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    Responding to Rsid97

    2:42: From the context of the video I got the impression that by maintenance he means maintaining a steady body fat percentage, not overall weight. So maintaining at 10% means keeping a 10% body fat percentage.

    3:32: I guess I don't understand why that doesn't add up. I am making up numbers but lets say that for the first 200 calories of surplus you able to use 90% of that to form muscle each day and only 10% goes to fat. For the next 200 calories 50% goes to muscle and 50% goes to fat. And for anything over 400 calories it all goes to fat. Those are obviously made up numbers, but you can see that in a scenario like that the difference between having a 200 calorie surplus and 1500 calorie surplus is that for the 200 calorie surplus 180 calories are going towards msucle and only 20 calories are going towards fat each day, whereas in the 1500 calorie surplus 280 calories is going towards muscle and 1220 is going towards fat. That would be how the math could work out.

    4:17 - I think you are right that would only happen with a beginner.

    I don't think he made the argument fat can turn into muscle. I think the idea is that your body uses your fat reserves for energy allowing you to use protein you eat to be converted into muscle even if you are in a deficit. An example:

    Person burns 3000 calories a day. They are eating 2500 calories. Can they add muscle. They normal answer would be no. They are not evening covering their daily needs so diet alone cannot produce muscle.

    But lets assume the person is fat. Not super fat, but fat, say 25% body fat. Could they gain muscle while reducing fat. The answer is yes.

    So of their 2500 calories, we will say 1000 of them come from protein (about 250 grams). Lets say 100 grams of that protein will be converted into muscle. That increases the daily calorie deficit from 500 calories to 900 calories (as 100 grams of protein is about 400 calories and since that 100 grams in being converted into muscle it cannot be used for energy). Plus lets say there is an energy requirement of 200 calories required to convert protein into muscle. So now the person has an 1100 calorie deficit. As long as the person brain is okay with it (and we assume the brain would only let this happen if the body has plenty of fat reserves) this could happen
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    Registered User WolfRose7's Avatar
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    To the last point

    The assumption is that the body will priortize fat reserves over readily available calories you have eaten? Why would that be the case? If that was true then fat people wouldn't gain more fat in a surplus if they lifted, which is obviously false
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    Registered User air2fakie's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by philibusters View Post
    2:42: From the context of the video I got the impression that by maintenance he means maintaining a steady body fat percentage, not overall weight. So maintaining at 10% means keeping a 10% body fat percentage.
    If this is the correct interpretation of the video, are you saying that he says you can on a long-term basis consistently calculate your diet/training such that you gain weight at a specific ratio like 10% fat to 90% muscle?




    [NOTE: Still haven't watched the video]
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    Originally Posted by air2fakie View Post
    If this is the correct interpretation of the video, are you saying that he says you can on a long-term basis consistently calculate your diet/training such that you gain weight at a specific ratio like 10% fat to 90% muscle?




    [NOTE: Still haven't watched the video]
    Yes in the context of that video and the examples he uses in it.

    However from having seen about a dozen of his videos I know in practice he does not do that. He competes in the 5 to 6% bodyfat range and spends his offseason in the 10 to 11% range. From having seen his other videos I know that what he hates is when people bulk to more than 15% body fat. To him 15% is the upper limit of what bodybuilders should get up to in their off season.
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    Originally Posted by WolfRose7 View Post
    To the last point

    The assumption is that the body will priortize fat reserves over readily available calories you have eaten? Why would that be the case? If that was true then fat people wouldn't gain more fat in a surplus if they lifted, which is obviously false
    If you took a 5'10 250 pounder novice lifter and had them start lifting in a slight surplus (e.g. 200-300 calories), its possible they could lose fat. No matter what you do, the body can only build muscle so fast, so you have to use very small surpluses, but I think a fat lifter could potentially lose fat in a very small surplus because some of the calories they get through protein would be used for muscle rather than energy needs and it takes some energy to turn protein into muscle. So that would turn a slight surplus into a slight deficit.

    As soon as you get a lifter who is well trained, its probably harder to do that, because they body is used to weight training, its not a novice stimulus, so it would be hard to get the body to respond to the stimulus (the training) at a fast enough rate to account for even a small surplus.
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    Originally Posted by philibusters View Post
    Responding to Rsid97
    You missed the remaining of my points, but sure.

    Originally Posted by philibusters View Post
    2:42: From the context of the video I got the impression that by maintenance he means maintaining a steady body fat percentage, not overall weight. So maintaining at 10% means keeping a 10% body fat percentage.
    He does also say and I quote,’They are at maintence calories, they are not building up bodyfat”. So you cant’ exclusively look at bf% here. But even if you did, it still doesn’t work out the way he says. If you’re building 4lbs of muscle, that is pretty much never going to come as purely 4lbs of muscle without other tissue involved. If you’re gaining muscle, you’re gaining weight, if you’re gaining weight your body is building other foundational tissue, i.e, your bf% will change.

    Originally Posted by philibusters View Post
    3:32: I guess I don't understand why that doesn't add up. I am making up numbers but lets say that for the first 200 calories of surplus you able to use 90% of that to form muscle each day and only 10% goes to fat. For the next 200 calories 50% goes to muscle and 50% goes to fat. And for anything over 400 calories it all goes to fat. Those are obviously made up numbers, but you can see that in a scenario like that the difference between having a 200 calorie surplus and 1500 calorie surplus is that for the 200 calorie surplus 180 calories are going towards msucle and only 20 calories are going towards fat each day, whereas in the 1500 calorie surplus 280 calories is going towards muscle and 1220 is going towards fat. That would be how the math could work out.
    The reason why you don’t understand is because you’ve been more easily convinced by the guy screaming at you and giving you black and white responses rather than the one making the less sexy, more nuanced, more accurate explanation (Refer to what MyEgoProblem said above).

    This point you made here is littered with issues. Shall try to cover them all. Firstly, Greg does not mention what sort of a surplus he’s talking about, so your 1500 calorie surplus state is a hypothetical which you chose to create in an attempt to accept his statements. Secondly, your 200 vs 1500 calculation becomes invalid in this scenario due to the fact that we aren’t comparing lean bulking to dirty bulking, he’s trying to argue maintaining vs bulking, yet his facts are all over the place. So in reality what we’re looking at is a 0 calorie surplus vs 200 calories. So this point of yours is kinda neutered in this context. But even then to paint a holistic picture here to show you why the math doesn’t add up, lets look at two scenarios – 0 calorie surplus, 200 surplus, 400 surplus. While you may see your fat gain in the upper end of the spectrum, you’re also going to notice a better hypertrophic stimulus. Why the 0 group is adding 2.5kg to the bar every month with 10 sets per week per muscle group, the 400 people are adding 2.5kg every week with double the volume. Do you reallyyyy think the difference is going to be a measly one pound? That too in 6 months where these differences are going to cumulatively add up? Which is why I say the math doesn’t add up. If you are bulking for 6 months, and have put on 10% bodyfat, then you’re gainining substantially more muscle than the maintenance group that put on 4lbs (using that group as an anchoring point).

    There are only 2 scenarios in my head where the bulking group would gain 10% extra bf with 5lbs of muscle. 1) Greg is blatantly lying about the 4lbs in the maintenance, and the maintenance group gained like 1lb of muscle. Or 2) He’s chosen this completely specific, hypothetical narrative where the bulking group ate like a 1000 calorie surplus and hit the weights for 3 months and then went on vacation for the next 3 lol.

    Originally Posted by philibusters View Post
    4:17 - I think you are right that would only happen with a beginner.
    Yet we know he’s probably not talking about beginners considering he’s talking about them reaching 10% bf in 6 months….So he’s shot himself in the foot yet again.

    Originally Posted by philibusters View Post
    I don't think he made the argument fat can turn into muscle.
    Um, actually, he says exactly what I said he says in his other billion different videos where he tries to go about bashing bulking - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QCcP46HWbgw&t=568s. “The energy from the fat is used to build muscle”.

    Originally Posted by philibusters View Post
    I think the idea is that your body uses your fat reserves for energy allowing you to use protein you eat to be converted into muscle even if you are in a deficit. An example:
    Person burns 3000 calories a day. They are eating 2500 calories. Can they add muscle. They normal answer would be no. They are not evening covering their daily needs so diet alone cannot produce muscle.
    But lets assume the person is fat. Not super fat, but fat, say 25% body fat. Could they gain muscle while reducing fat. The answer is yes.
    Originally Posted by philibusters View Post
    If you took a 5'10 250 pounder novice lifter and had them start lifting in a slight surplus (e.g. 200-300 calories), its possible they could lose fat. No matter what you do, the body can only build muscle so fast, so you have to use very small surpluses, but I think a fat lifter could potentially lose fat in a very small surplus because some of the calories they get through protein would be used for muscle rather than energy needs and it takes some energy to turn protein into muscle. So that would turn a slight surplus into a slight deficit.
    As soon as you get a lifter who is well trained, its probably harder to do that, because they body is used to weight training, its not a novice stimulus, so it would be hard to get the body to respond to the stimulus (the training) at a fast enough rate to account for even a small surplus.
    Lumping these two points together because there are similar flaws in both posts.
    Firstly, you repeatedly mention the thermic effect of converting protein into muscle and you seem to consider that to exist outside the realm of your TDEE… its not.

    Secondly, the body does not prioritize fat in that manner without taking into consideration a plethora of other factors (training style, level of advancement, hormonal levels, micronutrient availabilities, nutrient consumption). Beyond that, its still going to use things in a combination. Its not just going to slice off a chunk of bf and burn it up. And if it did, this only becomes even more evidence to bulk rather than maintain, funnily enough. This is the major problem with Greg’s audience, he’s got them into thinking A+B=C if you scream it loud enough and call everyone else in the industry a moron….

    Thirdly, as per the video, the scenario he’s using is someone who is 20% not 25. If you’re 20% at 250lbs, you’re pretty freaking jacked already and pretty damn unlikely to be a novice. So no, you’re not gaining 4lbs of pure muscle at maintenance.
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    Originally Posted by ECGordyn View Post
    awesome write-up, repped
    Appreciate it man
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