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  1. #1
    WilliamNy is offline Senior Member
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    Default caloric deficits and muscle building

    I have been looking around the forms and the internet for the answer to this question. It seems that you can not build muscle and gain fat at the same time? This does not completely make sense to me. Does this mean that if your weight went down then you could not have gained any muscle? (duh but I just don't get it.)

    What if you eat a bunch of junk food and gain 5 pounds the day before you work out. Then you work out and eat normal and the weight goes down. Does this mean that you could not have built any muscle?

    Another thing I don't get is that concept of feeding body fat. Doesn't the fat that your body is burning provide you with energy? Shouldn't the burned fat be feeding the muscles?

  2. #2
    forth is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by WilliamNy View Post
    I have been looking around the forms and the internet for the answer to this question. It seems that you can not build muscle and gain fat at the same time? This does not completely make sense to me. Does this mean that if your weight went down then you could not have gained any muscle? (duh but I just don't get it.)

    What if you eat a bunch of junk food and gain 5 pounds the day before you work out. Then you work out and eat normal and the weight goes down. Does this mean that you could not have built any muscle?

    Another thing I don't get is that concept of feeding body fat. Doesn't the fat that your body is burning provide you with energy? Shouldn't the burned fat be feeding the muscles?
    "You can not build muslce and gain fat at the same time"
    => Yes, you can. Fat cells can grow at any time, they're not at all related to your muscle fibres.

    are you really asking about building muscle and losing fat at the same time?
    This is strictly speaking not possible. Either your body is anabolic or in the processes of being breaking down. What is very possible though is to gain muscle one day and lose fat the next day, so looking at a period of maybe 12 weeks and not at each specific instant of time this would work.

    "Weight went down then you could not have gained any muscle"
    => This is a totally different thing. It is quite possible to gain muscle while dropping in weight. especially if one is completely new to muscle building then there is the "newbie gain" phase where you put on quite a bit of mass kinda quick.. and if you're fat and eat andi exercise to lose fat then it is possible to do these two at the same time.

    "eat food day 1, work out day 2"
    => You can't turn stored fat into muscle. While the fat can quite possible be used to provide "fuel" (ATP) for your muscle it will not contribute to them growing. Muscles are built out of aminoacids (protein). And if you go up 5 pounds one day and down the next most of this is most likely glycogen (carbohydrates) and water.

    "feeding body fat"
    => I'm not sure I understand what you're asking here...
    but yes it pretty much works like this:

    using your muscles requires "fuel". This fuel is called ATP.
    to get ATP your body has a storage of PCr (creatine), glycogen (carbohydrates) and fat (well fat).
    The fat is stored in fat cells and gets metabolised into ATP which is "fed" to your muscles so they can continute to do work.

    This is an oversimplification, mind you, there are other energy pathways, but these are the main ones for the average person.


    Pretty much you need to keep your nitrogen balance positive to build muscle... and it is also very hard to build mass on a caloric deficit, the best one can do there is to prevent muscle loss.

  3. #3
    Steve Freides is offline Senior Member
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    I've heard stories of people on ketogenic diets both losing fat and gaining muscle in the same week - whether or not that was at the same time I cannot say. Typically these diets have a carb-up period on the weekends and check weight and body composition weekly - again, I don't know if that's truly typical but that's what I remember reading about.

    If you take in more food than you eat, only a few things that can happen - you will excrete the excess entirely resulting in no change in body composition, or you will use it somehow. If you use some of the excess calories, that "use" will be either muscle or fat, depending on your activities. That seems to me a fair, short summary of how this works.

    That said, I'd say the opposite of what the OP said - it seems very difficult for most people to gain weight and not gain fat. The usual is to gain weight then lose weight, and through weight lifting, try to convince the body to end up with a net gain of muscle and a net loss of fat, but in both the increasing and decreasing phases, you're likely working with change in both muscle and fat.

    -S-
    http://www.kbnj.com/flexguide.htm

  4. #4
    Com. Stefan is offline Senior Member
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    I seem to recall a study from early 2000's that mentioned fat loss and muscle gain at the same time, I believe it was on HIIT, but I'm not sure.

    Anyway, as forth mentioned, losing fat and gaining muscle in the same cycle is most definitely possible. If it's on the exact same second or not I don't know - and quite frankly doesn't matter to me either.

    Quote Originally Posted by SteveFreides View Post
    That said, I'd say the opposite of what the OP said - it seems very difficult for most people to gain weight and not gain fat.
    Probably because they read all over the internet that they need to "bulk up" and eat "whatever they can get their hands on". Not that anyone said it in this thread, it's just the typical advice I see.

    I've witnessed lean mass gain. Some top strength coaches, such as Charles Poliquin, swears by it, even going as far as calling bulking up an antiquated idea.

    Quote Originally Posted by WilliamNy View Post
    What if you eat a bunch of junk food and gain 5 pounds the day before you work out. Then you work out and eat normal and the weight goes down. Does this mean that you could not have built any muscle?
    You've likely mostly gained fluid and not fat. Especially if you're on certain types of diet you can easily gain a few pounds in a day and lose it the next, but it's not fat gain. My diet, for instance, works like that.

  5. #5
    forth is offline Senior Member
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    Martin Berkham (leangains.com) also seems to think bulking up is pretty idiotic.

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