Weight and Resistance Training - Can you build muscle on a caloric deficit?

Song of Surly
05-14-2013, 10:52 AM
So this question has been annoying me, mostly in that I am having a hard time finding a clear answer to the question. Well, not exactly that, but that there are several clear answers that appear to be of different opinions. If anyone has a clear article that a layman could read that appears legit, I'd appreciate it.

I've noticed that it feels and looks like I have built some muscle through heavy, consistent lifting. This is mostly in my arms, legs, and butt. I've noticed that my strength has increased, but I know muscle strength and muscle mass are not exactly the same entity. For some reason, I've always been fairly muscular despite my weight, and when I was thinner and was active in sports, I always put on muscle quickly. So, is it possible that I have gained muscle mass with a caloric deficit? I mean, it seems people have a hard time gaining muscle mass when that is their entire focus (ie. eating more calories/protein). Or at least am I off-setting muscle loss in some way, and thus, the shedding of fat off what muscles I have is making them more noticeable? I guess it really doesn't matter, because what I am most interested in is building strength, but it has me curious.

05-15-2013, 05:34 AM
I have definitely built muscle while losing weight.

Here's a nice article from livestrong http://www.livestrong.com/article/362906-can-you-build-muscle-on-a-calorie-deficit/ which suggests that you need to be quite overweight to do this....which I am. Hurray??!!!

05-15-2013, 06:06 AM
I've been building muscle while on calorie deficit for four years. Not losing weight very quickly, so I still can't see the muscles, but I can definitely feel them!

05-15-2013, 06:32 AM
Yes, just make sure you get enough lean protein. It don't take much.

05-15-2013, 08:51 AM
Yes, but it's not as common as people would think. People who are untrained, obese, beginners in general, find this to be true. It's also worth noting that there is a difference between gaining strength and gaining muscle - they do not exclude each other, but they are not the exact same thing.

Take for example, me, and my friend. I do powerlifting and she does bodybuilding. At the same stats, she has more more lean muscle mass than I do, and it's quite visible, yet I am physically stronger.

Bottom line, eat enough protein, challenge your body with weights, and be consistent - as you lose the weight, your body composition will reflect it.

05-15-2013, 08:54 AM
Great advice Sacha.

Song of Surly
05-15-2013, 02:25 PM
Thanks for the input and advice everyone! It seems like I'm doing what I need to be doing, but I was just curious. It's been a while developing proper form, but I'm getting there. I feel like I am finally doing squats correctly after years of improper form, and my butt is starting to show it. :D Hallelujah!

05-23-2013, 04:18 PM
It's definitely possible, but it does become a balance. Just like weight loss, if you eat too few calories, no more weight will budge off you. If you eat too many, no weight loss either.
It's the same with muscle gain... too few calories and no difference will happen.