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Weight training and calorie deficits Question

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Old 05-01-2012, 02:37 PM   #1
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Default Weight training and calorie deficits Question

Forgive me if this has been answered before.

I've read from time to time on these forums that it is impossible to build muscle while on a calorie deficit for weight loss. Is that true?

I'm interested in starting weight training, but wonder what benefits it would have if the above is true as am eating at a deficit and will be for some time.

Any thoughts you all have are appreciated.

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Old 05-01-2012, 02:56 PM   #2
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So I can't find a good article explaining the science behind it but you can gain/maintain muscle while losing fat.

When you are losing weight, your body wants to get hold onto your fat because it is your backup energy store and wants to get rid of whatever is burning excess calories which is generally muscle. It is why you can lose quite a bit of muscle while losing weight. If you are using your muscles, then your body will try to maintain the muscles and even build them. So in the same instant that you are losing fat, you cannot gain muscle. In the instant that your body is shedding weight, it could be shedding both muscle/fat.

For those that have a pure goal of gaining muscle, then weight loss can not be part of the equation.

The benefits are that you will maintain your muscle and maximize your fat loss.
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Old 05-01-2012, 03:24 PM   #3
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nelie said it—you will maintain the muscle you have.

As a newbie lifter you might gain a little muscle mass, but you normally cannot gain muscle while eating at a deficit.

Most of us already HAVE a lot of lean body mass from carrying our weight around. You won't need all of it when you're smaller, but you might as well keep as much of it as you can! This helps you avoid looking skinny fat when you get to your goal weight.

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Old 05-01-2012, 05:11 PM   #4
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Glad that was posted. Great information, thanks for sharing.
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Old 05-01-2012, 05:53 PM   #5
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Thanks for the replies - that all makes sense to me.

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Old 05-02-2012, 03:40 AM   #6
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You have to maintain your regular needed calorie intake regardless (at the minimum), but if you are doing a SERIOUS workout, you will need to take in almost a gram of protein for pound of weight each day. While eating at a deficit, you are starving your muscles so you're basically lifting weight for nothing because muscle will turn into fat for your body to feed on. If you want to keep muscle.... eat... workout... and be sure you're getting enough protein.
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Old 05-02-2012, 03:44 AM   #7
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Muscle cannot physically turn into fat.

I ate at a surplus all winter and built some visible muscle. Now, I'm eating at a deficit again and I'm continuing to get stronger.
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Old 05-02-2012, 08:06 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FattyFatFat View Post
You have to maintain your regular needed calorie intake regardless (at the minimum), but if you are doing a SERIOUS workout, you will need to take in almost a gram of protein for pound of weight each day. While eating at a deficit, you are starving your muscles so you're basically lifting weight for nothing because muscle will turn into fat for your body to feed on. If you want to keep muscle.... eat... workout... and be sure you're getting enough protein.
This is not true. I am not doing heavy lifting now but prior to less than a year ago, I was. I ate between 50-100 grams of protein per day and I gained quite a bit of muscle. Protein requirements are a bit exaggerated especially by certain people. And yeah, muscles can't turn to fat.
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Old 05-10-2012, 10:56 AM   #9
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I'm not a nutritionist. I often wonder about this myself.

Here's what I know. The body's energy stores are carbs (what you've just eaten), fat (what you excessively ate before) and muscle. Different types of exercise and different rates of exercise pull energy from different sources.

Ever see the target heart rate chart on a treadmill? The "fat burning zone" is highlighted often.

Don't be misled. At a slower rate - or 60-70% max HR - the energy source that is tapped first is from fat cells. But at the end of the day, all that matters for fat loss is that you burned more calories than you took in.

There is a point at which energy is taken from the muscle. I would beg to differ that any "fat" person (pardon me for saying it like it is just to make a point) would suffer muscle loss when weight training at a calorie deficit. This happens at a HR sustained well over 80% max. You don't lift at that HR, I assume.

Also, don't assume that taking in more protein is going to make your muscles bigger. This is an industry myth based soley for profit. A well balanced meal is your best bet. Yes there are certain amino acids that you can replenish immediately after a work out for better muscle recovery, but even that is debatable.

Just keep your calories under what you expend in a well balanced way and keep lifting.

Protein = a lot of calories. Don't concentrate on high protein diet because that means you are taking in a lot of calories. Just keep it balanced.

I say this assuming you're an average Joe on a weight loss journey. There is a lot of research based on elite athletes that a professional might advise differently, but I think in this forum, we should stick to the basics.


Know what I mean? Don't get sucked into fitness industry B.S. It just doesn't always apply to everyone.
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