Excess calorie intake and strength training

Discussion in 'Strength-Specific Training (SST)' started by stevie, Jan 24, 2004.

  1. stevie

    stevie New Member

    How important is EXCESS calorie intake when trying to increase strength?...ie do you need to eat EXCESS if you have no intrest in muscle hypertrophy whatsoever and you want to keep your bodyfat% as low as possible. To what extent can you get away with maintainance calories?
  2. mikeynov

    mikeynov Super Moderator Staff Member

    Well, there are both functional and structural components to strength. Through a variety of factors, one can increase performance capacity in some feat via increases in efficiency in intra- and inter- muscular coordination, reflex potentiation, and all that other good stuff Siff/Verkoshansky harped on :p These could be accomplished even in the absence of overfeeding and/or gains in lean mass. Powerlifters in a particular weight division tend to get stronger year to year without changing bodyweight all that much, for example.

    Anecdotally, overeating certainly helps keep strength gains going, though I tend to gain strength slowly over time even when I'm not overfeeding. There is an obvious structural component to strength training, as increases in cross sectional area in a given muscle tends to increase POTENTIAL force output in that given muscle. Thus, IMHO, SST would still have to involve hypertrophic principles, of which overeating would be a component. The best strength gains of my life came during periods of overfeeding :p
  3. anoopbal

    anoopbal New Member

    How does steroid usage causes an increase in strength.Is it only due to increase in muscle CSA or can steroids influence the neurological system?

    :) Anoop
  4. Bryan Haycock

    Bryan Haycock Administrator Staff Member

    Yes, some androgens have a direct non-genomic effect on the nervous system. These effects can increase alertness, strength, and exercise tolerance.
  5. Dianabol

    Dianabol Guest

    Interesting really, this post.

    1. How important is EXCESS calorie intake when trying to increase strength?

    >>>> Possibly not so important. This is relative though. We must bear in mind, that all else being equal, the larger muscle must be stronger than the smaller muscle. But in real life, as mikeynov had expounded, all else is not equal, since strength is a component of many things, a fair number of them neurological. For this reason alone a smaller muscle can exhibit greater strength than a larger muscle due to factors of fibre recruitment, neurological efficiency, biomechanical differences, skill etc. Therefore, an increase in strength may or may not be due to an increase in size since the other factors could and usually is responsible for an increase in strength.

    One would overfeed to elicit an overall anabolic environment that favours growth. But since growth can be mutually exclusive of strength, it is then safe to say that overfeeding for growth is mutually exclusive of strength. In fact, many trainees who for one reason or another don't want to get "bulky" actually restrict their diet and keep banging their heads with some progressive overload sort of training, and they do get stronger but not larger. This is perhaps, the conundrum of diminishing returns faced by the HIT crowd - they lift so much weight for so little growth. Even if they overate, they'd still experience little or no muscle growth - SD is required here. HST is required here, if growth is of essence :D

    In fact, there are studies done here and there on wrestlers and restricted feeding. Do a search on Pubmed and see - interesting stuff comes up on wrestlers going hypocaloric but suffering no loss in strength despite losing weight. You'd stumble across many other things too on Pudmed - all good reading nonetheless [​IMG] Aaron_F is the resident strength expert here - he talks the talk because he walks the walk - a PM to him about this might be prudent :)

    2. ...ie do you need to eat EXCESS if you have no intrest in muscle hypertrophy whatsoever and you want to keep your bodyfat% as low as possible.

    >>>> No, excess calories are not needed if you have no interest in growth. Furthermore, keeping your calories at or below maintenance while engaging in anaerobic-type activity has proven to preserve and even build muscle mass while fat is being lost i.e. body-composition recomposition is best accomplished this way. So be it HST or whatever strength protocol you wish to engage in, lifting weights when done safely always is a good thing :D

    Interestingly, the number one problem with failing to accrue any muscle growth while on HST occurs from lack of overeating. Many complaints are to do with "My workouts are perfect but I am not growing - what's wrong?" In short,these trainees are lifting more but not growing more. HST sounds like one way of getting stronger without getting bigger should you choose not to overfeed.

    3. To what extent can you get away with maintainance calories?

    >>>> You'd get away very much with maintenance calories.

    In fact, I'd go as far as to say that:

    a) [HST plus over-feeding = great natural growth].
    b) [HST sans over-feeding = great cutting protocol].
    c) [HST sans overfeeding, sans SD but plus smaller increments and plus longer cycles = good strength protocol (SD is recommended if the aches and pains beset you)].

    To end, how about commonly used supplements for strength? Yes, some discussion about this would be fun and perhaps, shed more light on this matter.

    1. Creatine Monohydrate - good stuff regardless if you are a weight lifter or librarian. Studies have shown that creatine is good for athletes and even, improves memory in the forgetful, heart function in cardiac patients etc. Funny how they haven't moved to clamp down on Creatine the way they had murdered ephedrine. I am sure they could extend the ephedrine lie to creatine if they wanted too...

    2. Caffeine - Brewed from roasted beans, this is one vegetarian food that has the thumbs up. Recent research (read this somewhere....) reports that six cups of coffee a day is protective against cancer. Taking some coffee prior to working out gives a good buzz too. 2-3 flat teaspoons of instant coffee has about 100mg caffeine, by the way....

    3. Carbs - you just can't get a good blast in the gym without carbs.

    4. Smart-drugs type supplements - funny how this niche has yet to become a full rip-off. I suppose the current NO nonsense has to die off first :D But there are numerous supplements to be found on the shelves of the health-food shops that increase concentration, increase a mind-body awareness sort of thing that may or may not increase one's neurological efficiency when it comes to strength. Stuff on gingko has been conflicting though. Brahmi could be the next gingko... although stuff on this is sketchy too.

    5. Stimulants - E, PPA, etc. Strength has a heavy CNS component to it and if you can jack this up, you'd be stronger. The goold old EC is good as a pre-workout tonic.

    Can't think of anything else off the top of my head. I'm going to contemplate dinner now. A baked rice is in order. And roast pork too [​IMG]

    Happy Australia Day folks :D

    Godspeed, and happy HSTing :)
  6. thedrivethruguy

    thedrivethruguy New Member

    dianabol, you may or may not have been told this before, but just want to acknowledge how unbelievebily thorough your replies are. I didnt even post in this topic (besides this one), I was just skimming it over, but time and time again everywhere I look you always list the question your answering, and completely explore the topic at hand...
    I must say good job, i wish i had the time/patience that you do...
    "Godspeed, and Happy HSTing" [​IMG]

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