FEATURE ARTICLE Can You Build Muscle on a Diet? by Benjamin Liu Many on here will dispute what this article states but I have found it to be true...especially the part about dirty bulking. I do, however, dispute the 500 calorie deficit statement (I would buy into 200 calories deficit) but agree wholeheartedly with the maintenance statement. "Some say you can't gain muscle when you're in a caloric deficit. Kill that myth. The amount of muscle you gain depends a lot on: how advanced you are, how much time you have to train, how much rest you get, and how you eat. Eating right, training, and recovering properly are the most important factors in gaining muscle, and as long as you're not in a huge deficit (more than 500 calories) you'll still make gains. But won't the person eating in a surplus make MORE gains? Yes, possibly, but not by much. And for the "dirty bulker," when it comes time to lose fat, they often find the extreme change in diet stressful both on their mind and body. They might even start losing muscle during their cut or develop metabolic damage. The Value of Maintenance Mode Over the span of a few years, the lifter who eats a balanced diet at or around maintenance level calories will likely make better gains than the individual who's constantly switching between bulking and cutting cycles. If you do choose to do a traditional bulk and cut, those methods should only be used temporarily, not long-term. Rule of thumb: Don't use your training goals as an excuse to binge on donuts."