The "building muscle and losing fat" debate

Discussion in 'General Training' started by imported_etothepii, Jan 17, 2007.

  1. We know that it is impossible to gain muscle and lose fat at the same time. Everybody states, "Not for newbies, though."

    Well, it is impossible there too. The body just can't do it. What I think must be happening for newbies is that the stimulus of exercise/diet on their unconditioned bodies causes a reaction of frequent shifts between muscle building and fat loss. It has the apperance of a simultaneous transformation, but really, it's discrete and alternating steps in both directions: Kind of like the difference between a ramp and stairs.

    I'm curious about how that happens. Does it shift on a day to day basis? Hour to hour? Moment to moment?

    If they can burn fat in a workout for several minutes, then later build muscle with an energy surplus, somehow cause by feeding off of the excess fat(?), then burn fat again shortly later due an increase in the metabolism, etc...that would explain it.

    So the next question is, can the trained and conditioned body be forced to do this too? Isn't that what McDonald's UD2 tries to do in shifting between depleting and building phases every couple of days? (I haven't read the book.)

    I have come to the realization that I don't like the traditional bulk/cut approach. After I get to a desired bf%, say 10%, I don't want to do it again.

    I may do it again if that's all that will work for me, but if I can find a way to add a bit, then lose a bit, etc. without big changes in overall bf% and appearance, then that's what I want to do.

    To make frequent shifts, I speculate that overfeeding aroung lifting days and underfeeding around cardio days is the key. And I'm not talking about gross over and under feeding, just a couple hundred calories. The weekly change in calories would be only +/- 100cal or so...

    This type of thing would work too well with HST, though. It would screw with the lifting frequency. I have experimented with over/under feeding every other day, and a.) I don't like it, and B.) I t was hard to tell if it was working at all.

    So instead of moment to moment, or day to day shifting, what I'm thinking is use a tapering diet during the first 3 weeks of a cycle, ramp up calories in the 4th week, then overfeed during the 5's and post 5's. SD would consist of a gradual shift from the overfeeding back down to tapering for the next cycle.

    I'm imagining a loss of 3 pounds the first three weeks, and a gain of 6 pounds in the last four weeks. The desired result would be an increase of 3 pounds with almost no change to body fat%.

    To those who are used to bulking, that isn't much of a gain for an entire HST cycle. It looks like I'm not optimizing the potential of HST for muscle growth -- and I'm not. But if it works even close to speculation, I might never have to increase my pants size, or do months of dieting/ cutting ever again.

    Now is this all pie in the sky dreaming of the "perfect" workout and diet plan? Yeah, but who doesn't do this?

    Once I reach my target bf%, I'm going to give it an honest try.
     
  2. Peak_Power

    Peak_Power New Member

    Man way to overcomplicate things.

    You're best bet is not to think in terms of muscle gain or fat loss, but anabolism and catabolism. What you mean to say by "you can't do both simultaniusly" is that you can't be in an anabolic and catabolic state at the same time, due different hormones etc.

    However, I can testify that many people have maintained the same scale weight, but lost dress sizes, and "toned up", which means they gained muscle and lost fat, so they look heaps better, but may have actually gained scale weight (muscle weights twice as much as fat, more water weight etc.)
     
  3. It is simply not true that anyone can gain muscle and loss fat at the same time.
     
  4. <div>
    (drpierredebs @ Jan. 17 2007,18:49)</div><div id="QUOTEHEAD">QUOTE</div><div id="QUOTE">It is simply not true that anyone can gain muscle and loss fat at the same time.</div>
    But there are conditions where there is the appearance that it is happening, eh?
     
  5. berserk

    berserk Member

    But what if you take a big fat bastard who has never trained or exercised ever. Suddenly you put him in the gym and every second day he busts his balls pumping iron, he does cardio every other day. Feed him 1.5g protein/lb per day and I'd be very surprised if his muscles didn't at least get a little bit bigger as well as losing a little bit of fat. It may be only temporary but why would it only be ever one or the other?
     
  6. <div></div><div id="QUOTEHEAD">QUOTE</div><div id="QUOTE">You're best bet is not to think in terms of muscle gain or fat loss, but anabolism and catabolism. What you mean to say by &quot;you can't do both simultaniusly&quot; is that you can't be in an anabolic and catabolic state at the same time, due different hormones etc.
    </div>

    Doesn't the word &quot;catabolic&quot; refer to oxidizing, or burning muscle? Is there a different term for burning fat?

    Also, in protein turnover, don't you first catabolize damaged muscle cells, only to replace them with more -- i.e. anabolism? In other words, catabolism is a necessary part of anabolism, isn't it?

    There's a lot I don't understand, so forgive me.

    Maybe I should use simpler, layman's terms, like &quot;micro-cut cycle&quot; and &quot;micro-bulk cycle.&quot;

    <div></div><div id="QUOTEHEAD">QUOTE</div><div id="QUOTE">But what if you take a big fat bastard who has never trained or exercised ever. Suddenly you put him in the gym and every second day he busts his balls pumping iron, he does cardio every other day. Feed him 1.5g protein/lb per day and I'd be very surprised if his muscles didn't at least get a little bit bigger as well as losing a little bit of fat. </div>

    This guy, after a one or two week weigh-in / body composition test may have appeared to lost fat and gained muscle, for sure. My point is that he did so in steps -- lost fat here, gained muscle there -- not in one continuous, simultaneous fashion. His body &quot;knew&quot; how to switch between modes. Does that make any sense?

    Just so you all know I'm not trying to impersonate a professional, this is just crap I'm thinking as I read and try to learn about how our bodies work. See this quote above:
    <div></div><div id="QUOTEHEAD">QUOTE</div><div id="QUOTE">There's a lot I don't understand, so forgive me. </div> [​IMG]
     
  7. cronos

    cronos New Member

    In theory it is possible but it's a long way to put it in practice.
    Guys on &quot;roids&quot; can do it easier but for the rest of us, it is very hard.
    It's hard because of the lack of knoledge and discipline I think.
    Even if you do what you have to do in general, each of us is unique and a &quot;perfect&quot; diet is hard to realize.
     
  8. <div>
    (cronos @ Jan. 18 2007,08:34)</div><div id="QUOTEHEAD">QUOTE</div><div id="QUOTE">In theory it is possible but it's a long way to put it in practice.
    Guys on &quot;roids&quot; can do it easier but for the rest of us, it is very hard.
    It's hard because of the lack of knoledge and discipline I think.
    Even if you do what you have to do in general, each of us is unique and a &quot;perfect&quot; diet is hard to realize.</div>
    I here you! And what I'm thinking about is far from &quot;Optimal,&quot; but as I said, I don't want to bulk/cut in the standard sense. So I want to try this idea, and see if I still make progress. I'm willing to accept slow progress, if it means slower gains than bulking/cutting.
     
  9. Bulldog

    Bulldog Active Member

    I'm no expert either by any means.  And this is only my opinion and nothing more.  But I would challenge anyone at 15% BF or above to try this and tell me it doesn't work....

    Go on a maintenance level CKD as proposed in &quot;The Anabolic Diet&quot; or &quot;The Metabolic Diet&quot; and tell me that you don't lose body fat and gain muscle.  I fully believe that this will work for almost everyone until they get down to about 10% body fat.

    This has worked for me in the past but I find that kind of diet hard to follow because of the low carbs.  But I do fully believe it will work for just about anyone if they follow it properly.

    Also, make sure when you switch back to a normal eating plan that you add the carbs back into your diet GRADUALLY and be sure you are counting all your calories.  I made the mistake of just going right back to eating a normal diet and I blew up like a friggin balloon!  This happened because I wasn't paying enough attention and ended up increasing the calories to much because of the extra carbs I was taking in.
     
  10. vagrant

    vagrant New Member

    Actually, I've done it. Yeah, I was very obese. But do the math please.

    300lbs at 60+% bodyfat. Lost to 170lbs at 15% body fat. LBM increased. That can only be done by building muscle while gaining fat.

    At 200lbs I was no longer obese, still managed to drop another 30lbs and add more muscle.

    No, one can't go from a fat hog to a pro bodybuilder while buring fat (in lypolosis), but they CAN add muscle. Remember, when the body is using fat for fuel, there is 9 calories/gram of fat of energy there to use for muscle building.

    Is it easy? No. Is it even harder when not extrememly fat? Yes. Can it be done though? Yes.

    Is it easier to do traditional lean bulks and slow cuts? Yes it is.

    Oh yeah, the thing that so many use to see &quot;muscle growth&quot;...arm size. My flabby, soft, jiggly arms were 15&quot; at 300lbs. At 170lbs, they were still 15&quot;, but no longer soft and jiggly, they had some shape and definition. There had to be some muscle gain during the fat loss.
     
  11. There is a misconception here:anabolic simply means building something out of lesser parts(for example muscle protein from amino-acids, etc.) and catabolic means the decomposition of a complex compound into its lesser parts(the reverse of the above process, for example). Catabolism doesn`t necessarily mean cannibalization of muscle nor does anabolism necessarily mean building of muscle-but the terms have been raped for so long that it`s improbable that they`ll be disjointed from their positive/negative meanings anytime soon.

    Having gotten that out of my system, I do think that it`s very dependant on body fat levels and level of starting muscularity. If you`re a fat bastard with little or no muscle, and a begginer in terms of bodybuilding you`ll most certainly build some muscle and lose some fat if you start some semi-serious iron pumping, that is certain. If you`re at 220 10% BF and go on a cutting cycle, things are more complicated.

    The human body is a little bitch, it doesn`t really care about our biceps...in fact, if the going gets tough, it`ll try to eat into that nice biceps because as far as it`s concerned we don`t need it. It won`t like the idea of cutting into the fat, because it wants survival, not sexyness, and fat can be equated to survival under severe famine/starvation or other hardships. So if you`re already fairly lean and muscular, cutting yourself to shreds will be darned hard(contest cutting was a major bitch). I feel that maintaining LBM while cutting is a huge achievement for most athletes, even chemically assisted ones.

    But our above mentioned fat bastard isn`t cutting...he has no real muscle worth mentioning, and as resistance towards training is minimal if you`ve never trained before, the body will gladly adapt by adding some muscle, which will raise BMR which will increase caloric expenditure which will result in some fat loss unless the fat bastard increases his caloric intake.
     
  12. Peak_Power

    Peak_Power New Member

    Yeah morgoth I was going to explain that about anabolism and catabolism.

    One way to look at this is to look at the body as a bank account, the food in is your income, and the activity you do is your expendature. A fat person has a big bank balance, so he can afford to live in deficit because he has &quot;savings&quot; to live off.

    This extra energy can be used to make up the energy deficit, which allows you to put muscle on while eating a below-maintanance diet. Imagine spending more money than you earn each week, but not going into debt (muscle breakdown) because your living off your savings (fat). Hope that simple analogy helps.
     
  13. Actually, I find it to be a cool analogy [​IMG]
     
  14. vagrant

    vagrant New Member

    I don't know if this is important to the discussion or not. But when I got down to 170 I was on a strict keto diet. When I gained back up to almost 190 with a lower body fat over the next year (yeah, gains were almost imperceptibly slow) my body fat got down below 10%. I was doing a timed carb diet.

    The thing that ruined it for me was when I started training for a triathlon. I did the triathlon but at the end, I was at a very low body fat percentage and back to 170lbs. Cutting, excessive cardio, and training for neural adaption, going as heavy as possible for low reps wasn't the answer for me.

    Now, I'm back to 195, have more bodyfat, more muscle, and eat pretty big every day because my training focus has changed. It's not powerlifting, bodybuilding, physique oriented. Just eating for performance. If I get a little fat from it, I don't care.
     
  15. berserk

    berserk Member

    One thing that is definitely not possible: to be really fat and not be a bastard as well ;)
     
  16. scientific muscle

    scientific muscle New Member

    LOL! [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Yeah, everyone know as soon as you go above 30% bodyfat, you instantly become a 'FAT BASTARD'. [​IMG]
     
  17. JonPaul

    JonPaul New Member

    I did it! Bodyfat testing when starting at 23%, end bodyfat testing at 10.5%
    During that period all measurements went up. Legs up 1-1/2 inches, arms 1 inch, and chest &amp; back up 1 inch. That sure sounds like Lose fat and build muscle to me.
     
  18. Lifting N Tx

    Lifting N Tx New Member

    <div>
    (JonPaul @ Jan. 19 2007,11:15)</div><div id="QUOTEHEAD">QUOTE</div><div id="QUOTE">I did it! Bodyfat testing when starting at 23%, end bodyfat testing at 10.5%
    During that period all measurements went up. Legs up 1-1/2 inches, arms 1 inch, and chest &amp; back up 1 inch. That sure sounds like Lose fat and build muscle to me.</div>
    That's a very impressive result! It's sometimes possible to add enough LBM that your body fat % goes down even while also adding some fat. However, I calculate that you'd have to start at something like 100 pounds and end up at 240 to do that given the % results that you mention, so it looks pretty certain that you did both. Otherwise you went from Don Notts to Arnold S. [​IMG]

    Care to mention a few more details? For example, how long it took, how much was your caloric defit below maintenance, and was your calorie intake relatively constant?
     
  19. JonPaul

    JonPaul New Member

    I went from [email protected] 23% (165 LBM)  to 175 pounds @ 10% (158 LBM)  in 5 months.  As i mentioned, each bodypart made size gains while I had overall weight reduction.

    I never counted calories, just changed eating habits and frequency.

    I'm my case, I feel that the fat on my body was utilized to build muscle.  Now I haven't been able to duplicate that result..... again.


    NOT YET, ANYWAY!
     
  20. bluejacket

    bluejacket New Member

    <div>
    (JonPaul @ Jan. 20 2007,18:35)</div><div id="QUOTEHEAD">QUOTE</div><div id="QUOTE">I went from [email protected] 23% (165 LBM)  to 175 pounds @ 10% (158 LBM)  in 5 months.  As i mentioned, each bodypart made size gains while I had overall weight reduction.

    I never counted calories, just changed eating habits and frequency.

    I'm my case, I feel that the fat on my body was utilized to build muscle.  Now I haven't been able to duplicate that result..... again.


    NOT YET, ANYWAY!</div>
    this has become a hot topic lately (again) and ive always found it interesting.

    im must admit i am confused by your post though. by your own calc. you lost 7lbs of lean mass while dropping 40lbs total yet say the fat was used to build muscle. i would certainly agree your overall &quot;look&quot; probably improved considerably but im just not sure how you put on considerable size (for 5 months) while losing 40lbs. i could see your arms and legs gaining a little size (especially if your a newbie) as your midsection shrunk but how did you lose 7lbs of muscle yet gain over an inch in your arms, legs, chest, lats. where did those 7 lbs come from? the only muscle groups left is calfs and delts................


    congrats on dropping all that wgt.
     

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