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Anonymous
Anonymous asked in HealthDiet & Fitness · 7 years ago

Regarding a calorie deficit.?

In the world of fitness there's a common myth that states that you cannot gain muscle and lose fat at the same time. That myth has been debunked by many fitness experts and that you can gain muscle and lose fat under a calorie deficit. But here's my question, when they say "gain muscle", are they referring "muscle" as mass or strength? Because mass doesn't necessary mean strength. I believe under a calorie deficit it's impossible to gain muscle mass since you are eating too little calories to gain muscle mass, but with the protein, carbs and fats you consume you can gain muscle strength.

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  • 7 years ago
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    You can gain muscle during a calorie deficit. Whether you gain muscle mass or muscle strength depends on the type of exercises you perform.

    In "starvation mode" when you consume fewer calories than your body needs for a lengthy period of time, your body works extra hard to protect the fat stores and resorts to metabolizing muscle proteins.

    So, in general, people on diets who consume fewer calories than their body needs will lose muscle mass.

    This does not mean that through vigorous resistance exercises you cannot maintain and even add to your muscle mass. It's simply harder when your body metabolizes muscle for energy.

    Including extra protein in your diet certainly helps provide extra protein for energy as well as muscle development.

    One thing you did not mention but is critical to this discussion is the amount of calorie deficit as well as your body fat percentage. Certainly a 1% or 2% daily calorie deficit is almost meaningless. But, the greater the deficit, the more difficult it will be to maintain and even add to your muscle mass. And, at the same time, the fatter you are, the easier it will be for a calorie deficit to work at losing fat.

    So, you should not conclude that a person can gain muscle no matter the degree of their calorie deficit or body fat percentage. Livestrong.com indicates conditions for muscle gain under calorie deficit to occur:

    "First, you must be significantly overweight with a high body fat percentage. Second, you must consume a diet conducive to muscular hypertrophy. Third, you must engage in a consistent program of weight training."

    About the differences in mere mass and strength increases, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muscle_hypertrophy tell us:

    Sarcoplasmic (volume increase) or myofibrillar (strength increase) hypertrophy rarely occur independently. Consistent anaerobic strength training will produce sarcoplasmic hypertrophy over the long term. Contraction against 80 to 90% of the one-repetition maximum for 2–6 repetitions (reps) causes myofibrillated hypertrophy to dominate.

    Both types of exercise help you "gain muscle."

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