Importance of being in caloric excess/deficit

Charlie and others have stated that having a proper nutrition program along with a proper training program will yield positive results in body composition without the need for bulking or cutting phases. Yet other nutrition experts say the only way to improve body composition is to decrease bodyfat and increase muscle mass in separate phases. Is this simply a matter of genetics or does everyone have the ability to increase muscle and decrease fat without altering bodyweight?

If you’re “bulking” (and I detest that term because it’s mainly used by fat ‘bodybuilders’ to justify their inability to discipline their offseason diet) properly you shouldn’t require much of a “cutting” phase. Your goal in your calorie surplus phase should be to maximize muscle gain while keeping your bodyfat within reasonable limits so that when it’s time to compete you only have to tweak your diet and adjust calories and macronutrient levels - not overhaul your diet completely. If you’re eating similar foods in your bulking phase to those you eat to cut up, you’ll have no trouble.

I believe that it is possible for anyone, unless you have a messed up endocrine system, to keep your bodyweight within a few pounds while losing fat. Some people will find it much easier than others. :wink:

If you’re in competition don’t bulk. If you’re not, why not bulk?

I think when you’ve gained enough muscle you won’t need to bulk, but until then bulking/cutting phases should be done. Build a base by bulking/cutting and just make minor adjustments from therein.

I’m not sure I’m following you? What sport/event will this apply to?

For someone who is at THEIR ideal bodyweight and 12% bodyfat, would it be recommended to:

  1. Try to stay at this bodyweight while lowering bodyfat %


  1. Lose weight while lowering bodyfat %, then bulk back up to ideal weight at a lower bodyfat %.

Stay at the same bodyweight as lose just fat of course.

Option 1 is the way without question. Option 2 is a waste of time.

How does anyone lose fat and keep body weight (seriously, if you have the magic answer I’ll pay you)?

Everyone knows the basic laws, lose fat, lower cals, lower cals you can’t maintain your weight.

I weighed 16 stone not long ago, I’m down to 15. I’ve tried to hold my body weight all the way, but it just doesn’t happen - it’s INEVITABLE you’ll lose weight when losing body fat, because body fat is part of your body weight. You could lose the fat, then try put on more weight but you’ll only put fat on putting muscle on.

Don’t be self conscious, fat isn’t needed in athletics, so holding your bodyweight doesn’t matter unless it’s solid muscle. If you drop body weight to lose fat, why care? It’s dead weight.

It’s best to bulk, then cut. If you’re in any sort of competition though, bulking/cutting won’t work. I’d just add calories progressively in the winter season, gain some mass and lose the fat just before comp season.

If you’re a weight lifter and you’re just trying to get as much leverage as possible, it doesn’t matter too much.

If you’re in athletics fat is dead weight that could be replaced by functional muscle, it will just weigh you down.

Why can’t you loose fat and gain muscle mass at the same time?

To gain muscle you have to increase calories. To lose fat you have to decrease calories.

You can only get bigger, then smaller not both.

Option 1 is possible with so low intensity exercise, patience, no cheating, and a few interval sessions to kick start the process. Like anything in training, if you go overboard with dieting you will experience the negative effect of weight loss. If you keep it at a reasonable level and are doing weight work to support hypertrophy you can easily gain .5lb of muscle and lose .5lb of fat per week. After 3 or 4 months you are significantly leaner (and your training has not experienced negative effects) but very few people are willing to stop eating poorly for so long.

Yes! Berardi has the thing pretty much covered in some of his articles. Massive eating and Massive eating reloaded are good reads.

Throw in some quality high intensity training and you should be fine (leanwise at least).

You won’t lose fat and gain muscle on that. You’ll just gain muscle and fat gradually, and the people who put looks first will be happier.

Bullshit. That old-school antiquated thinking died in the 90’s along with weight gain powders and Hot Stuff.

Why? Well since then we’ve discovered a little thing called nutrient partitioning.

Most people are unable to lose fat and build muscle because they either a) have no idea what they’re doing with regards to macronutrient manipulation and calorie intake vs. expediture or b) they try to lose the fat way too quickly.

What I understand about calories is this:
Protein; 4cal/g
Carbs; 4cal/g
Fat; 9cal/g

A fat kid is most certainly eating too much fat (maybe also carbs and protein). However the sadder part is in the ratio between these three nutrients. For the “fatty” who doesn’t train it will usually be too much fat, then carbs, then protein. For an athlete the problem can be nutrition timing (rising insulin levels too often while eating of fatty nutrients at the same time).

So if the fat kid wants to gain some muscle and loose fat the same time he’s got to start training as well as fix his eating habits. The training part is fairly straight forward; go to the gym and start training for some muscle. The diet thing is somewhat more complex. He has to cut off some fat from his diet, maybe also carbs, but probably not proteins, in fact he might want to increase the amount of proteins in his daily diet to support his work in the gym. But the calories from the increased protein intake won’t necessarily substitute from the loss in calories from fat, hence lesser amounts of calories per day.

In summary: The kid starts to train in order to build muscle (supports muscle buildup, burns some fat at the same time). His diet is working in his favor as well, a little more proteins, timing carbs till post workout and cutting fat (proteins and timing of carbs support muscle buildup and cutting fat reduces over all body fat levels).

Now I understand we’re talking about athletes that doesn’t (hopefully) have the same problem as the fat kid. The athlete is probably somewhat lean and has a training history already there. But the same general principles apply. It’s a matter of correct training as well as nutrient timing and most importantly; the quality of the nutrients. It might come to the point where increased training volume/intensity necessitates higher amounts of food (increased over all calorie intake) but so what, it’s not bulking up. Bulking up would be eating more than your living habits (including increased training) will necessitate.

Calorie intake is kind of useless if you don’t make a distinction between them, they all have their different characteristics that can work for or against your goals. Somebody on the Berardi site said it perfectly; “a calorie is not just a calorie”. I gave the link for some general theory as well as some good reads, these are however more focused on bodybuilding so you have to make your own adjustments.


Why? Well since then we’ve discovered a little thing called nutrient partitioning.


Tell me more, or at least point me in the right direction :slight_smile:


Tell me more, or at least point me in the right direction :)[/QUOTE]


Nutrient partitioning is used to describe a “positive” distribution of the calories we ingest. It’s where your body shuttles more nutrients into lean tissue and away from adipose (fat) tissue. This means that more of the calories you consume go toward supporting lean muscle mass growth and away from fat synthesis. This is how you can to maintain weight while increasing muscle and losing fat.

Insulin, Fish oils and other EFAs, high-intensity cardio, training, and certain supplements like ALA can help promote nutrient partitioning. Also (and most importantly) your meal timing and macronutrient profile of each meal can be used to your advantage . Numerous banned substances can have a huge effect.

Incidentally, are you talking about just steroids, or other substances, and, which ones in particular? I have to do a speech in my Speech Comm. class on a “Problem that I see facing the world” and I chose performance enhancing drugs in sports and in teens, and to go along with it, we have to suggest a better alternative to the problem. So basically it’d help if I had a list of products and their exact effects, and then be able to suggest healthy alternatives to hopefully achieve the same goals “naturally”.

If anyone has input, that’d be great. Sorry to kind of take the thread off topic.

Discussion of banned substances, who’s taking them, and their effects on athletes and normal people are not allowed on this board.