T Nation

Bodyfat versus muscle loss while dieting

OK guys, I read JB’s diet post, and saw he was happy losing about 6 pounds of lean body mass to get to 4% BF. I obviously, have NO such inspirations, however, with everything going on in my life, I have been following massive eating…but not eating too well due to the new job, the Vixen, and everything else going on. I have been putting on size, up from 248 to 257, however the stomach says that this time around it is probably more fat than muscle…again due to the poor eating. I am probably up from 11-12% BF (Top row of abs…all if I flex…thats all I want, so I dont go lower than 10% being an ectomorph…it just makes me look too narrow)

Anyway, I am probably at say 14% looking in the mirror…just a guess. Now Berardi will not fess up right now, according to his post, However…here is the question. Do you think it is easier to lose fat while preserving muscle when you are at a higher BF%? So in other words if I just try to get tigher on the massive eating diet…keep bulking, and say my BF goes to 17% THEN take off the fat? Or are my numbers likely to be close to Johns…of losing say 5 pounds of muscle for every 12-15 pounds of fat? Or is the only reason he lost so much LBM because he was trying to get so low in BF? I need to know your opinions so I know if I should just keep rolling on this bulking spree and not wory about the BF (appearance doesnt matter right now) or should I try to drop a few pounds of fat first then go back to bulking? I want to preserve as much of my hard gained muscle as possible obviously…so which way do you go??

Do both at the same time… Haa haaaa. Ok seriously why not just monitor your massive eating diet and see if in fact you are putting on way more fat than you want then make necessary macro/cal adjusts from there until you find what works for you. If you diet is not clean why not start there? I am a bit confused as you seem to have all the information It really depends on your body what has worked in the past. How has your body adjusted to your new diet are you still doing MA. Are you really working the cardio are you to high on your carbs etc. What is your macro profile. what is your cal breakdown define unclean diet. To some that means beer and pizza to others that means they ate a soy snack. More info the better. What was your results form the insulin tests from eating massive.

Knuckledragger…what I mean by unclean is just that. Fast food, raiding the fridge, cookies, etc. Put it like this, I would say perhaps in the last 4 weeks, I kept to the Massive Eating program about 3-4 days a week…the rest due to interviews and being Mr. Mom and stress and anything…were just EATING but still keeping calories around 6000 per day…just not doing P/C and P/F meals…just friggin eating. What I am trying to determine is like this. Do you lose more muscle the lower you get in bodyfat as you diet. So what I am trying to find out is…say I am at 14% If I clean up the diet, and keep bulking, and say get to 17%. To lose that fat from say 17% to 14%…will that cost me a good amount of muscle, or very little? In other words, is muscle lost during a diet (a T-mag diet…not a foo foo diet) greater as the bodyfat percentages get lower? or is it a fairly even formula, that on average you lose x pounds of muscle for every percentage of bodyfat drop??

I think it all depends on how you go about it, Whopper. I have been on Don’t Diet for six weeks now-started with 153 lean weight, still have 153 lean weight, all while dropping from 15 to just under 10 percent. I stay between 2400-2500 cals/day, lift 4x/week King split, and I do light jogging 30 min. post workout and pre-breakfast on off-days. I plan on taking a 2-week minor bulk phase to keep metabolism high then go back down. What I don’t want to do is diet for weeks on end like I used to (as many as 16-18 weeks). That’s where I think you lose your lean mass. I think a good way would be to do a few weeks of both at a time, sort of an extended Delta 1250, 4-6 weeks cut, 4-6 weeks bulk. Since I’m sort of at that in-between stage of SB and decent build (5’7, 172), I still need some added muscle too.

Where do I find the Don’t Diet protocol? I searched for it on the site and came up dry…help me out guys

Whopper,
Go to issue 155 in JB’S appetite column.
It’s in there about halfway down under the
subtitle “Gettin’ Leaner”.

Whopper, John M Berardi hasn’t posted his Don’t Diet protocol yet in the online T-Mag. However, Nate Dogg posted a cliff notes version of the diet in the forum so search there under his name.

Whopper, my man! Wassup! Where ya been??? Naw, I’m just kidding, buddy, I know things are tight right now. But I have been missin’ ya, bro. Can’t find the Don’t Diet info??? Have no fear, your best lil’ SB buddy just happened to run a search for it last Friday and it should still be around…I won’t make ya search for it…I just emailed it to ya:-)

As for the current Q at hand...I absolutely think that the lower your bodyfat, the more muscle you are at risk of losing while dieting. I don't have any evidence, per se, to back this up, besides personal experience. However, intelligent dieting (Don't Diet) will help preserve as much lean as possible (while natural) and I also think that the significant muscle losses come at very low BF% (most likely under 7-8%). That being the case, I think that if you want to shed some fat, go for it now, no need to bulk up to 17% then drop. I like Teddy's idea of mini gaining and leaning phases--actually been my goal for a long time, just a matter of finding the caloric groove. JB has mentioned a few times that there more likely than not will be some muscle loss while dieting and some fat gain while gaining. However, thru meal combos and timing one can attempt to optimize these ratios (2:1, maybe 3:1 ring a bell in my mind). I hope that answers your questions somewhat, big guy. Obviously, the see-food diet isn't going to help one way or the other.

whopper: my experience is that the lower bodyfat % the harder it is to stave off muscle catabolism when leaning. what you eat and when you eat it becomes paramount as does the timing of your cardio (if you choose to do cardio). lower bf% means paying closer attention to detail. i don’t know if there any way around it. kevo

I think it has to do with how much bodyfat your body naturally likes to carry. If your body is comfortable with a bodyfat of 8% then you probably won’t have much trouble or lose much muscle going to 6%. But if you go from 15% to 6% then it’s a different story.

Thanks for the advice guys, I am still deciding what to do here…keep bulking or cut the BF a bit…as I said…appearance doesnt mean too much for the next 5 months or so…so I am not too worried about being chunky…just worried about making some good gains then being able to keep them.

There’s a lot of literature to support the statement that fatter people lose less muscle while dieting. If you look at an extreme example say someone who is morbidly obese they can pretty much lose 100% fat while dieting (wouldn’t you love that)

if you’re not concerned with the cutting really, whopper, then i see no need to do so. it seems pretty clear that you just want to make progress in the gym and keep the bodyweight on the up and up, with minimal fat. so, why not just do your best to clean up the diet–keeping the junk to nil or minimum–and keep doing what you’re doing.