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Can You Lose Fat and Gain Muscle at Once?

Every so often a couple people stick their heads out of the wood-work, and argue (until being generally silenced by the masses) that you don’t need to go through a series of Bulk/Cut cycles to get big and lean.

I’d like to hear from those people, hear their thoughts, experience and (more or less) the philosophy behind such a claim.

Can the human body both grow LBM while loosing muscle AT THE EXACT SAME TIME?

Or would we have to say it can only do one at a time, but you can flip the switch rapidly: be anabolic in and around lifting and recovery, then go catabolic and burn the rest of the time?

Or do you really need to go anabolic mode, and stay there, then over the course of weeks (months?) move in to catobolic mode?

Am I thinking about this wrong? I’m not looking for advice specific to me, and I know this has been talked about before. However, opinions and experiences change, and I would be interested to hear how many on here go against what appears to be the common bulk/cut knowledge, and believe or (better yet) have successfully gotten jacked, without adhering to the bulk/cut paradigm.

Here’s what I think: I think it can be done, even for those already in shape. I’ve done it, but my goals were not primarily size (but I did get bigger, while getting faster, and improving all my lifts). But that era of training in my life came to an end when I went into the military, and wasn’t able to train like that, so I never found the plateau.

I do assume everything moves slowly, but I’m not convinced that in the long run, it’s slower than getting twenty pounds over-weight in a bulk, only to have to cut down to below where you’d like to be, and then find yourself in a yo-yo trying to dial it in.

For those of us with no aspirations to compete, I’m more an more convinced that you should never allow yourself to get more than a few % b/f above where you WANT to be.

So who here thinks it’s possible? Or would advocate “staying really lean” the entire time?

i wonder what loosing fat would look like o0

  • it’s possible for beginners, but not after some years of training imo

I’d imagine it’s a highly individual thing. Kevin Levrone, for example, was well known for being able to “diet up” (there may be another bodybuilder I’m forgetting, but he’s the typical example),which is basically what you’re trying to describe as far as I can tell. I think SOME people might be able to do it, but the as the saying goes, “you can’t ride two horses with one ass.” So if you can do it, you most lilely wouldn’t be gaining much muscle or losing much fat.

But what’s the explanation for this?

Does the body go into different “modes”, i.e. everything going on in the body has to be focused on growing or shrinking?

Energy storage (fat production) seems unrelated to muscle building, in fact, it seems evolutionarily “natural” that one’s body could go:

“There’s not much food, better tap into energy stores (burn fat), and I have to work really hard to get the food I do get, therefore I need to tools (muscle) to do this.”

It seems like we should almost be hardwired for this, otherwise we just get fat when food is abundant, and are skinny and weak when there’s none.

I’m a little sad this thread got moved to the beginners section, the implication I guess being “Obviously you need a bulk/cut cycle, and someone will set you straight.” Where I was really hoping some of the experienced guys (and I’ve seen them poke their heads in on other threads) who have actually done this (or at least claim to) could give their opinions.

i think it depends on your definition of “bulking”… guys who get to 20% bf and call it bulking i think is rediculous. that wont help you grow more muscle one bit imo, just means you slack and not watch your diet. i’m talking bodybuilding here… my definition of bulking would be to not worry about having a little extra bodyfat but not get too overweight. i think it’s a lot easier if you use gear ofcourse, being natural a lot harder. personally, i’d rather stay mostly lean year round. i’ve actually thought about this before and i think bulking up is a thing of the past. i dont think it was ever meant to be what some people cal it today, an excuse to get fat… i’m “bulking” lol. me and my wife joke about that whenever i’m getting fatter.

You can do neither one OPTIMALLY at the same time, but of course you can do both simultaneously.

Form follows function.

GHEY

I think it depends on the individual. There are guys out there who can eat big, train hard, and end up strong, muscular, and relatively lean. This is independent of training age and drug use.

Others have to work a little harder at the nutrition front to hit there goals. This may include bulk/cut cycles.

I still think there comes a point, when individuals will have to bulk up w/ some added body fat to keep progressing in mass gains.

Its the typical answer, figure out what works for you then do it. There are really no absolutes in this.

All of this is my opinion by the way.

in my experience its possible. But like mr popular said neither will produce the max results. I think you can put on a fair amount of muscle as long as you hit pre, during, and postworkout nutrition with the right amount of nutrients which is when they need them most. than decrease your calories per meal as the day progresses. As long as you stay in a small deficit (100-300 calories), youll be able to put on a fair amount of muscle while burning 1/4 to 3/4 of a lb of body fat per week. Just my experience/opinion.

I think we pretty much all agree that total beginners can gain muscle and lose fat simultaneously, we see it all the time. Almost anything they do will give results.

People who are closer to their genetic limits have to do way more to put on muscle, so they really need the anabolic stimulus from a high calorie diet.

For most people, barring newbie gains, I’d say it’s generally not possible (this is in response to the why/how). The reason being, building muscle requires a rather steep caloric excess. How much, I assume is highly individual. Conversely, losing fat requires a caloric deficit. So… two completely different states. I’m sure there’s some crazy nutritional way of making both happen (“we can preferentially shunt nutrients here using Biotest AWESOMEPILLZ ®”), but I’d say unless something groundbreaking happens, the standard bulk/cut cycle is just fine. I think it’s there to separate the dedicated from the “hawt abz” guys maybe, lol.

I absolutely believe if done right, you can lose fat and gain muscle at the same time.

Anyone else read the amino pulsing? I think its by CT, but I could be totally off, its on Tmuscle of course.

The idea makes a lot of sense on paperwork, and in the last 2 Mo Ive gained 10 lbs without much of a physical difference in fat, especially because vascularity is damn good right now. its gradual though, for sure. I think the bulk/cut route is faster though. Spiking your plasma-amino levels, increasing your creatine and glycogen stores and having proper nutrient uptake makes you build muscle, correct? If not then correct me and I can stop using protein shakes and dextrose for fueling my muscles for growth.

That said…
With good logs and nutrition and fucking consistency I feel you can do this. get some carbs in your diet, use temporal nutrition and change according to how your body reacts. low carb? thats good for killing fat fast, but most of the weight you lose is in glycogen honestly, especially with increased cardio. carbs are muscle sparing, we all know this. Honestly with all of our knowledge we should be able to think about this better. Monitor it better and see for yourself. spend 4 to 6 weeks figuring out your body. know how much weight you gain when you add carbs vs fat, or weight loss, understand what that means and then figure out how much pre, peri and post workout nutrition affect that.

All this shit is an experiment. Use what everyone else thinks they know and then figure out yourself.

I have tried to gain muscle/strength and lose fat at the same time. It doesnt work. I tried after 2+ years of lifting under my belt and kept my calories in check like a madman and did stupid amounds of cardio. I lost about 25lbs of fat though so it wasnt a total failure but also lost some muscle. Plain and simple to lose fat you must be in a calorie defficit. To build mucle you must have a surplus of calories.

Muscle can not be gained without gaining at least minimal amounts of fat. Im not going to include supplements since 90% dont work IMO. Also AAS changes the game too much and even with them its hard to do both.

I would say if ‘same time’ refers to a day, then yes.

If ‘same time’, as was alluded to in an earlier post, means ‘exact same time on the clock’, then I would say that if it is at all possible, the effect would be so minimal that it would not be significant in any way.

And MrDan…

[quote] I have tried to gain muscle/strength and lose fat at the same time. It doesnt work. I tried after 2+ years of lifting under my belt and kept my calories in check like a madman and did stupid amounds of cardio. I lost about 25lbs of fat though so it wasnt a total failure but also lost some muscle. Plain and simple to lose fat you must be in a calorie defficit. To build mucle you must have a surplus of calories.

Muscle can not be gained without gaining at least minimal amounts of fat. Im not going to include supplements since 90% dont work IMO. Also AAS changes the game too much and even with them its hard to do both. [/quote]

I see your anecdote of ‘it doesn’t work’ and raise you an anecdote of ‘it does work, albeit slowly and suboptimally’.

You can lose fat and gain LBM at the same time, in fact, it’s easy…as long as you are obese.

Someone hit the nail on the head, you have to be in caloric deficit to lose fat; but if you are supporting a large amount of body fat to begin with you can maintain a caloric deficit despite eating a fairly large amount of high value food so long as you work hard enough.

There are clearly diminishing returns, and this is completely irrelevant to someone who is already in muscular condition, but the answer is a pretty clear yes (for obese populations).

You see it with unadapted beginners all the time, and many people starting out as such are able to approach competing goals for a very long time.

[quote]silverhydra wrote:
I would say if ‘same time’ refers to a day, then yes.

If ‘same time’, as was alluded to in an earlier post, means ‘exact same time on the clock’, then I would say that if it is at all possible, the effect would be so minimal that it would not be significant in any way.

And MrDan…

[quote] I have tried to gain muscle/strength and lose fat at the same time. It doesnt work. I tried after 2+ years of lifting under my belt and kept my calories in check like a madman and did stupid amounds of cardio. I lost about 25lbs of fat though so it wasnt a total failure but also lost some muscle. Plain and simple to lose fat you must be in a calorie defficit. To build mucle you must have a surplus of calories.

Muscle can not be gained without gaining at least minimal amounts of fat. Im not going to include supplements since 90% dont work IMO. Also AAS changes the game too much and even with them its hard to do both. [/quote]

I see your anecdote of ‘it doesn’t work’ and raise you an anecdote of ‘it does work, albeit slowly and suboptimally’.[/quote]

Ok Ill give you that and yoursay your right. When I tried that Ill adit I went about it in a very half assed way so that why It worked out poorly for me. But I think the point we can agree on is lack of efficiancy of such an approach

[quote]MrDan500 wrote:

[quote]silverhydra wrote:
I would say if ‘same time’ refers to a day, then yes.

If ‘same time’, as was alluded to in an earlier post, means ‘exact same time on the clock’, then I would say that if it is at all possible, the effect would be so minimal that it would not be significant in any way.

And MrDan…

[quote] I have tried to gain muscle/strength and lose fat at the same time. It doesnt work. I tried after 2+ years of lifting under my belt and kept my calories in check like a madman and did stupid amounds of cardio. I lost about 25lbs of fat though so it wasnt a total failure but also lost some muscle. Plain and simple to lose fat you must be in a calorie defficit. To build mucle you must have a surplus of calories.

Muscle can not be gained without gaining at least minimal amounts of fat. Im not going to include supplements since 90% dont work IMO. Also AAS changes the game too much and even with them its hard to do both. [/quote]

I see your anecdote of ‘it doesn’t work’ and raise you an anecdote of ‘it does work, albeit slowly and suboptimally’.[/quote]

Ok Ill give you that and yoursay your right. When I tried that Ill adit I went about it in a very half assed way so that why It worked out poorly for me. But I think the point we can agree on is lack of efficiancy of such an approach
[/quote]

Why? Even if you grow “slowly”, developing a large, maintainable physique takes years.

And when you consider the bulk/cut cycle, until you’re really on the extremes, why wouldn’t it even out?

If you’re at a B/F% you’re happy with, and want to add 20 pounds of lean mass, is it really faster to add 40 pounds of mass (because you know you need to overshoot) where 30 pounds of LBM and only ten pounds is fat. You’re still talking the time it takes you to gain all that, plus the time takes you to loose ten pounds of fat (+ whatever LBM comes off with it And in all likelyhood, if you cut too fast, you’ll end up below where you wanted to be, and then have to do another cycle.

It is possible over a long period of time for your body to burn fat and build muscle. But like I said, it will take a long time. Reason being, it is very hard to 1) get your body into an anabolic state, 2) once there, keeping your body at that anabolic state. It is easy for people on steroids to accomplish this for the fact, without trying, their bodies are at a constant, anabolic state.

Secondly, my Kinesiology professor did a section on anabolic and catabolic states of the body; and it is impossible for your body to be both anabolic and catabolic at the same time.

With an absolutely perfect diet I’m sure this is possible for almost anyone. However, who here is perfect? And for that matter, the perfect diet (depending on what the body needs) may change on a day to day basis.

So theoretically, sure it’s possible. Practically speaking, it’s very unlikely.