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Experiment: Increase Intensity, Maintain Cals


Newbie here, but with an interesting question. I always hear that more calories are required to gain muscle. It makes sense that hypertrophy plus rest and calories (with adequate macro ratios) will lead to muscular gains, but what about the following. Suppose you decide to increase your workout intensity (say from 2 to 3 days per week, or 3 to 4), but you maintain NET caloric intake and macro ratios? So, you burn an extra 500 calories from one additional workout per week, and you increase your caloric intake from food by 500, so that your net intake remains constant.

However, you have created muscular hypertrophy. Will your muscles require slightly more calories to rebuild (and possibly slightly grow), leaving fewer excess calories to be stored as fat? In other words, I am assuming that total bodyweight will remain constant (since net caloric intake is constant), but what happens to body composition?

The reason I am asking this question is because I do not care to become bigger, but I would be happy with slightly less fat, and slightly more muscle.

Many thanks to any insightful replies.


This just sounds like you are talking about a recomp. It will work to a point but eventually you will need more calories when it becomes less convenient for your body to build and hold the extra muscle.

A beginner sitting at 25% bodyfat will do a lot more at maintenance calories than an experienced lifter at 12%