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How Does this Effect Body Fat and Weight?


This was posted on another forum and I thought it was interesting. What are your thoughts on this?


What's the difference between these two scenarios and how does it effect your body fat % and physique?

Eating 800 calories over maintenance level and burning that extra 800 calories to be back at your maintenance level by the end of the day.


Eating 400 calories over maintenance level and burning that extra 400 calories to be back at your maintenance level by the end of the day.

Does it matter how much you eat as long as you burn the calories you eat? I would assume burning 800 calories vs 400 calories would put you in better shape even if you're consuming enough just to maintain your current weight?




Assuming somewhat similar macro timing and breakdown, what I think it will come down to will be an individual's recovery ability. I've seen competitors who can handle larger amounts of cardio, and actually have better overall (IMO) body comp eating more AND expending more. I've also seen competitors who don't seem to be able to recover from as much work. It's these folks who you need to really keep an eye on how much physical stress you're actually subjecting their body to each week, no matter the extra nutrients.

Personally, I've always found it kind of odd when a competitor feels they absolutely need like 800g of carbs on a high day, but they're also doing hours of cardio every other day of the week. I would think that in MOST cases you could probably get away with a lesser approach to the same effect. Again though, it will always come down to the person. Check Berardi's thinking on G-Flux.

Interesting topic.



It matters in the sense of your metabolic rate.

Some bodybuilders would see much benefit in being able to maintain a higher caloric intake because it means you burn more calories daily which = fat loss during dieting while being able to eat more.

This is a plus in the long run.

Ideal bodybuilding = fast metabolism


I meant 800calories, not 800g of carbs, not sure if you meant the same or it was a typo?

I thought it was an interesting point as well and thanks for your input.

I'm lazy :stuck_out_tongue: so I'd favor the eat less, do less cardio approach but I'm not sure if it would give me the best body comp as I have never done much cardio. I do feel much hungrier if I do any cardio that is not swimming though...

Cheers about the pointer of Berardi's thinking on G-Flux. I prefer the train more and eat more approach as well. But not cardio...



I don't believe in the idea behind G-flux. The alleged "success" stories can probably be explained away by a more careful analysis of the energy balance. Just think how error-prone the whole process of calorie estimation is.

Also, remember that talking in terms of calories is too vague. While quite trivial, many people still don't get the "a calorie is not a calorie" idea. Always talk in terms of macros. That applies to the input AND output side of the energy balance.


I was thinking along those lines as well.

I can't imagine people having to eat 1500-1800cal to lose fat make a calorie deficit as they have rubbish metabolisms from lack of training or no muscle mass to start with :frowning:



That is why many larger lifters see value in being able to diet on an amount of calories that some people gain weight on.

It makes dieting much easier with regards to discomfort. I lost fat on about 3,000cals a day or more....which means I wasn't exactly "dieting" much at all with regards to how I felt.

In the long term, this is also about mental well being as well....and that tactic helped me in that regard.


one thing I'd add is that doing more work will increase hunger obviously. So personally, I'd rather just do minimal cardio and eat a bit less. That's more of a mental consideration though; I can't answer your original question.


I didn't do cardio at all during that time period and lost 3" that way...which is the main benefit of needing more calories....less work is actually needed to lose the fat later.

Yes, there is a benefit to teaching your body to use more calories if you have the genetics and exercise strategy to support that.


I agree that there is probably a lot more to the G-Flux theory than simply maintaining the same net calories albeit with higher numbers on both sides of the equation.

A lot of people tend to ignore the fact that the human body expends a lot more calories actually digesting certain macros compared to others. A 3000 calorie diet with a very high ratio of protein to fat will yield a much different physique (all else being equal of course) than a 3000 calorie diet with the opposite ratio, high fat and low protein.

It's never really about what you ingest, it's about what you digest.
(Hey, I just made up a rhyme!)

While I'm not saying one way or another that it's a good idea, I will say that I've had success with very little cardio and lower nutrients and I've had success with much more cardio and much higher nutrients.



I think we should have a separate thread expelling some broscience myths about metabolism. I think many people confuse things related to it. A good example are the things our local cheeseburger expert mentioned in this very thread.


I would be very interested in such a thread if you'd want to make one, InfiniteShore


x2. What myth/myths are you referring to?


Yeah...what myth/myths are you referring to?


I vote do more and eat more. Life is better that way. Physique aside, you will certainly get in better shape that way.


I will make a thread about it when I have some more time available. Not sure when that it is.




This is true on all counts. You will be in much better fitness and much better cardio shape if you have to burn the 800 cals to be back at maintenance than if you only had to burn 3-400. Even if you stay fat (say, nfl linemen, who have to maintain high weights and are obviously clearly not leN), your fitness is going to be through the roof. As Stu said though, you do have to watch those people who don't seem to deal with physical stress as well as others.


Then you must not understand it.

On a most basic level, a muscle develops in proportion to the calories that it burns through. Enter frequency, progressive overload to continue development and so on.

Extrapolate that to the whole body and there's simply no way that 'taking in less + doing less' is even remotely comparable.


Perhaps I don't understand it. Your explanation, however, doesn't help me. Firstly, I don't agree with your statement "muscle develops in proportion to the calories that it burns through". If true, wouldn't it imply that long-distance cycling would give me better leg hypertrophy than squatting heavy, since I would certainly burn a shitload more calories in my quads. Secondly, even if true I don't immediately see the big implications - seems like "handwaving".