Impossible to gain musclemass on diet?

Hi all t-mag readers!

Is it impossible to gain lean musclemass while on a diet?

I have heard that it it is absolut impossible to receive more musclemass on a diet. But you can be a stronger, but not bigger, and only maintain lean musclemass.

True or false?


In a way, you’re asking two different questions.

  1. Is it possible to gain LBM while on a strict diet?

  2. Is it possible to gain/maintain strength while on a strict diet?

First of all, what’s your concept of “strict diet”? Restricting calories? Limiting fat intake? Or just eating clean?

If it’s eating clean and maintaining enough calories for your activity level, I would say it is possible to maintain strength; maybe even still gaining strength. And to also be able to maintain LBM.

But if your goal is to gain LBM, then it would not be optimal to restrict calories. Remember, as you gain LBM, your metabolism increases. Therefore, you’re going to need to eat more while you’re gaining and afterwards to maintain your body set point (to hold onto those new gains).

Very difficult unless you’re either a beginner, returning to weight lifting after a long layoff, or seriously overfat. To achieve muscle gain and fat loss together otherwise, one must have both training and diet absolutely nailed (or be on steroids).

Like Patricia said, it’s not an optimal way to gain LBM, and you won’t see that type of gain unless you deliberately train for it and eat for it.

That being said, it can be done. I had a fair amount of success with T-Dawg 2 when I lost 17 or so lbs. of fat and gained 8 or 9 lbs. of muscle. Check the diet out and follow it as written.

well, I was at a seminar this weekend, and I heard that it is absolutely physiologic impossible for the body to increase LBM and at the same time go for fatloss on a diet. Manye people still belives this is possible.

When your are on a diet your are eating less calories than your body need. And you must be in a postive energy balance in order to increase musclemass.

But if your are doing some strenght training on a diet, you can maintain musclemass - and you can be a little bit stronger (because of som nerve impulses). No increase in LBM. It was also very important to consume enough calories from protein.

This information actually tells us (again) that beeing on a diet for fat loss and the same time trying to get bigger muscles is a waste of time unless you are a genetic freak and not a normal person…Always try focusing on one thing at the time. Either fat loss, bigger muscles, strenght or something else.

no, it is not impossible. I have been on a fairly strict diet (? la T-Dog v. 2), and I managed to gain 3 lbs of LBM in the course of about three weeks. I think fat loss and muscle gain is, in large, due to one’s hormonal profile. Testosterone, Insulin, Cortisol, Glucagon etc, will swing your body in and out of states on anabolism and lipolysis.
Also, in the course of a day, you can be loosing fat (or muscle) and gaining mass at different times. For example, when I consume my PWO drink and PWO meal, I temporarily halt lipolysis (or come close to halting it.) However, this high insulin period is crutial for my recovery and LBM preservation.

also, re the hormones, look at all of the hot-rox contest winners. I believe all of the winners came away with more LBM than they started with. Using hot-rox or an anabolic supplement might allow for mass gain on a strict diet.

What aither said.

What type of diet! A diet can mean anything.

No one can tell if they gain 2 or 3 lbs of muscle. It’s not like it’s enough to be able to visually see in the mirror.

So, anyone who says this is basing this one caliper measurements or a similar measure. These have inherent errors that can account for what appears to be increased muscle, when in reality, it’s really not.

As as been mentioned, maintaining muscle while dieting is about the best you can do in most cases.

As one of the participants in the HR contest, I can tell you without any question that it IS possible. Not just possible, but not all that difficult, even if you’re fairly lean to begin with and a long way from being a newbie. Whoever gave you that seminar is full of shit, pure and simple. (And if this forum supported pictures I’d give you some proof.)

Check out pretty much any of the Hot-Rox contest results threads, or do a search for CD/EDT. That’ll get you on the right track.

Whoever put on that seminar you went to over the weekend must be from Mars, cause here on Earth…there are examples ALL over where people LOST weight and still put on LBM while on a diet (caloric or CHO restricted). Just look at all the people who have done the T-Dawg diet and had great success! Sure it is hard to put any considerable amount of LBM when restricitng calories, but if you are dialed in and eating the right kinds of CHO’s and fat and getting ample protein…it is def possible.

Yes it’s possible, check out the Ultimate Diet 2.0

I would agree with Thunder that for most people maintaining muscle mass is the best you can hope for. In cases where the person is new to training or using anabolic substances muscle gain is quite possible, if not easy.

However, I do believe that SOME people can put on muscle without enhancement, but this doesn’t include everyone. Often times calipers aren’t the most accurate measure so more people believe that they are a part of this group than is really possible.

I very rarely find myself disagreeing with Thunder, but this is one of those times.

I think that his point about there being a good deal of leeway with caliper measurements (or any other kind of BF measurement, for that matter) is right on. But just because the measurement might not be totally accurate doesn’t mean that you can’t gain LBM while hypo-caloric.

If you look at the results of the top ten or so people who competed in the HR contest, it is very clear from the pictures what’s happening. Admittedly, two of the top four didn’t take pictures that are truly comparable, but most of the rest of us did. In particular, John Roman’s shots are very comparable, as are mine. When you add the photographic evidence to the caliper and scale numbers, the case begins to be pretty unassailable, IMHO. And neither of us are exactly newbies.

Now, admittedly, there is a caveat. Those of us who used Joel’s CD/EDT protocol bounced calories on a very well-timed basis. So I guess that you could say that - strictly speaking - we didn’t gain any LBM while we were losing weight. I.e., the gains came when we were overfeeding. But overall, the diet for any given four-day period is, in fact, hypocaloric, so it seems to me that the above objection is really pretty moot.

(And if anyone were to say "Yes, but I really want to know if you can gain LBM while being hypocaloric every day, my response would be: “I don’t know, but why would you want to use a method that doesn’t work very well on yourself when there are better ways to go?” Doesn’t seem to make much sense.)

I think that what people may be overlooking here is the hormonal effect of meal timing. You can’t just look at the total number of calories and make predictions about fatloss or LBM anymore. We’re well beyond that stage now.