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Lifting: Calorie Deficit vs Surplus

I was thinking about this the other day. What would be some of the major differences in terms of program design when lifting while trying to lose weight (caloric deficit) versus when trying to maximize muscle growth (caloric surplus)? Also, what would be the physiological basis for such differences?

When I think about it, the obvious answer would be to use circuits to elevate the heart rate, and train major muscle groups, but in terms of volume and sets there must be some major differences.

[quote]collegeweights wrote:
I was thinking about this the other day. What would be some of the major differences in terms of program design when lifting while trying to lose weight (caloric deficit) versus when trying to maximize muscle growth (caloric surplus)? Also, what would be the physiological basis for such differences?

When I think about it, the obvious answer would be to use circuits to elevate the heart rate, and train major muscle groups, but in terms of volume and sets there must be some major differences.
[/quote]

Well, IMO if you were trying to maintain muscle while losing fat, then there would be no difference in terms of program design (at least as far as the resistance training goes that is). Increasing cardio would probably be a good idea though.

The approach that stimulates your body to actually build new muscle tissue would probably be the best for stimulating your body to hold onto muscle as well. Make sense?

It makes sense - but I would have thought that operating with a caloric deficit might change what you would want to do if you’d been on some high-volume body-part split routine while bulking?

I guess my gut instinct would have been to still intensely lift heavy-ass weight to maintain, but under a lower-volume routine. More limited ability to recover and whatnot.

Enlighten me as to why this wouldn’t be better - I’m still new and learning.

[quote]Tumbles wrote:
It makes sense - but I would have thought that operating with a caloric deficit might change what you would want to do if you’d been on some high-volume body-part split routine while bulking?

I guess my gut instinct would have been to still intensely lift heavy-ass weight to maintain, but under a lower-volume routine. More limited ability to recover and whatnot.

Enlighten me as to why this wouldn’t be better - I’m still new and learning. [/quote]

Well, first I’m a fan of lower-volume training in the first place. You don’t need a lot of volume to build muscle (if you’ve got the guts to train hard enough), so in that case you don’t need to really lower the volume when you decrease your calories.

The thing about recovery is that you need so much recovery on a high volume program in order to allow your body the time to repair and synthesize new muscle tissue (which requires a caloric surplus in most cases) and to allow for nervous system recovery.

If you aren’t worrying about building new muscle tissue, then the fact that you’ve got less calories to work with shouldn’t be too big a deal. You aren’t going to be looking to set PR’s while on a caloric deficit. All you’re trying to do is to hold onto as much muscle as possible. By continuing to train hard (using the same methods that you’d normally use to stimulate your body to build muscle) you’ll have the best chance of doing so.

At least that’s the approach that I believe in. Some might argue, some might agree.

Thanks for the help.

thread was useful even though i’m not OP!

I wouldn’t do a program with a ton of volume if I was eating in a deficit, but rather then that most programs would be fine for both