Ok, I’m sure this has been answered before but I need some insight to help me grasp the concept. Most of the diets that we see posted on T-Nation like T-Dawg and others start with a 500 calorie deficit for fat loss or bodyweight x 10-12 (roughly).
The goal with this is muscle preservation which will allow you the 2 lbs. per week loss that you can maintain. I weigh 285 lbs. That means I have to eat somewhere in the neighborhood of 3,400 to maintain my muscle while losing fat. Even the Velocity Diet still makes sure that you maintain enough protein calories to offset muscle loss. Just about every stength training book out there suggests this type of schema so that you don’t lose muscle.
I don’t have a problem with this method at all and many have lost a lot of fat doing it. However, there are some like Darden and others that prescribe in the 1,500 calorie range for men and espouse that their clients actually GAIN muscle while losing fat. There was also a recent study that Cosgrove and others quote in which a group of untrained folks went on an 800 cal/day diet while lifting in a circuit manner and also gained lean muscle mass. Did they gain muscle because they were untrained? Can we really function on less calories than we think?