T Nation

nutrition/heterotrophy

My gym partner and I have gotten into heated discussions as of late in regard to his goals for acquisition of strength, muscle, and the loss of fat. I am not sure how large a variety of experience I have with this beyond my own personal experience, so I wanted to ask for you guys’ opinions.

As far as I am concerned (as many other say also) I will say that one will not gain muscle mass without eating more calories than the body consumes. The converse is required for fat loss also. Popular beliefs I’d guess.
Firstly, he holds that eating most of your calories from protien will avoid the addition of fat as the body cannot process more than a given amount and will simply pass it through one’s system. This I am not so sure of - I’d always believed that excess calories of any sort can add fat.


Second, he seeks to lose fat from his waist while adding muscle to his chest, shoulders, arms, and back. Another thing that to me is a contradiction in terms. I have always believed that one cannot build muscle while burning fat unless unconditioned and new to working out.

Last, his game plan is to eat around maintenance calories while eating and training in a manner by which one would build muscle. I do not believe that he will obtain his goals by this method, however, I am curious about you guys’ experiences with this.

Personally I have found that my strength on a suite of exercises has increased vastly with essentially no increase in body weight or muscle mass. Which leads one to wonder how much, or what, correlation exists between muscle mass and strength. With all of the above said I'll refine my questions.

-What has been your experience with eating in this manner?
-Did you find any increased strength without eating to mass up?
-What kind of change in body composition did you experience while eating like this?
-What requirements have you found for heterotrophy or fat loss?

I merely want to open some kind of discussion about this, so it’s not your guidance I seek as much as your perspective as a fellow lifter. :o)
later guys.
-patrick

Heterotrophy? Is that like when a straight guy grows muscle? As opposed to homotrophy? (The word you’re looking for is hypertrophy, I think.)

I have seen both hypertrophy and heterotrophy used from credible sources.
How bout “building muscle”.

Well, the word doesn’t show up in the T-mag search engine so I just thought you made it up! :slight_smile:

Nah. I don’t know that the sources I’ve seen using it did so very well. I checked m-w.com and looked it up - it’s right in a sense, but hypertrophy is more what I should have said.
ANYWAY. Semantics is off subject.
Any thoughts on my post? :o)

It has always bothered me that the current trend is to attempt to put on muscle while expecting all fat to slide off of the body at the exact same time as if this is some science fiction movie and you just got struck with gamma radiation. If you actually plan on looking significantly different by this time next year, the best approach is to split your training into phases. That means you spend a few months working on size without attempting to maintain a contest level physique and then diet down any excess body fat. I am glad I never got sucked into thinking that I was going to pull my body in two different directions at the same time. I guess this is why I keep making noticeable progress. Bodybuilding is not rocket science. To gain, you have to eat more than you use, to lose, you have to eat less than. I know some pretty stupid people that have reached their goals without using a calculator or measuring out every gram of food before eating. For some strange reason I have actually enjoyed training for the last seven years.-Professor X

I’ve found that when i come off of my summer diet and eat more, and more often, and train harder, that for the first 2-3 weeks, i put on “size” while dropping some fat. Now, i don’t know if this is muscle gain, or just my body sucking glycogen into the muscle after being somewhat deprived over the summer, but this is the only time it happens, it only lasts a couple of weeks, then i have to put on fat if i want to gain muscle over the fall/winter.

Weapon X- That is why so many people thought that anabolic diet would work so well. Your body gets shocked by changes in diet and I have found that the same thing happens to me until my body catches up with the routine. This worked especially well this last time that “bulked up” and my strength increased significantly. I see a lot of guys in the gym so afraid of losing any visibility of their ab muscles that they never make much progress. They may increase their strength a little, mostly due to neural adaptation, but I have yet to see someone gain mass at the rate that others do who aren’t afraid to gain weight when they aren’t trying to fit in during “beach season”. I think there are many people that are making this way too complicated. I don’t know many bodybuilders who actually make changes in their physique from year to year that stay at contest condition year round.-Professor X

The answer to all your questions is Mag-10… Wait for it to be readily available, order it, take it, and you will both be wrong… haha… j/p…

My freshmen year in high school I was 5’9" 295lbs. I was pushing 35-40% body fat, I’m sure. I went on the Atkins Diet (ketogenic, low carbohydrate, whatever you want to call it) and yes, I lost A LOT of weight. However, because I lost the weight so quickly, a great deal of it was muscle. Chis couldn’t have said it any better as he did in issue 176 in his guest atomic dog. I was in Jared’s shoes. In the morning I had sausage and eggs, didn’t eat lunch at school, went home and made some tuna salad. I was lucky to eat 1,000 calories a day.

Everyone said I was looking better, and I thought so too, until I took my shirt off and made an honest assessment about my physical appearance. I was still flabby and no chick in her right mind would ever sleep with me. So, I started writing down what I ate, trained religiously and the rest is history.

As most of the T-mag writers are going to tell you and like i’m about to tell you, you just have to find out what’s right for you. Pay close attention to your body. Most importantly, don’t be afraid to try new things. If eating less calories gives you greater weight loss then there is your answer. But if eating the right combinations of foods (carb/protein, protein/fat, which has done WONDERS for me recently) is what works, then go down that avenue.

These guys here don’t always have all the answers (but they do have most of them), as crazy as that sounds. They can only tell you what has worked for them, or give you suggestions to experiment with.

All I can tell ya, brotha, is to get in touch with your body and ask it what it needs. Good luck man.We should all be thankful to have this site with thousands of educated people and a sea of FREE information.

this has been my experience. Bulk up, cut down, etc.
I feel like there is benefit to working at maintenance cals as a phase also.
It seems that with every mass increase there is, or should be, some amount of neural learning to be accomplished that merely gaining the extra muscle doesnt accomplish.
I massed up for quite a while and have then changed my eating to more around maintenance cals. By doing this my strength went up quite a bit without any added mass.
I feel that if I were to have continued adding mass I might have missed opportunities to gain strength without gaining weight.
Well what I feel like I have accomplished is a very good amount of strength relative to my body weight.
Have you had any experiences with eating around maintenance cals and seeking to progress in strength?

Patrick wrote-“Have you had any experiences with eating around
maintenance cals and seeking to progress in strength?”-----Response:-

I would recommend that someone stay at their weight for a while after they have bulked up. I did that for about three months this last time but would recommend longer if you have the time. Your body has weight set points that are difficult to pass sometimes with only an increase in lean body mass. Staying at that weight while lifting as if you are trying to gain mass has a tendency to solidify the gains. At least this happens in my case. I also take pictures about a month apart in order to see where I am making progress if any. You won’t put on much muscle by attempting to stay at the same body weight, if any, but doing so may make it easier to reach that higher weight again with much more muscle mass the next time you “bulk up”. I hope that made sense to you. I went up to 240lbs this last time and put on about 25+lbs of lean body weight in the process. I did this over the course of about 5 months and then stayed at that weight for a while. I am working on definition now. One more thing, putting your trust in any one supplement instead of understanding how to make your own body grow with food is the wrong way to go especially if you are relatively new to training. You have to understand how your body works before you start depending on anything else.-Professor X