T Nation

Question on Burn Fat, Feed Muscle

I’m planning to follow the advice in the ebook Burn Fat, Feed Muscle to lose some fat I’ve put on while bulking. It talks about using nutrition, cardio and weightlifting to achieve my fat loss goals. In the weightlifitng session of the book it talks about making progress on your lifts. What I don’t understand is how are you suppose to make progress on your lifts if you’re in a calorie deficit? When you’re trying to lose fat shouldn’t your lifts never go up?

Wouldn’t your lifts going up mean you’re consuming excess calories? In my mind, your lifts should go neither up or down when trying to lose weight. Am I missing something here?

[quote]Digity wrote:
I’m planning to follow the advice in the ebook Burn Fat, Feed Muscle to lose some fat I’ve put on while bulking. It talks about using nutrition, cardio and weightlifting to achieve my fat loss goals. In the weightlifitng session of the book it talks about making progress on your lifts. What I don’t understand is how are you suppose to make progress on your lifts if you’re in a calorie deficit? When you’re trying to lose fat shouldn’t your lifts never go up?

Wouldn’t your lifts going up mean you’re consuming excess calories? In my mind, your lifts should go neither up or down when trying to lose weight. Am I missing something here?[/quote]

I like that book, it was the first good info I came across, before I found T-Nation. If you are a beginner, you can get stronger and gain muscle while losing fat, I did for several months at least. I’m guessing you aren’t a beginner, so maybe not - that book might be aimed at beginners only. If your calorie deficit keeps you from adding muscle mass, maybe you can still get stronger from neural improvements?

  • MarkT

I don’t know if this answers your question but:

Any time you practice any type of movement (lifting) you are going to be training neural efficiency- which will by definition help recruit more muscle fibers.

When I cut weight a while back (25 lbs), I decreased my carb intake but upped my fat intake considerably. I still progressed in my lifts - albeit I was using low rep ranges at the time. I contribute that to increased hormone production from the extra fat and low rep/heavy weight.

why would losing fat make your lifts not go up?

Do you use fat to lift weights?

[quote]Airtruth wrote:
why would losing fat make your lifts not go up?

Do you use fat to lift weights?[/quote]

What?? I don’t understand what you just said there.

My understanding is that you need a calorie surplus in your diet to add muscle to your body. Also, the more muscle you have the more you can lift. Now, if you’re trying to lose fat then there’s a calorie deficiency in your diet and therefore you cannot add muscle to your body. Therefore, if you can’t add muscle to your body while trying to lose fat then how is it possible for your lifts to go up?

[quote]Digity wrote:
Airtruth wrote:
why would losing fat make your lifts not go up?

Do you use fat to lift weights?

What?? I don’t understand what you just said there.

My understanding is that you need a calorie surplus in your diet to add muscle to your body. Also, the more muscle you have the more you can lift. Now, if you’re trying to lose fat then there’s a calorie deficiency in your diet and therefore you cannot add muscle to your body. Therefore, if you can’t add muscle to your body while trying to lose fat then how is it possible for your lifts to go up?[/quote]

So your saying that you are trying to not gain fat and lose muscle.

[quote]Airtruth wrote:
So your saying that you are trying to not gain fat and lose muscle.[/quote]

Are you trying to be funny or something?

I am gaining strength while losing fat.

I’ve done it before.

It’s a mental game. Just cuz you are in caloric deficit doesn’t mean you can’t improve or at least maintain lifting. You just probably won’t put on a lot of size.

[quote]Digity wrote:
Airtruth wrote:
So your saying that you are trying to not gain fat and lose muscle.

Are you trying to be funny or something?

[/quote]

The things I’m saying may sound stupid but they are reworded versions of what you said. Think about that and maybe you can figure out why you your lifts can still go up.

[quote]Airtruth wrote:
Digity wrote:
Airtruth wrote:
So your saying that you are trying to not gain fat and lose muscle.

Are you trying to be funny or something?

The things I’m saying may sound stupid but they are reworded versions of what you said. Think about that and maybe you can figure out why you your lifts can still go up.[/quote]

I’m trying to LOSE fat and maintain lean body mass.

[quote]Digity wrote:
Airtruth wrote:
Digity wrote:
Airtruth wrote:
So your saying that you are trying to not gain fat and lose muscle.

Are you trying to be funny or something?

The things I’m saying may sound stupid but they are reworded versions of what you said. Think about that and maybe you can figure out why you your lifts can still go up.

I’m trying to LOSE fat and maintain lean body mass.[/quote]

Well try not to lift too hard then.

You don’t need much exercise to maintain muscle. The purpose of lifting weights is to gain muscle. The most fundamental concept of losing fat, is calorie deficit. However, that is only one piece of a very complex system. The body does not require you to maintain or lose muscle just to lose fat. Again that is just the most basic piece repeated a million times so that people do not forget their focus at the time(calorie deficit) to complete their goal(Fat loss)

In fact its even possible to lose fat on a slight calorie surplus, given the right set of circumstances. It just won’t be as fast.

Same thing with gaining muscle, it is possible to gain muscle in a calorie deficit, it will just be ultra slow.

So back to your original post. You will lose fat, depending on how hard you workout and what you are eating it is still possible that you can gain muscle which will allow you to lift more weight.

Theres also the CNS factor. While I agree that it improves when lifting, I don’t think this improves your strength as fast as gaining muscle.

You will get stronger when you train a movement, since strength gain has a strong neural component. The act of gaining strength will do more to maintain the muscle than merely trying to maintain your strength.

Also I wouldn’t stay in a caloric deficit more than 6-8 weeks. Have a maintenance or calorie up week every 8 weeks or so before going for another round. Don;t angst over muscle loss when dieting.

One thign that will make a difference is taking long walks everyday. Walks, hikes whatever will make a huge difference over time.

[quote]Digity wrote:
I’m planning to follow the advice in the ebook Burn Fat, Feed Muscle to lose some fat I’ve put on while bulking. It talks about using nutrition, cardio and weightlifting to achieve my fat loss goals. In the weightlifitng session of the book it talks about making progress on your lifts. What I don’t understand is how are you suppose to make progress on your lifts if you’re in a calorie deficit? When you’re trying to lose fat shouldn’t your lifts never go up?

Wouldn’t your lifts going up mean you’re consuming excess calories? In my mind, your lifts should go neither up or down when trying to lose weight. Am I missing something here?[/quote]

I’m going for exactly 8 weeks and purely for maintenance. According to the book you go three days in calorie deficiency and then after the third day you eat up to your maintenance on the fourth day and then repeat the processs. That’s suppose to help with your metabolism…does it really? I have no clue, but heck I don’t mind getting to eat a bit more every 3 days.

If youre talking about Venuto’s BFFM, he doesn;t place DIRECT suggestions on how to cycle calories. He leaves it entirely to you. and expects you to tweak it as you progress (or not) you don;t need to cycle carbs and calories right off the bat. That is something he asks you to do after youve gotten part of way down.

Just jot down your intake over the day ACCURATELY and maintain for a week and continue your lifting first so you know exaclty what youre throwing down the hatch and see how your body reacts. Then mark up or down and see what happens. Play with carb timing and finally carb cycling.

[quote]Digity wrote:
I’m going for exactly 8 weeks and purely for maintenance. According to the book you go three days in calorie deficiency and then after the third day you eat up to your maintenance on the fourth day and then repeat the processs.

That’s suppose to help with your metabolism…does it really? I have no clue, but heck I don’t mind getting to eat a bit more every 3 days.[/quote]

just starting flicking through this ebook… already learned some stuff which opened my eyes.

You can gain strength and muscle while on a caloric deficit. It won’t be easy, but it can be done.

Study one:

Donnelly JE, Sharp T, Houmard J, Carlson MG, Hill JO, Whatley J,E, Israel RG

Muscle hypertrophy with large-scale weight loss and resistance training.
Am J Clin Nutr. 1993 Oct;58(4):561-5.

This study put the participants on an 800-calorie-per-day liquid diet for 90 days.

The average weight loss over the 90 day period was 35lbs. Yet all subjects increased the cross sectional area of their muscle fibers significantly.

It appears that weight training can produce hypertrophy in skeletal muscle (and therefore increases in metabolism) during severe energy restriction and large-scale weight loss.

Hmmm…35lbs lost in 90 days with muscle GROWTH? That’s 2.73lbs per week fat lost and they didn’t lose ANY muscle.

Study two:

Bryner RW, Ullrich IH, Sauers J, Donley D, Hornsby G, Kolar M, Yeater R.

Effects of resistance vs. aerobic training combined with an 800-calorie-liquid-diet on lean body mass and resting metabolic rate.

J Am Coll Nutr. 1999 Apr;18(2):115-21.

Aerobic group: 4 hours per week.

Resistance training group: 2-4 sets of 8-15 reps. 10 exercises, three times per week.

V02 max increased equally in both groups.

Both groups lost weight, the resistance training group lost significantly more fat and did not lose ANY LBM, even at only 800 calories per day.

The resistance training group actually increased metabolism compared to the aerobic group which decreased metabolism.

Only 800 calories per day and the resistance training group did not lose ANY muscle and actually increased metabolism. They also lost 15% of their bodyweight (and all fat) in 12 weeks. For a 180lber that would be 27lbs, a 200lber that would be 30lbs, and for a 250lber that would be 37.5lbs(more than 2lbs per week - all fat).

Looks like what “they say” is completely wrong.