T Nation

Simultaneous Strength Gain and Muscle Loss?

Hey all. I’ve found that I’m always able to keep getting stronger while I diet. Does this mean that I’m maintaining and/or adding muscle, or is it possible that (as one would expect while dieting) I’m losing muscle but the strength gains keep coming due to neurological adaptation? I guess what I’m asking is, has anyone been able to quantify the relative effects of muscle loss and neurological adaptation on strength levels? Is it possible to lose muscle at the same time that one gains strength? I always thought that strength was a pretty good measure of one’s state of muscle retention, but given my consistent ability to get stronger while dieting I’m not so sure. Oh, I’ve been training for over 8 years (5’9", 195lbs.), so I don’t think the newbie effect can account for what I experience, and I’m not (nor have I ever been) on da juice.

Interesting phenomenon. I think the neuro factor is really overlooked. Other mammals have much better muscle recruitment than humans and obvious its neurological. Dogs are like 3x stronger than people pound-per-pound. This also explains how a 150# guy can bench 300# and someone like me (154# lbm) can’t bench 250#. At least that’s the excuse I’m using.