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Studies on Rate of Fat Loss and Muscle Loss?


Anyone know of any studies on fat loss specifically rate of and how it effects muscle? Where did the 2lbs max come from? I mean you have PSMF diets that retain muscle.

Max Bodypart Growth

Gotta do what I do, and use the equivalent of saying Bettlejuice’s name 3x to summon our resident study-expert into the fray -lol

@BrickHead @BrickHead @BrickHead



What I would be interested in is seeing the difference in that rate between someone’s lean vs someone fat. I feel like a fat boy can lose fat quicker than that without losing muscle just for the fact that he’s got so much extra “fuel” he can burn before his body has to turn to muscle to get what it needs.


Brad and I discuss that frequently. How it’s great marketing to help very overweight people lose fat because you can get a much quicker pace going than a typical “I need to lose a few lbs” individual.

I’ve been helping a powerlifting coach the last two months who had tried many times over the years to lean down, with no real success. So far, the rate of and amount of progress has been very impressive, but I keep hinting at insuring he understands that he needs to hang in there for the long run if he’s going to look like he ideally would want to. You can’t lose 4 lbs a week forever.



Without trying to sound like I’m trying to get you to give out free coaching, can you give a little more detail about this? How overweight he is, how much of a deficit you have him on, how you plan to adjust as he gets leaner, etc. etc.? I know you do this for a living, but you always give great information and I’d be dumb not to at least ask lol


We have all read that muscle growth is capped at around 2lbs a month. In your all opinion is there a cap on growth in a specific body part? Can focusing on arms add an inch in a month?


I find it very hard to believe that a human being can build 2lbs of muscle in a month.


Would you believe 1 lbs of muscle and an angry mackeral?


well obviously. That shit’s just science


@xXSeraphimXx your questions are WAY too vague.

When you say ‘add an inch in a month’ are you talking about strictly lean mass, or does fat count too? I bet I could eat my way to an inch of pure size in a month.

You’re also not addressing training age of the individual. That matters a LOT regarding all your questions. And also how small the individual is starting out.

So when I started lifting, I was underweight. I was 5’11, 125 lbs, at 18 years old. So when I started lifting and eating to grow, I probably put on muscle at a rate that very few people can exceed naturally. It happened very quickly. But all the factors above are why it happened. It wouldn’t surprise me if I had a couple months in a row that I added an inch to my arms. I put on 20+ lbs in the first few months of lifting, and it was mostly lean mass. I looked like I’d used steroids. But my body was just primed to grow from being so incredibly underweight, and in my best years.

If i were to put on 2 lbs of muscle over the next 4-6 months right now, I would be very happy. And that would be with ‘assistance’ It gets harder and harder to do as you progress. Adding a lean inch to my arms in a month is absolutely not going to happen ever again in my life.


Without getting too detailed, because I’m sure he’s thinking he’s got an article in the works down the line, it’s nowhere near some of the nutrition Magic I’ve had to pull out of my hat for especially difficult clients, or Advanced competitors. It just sort of blows my mind how many people go into working towards a goal without a very smart plan, or they simply listen to people that are not really the best choices.

In this case, you’ve got someone who despite excelling in one area, keeps going to people for guidance who have neither the knowledge, nor experience to be doling out advice.



Well if he does end up writing an article I’d love to read it. Getting the low down on how you get someone from fat to fit sounds like pretty useful info


What I do not get is how it is stated by competitors and coaches that you have to really “screw the pooch” in order to lose muscle while cutting. That the losing a lot of muscle is largely a myth.

-Since it is recommended to stay 10-15 lbs within contest shape why not take a blitz approach i.e protein sparring modified fast, lose the fat and then in a way grow into the show as you add carbs etc. I know Alberto Nunez did something like this (not as extreme as PSMF) with his recent prep and is currently upping his macros into his last shows.

-For the avg gym goer looking to get beach ready it seems that it wold be the best way. Suffer for a few weeks and be done with it. I myself did the RFL diet CAT.1 lost around 8lbs and then got back to a modest surplus. I felt shitty the last 3-4 days but, felt normal and strength was back about a week after the diet was completed.

Seems like it is a way for coaches to keep clients for longer than should be necessary.

**Perhaps for contest prepping unless really familiar with individual bodies it could be difficult as response to carbs, water retention etc. should be dialed in advance but I still think it can be used to jump start a cut.


As far as I know it came from doctors. Losing more than that can be too stressful on your body.

I was the personal trainer for a weight loss class where people were put on diets of all shakes, shakes plus veggies, and meals from a box sold by the program. We had meetings every week and the clients met with the doctor because they were dropping weight like The Biggest Loser. I saw people drop 100 lbs in 16 weeks. It was a medically supervised program.

Rapid weight loss is possible but not ideal for long term health and success.


Not to mention the possible ‘rebound’ effect after the diet is over. It’s cool to be in a doctor supervised program and just drink vege water for 16 weeks but when everyone goes home and realises they can’t live on vege water and they have no idea how to eat or move healthily, BAM! back to square 1.


I think that’s where your individual body set point comes in to play. You have to be able to ride it out long enough for your new weight to become accepted as “normal” by your body. Until that happens you’re in starvation mode and your body will want to store whatever it can instead of using it for fuel.


Yeah, there are studies and you alluded to some when you mentioned PSMF. It has been known from at least the 1970s that people have been able to shed impressive amounts of fat mass when in some major calorie deficits.

I personally think the “2lbs” mark is one of those things in the broscience cupboard next to the “1lbs of protein per lbs of BW” formula: sounds good in theory but isn’t necessarily the truth. For a start, 2lbs of fat should equate to 7,000 calories. That’s a 1,000 daily deficit right away; easy for someone at 30% body fat; harder for someone much leaner. Coupled with less water retention, and even a tiny loss of lean tissue, it’s difficult to see how a weekly weight drop of 2lbs could be attributed to loss of adipose tissue. As I said, may be very doable if you have a high body fat percentage to begin with; less likely when you are a more advanced trainee with much less fat to lose.


who recommends this? This seems to be a pretty rare thing, honestly. I don’t know if it’s a recommended approach, as you suggest, or not, but it certainly ain’t happening often. I would say I walk around at 10-15 lbs over stage weight, and it is extraordinarily rare for me to encounter other people who are as lean as me year-round. Like, I might meet one person a year, if that, who is similarly lean.


If I were to compete then I’d use your approach. Why burden yourself with unnecessary fluff just because it’s the off season?

But I’m also an idiot. I weigh and measure my food and I don’t compete. What the hell is wrong with me? :joy:


I don’t know about contest shape. What I was taught is that after getting in ‘beach ready condition’ you may add 10-15%. So if your beach lean (all abs in) at 180, you can bulk up to about 200 lbs.
Flip; you are a top-shelf lifter no doubt, and I would never discount your work ethic or discipline, but you are an exception, not a rule.