T Nation

Thank You for Your Youtube Channel

So with life events and renewed focus on my appearance, I wanted to come here and post question after question…
On a whim I went to youtube and started watching some videos. One took me to your channel Coach Christian Thibaudeau - Thibarmy. I fired up a few and it answered the big questions for me in my training and gave me the reasoning for how I am going to help an absolute beginner start their training and point them to the videos so it isn’t just me saying, ya know?
Recently you’ve said you are going to focus your articles more on theory than on actual programs. Thank you for that.
I remember reading something you wrote here in a thread that, if I remember correctly, something about not fearing muscle loss too much when in a fat loss focus. That is what I remember briefly. I would like to see more on this.
I see real REAL detailed answers given here in threads that get lost with forum traffic that I would like to reference again or refer someone to when they have questions.
ME? I just need to quit thinking the flesh in my chest back and shoulders is 100% muscle and that if I lost some of the space I am taking up that what is lost is not 100% muscle, that I probably look bigger despite losing size anyway.

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Well, provided that you train hard and smart and that protein is high enough the risk of muscle loss while dieting is very small, until you are very low in body fat.

For example, going from 30% down to 20% should not lead to any muscle loss and in fact you should be able to gain muscle almost as easily as if you were in a surplus.

Going from 20% to 15% will not lead to muscle loss either and you can still build muscle pretty well, but slower than while in a surplus.

Going from 15 to 10% will not lead to muscle loss but it is hard to build muscle.

I’d say that even going from 10 to 8% the risk of muscle loss is fairly small. But once you try to get REALLY shredded (5-7%) that’s where the likelyhood of muscle loss dramatically increases.

There are several reasons for this.

First, to build (and also repair) muscle you need 1) a mechanical stimulus 2) sufficient protein 3) sufficient energy 4) a positive anabolic hormone balance.

When you have a large fat reserve, the body has ample energy, and using some of that stored energy to fuel the muscle repair/growth process is not an issue. As you get leaner and leaner it can become one as the body will want to hold on to its small stores for more vital stuff.

Also, the more fat you have, the more leptin you produce. As you can leaner the fat cells have less and less leptin which leads to several things that makes it harder to lose fat like a decrease in metabolic rate and an increase in hunger. BUT the drop in leptin also makes you lazier. This is actually a survival mechanism to force your body to lower caloric expenditure (if you are lazier, you move less thus use less energy).

The problem is that this drop in leptin making you lazy can negatively affect your workouts which can then make it harder to hold on to your muscle mass.

There is also the fact that the longer you are on a diet and the more overall weight you lose, the higher cortisol becomes, the lower IGF-1 and mTOR becomes and even testosterone can go down, making it harder to buid or even repair muscle.

For example, I am finishing a cutting phase and have a photoshoot tomorrow.

I went from 231 to 197 ripped. Going from 231 to 207 was a breaze. My workouts were awesome, I was doing daily loaded carries for long distances, adding daily walks even if my caloric intake was really low (I tend to be excessive when I diet down).

But as soon as I reached 205-207 life became hell even though I did not reduce caloric intake at all (in fact I had to increase it). I could barely do “ok” lifting workouts by switching to a low volume approach and I just couldn’t do the carries anymore.

I lost zero muscle and strength actually increased when I went from 231 to 210 ish… when I dropped to 205-207 my strength went down and I got flatter and might have lost a small amount of muscle.

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