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Can you build muscle on a calorie deficit?

muscle calories

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#21 Athina



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Posted 25 October 2017 - 06:41 AM

You can build muscle on a defecit lol
Cause well
I did
Eating roughly 900 kcal a day


this is exactly what I am doing now and still building decent muscle mass :)


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#22 Späcebøy



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Posted 01 November 2017 - 09:21 AM

I'm pretty sure you can build muscle in certain areas, even though you're losing muscle (and fat) in others.

Like build up your abs while your arms turn into little strings flapping in the wind. Who needs arms anyway.

Seriously though, this method works if you need some quick visual feedback to motivate you. If I'm trying to kick start my workout, I'll starve/restrict while doing heavy weights in just 1 muscle group. That muscle group will make slight gains while the rest of your body withers away, producing the illusion that you're building muscle like a mofo. With that as motivation, you can slowly start eating more as you see results.

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#23 VanityJane


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Posted 01 November 2017 - 11:20 AM

The body is constantly in flux trying to balance itself.


In a caloric deficit it constantly breaks down both fat and muscle.


If you are doing strengthening exercises (lifting or with your own bodyweight like with pilates) you will be tearing the muscles and needing to repair them - which is how we gain muscle mass - the body will do its best to allocate some resources to make this happen.


It's not as efficient because there so many functions are competing for calories during deficits and you might be sore for longer . 


What I've seen in myself and others is that I could build a little in new places while in a deficit.  I consider toning a mixture of losing fat from cardio (don't stop cardio btw) and building new, lean muscle mass in areas that can now stand out without the fat in the way.

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#24 vertigoner


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Posted 01 November 2017 - 01:17 PM

I watched an interesting video recently from a youtuber called VitruvianPhysique on this topic. Essentially, people who have previous experience with going to the gym/weight training can't build muscle and lose fat at the same time. HOWEVER, if you're a 'noob', your body actually can, but only for a limited period of time. I'd really recommend this channel man it's so memey and scientific it's great:

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#25 Annahhh



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Posted 08 November 2017 - 09:39 AM

Carb/calorie cycling. I️ have two hard weight lifting days where I️ eat over maintenance, all protein/carbs. Then the other days I’m in a deficit but still meet my protein goals and drink BCAAs nonstop. I’ve built some muscle like this, although if you want significant muscle you have to at least lean bulk. Also, stop doing cardio.

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#26 tinierbaby


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Posted 08 November 2017 - 12:12 PM

Science says you cannot build muscle in a caloric deficit. Though some beginners can build muscle in a deficit, but not much. You can maintain it though, but not with how you're exercising. When you exercise a lot on a caloric deficit, your body will burn away at both fat AND muscle. So, you're actually fucking yourself over lol. You're effectively starving your muscles of nutrients and then using them in excess, probably making them waste away. If you wanna build muscle, do muscular strength exercises (calisthenics: crunches, pushups, etc, weights: dumbells, resistance machines, etc) while eating at or above TDEE. 





#27 cicochica



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Posted 29 November 2017 - 08:41 AM

You can build a little bit.


Overweight (26% body fat) police officers starting a weight training program lost 9.3 pounds of fat and gained 8.8 pounds of lean body mass in 12 weeks.




Elite gymnasts went from 7.6% BF to 5% BF in 30 days while putting on .9 pounds of lean body mass.




Other examples of body recomp in elite athletes:




Female bodybuilders can also gain muscle during a prep:

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#28 spideyman


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Posted 06 December 2017 - 08:22 PM

I mean, if you have a calorie deficit but go over your daily recommended protein then I suppose it's possible, but you won't gain much and it's probably going to be hard. 

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#29 Mrs rabbit41

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Posted 06 December 2017 - 08:38 PM

Don’t you find yourself crazy starving on the regimen? I’d pass out. If I was doing that level of exercise I’d need way more cals

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#30 brego58



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Posted 07 December 2017 - 10:48 AM

You can build some muscle on a caloric deficit, but that means under TDEE, not under BMR. Under BMR, your body is cannibalizing not only muscle, but also organs and other necessary tissues. 

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#31 depressinglyfat


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Posted 07 December 2017 - 11:52 PM

you can build muscles if you do low carb high protein 

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#32 TrapCeritops



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Posted 03 January 2018 - 12:39 AM

Not much, and generally only if you are a beginner.

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#33 DancingAlice



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Posted 18 January 2018 - 12:04 AM

I feel like... if you eat a good amount post-workout, then taper off and end up eating above BMR, but below TDEE... I believe its possible. Aiming to do this currently, but I don't want to build a TON of muscle.

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Goal 2: 48kg / 105lbs / 17.4

Realistic Goal weight: 45kg / 99lbs / 16.3

Unrealistic, but maybe one day:

Goal 4: 42.5kg / 93lbs / 15.4

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#34 TaylusTheDeathMetalHippie


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Posted 18 January 2018 - 05:11 AM

I wish.




#35 Pantsy12345


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Posted 23 January 2018 - 07:06 PM

I have a bit of experience here. Aim for 2g of protein per kg with at least 20g of both carbs and protein right after you workout. But you have to lift heavy and give it a bit of grunt. Eggs, meats etc are great. I also love pea protein and yopro.

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#36 Guest_.slenderman._*

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Posted 23 January 2018 - 08:33 PM

huh. this actually made me think for a while. Maybe i was? since i was losin fat, my muscles looked more defined and showed a lot more. But they also felt harder, and idk. i always assumed i gained muscle *shrugs* but i guess that may not be the case


It's hard to say, but you will look and feel a little more muscular as you drop fat regardless of if any is built. They just show more and feel harder without a fat layer there which is soft. But who knows, maybe you built some muscle too. I ain't judgin 

#37 Lakigigar



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Posted 23 January 2018 - 09:45 PM

posted in wrong thread

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#38 Primož


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Posted 24 January 2018 - 01:44 PM

If you are losing weight you cannot gain muscle. 10 kilos – 10 kilos = 0 kilos

Can you lose fat mass? Yes.

Can you gain muscle mass in a caloric deficit? No.



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#39 sblsg


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Posted 29 January 2018 - 06:35 PM

yes, but it isn't easy. Look up cutting vs bulking

#40 flickerbeat



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Posted 04 July 2019 - 07:39 AM

What is BCAA? 


And how to best maintain muscle on a deficit? What foods/exercises to eat/do?




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