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Elusive goal of non-bulk muscle gain

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    (Original post by Classical Liberal)
    You seem to think cardio does hurts muscle development? It does not. Cardio just uses energy. Which means it increases your required calorie intake to maintain fat. And if you do not take in enough calories, then your body will use its fat stores as a substitute (that is what fat is for, muscle is not designed to be used for energy). It is only once you get down to really low body fat levels, such as close to starvation, will the body start to use muscle for energy.

    So when somebody tells you that you are burning muscle, just ignore them.

    Wrong. Do enough cardio (I mean exceptional levels - running a marathon every single day of the week) and you will raise your cortisol enough to hurt gains. And before you mention ultra-marathon runners who run 7 marathons in a row, these are genetic exceptions (e.g. Dean Karnazes). Whenever you burn more calories than you consume, you will burn both muscle and fat. Even if it's 99% fat and only 1% muscle - the ratio is determined by your diet and what kind of exercise you're doing - you'll still always burn off some muscle tissue. You do not have to be close to starvation to burn off some muscle - just look at your average cardio-fag.

    You seem to want to gain muscle and get a six pack (good call). The best thing to do to get a six pack is to get your body fat % down. This means you have to run a calorie deficit. Which means not gorging yourself on food and doing plenty of cardio. Having strong abs is largely irrelevant. You just need to get rid of the fat covering your abs.

    True and false. If there's absolutely nothing there, getting bodyfat low won't help much. For your average person who does not partake in resistance training, cutting down to single digit bodyfat in hopes of seeing abs is futile.

    Gaining muscle whilst running a calorie deficit is perfectly possible (despite what some rugby players will tell you). You just need to eat enough proteins and vitamins to have the building blocks for creating muscle. This approach does mean you have to tailor your diet to make sure you get enough protein and vitamins. So that means substituting fatty crap with fruits, nuts, eggs, etc.

    Wrong. Only possible in those totally new to lifting, coming back to it after a long period of time off, or those running performance enhancing drugs such as anabolic steroids. You can gain strength on a caloric deficit, in the form of neuromuscular adaptation, but actually gaining muscle tissue and hypertrophying the fibres is grossly unlikely to happen without a caloric surplus and anabolic environment.

    I am sure people are going to start saying I am talking ****, and that you have to bulk and cut, but you simply don't. As far as I am concerned, such an approach is an excuse to be a greedy ****er whilst pretending you are doing it for fitness (very common among so called rugby players in my experience). If all you cared about was muscle gain, then yes eat **** loads and get fat whilst you do it. However if you want to gain muscle whilst losing body fat, you have to run a calorie deficit and you have to eat enough proteins and vitamins to rebuild your muscle. This will probably lower the amount of muscle you gain ( slightly compared to eating loads) however your overall fitness and how you look will be much better.

    I agree with you in some part. You can minimise fat gain but at the expense of muscle gain. Fat gain can be minimised by macro cycling, carb cycling and/or intermittent fasting, but is far too challenging and complex for your average trainee or noob to understand.


    When you are building muscle the process works roughly like this. You workout. You "break" the tiny fibers in your muscles. The body then repairs these fibers and makes them bigger than before. To do this the body need the necessary building blocks for muscles. Which are amino acids and energy, I think. The amino acids will come from eating proteins and vitamins you consume. And the energy will come from the calories you take in, or your fat stores. Now assuming you have some fat on your body, the chances of you running out of energy for this process are slim to none (which is where this *******s idea that cardio harms muscle development comes from because you use up energy during cardio). On the other hand if you do not have enough protiens and vitamins, your body will not be able to repair the broken fibers and you will end up weaker than before because you have literally damaged your muscles and no allowed to repair (this is a real danger of happening in practice, as opposed to the fear of running out of energy).

    This process of repairing damaged fibers takes around 3 days I believe. You need to keep your body full of proteins and vitamins during this time. This means taking on said ingredients regularly and in small doses, as opposed to having one massive protein shake after your workout, which is absolutely pointless.

    Wrong. It has been proven by many studies that meal frequency has no effect on metabolism. Having one massive meal or several larger meals makes no difference to eating consistently, only that for those with small appetites, eating more regularly is easier. In fact, eating large meals and then fasting for prolonged periods of time has been shown to have benefits.

    Also, once you have damaged your fibers, do not workout that muscle again for atleast 3 days. You need to give the body time to repair the muscle. Otherwise you can end up just stopping the whole rebuilding process by continually damaging your fibers. This is why I think it is a good idea to work out muscle groups on different days, to make sure you do not overtrain and muscle group.
    When I saw the big ol' block of text, I really did want it to be legitimate, empirical-evidence based good ol' science. I wanted to believe... in good advice on the TSR fitness section. You still have much to learn though. Just because you've read a lot of material and can articulate and regurgitate it well doesn't mean what you know is correct or scientifically based. 10/10 for effort though.
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    Thanks for all the replies. Guess I'll just have to eat a little more to make up for the cardio, will start either stronglifts or starting strength in the next couple of weeks.

    How long would it take to put on about a stone of muscle? Is it impossible over a summer?
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    It will take almost a year to put on a stone of muscle. It's a very slow process that requires a lot of consistency.
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    You can probably put on a stone and not change your BF% over a summer yes. I put on about a stone and a half over 6 months but I drank, missed meals, stopped training legs etc, if I focussed I could've probably made those gains in 4 months.

    How serious is the football/boxing? If you want to improve athletic performance by all means do SS/SL but remember they are primarily for strength building, and lower body strength at that. If you want to look like you lift train like a body builder. For simplicity just do SS but add in a calf raise, chins, dips, lateral raises, a chest supported row, DB/cable flies if you don't feel bench in chest, then a bicep and tricep isolation exercise plus ab work maybe. Don't worry about weight progression so much on the additional work and always do it after your main lifts. Then by the end of summer you'll probably know what to do yourself.

    I basically did the above and ate clean and did what you presumably want to do.
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    (Original post by Classical Liberal)
    Really? So is over training just a myth?.
    yes it is, there's no such thing as overtraining, it's under-recovering that people have problems with.
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    (Original post by JD.27)
    Thanks for all the replies. Guess I'll just have to eat a little more to make up for the cardio, will start either stronglifts or starting strength in the next couple of weeks.

    How long would it take to put on about a stone of muscle? Is it impossible over a summer?
    you cant be afraid of fat gains, that's why most skinny people think they're hardgainers because they try to clean bulk
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    Oh dear, what a terrible thread. Somehow I think that this will not go any way to helping the OP know what to do.

    OP, as you can see absolutely everyone's experiences are WRONG, depending who you ask, so you're basically on your own. Do whatever the **** you like and if it happens for you, that's great. If not, never mind, it wasn't meant to be.
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    another person who thinks he's a 'hard gainer'... you can only say that when you have counted calories and had well over 3000 with all the cardio you do of decent meals with a good balance of carbs and proteins. you box and you play football so I'd expect you to be good enough not to go on 5 by 5's (starting strength) and just go straight for the monday: chest and tri's, wed bicep back fri shoulder legs.. Until i counted calories and got my diet right i thought i was a hard gainer...if you're 6'3 with 75kg you are not...
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    (Original post by almasy)
    yes it is, there's no such thing as overtraining, it's under-recovering that people have problems with.
    aw mang, you are so damn hardcore. Bottle up your jizz and I'll inject it into my ****ing eyeballs.
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    (Original post by pshewitt1)
    another person who thinks he's a 'hard gainer'... you can only say that when you have counted calories and had well over 3000 with all the cardio you do of decent meals with a good balance of carbs and proteins. you box and you play football so I'd expect you to be good enough not to go on 5 by 5's (starting strength) and just go straight for the monday: chest and tri's, wed bicep back fri shoulder legs.. Until i counted calories and got my diet right i thought i was a hard gainer...if you're 6'3 with 75kg you are not...
    Assuming I was as generally had an awful student diet over last year consisting of fast food everyday and loads of drink but haven't gained any weight. This was without any football or boxing and the calories in ready meals and fast food hit way over 3000 a day if they make up all your meals. Will measure out using clean food now though.

    (Original post by desijut)
    you cant be afraid of fat gains, that's why most skinny people think they're hardgainers because they try to clean bulk
    I don't want to dirty bulk, I will count cals when I start but would rather take the effort and get it out of decent food tbh.

    (Original post by JasonTerryIsMyHero)
    Don't worry about weight progression so much on the additional work and always do it after your main lifts. Then by the end of summer you'll probably know what to do yourself.

    I basically did the above and ate clean and did what you presumably want to do.
    Isn't weight progression the main thing to build mass? I was thinking I'd go along with just training different muscles different days depending on whatever I find as opposed to SS but stick to the idea of gradually loading the weight on. Heard it helps with progression but not sure.
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    (Original post by JD.27)
    I don't want to dirty bulk, I will count cals when I start but would rather take the effort and get it out of decent food tbh.
    You wont gain the fat overnight, it will take a while. Once you start notcing you're gaining too much fat, you can stop the milk and carry on the rest of the diet. Youn need to get out of the frame of mind that you're a hardgainer basically
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    (Original post by JD.27)
    Isn't weight progression the main thing to build mass? I was thinking I'd go along with just training different muscles different days depending on whatever I find as opposed to SS but stick to the idea of gradually loading the weight on. Heard it helps with progression but not sure.
    Of course. Your bench, OHP, squat, row, deadlift all need to go up like the traditional SS.

    But don't worry if you do lateral raises with the same DBs 3 sessions on the bounce. When I did SS + assistance I got too worried about progressing the assistance.
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    (Original post by HFerguson)
    Wrong. Do enough cardio (I mean exceptional levels - running a marathon every single day of the week) and you will raise your cortisol enough to hurt gains. And before you mention ultra-marathon runners who run 7 marathons in a row, these are genetic exceptions (e.g. Dean Karnazes). Whenever you burn more calories than you consume, you will burn both muscle and fat. Even if it's 99% fat and only 1% muscle - the ratio is determined by your diet and what kind of exercise you're doing - you'll still always burn off some muscle tissue. You do not have to be close to starvation to burn off some muscle - just look at your average cardio-fag.
    Some average cardio "fag" does not do resistance training. That is why they do not have have big muscles. Indeed, most cardio "fags" don't want big muscles as big muscles slow you down. And atleast cardio "fags" arnt fat guys who think they are "bulking".

    Your body is designed to use fat for energy. That is what fat is for. It is remarkable how people seem to forget this. Your muscles are not designed to be used for energy they are designed to stretch and contract. And when you run a calorie deficit your body is designed to have a huge inbuild bias towards using up fat. I am sure you can come up with some technicality where muscle is used, but you have to put it in context.

    True and false. If there's absolutely nothing there, getting bodyfat low won't help much. For your average person who does not partake in resistance training, cutting down to single digit bodyfat in hopes of seeing abs is futile.
    Not convinced by that. I suspect the vast majority of people have abs that pertrude in some way, its just that the fat easily covers them. Anyway, I am not saying don't do core exercise, infact definitely do them as they are brilliant for improving your athletic performance, I am just saying getting big abs will not get you a six pack.

    Wrong. Only possible in those totally new to lifting, coming back to it after a long period of time off, or those running performance enhancing drugs such as anabolic steroids. You can gain strength on a caloric deficit, in the form of neuromuscular adaptation, but actually gaining muscle tissue and hypertrophying the fibres is grossly unlikely to happen without a caloric surplus and anabolic environment.
    This simply is not true. If you workout hard enough, your body will respond by developing your muscles. The body at some point will use up your stores of energy (fat) to use them to build muscle.

    The reason most people have to run a calorie deficit when trying to gain muscle is because their diets are ****, they eat fatty takeouts, soft drinks and the like. And thus that have to eat loads just to get enough of the basic building blocks of muscle.

    Wrong. It has been proven by many studies that meal frequency has no effect on metabolism. Having one massive meal or several larger meals makes no difference to eating consistently, only that for those with small appetites, eating more regularly is easier. In fact, eating large meals and then fasting for prolonged periods of time has been shown to have benefits.
    I was not actually reffering to metabolism. I was reffering to how the body demands the building blocks for muscle. Your muscles rebuild for days after your workout, continously. And you need to continously supply the body with the building blocks of muscle to maximise your development.
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    (Original post by Old School)
    Right.

    How much do you weigh and how tall are you?

    How much do you squat/bench press/deadlift/press?


    Why do you train?
    As if that's relevant?
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    (Original post by kingkongjaffa)
    As if that's relevant?
    It is very, actually.

    All too often you get people who have no actual experience of lifting/dieting posting bull**** advice as fact because they think that because they have read some stuff on the internet, they automatically are:

    a) entitled to an opinion
    b) expect that opinion to be given the same credence as that of a far more experienced and knowledgeable person

    Clearly Classical Liberal is one of these individuals.

    The myth spreading between beginners is not helpful, for obvious reasons.
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    (Original post by kingkongjaffa)
    As if that's relevant?
    Everyone's a tough guy online, apparently you have to meet certain strength and size standards to have any clue what you're doing. Unfortunately, the biggest and strongest often have absolutely nothing of use to tell those who are not big and strong.

    I was in the top of my class every year at school and university, sailed through it. But when struggling idiots asked me for tips and how to achieve the same, nothing I said was of any use to them. I was just naturally able, and they were not. They got better help from other idiots whose experience was more directly relevant.

    It's the same in sports.
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    (Original post by Old School)
    It is very, actually.

    All too often you get people who have no actual experience of lifting/dieting posting bull**** advice as fact because they think that because they have read some stuff on the internet, they automatically are:

    a) entitled to an opinion
    b) expect that opinion to be given the same credence as that of a far more experienced and knowledgeable person

    Clearly Classical Liberal is one of these individuals.

    The myth spreading between beginners is not helpful, for obvious reasons.
    Whether or not what someone has read on the internet is true or not is based on what has been studied and verified. It has nothing to do with what they lift. Classical Liberal could be 7 foot 400 pounds with a 650 pound bench press and he would still be wrong.
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    (Original post by Classical Liberal)
    However the OP said he wants to lose body fat and get ripped (he is not a body builder and not an olympic weight lifter), which is very different to a body builder just trying to get massive. Now he could go with (what I think is foolish) a strategy of gaining lots of body fat and muscle. And then run a calorie deficit to get rid of the excess fat. However I think it is much much more efficient strategy is to lose body fat and gain muscle (albeit less than the other way) to get ripped.
    Have you seen olympic weightlifters? In all except the open class they're pretty damn ripped as far as I remember.
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    (Original post by Classical Liberal)
    big muscles slow you down.

    ****ing lol oh god

    Your muscles are not designed to be used for energy they are designed to stretch and contract.

    You've got to bare in mind calories aren't the only thing that matters. Protein/nitrogen balance - if your protein needs exceede your protein intake, you will catabolise muscle.

    This simply is not true. If you workout hard enough, your body will respond by developing your muscles. The body at some point will use up your stores of energy (fat) to use them to build muscle.

    Wrong. Your body will develop your nervous system so you are more efficient at recruiting all of your fibres aka "neuromuscular adaptation". This doesn't necessarily mean you are gaining any muscle.

    I was not actually reffering to metabolism. I was reffering to how the body demands the building blocks for muscle. Your muscles rebuild for days after your workout, continously. And you need to continously supply the body with the building blocks of muscle to maximise your development.

    doesn't mean that you have to eat continuously - meals can take up to 24 hours and even more to fully digest and deliver their nutritional content to the body.
    12345610char
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    (Original post by HFerguson)
    You've got to bare in mind calories aren't the only thing that matters. Protein/nitrogen balance - if your protein needs exceede your protein intake, you will catabolise muscle.
    That is why I keep on reffering to having a good diet that allows you build muscle whilst running a calorie deficit. If you just eat crap, then if you run a calorie deficit you may well not have enough of the building blocks of muscle to actually develop.

    Secondly, seems like a wierd phenomena whereby you are short of protien, due to the body demanding more for muscle development, so the body uses protien from muscles that already exist. My intuition tells me there is something wrong with that.


    Wrong. Your body will develop your nervous system so you are more efficient at recruiting all of your fibres aka "neuromuscular adaptation". This doesn't necessarily mean you are gaining any muscle.
    This phenomena of "muscle memory" has severe limitations though. We have all experienced this ourselves. We go into the gym for the first time and do an exercise for the first time. We come back the next day and all of a sudden we can lift 5% more or something crazy. Ofcourse this does not last.

    This point is just a technicality which does not refute my general point that if you workout hard enough, your body will use the energy stores of fat to build muscle.

    doesn't mean that you have to eat continuously - meals can take up to 24 hours and even more to fully digest and deliver their nutritional content to the body.
    Well, Ideally you would be on a drip. It is better to eat smaller meals more regularly for muscle development, just take the extreme case at the other end of the spectrum where you have only one big meal.


    Anyway, my fundamental point is that you can gain muscle mass and run a calorie deficit. This idea you have to get fat ("bulking up" rotlf) to gain muscle is just *******s, it only makes sense if you have a crappy diet full of fatty foods.

    Think about it this way.

    Why would you need a calorie surplus to build muscle?

    Once you have used up the calories to keep your brain, heart, lungs and other organs going. And once you have used up the calories for your exericise. And once you have used up the calories for muscle building (which as proportion of your total energy use is miniscule). Why would you need any more energy/calories.

    And if you do not have enough energy/calories to do all these things, what do you think the body is going to do? Do you think it might use those stores of energy designed for just this eventuality?

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