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Thread: Gaining muscle mass without going into caloric surplus

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  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2004

    Gaining muscle mass without going into caloric surplus

    Hey guys,

    I've been doing quite a bit of reading these last few weeks... and have found some very interesting stuff that makes sense.

    I used to think you had to be in caloric surplus on a daily basis to gain muscle, and in deficit to lose fat. After all, that's what everybody's taught on this site. At least, it provides one with very simple guidelines for bulking/cutting.
    But our body just ain't that simple! It's a very complex, dynamic system and counting your calories at the end of everyday won't determine whether you gain or lose muscle mass.

    Anyhow... those aren't my ideas so here are a couple of quotes:

    "A number of people have asked how they can add muscle mass. They often think they have to eat a lot more to put on mass. Not so, you can put on muscle mass even if you are in caloric balance. You do this by redirecting nutrients and energy over the right metabolic pathways. This requires a reduction in cortisol (so don't over train and get plenty of play and rest) and an increase in growth hormone (GH). " from


    "Remember, caloric deficit is a steady state concept. Humans are almost never in caloric balance at one point in time, it is only through integrating moments of positive and negative balance over a longer time period that any kind of caloric balance is achieved. So, caloric balance is an averaging concept that doesn't apply to short periods of time. It happens that when you fast and engage in intense activity of very short duration you signal the body to conserve protein. The signal is a high level of GH, which can promote a redirection of the body's resources to retain and develop its protein tools. Remember, protein circulates through the body, in and out, and the pool goes up and down. It is possible to take in less food and still deposit enough protein in the muscle if you lower the rate of protein wastage. This is the role of GH: it is a strong signal to conserve protein and to mobilize fat for use as an energy source. Evolutionary times would require just this mechanism. Fasting triggers a maintenance function : fat is burned for energy and protein is strictly preserved unless it is required to produce glucose to fuel the brain. "

    from "The Performance Menu", Crossfit North's journal.

    Those are both quotes from Art de Vany... you can visit his blog too at
    The guy is 6'1'' and 205lbs at age 67 so he must be doing something right?!

    I've also seen way too many friends achieve what he just described to doubt it one second.

    So yeah, that's what I wanted to say here: being everyday in caloric surplus and eating your BWx1,5 in grams of protein might definitely help someone gain muscle, but it isn't the only way...
    It also seems that gaining muscle and burning fat at the same time is possible.

    I'd be interested to see the reactions on this forum...
    Last edited by Mikael; 06-13-2005 at 02:17 PM.


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