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24.06.2014
There is a magical unicorn everyone is after in the world of fitness, gaining muscle without adding fat. Adding 20 pounds is awesome, except when you realize half was muscle and the other half was fat. On a Lean Gains protocol you’ll fast for 16 hours and consume all your calories in an 8 hour window (i.e. Lean Gains won’t magically add 10 pounds in a few months but over the course of a year or more you will see muscle built while fat is staved off.
As an example, if you ended your cut at 2000 calories, consuming 180 grams of protein, 175 grams of carbohydrates and 65 grams of fat a day, in a reverse diet you would slowly bring up your fats and carbs by anywhere from 2-5% per week.
Maintaining high insulin sensitivity will help prevent your body from shuttling excess calories off for fat storage and instead shuttle those excess calories off to your muscles for added growth. You won’t wake up overnight with massive amounts of muscle added but the time invested into either Lean Gains or Reverse Dieting can help you stay leaner far longer. Whether it is actually possible to do so has remained a topic of great debate over the last several decades. Before we dive into the studies and the data lets discuss the hypothesis and arguments surrounding the issue. The main argument against the idea of losing fat and gaining muscle simultaneously is essentially the notion of calories in versus calories out.
The calories in calories out (CICO) model holds a lot of truth and can explain a lot of the variation in body weight, yet it is incomplete. I like to compare the CICO model with Newtonian Physics… it is accurate and describes gravity for a majority of cases but it is not complete. One such area where it breaks down is for anabolism and catabolism to be occurring simultaneously in different “compartments” of the body.
The CICO model essentially treats the body as a bomb calorimeter and an isolated system immune to perturbations. I want to take the internal stimuli first and relate it to the topic at hand (building muscle).
Without even touching nutrition we have data to show that the body has internal signals that simultaneously induce muscle protein synthesis and increase fat oxidation, namely the hormone testosterone. The next external signal that elicits a robust, repeatable signal for muscle protein synthesis is exercise, with resistance training showing the greatest amount of muscle protein synthesis(8,9,10).
We have two easily modifiable signals we can use to elicit our goal of increasing muscle mass: 1) consuming protein, 2) engaging in resistance exercise. So without getting too far into the weeds we have a mechanism by which the goal of “gaining muscle while losing fat” is, at least in theory, possible. Now let’s look at two separate studies using two very different approaches to see how this translates into practice. Where the first study was considered “protein overfeeding” and hypercaloric, the second study is presented in the context of eating higher protein in the context of caloric restriction***. In this study the researchers recruited 40 overweight (BMI >25) young men (mean age 23 years old) for this single-blind, prospective trial.
When we look at the results of the study, we see, as expected in a 40% calorie restricted diet, that both groups lost body weight with similar weight losses between groups. The CICO model only really accounts for total body mass and predicts overall changes in the mass of a system.
By manipulating the signals going into the system through proper diet and exercise it is indeed possible to simultaneously increase lean mass while reducing fat mass. For the interested reader please continue to the work below for more in-depth analysis of the two studies. The control group was instructed to maintain the same dietary and training habits over the course of the study.
The investigators used My Fitness Pal to track food intake so it was likely pretty spot on for this study. Also, “The investigators and research assistants were in contact with each subject on a weekly basis to ensure compliance with the exercise training program.
The authors wanted to see if the high protein diet had any impact on performance so they did pre and post-tests of a 1 RM for bench press and squat, as well as vertical jump, broad jump, and total pull ups.
As with most human research there were several particpants who dropped out; 15 and 10 subjects in the high protein and normal protein groups respectively.
As you can see the high protein group consumed about 500 calories more per day, with about 80 of those calories coming from carbohydrates (not statistically significant from the normal protein) and about 350 calories extra from protein (this was statistically different), and about 60 calories from fat (also not statistically different).
Overall, the high protein group ate more calories, with roughly 70% of those calories coming from protein. Both groups saw decreases in body fat mass and body fat percentage and increases in fat free mass. This study also provides more data points for high protein diets not changing creatinine, which has been an argument against high protein diets in the past. This is the second study to show that consuming extra protein on top of normal calories has, what I would call, a beneficial effect on body composition when consumed in conjunction with resistance training. 40 overweight (BMI >25) young men (mean age 23 years old) were recruited for this single-blind, prospective trial.
The participants were randomly assigned to either a high protein or control protein diet that was energy restricted by approximately 40%.  Please see Table 2 for a complete breakdown of the diets and the differences between them. Before the hounds descend and cry about whether the participants actually ate their diet, the researchers provided the participants with ALL meals and beverages (save water and non-caloric drinks). All exercise was completed within the controlled environment of the laboratory 6 days a week. Now from a programming standpoint I would argue that this protocol is not designed to maximize muscle gain but it is a good way to provide full body stimulus and really utilize all three energy systems during a week.


Isometric knee extensor force was measured using a dynamometer.  Leg strength and upper body strength were measured using a leg press and a bench press. Aerobic capacity was tested using a VO2 max test while a Wingate Test was used to test anaerobic capacity. Not surprisingly there were no real differences between the groups in regards to the blood and urine panels.
Also, the higher protein group saw no detrimental effect in in kidney function as measured by creatinine clearance. Your way of telling everything in this article is actually fastidious, all be capable of without difficulty be aware of it, Thanks a lot.
If you are looking for a way to lose weight whilst putting on muscle, low-carb protein powders could be the answer. The process of gaining muscle and losing fat is easy for bodybuilders who are just starting out. Using low-carb protein powders is a great way to preserve lean mass while cutting calories.
Low-carb protein powders can be used to replace a meal or snack that might otherwise add to fat gains. The use of low-carb protein shakes before and after a workout can help you lose fat and gain muscle at the same time. Low-carb protein powders are a great way to supplement a diet, but you must remember that it is a supplement. I am an experienced bodybuilder and qualified personal trainer who specializes in strength training, conditioning and building muscle. How to do Overhead Presses with Great FormHow to Get That Tapered Appearance The overhead press is a great exercise for developing shoulder muscles.
Bodybuilding Diet Tips, Techniques and TacticsTips, Techniques and Tactics – The Phases There are three vital components to bodybuilding success. Getting the Right Nutrition to Fuel Your Training Gaining a lot of muscle is easy when you know how.
Strength Training vs Cardio for Weight Loss – Finding Answers When you are trying to lose weight, you are faced with a lot of tough questions to answer. More in SupplementsAll You Need to Know About Amino Acid SupplementsAll You Need to Know About Amino Acid Supplements Amino acids are the building blocks of muscle.
Using the power of carb cycling, intermittent fasting, and heavy compound movements like squats, deadlifts, weighted chin-ups and pressing movements, Lean Gains can over time help you pack on muscle while sparing fat. Did you stop at just one meal or have you found yourself continuing to gorge on food for a week or more post diet? After a couple of weeks, you’ll notice more energy from the increase in calories as well as an improvement in overall training.
Initially on the Reverse Diet you’ll still be in a deficit, so don’t be surprised if you see some continued fat loss, but this is a method you can use to slowly find your proper maintenance level. The better your insulin sensitivity, the better chance you have of your body shuttling nutrients off for muscle instead of fat storage. Recent studies in the past years have given us the data needed to draw a conclusion on whether it is indeed possible.
We need Einstein’s theories of relativity to describe the enormously large* and fast and we need quantum theory for the incredibly small. It is well documented that testosterone increases muscle protein synthesis and that it can do so without increased amino acid uptake into cells (1,2,3).
In addition to signaling muscle accretion, exercise can also induce a signal for lipolysis and fat oxidation. All the participants were recreationally active, but were not regularly performing resistance training (so this is a relatively untrained population compared to the study from the Antonio lab) (12)****. Briefly, one was a high protein, low fat diet, while the other was a “normal protein”, “normal fat” diet.
The body is more than a bomb calorimeter, it is dynamic and responds to signals and can change the masses of different “compartments” in accordance with the signals.
The authors unequally randomized the subjects to take into account the loss of subjects from potential lack of compliance due to the high protein diet, as was seen in their earlier study. Compliance was determined via measurements of volume load (repetitions ? sets ? weight) which should have increased over the course of the treatment period. One thing I would like to have seen were lipid profiles and markers of oxidation, just for more data points. All the participants were recreationally active, but were not regularly performing resistance training (Please see table 1 for participant characteristics). From my analysis of the methods it looks like they received 2 meals a day along with “nutritional beverages” to round out the calories and macronutrients. If you compare the caloric intake between the overfeeding study and the “40%” caloric reduction study we actually observe similar protein intakes between the two studies (see table below). Now we need to take into consideration the two populations. The increased level of activity coupled with strength training allows them to build muscle and lose fat at the same time. On average, one scoop of low-carb protein contains about 110 calories, 25 grams of protein, roughly 1 gram of carbohydrates and no fat. You might be in the habit of eating out of boredom and not because you are genuinely hungry.
If you consume a protein shake before your workout, you will give your body the energy it needs to help you complete your workout. They come in tasty flavors like vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, cookies and cream, and orange creamsicle. There are protein powders for people who are lactose intolerant, vegan or have allergies to dairy products.


You will still need to eat whole foods in order to make sure that your body gets the proper nutrition. I am committed to helping others improve their health, fitness and build through good advice on workouts and nutrition. Well-developed shoulder muscles can help give the upper body a tapered appearance that is attractive to all those who see it. If you are into bodybuilding, then you know that protein is especially important in your pursuit of gaining muscle. The biggest benefit to reverse dieting is it allows you to maintain your prime insulin sensitivity. Over an 8 to 12 week period as you work back towards maintenance calories, you’ll keep the lean look you worked for and even slowly begin adding lean muscle and instead of fat.
Muscle growth takes time and these two methods can help stave off the unwanted bodyfat most bulks seem to pack on. Additionally testosterone can simultaneously increase lean mass and decrease fat mass in an older population (4).
Furthermore, subjects were instructed to not perform any aerobic exercise during the treatment period”. In both groups, there were large decreases in total and free testosterone, likely a results of the large calorie restriction. In the overfeeding study there were 11 females and 37 males total and the mean participant mass was~75 kg. In general, an athlete needs to have a surplus of calories in order to gain muscle and a deficit of calories in order to lose fat.
However, this task becomes much more difficult for seasoned bodybuilders, but it is not impossible. The macronutrient profile of a scoop of protein powder is just what you need to help you keep and even gain muscle, while burning fat.
Drinking your snack instead of eating it will give you a way to combat eating from boredom because you can just sip a protein drink slowly instead of reaching for a bag of chips or some other type of comfort food. It takes the body a long time to break down protein into its respective amino acids that will then be used for muscle repair. The protein will be used to help preserve your hard earned muscle and your body will use your fat stores to help you get through the workout. You can have a shake as a smoothie, drink it plain or even freeze it for a delicious treat.
This means that everyone can use some type of protein powder to help them achieve their goal of losing fat and gaining muscle.
The beauty of using protein powders is that it gives you a way to lose fat and gain muscle painlessly.
Protein pancakes are a great way to get away from traditional bodybuilding breakfasts that only include oatmeal and egg whites. This means you will consume about 300 calories over maintenance on workout days to fuel your workouts and then consume around 500 calories under maintenance on rest days. Reverse dieting can prevent the rebound effect and instead of storing fat help you build more muscle.
It is enough for this argument that as a nutrient, protein elicits an anabolic signal of muscle protein accretion in humans. This is now the second study to show the same thing in higher protein intakes in young men. In the calorie restriction study there were only males and the mean participant mass was ~100kg. Even though this task is challenging, it can be accomplished by adding low-carb protein powders to your diet. Not only will you help fight the negative effects from eating when you’re bored, but you will keep your body in an anabolic state.
In this case protein powders will help you because the body needs to use more energy to break down protein, which helps you burn even more calories.
When you then consume another low-carb protein shake after your workout with some carbs, those calories will immediately be used to help you build new muscle.
They come in lots of flavors, help you reduce hunger pangs and are suitable to replace some of the meals you eat throughout the day.
You’re in a surplus when you need the food to build muscle and in a deficit on the days you are resting to prevent excess fat accumulation. Conversely we see an increase in the hunger hormone Ghrelin, not suprising given the severe calorie restriction present. This may make up the discrepancy and explain the similar calories in the different context.
By ingesting protein throughout the day, especially when you are reducing calories, you can guarantee that you will help your body continue to build lean mass. But, even though more energy is being used, you won’t experience hunger pangs because protein helps you feel satiated. You’ll always have something on hand that is quick to prepare to satiate any hunger you might feel while cutting calories.



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