4

votes

Do we really need excess calories to build muscle?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created October 26, 2010 at 10:33 PM

A while ago on a paleo blog, I remember reading about a former marine's experience (but I can't find it!). He says he gained lots of muscle mass while in the military, where the caloric intake isn't as high as trainers often recommend for putting on mass. He contrasts this with his training experience before joining the military, in which his muscle mass gains were limited, despite eating well and eating lots.

Any thoughts about this? Maybe growth hormone is involved? Sorry if this is a strange question. It's been lurking in my mind for a while now.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on February 02, 2012
at 04:29 PM

I'm with Michael all the way here.

74c1777d7d39b053ca64c065dcdb0072

(713)

on February 02, 2012
at 04:19 PM

I agree with you. The question was "do we really need to excess calories to build muscle?" Depending on how you define excess, the answer is trivial and affirmative if lean.

F040035b2008ec80b205481afbd39ad4

(1837)

on February 02, 2012
at 03:08 PM

"If you are trying to increase your weight, you must consume more calories then you burn" - but this is largely irrelevant for most of us here as this statement ignores the fact that the body can adjust 'calories out' if needed, as evidenced in teenagers who are often lethargic and hungry! If you keep your caloric intake the same and increase exercise, (ie you don't exogenously consume more calories), then your body may simply try to conserve more calories by inducing lethargy at other times of the day.

74c1777d7d39b053ca64c065dcdb0072

(713)

on February 02, 2012
at 02:29 PM

I am told all the time that people cannot lose weight when they are burning more calories than While I know you are being sarcastic, there is a giant overlap between paleo people and geeks(for lack of a better term)

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on February 02, 2012
at 02:27 PM

We've got to chime in once in a while to balance out the mystics who support paleo "magic".

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on February 02, 2012
at 02:25 PM

Not losing is not gaining either.

Ccacf7567273244733bc991af4ac42ed

(5198)

on February 02, 2012
at 02:04 PM

I'm always impressed at the number of thermodynamicists who spend time here.

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5 Answers

7
F1e5ff10797e0e35cda081a4221cb614

on October 27, 2010
at 12:57 AM

If you have excess body fat, which is common among folks at the time they join the military, a calorie deficit will make you gain muscle and lose fat at the same time:

http://healthcorrelator.blogspot.com/2010/09/how-to-lose-fat-and-gain-muscle-at-same.html

The reason is that the extra calories needed to spare muscle tissue are coming from the stored fat. If your body fat levels are fairly low, you will need a calorie surplus to gain muscle.

1
62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on October 27, 2010
at 05:29 AM

Of course, if your system is in balance, the extra exercise should stimulate hunger and increased appetite naturally. And so you would get the extra calories needed.

0
74c1777d7d39b053ca64c065dcdb0072

on February 02, 2012
at 01:55 PM

If you are trying to increase your weight, you must consume more calories then you burn. (laws of thermodynamics)

It is possible to lose fat and build muscle at the same time as novices do it all the time.

Ccacf7567273244733bc991af4ac42ed

(5198)

on February 02, 2012
at 02:04 PM

I'm always impressed at the number of thermodynamicists who spend time here.

F040035b2008ec80b205481afbd39ad4

(1837)

on February 02, 2012
at 03:08 PM

"If you are trying to increase your weight, you must consume more calories then you burn" - but this is largely irrelevant for most of us here as this statement ignores the fact that the body can adjust 'calories out' if needed, as evidenced in teenagers who are often lethargic and hungry! If you keep your caloric intake the same and increase exercise, (ie you don't exogenously consume more calories), then your body may simply try to conserve more calories by inducing lethargy at other times of the day.

74c1777d7d39b053ca64c065dcdb0072

(713)

on February 02, 2012
at 02:29 PM

I am told all the time that people cannot lose weight when they are burning more calories than While I know you are being sarcastic, there is a giant overlap between paleo people and geeks(for lack of a better term)

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on February 02, 2012
at 02:27 PM

We've got to chime in once in a while to balance out the mystics who support paleo "magic".

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on February 02, 2012
at 04:29 PM

I'm with Michael all the way here.

74c1777d7d39b053ca64c065dcdb0072

(713)

on February 02, 2012
at 04:19 PM

I agree with you. The question was "do we really need to excess calories to build muscle?" Depending on how you define excess, the answer is trivial and affirmative if lean.

0
246ebf68e35743f62e5e187891b9cba0

(21430)

on February 02, 2012
at 01:37 PM

I know some people are different, but when I IF I barely manage 1800 cals a day, and I'm a 300lb former nationally-ranked strongman competitor.

I don't seem to lose any muscle when I do this. Lately, I've been doing this for 2-3 days a week (just bored with eating all day, truly).

If I eat all day, I'll easily make it to mid 2000's per day, so there is a fairly significant difference in my calories in on fasted vs. normal days.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on February 02, 2012
at 02:25 PM

Not losing is not gaining either.

0
95ef9c154b9b24a3f41a44ec0275fd33

on February 02, 2012
at 01:20 PM

http://www.charlespoliquin.com/ArticlesMultimedia/Articles/Article/329/The_Top_10_Donts_for_Mass_Gaining.aspx

In trying to figure the same thing, everyone says my 5x5 split will halt in progress if I don't eat more but Charles poliquins view is different.

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