05-12-2013, 12:24 PM
Join Date: Mar 2011
Training Exp: 30+
Training Type: Powerlifting
Fav Exercise: Front squat
Fav Supp: Creatine. C'est tout.
I was reading this yesterday: T NATION | 4 Reasons You're Not Gaining Muscle
I think it's a very useful article. But with reference to losing fat while gaining muscle, Brad Schoenfeld has this to say (my emboldening):
In an attempt to get shredded while packing on mass, lifters will frequently restrict caloric intake while continuing to lift hard and heavy. Bad idea.
As previously noted, losing fat while gaining muscle is improbable for well-trained, natural lifters. If you fall into this category, it's imperative that you consume a surplus of calories in order to support muscle growth.
This is consistent with the first law of thermodynamics, which states that energy can neither be created nor destroyed; only changed from one form to another. Simply stated, take in more calories than you expend and the excess energy will be stored in the form of body mass.
All-too-often lifters will take this to mean that it's okay to eat everything in sight. This is consistent with the old-school "bulking" and "cutting" cycles where bodybuilders would scarf down massive quantities of food to get as big as possible and then go on an extreme diet with calories cut to starvation levels.
The problem with this approach is that upwards of 75% of weight gained during the bulking phase is in the form of body fat. Sure, you do gain muscle, too, but much of that is catabolized during the subsequent dieting process.
When all's said and done, you're lucky to retain half of your muscular gains. Worse, repeated cycles of bulking and cutting can reset your biological "set point," leading to higher body fat levels in future cycles.(9) Bottom line, it's simply not a smart nutritional strategy.
So what is an ideal caloric consumption for building muscle without porking up like a Sumo wrestler? A general guideline is to consume between 18 to 20 calories per pound of body weight. If you're a 200-pound guy, this equates to a target caloric intake of about 3600 to 4000 calories a day.
Those who are endomorphs typically do better with slightly lower calories, while those who are ectomorphic usually need a higher energy intake; as much as 25 calories per pound for extreme hard-gainers.
Once you settle on a given caloric intake, monitor results over time and adjust consumption according to your individual response. If you've been lifting for a while, a realistic goal is to gain 1-2 pounds per month when focusing on mass-building.
Lifetime best: 500/363/573 @ 220 belt only
"The proper study of mankind is books" - Aldous Huxley