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  1. #1
    baseline_9's Avatar
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    Where to put cardio when gaining weight

    Ok guys

    This is an open discussion, everyone is entitled to their opinion and can we try and keep this discussion 'flame' free please....



    Topic : When looking to gain weight, where should one put their cardio training?
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  2. #2
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    imo before breakfast

  3. #3
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    For me i don't think i really change that much other than, when cutting i do cardio on my rest days 45-60 minutes. Interested in others opinions as I bulk easily but have a much harder time shedding fat. Other than that i stick to my 10 minute warm up and 20-30 minutes of intervals after resistance training

    Good topic base

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    LatissimusaurousRex is offline Senior Member
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    I don't think there's an optimal time, regardless you are going to be catabolic for X amount of time. I prefer after my lifting session.

  5. #5
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    I'd stick with PWO and would probably shy away from am fasted. I would do no cardio on rest days.

  6. #6
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    ^^Yep, a year ago I would have said leave the AM fasted. PWO HIIT 3 times a week should keep most the fat away and not cut into your ability to gain.

  7. #7
    kelevra is offline Member
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    I do 5 day split. I'll do small amounts of cardio on chest, arm, & shoulder days. Just for heart health. I leave leg days, back days, & weekends cardio free.

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    I do 20 minutes pwo majority of it high intensity. I drink gatorade while doing cardio so to attempt not to lose weight. I slam a protein shake 15 minutes after I'm done (earlier I would throw it up probably). regardless short bursts won't cut into your muscle or fat really.

  9. #9
    baseline_9's Avatar
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    The server crashed last night when I started this thread so I couldn't edit my post.... I wanted to add...

    What type of cardio and in what state (fasted, fueled)

    Looks like you guys picked up on that one already though...
    Last edited by baseline_9; 05-17-2011 at 03:32 PM.
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  10. #10
    baseline_9's Avatar
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    How about separating weight training and cardio all together?

    Keeping cardio in the morning helps to separate training and cardio (for me at least)


    What do you guys think about morning cardio, moderate to high intensity after a small meal...

    If one was to want to put there cardio in the morning and wanted to do a higher intensity form of cardio, what type of meal should they eat?



    Opinions guys, I'm just trying to keep this going...
    Last edited by baseline_9; 05-17-2011 at 03:32 PM.
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  11. #11
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    Ty baseline 9 that you started this thread, this question has bothered me.

    When would be good time for 18 year old natural bodybuilder to do cardio? At my gym there is only one time in a week when I'm able to do cardio in the morning.

    I'm mostly asking for type of cardio(HIT,interval, low intensityl) . Also I'm interested in duration and how many days in a week I should do cardio while bulking?

    Pm me or post here
    Last edited by PurpleOnes; 05-17-2011 at 04:18 AM.

  12. #12
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    1. I would separate the cardio from weight training if I had the time. I like the idea of splitting those two as opposed to performing almost all of my intense physical activity within a range of 1.5-2 hrs at the gym.

    2. I would not do cardio as the first thing in the morning, especially on an empty stomach, unless I really wanted to torch the muscle and tear it down. Cortisol levels are high in the morning and the best proven method to reduce those levels is to have a carb + protein meal. There is no point in hitting the treadmill with an empty stomach since it will only result in further incremented cortisol as well as a messed up ratio of test to cortisol. Fasted AM cardio is a very poor choice for a BB IMO.

    3. I have so far performed both HIT and regular type cardio and my experience is that HIT is a more challenging form of cardio that leads to a significantly increased cardiovascular performance in general and gets rid of more water (edema). Howeverz it would be completely false and unfair for me to say that it burns more fat than regular cardio, which is generally performed at a fat burning zone. In sum, both burn fat, HIT gets rid of more body water and increases one's cardivascular performance remarkably yet possibly resulting in some muscle breakdown too.

    4. Lastly, ıf I could afford to split cardio from weight training, I would perform my cardio session at around late afternoon-early evening specifically for two reasons: taking advantage of lower cortisol levels at that time of the day and hitting my metabolism one more time at an unexpected time of the day to increase its rythm.

  13. #13
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    I agree with Turkish on this. However we never talked about the point of doing the cardio when gaining. Why are we doing cardio? Is it to build CV performance or to burn fat?
    If CV performance than HIIT for 20 minutes for sure.
    If burning fat then diet is key with low intensity for long periods of time.

  14. #14
    baseline_9's Avatar
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    [I]Who believes that cardio while trying to gain weight simply burns calories that could have been simply not eaten?[/I]

    Do you believe that by doing cardio you can partition energy stores (fat and carbs) to your advantage and burn stored bodyfat while using the carbs to help build muscle...

    Opinions on cardio as part of a body re-comp.... burn fat , build muscle....
    Last edited by baseline_9; 05-17-2011 at 03:33 PM.
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by baseline_9 View Post
    Who believes that cardio while trying to gain weight simply burns calories that could have been simply not eaten?

    Do you believe that by doing cardio you can partition energy stores (fat and carbs) to your advantage and burn stored bodyfat while using the carbs to help build muscle...

    Opinions on cardio as part of a body re-comp.... burn fat , build muscle....
    Great questions Base.
    Hoenstly I have never pondered this exact point all that much. My cardio procedures were always based on what i thought was optimal for fat loss - those thoughts have changed and evolved. Now I do cardio whenever i can. That tends to be am cardio or post resiustance training cardio. Am because i like the way it clears my mind and starts my day - post resitance because it convenint and im at the gym. Incidental cardio , or better yet recreational cardio like cycling which is really for my enjoyment- i do at my liesure. I do more cardio when cutting however i dos ome cardio while bulking as well. Cutting may be 3-5x/week..bulking 2x MAYBE 3x. All my cardio is low intensity to be honest. The exception , ironically enough ,may be my recrational cardio - often that becoame shte highest intensity.
    So the following is simply specualtion and fuel for debate so i'll put some stuff out there re: your questions:
    Cardio does burn calories that simply could not have been eaten - however in order to determine the amounts etc is very difficult. Cardio results in a metabolic increase longer than simply the duration of time that the cardio was performed. Thsi metabolic increas offers other benefits as well. They may be minimal but they are benfits. For example a metabolic increase results in an increase in protein synthesis , recovery , etc. I belive this particularly holds true for lower intensity cardio. High intensity cardio may result in further need for the body to reapir or recover due to increased muscle stress.
    The other 2 points you touched on my thoughts have changed. I used to believe fasted cardio would be an efftive recomp tool (recomp is tricky and in all honesty for it to truly be effitive i belibve it is often relegated to those new to the lifestlye or those with long layoff who are very out of shape). This kind of ties in with your point re: nutrient partitioning. In my mind meaning fasted cardio results in burning fat , then carbs can be utilized for muscle building purposes. I no longer believe those 2 things. I think your body will adapt and ultimately it will not matter.
    I think this is a great topic for discussion and debate. Just as meal frequency/timing is. I have to be honest i used to analyze the crap out of this stuff. Anymore ive found its really doesnt matter nearly as much as I thought.
    Do cardio when you can. Hit your macros. Train properly. Rest.
    As anal as i used to be about this things that is my true feeling on them now. Some of the things like eating frequently i still do out of habit - but in all hoensty im getting less and less strict with that and just mnaking sure i hit my macros. Some cardio patterns have prob carried over out of habit as well - but i'll do it whenever its convenient. The effects are the same. The only potential exceptions to this may very wee be new to the lifestyle people where thing can be achieved and manipulated that just are not possible after a certain level of conditioning. Maybe thats part of it as well ..maybe after a certain point these things just dont offer the impact or even make any differenece at all. I dunno.
    All the above is just thing i used to do / things I now do- off the cuff thoughts - and some is just speculation. All is fuel for debate. As much as my thoughts have been simplified in regards tio things like this i still enjoy dicussing these topics.
    Last edited by jimmyinkedup; 05-17-2011 at 03:20 PM.

  16. #16
    baseline_9's Avatar
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    Good points J

    I believe that energy as a whole (dietary fat, carbs, stored fat and carbs) is like a big pool...

    You have carbs/glycogen in one half and fat / stored body fat in the other half with a net seperating them....

    If you were to burn fat in one part of the day the energy balance would remain the same as carbs will be burned laiter to keep an energy balance....


    Does successfull body re-composition occur when one successfully partition's calories, so that you can burn fat while doing cardio and then prevent carbs being stored as bodyfat...

    Dietary suggestions - Keeping carb's around training to be used as fuel and not stored as body fat?

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  17. #17
    gbrice75's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Turkish Juicer View Post
    I would not do cardio as the first thing in the morning, especially on an empty stomach, unless I really wanted to torch the muscle and tear it down. Cortisol levels are high in the morning and the best proven method to reduce those levels is to have a carb + protein meal. There is no point in hitting the treadmill with an empty stomach since it will only result in further incremented cortisol as well as a messed up ratio of test to cortisol. Fasted AM cardio is a very poor choice for a BB IMO.
    Quote Originally Posted by Twist View Post
    I agree with Turkish on this. However we never talked about the point of doing the cardio when gaining. Why are we doing cardio? Is it to build CV performance or to burn fat?
    If CV performance than HIIT for 20 minutes for sure.
    If burning fat then diet is key with low intensity for long periods of time.
    Now this is getting interesting. What are your views on a regimen like mine, where i'm not only doing cardio fasted, but a full intense workout beforehand? In fact, my fast starts at 7pm the night before, I train at 5:30am the next morning, then do an hour of cardio immediately afterwards. I am only 3 weeks in, but so far have no noticeable muscle, strength, or energy loss. In fact, I feel more energized if anything and some key lifts (squat, dead, bench) have increased. This is testament to my metabolism being in a fat burning state as I surely would feel like crap if I were to be catabolic.

    I all fairness, I have to point out that I take 10g EAA/BCAA prior to my workout, and another 10g immediately after cardio, so it's technically not fasted. However, there is no energy source present whatsoever.

    I should also note that I am currently not trying to gain per se; stripping bodyfat is my priority, but of course I would be interested in preserving every ounce of LBM.
    Last edited by gbrice75; 05-17-2011 at 05:36 PM.

  18. #18
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    Originally Posted by Turkish Juicer
    I would not do cardio as the first thing in the morning, especially on an empty stomach, unless I really wanted to torch the muscle and tear it down. Cortisol levels are high in the morning and the best proven method to reduce those levels is to have a carb + protein meal. There is no point in hitting the treadmill with an empty stomach since it will only result in further incremented cortisol as well as a messed up ratio of test to cortisol. Fasted AM cardio is a very poor choice for a BB IMO
    .


    A few thoughts on this.
    IMO Am cortisol is not a major concern as far as muscle catabolism. In fact it is essential. Certain causes of cortisol spikes can have adverse effects ie: muscle catabolism , am cortisol not being one. Cortisol is often villified. Its an essential hormone that exerts its effects at the time that it is essential for our body to function safely and properly. It plays a crucial role in lipolysis , regulates blood pressure as well as glucose and insulin release. A perfect example of how essential cortisol is are the failed attempts to use pharmceuticals to lower it (ie: cytadren ) After only 7-14 days the body circumvents the moa of the drug and cortisol resumes normal levels. It is clearly not a tolerance issue as other effects the drug induces contniue.
    I should add the only time i think attempts at cortisol control would be prudent is during pct. Elevated cortisol with virtually non esistant levels of testosterone would be detrimental. Cortisol is involved in negative feedback on HPA. The only pharmaceutical way i know to possibly accomplish this would be to upregulate glucocorticoid receptors. The problem is the only drugs i know of that do this are hardcore anti depressants like lithium - so no thanks. I have heard and seen some potential for cortisol control by using the herb ashwagandha. Swifto would prob know better than I ....
    Last edited by jimmyinkedup; 05-17-2011 at 05:54 PM.

  19. #19
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    What is this thread discussing now? too many broad questions.

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    Yeh... Maybe gona little off track... No biggie, it all adds value...

    Let's talk about successful body re-composition and the role that cardio plays in loosing fat and gaining lBM at the same time....

    Keep carbs around training?

    Train on carbs?

    Burn fat while doing cardio - this may suggest LIC is the best option? Or does it....

    Burn carbs while training and doing HIIT and then burn fat sitting on your arse all day? Would calorific surplus not just cancel this out tho?
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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by baseline_9 View Post
    Yeh... Maybe gona little off track... No biggie, it all adds value...

    Let's talk about successful body re-composition and the role that cardio plays in loosing fat and gaining lBM at the same time....
    Losing fat and gaining muscle only works if your body is well below your natural limit or you use steroids. If you have any unreasonable amount of muscle and a reasonably low bodyfat its not gonna happen.

    Keep carbs around training?
    I don't think this matters. I have seen no difference in anybodies body by changing carbs from one meal to another with the exception of taking carbs out of the last meal. Maybe this is because of GH levels idk. I personally can't train without eating a bunch of carbs. I like to train late so that I get in a couple good meals. Some are the opposite but I think it makes little difference.

    Train on carbs?

    Burn fat while doing cardio - this may suggest LIC is the best option? Or does it....
    if you have a relatively high amount of muscle and a relatively low (sub 15) bf then slow and steady is the way to go. I see no harm in some HIIT but it should be kept to 20minutes or less and then "fat burning" zone (hate that phrase) for about an hour to and hour and a half.

    Burn carbs while training and doing HIIT and then burn fat sitting on your arse all day? Would calorific surplus not just cancel this out tho?
    see bold above.

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    FireGuy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by baseline_9 View Post
    Good points J

    I believe that energy as a whole (dietary fat, carbs, stored fat and carbs) is like a big pool...

    You have carbs/glycogen in one half and fat / stored body fat in the other half with a net seperating them....

    If you were to burn fat in one part of the day the energy balance would remain the same as carbs will be burned laiter to keep an energy balance....


    Does successfull body re-composition occur when one successfully partition's calories, so that you can burn fat while doing cardio and then prevent carbs being stored as bodyfat...

    Dietary suggestions - Keeping carb's around training to be used as fuel and not stored as body fat?

    HALLELUJAH, HALLELUJAH HALLELUJAH! People need to pay much more attention to the total calorie deficit as opposed to worrying about if what they did was effective for burning fat. Obviously this has some limitations and common sense must be used. If a guy were to do HIIT cardio and burn 600 calories and the same guy instead were to to LIT cardio where he was in the optimum fat burning range the entire session but only burnt 400 calories. I would bet the farm after 6 months that same guy would be leaner and have just as much muscle following the HIIT schedule as opposed to the LIT.

  23. #23
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    I agree that total calories out is the most important thing when looking to loose body fat.... However that in relation to a calorie defecate....

    Fire, the way I read you post you are taking about dieting.... Maybe I read it wrong...

    We have to remember the topic.... Cardio while gaining weight....

    Most will agree that you can loose bodyfat atthe same time as build muscle (while in a calorific surplus and or on AAS) but what is optimal...

    If you are taking in a load of carbs and also burning a load of carbs while performing HIIT cardio would the dietary carbohydrate intake not simply replenish the glycogen defecate?

    Would the EPOC be enough to burn bodyfat throughout the day...

    Thoughts on HIIT and recovery / overtraining....

    Lye McDonald recommends LIC to prevent any OT that may arise from HIIT....
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  24. #24
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    I have not yet read this but will do ASAP...

    It's by lye McDonald so I know it will be good...


    Print Email
    Adding Muscle While Losing Fat – Q&A
    Question: Is it possible to stay at the same weight and replace fat weight with LBM, by making decent strength gains over time? (i.e by not actually leaning out and then mass packing etc). Can the body use the extra calories that are needed for new muscle gain from existing fat stores on the body? I’m assuming this is the case for beginners, but how about intermediates/advanced trainees? If so, roughly what sort of time frame would be needed to say drop 10lbs fat and replace with the same amount in muscle? Thanks.
    Answer: I’m willing to argue that if there is a single question (or related set of questions) that comes up perennially in the field of training and nutrition, it’s something akin to the above. The idea of ‘gaining muscle while losing fat’ in general or, better yet ‘replacing every pound of fat lost with muscle’ is sort of the holy grail of training and nutrition and a great deal of approaches that are supposed to generate that very thing have been thrown out over the years.
    In essence, this is the basis of bodyrecomposition, you train and eat in such a way as to end up with more muscle and less fat than you had before. People on forums either want to know how to accomplish the above or make statements such as “I want to gain muscle without gaining weight.” implying that they are replacing every pound of lost fat with the exact same pound of muscle. Others will hide it in the math of the situation, wanting to move from one weight/body fat percentage to another without recognizing what that implies for the numerical changes that they are seeking.
    Now, when I was younger and only thought I knew what I was talking about, I would often say that the above was impossible to accomplish. In hindsight, impossible was a bit too strong of a term; clearly it’s not impossible as it does happen. But it can sure be difficult depending on the situation.
    There are a handful of situations where the combination of muscle gain and fat loss occur relatively readily. The first of those is in overfat beginners. I want to really stress the term overfat in the above sentence. This phenomenon doesn’t happen in lean beginners for reasons I’m going to explain in a second.
    A second situation where this phenomenon occurs readily is folks returning from a layoff. Folks who are previously lean and muscular but who get out of shape (whether deliberately or not) often find that they get back into shape much faster than they did initially: they seem to magically replace fat with muscle. In fact, with the advent of before/after transformation pictures for supplements, this has become a growth industry: people who are already in great shape will deliberately get out of great shape so that they can quickly reattain their previous shape in a short period. Apparently there is huge money in selling such before/after pictures to help move supplements.
    But that’s not really what the question was asking which had more to do with this idea: can the body use calories stored in fat cells to support muscle growth, essentially shunting calories from fat to muscle and achieving the holy grail: fat loss with concomitant muscle gain.
    And, as a generality, this tends to be difficult for reasons that I discussed in some detail in the Ultimate Diet 2.0 and Calorie Partitioning Part 1 and Calorie Partitioning Part 2.
    And this brings me back to my comment about overfat beginners as I think this explains some of the physiology involved. Please note that I’ve never really seen this topic studied directly and much of what I’m going to write is based on either observation or other known aspects of physiology that I feel tie into the issue.
    So consider an individual who is carrying quite a bit of fat and not very much muscle. Your typical overfat beginner trainee. Let’s look a bit at what’s going on physiologically for this person.
    One consequence of the excess body fat is a systemic insulin resistance and this is especially true for fat cells. Basically, when fat cells start to get full, they become more resistant to further caloric storage. That is to say: insulin resistance actually develops as an adaptation to obesity and this is one reason that obesity is often associated with things like hyperglycemia, hypertriglyercidemia and hypercholesterolemia; the fat cells get so full that they stop accepting more calories. So instead of being stored, glucose, triglycerides and cholesterol sit in the bloodstream. In that vein, and quite contrary to popular belief, insulin resistance actually predicts weight loss and insulin sensitivity weight gain but that’s another topic for another day.
    So we have a situation in overfat folks where fat cells are sort of trying to ‘push calories away’ from the fat cells. That’s point #1.
    The second thing to consider is the untrained state and the fact that when people start training, they always make gains in both strength and muscle mass faster. That is, beginners have the potential to gain muscle at a much faster rate (and more easily in terms of the stimulus needed) than someone trained. As well, keep in mind that regular training (both resistance training and cardio) improve muscular insulin sensitivity and nutrient uptake in that one specific tissue (training is probably the most powerful tool in our arsenal to improve nutrient uptake in that specific a fashion). That’s point #2.
    So consider the combination: we have a situation with overfat beginners where fat cells are very insulin resistant and essentially trying to push calories away. Now we throw training on that, not only sending a muscle building stimulus via training but increasing nutrient uptake into skeletal muscle through effects on skeletal muscle nutrient uptake/insulin sensitivity.
    And what happens under those circumstances is exactly what you’d expect: the body appears to take calories out of fat cells and use them to build muscle. And this is effectively what is happening due to the combination of the above two factors. But the combination of the two is required. A lean beginner won’t see the above because they don’t have the fat to lose/fat energy to shunt to the muscle. And as they get more advanced, the rate of muscle gain slows way down. Again, it’s the combination of overfat and beginner status that comes together here to let some magic occur.
    And even there you’re not going to see the body replacing one pound of fat with one pound of muscle for very long. The rates of the different processes are simply too different. What you might see is an initial shift where muscle ‘replaces’ fat due to the calorie shunting effect but invariably it slows down and either muscle gain or (more frequently) fat loss becomes dominant.
    Now, having looked at the specific situation of an overfat beginner, let’s look at what happens as one of two things (or both happen): the person becomes leaner and/or achieves a higher training status.
    A known adaptation to fat loss is an improvement in insulin sensitivity especially in fat cells. This is part of why fat loss becomes more difficult as folks get leaner as well as why the risk of weight/fat gain is higher at the end of the diet (you’re MORE insulin sensitive). This means that the fat cells not only have less stored fat to give up but it becomes more difficult to get it out of there.
    I discussed some of the reasons for this in detail in The Stubborn Fat Solution along with protocols to get around it. But the point is made: as folks get leaner, getting fat out of fat cells becomes more difficult. Some of the hormonal mechanisms involved are also discussed in Calorie Partitioning Part 1 and Calorie Partitioning Part 2.
    Furthermore, as folks become better trained, it becomes more difficult to gain muscle under any condition. The training stimulus is higher and the impact of training is lessened.
    So the situation that was in place for the overfat beginner has reversed itself in someone who is leaner and/or better trained. Fat cells are no longer insulin resistant and ‘pushing fat calories’ away; quite in fact they are ready to take up excess calories at any time. And since training has a lesser impact on muscle growth, the odds of getting the calorie shunting effect becomes lower and lower approaching nil. Again, that’s on top of all of the hormonal stuff discussed in the above articles (e.g. fat loss and muscle gain requires different hormonal situations).
    Which is why a lot of the approaches advocated for ‘gaining muscle while losing fat’ aren’t very effective. In fact, I’d tend to argue that most people’s attempts to achieve the above results in them simply spinning their wheels, making no progress towards either goal. Because invariably they set up a situation where neither training nor diet is optimized for either fat loss or muscle gain. Calories are too high for fat loss and too low to support muscle gains and outside of that one overfat beginner situation, the physiology simply isn’t going to readily allow what they want to happen to happen.
    But more specific approaches can be effective in achieving this goal. The Ultimate Diet 2.0 has often generated muscle gains while people dieted to single digit body fat levels (I’d note that the gain in muscle never reaches equality with the fat loss) but it also alternates specific dieting and gaining phases during the week.
    Many of the intermittent fasting (IF’ing) approaches do this more acutely and I’d suggest anybody interested go to Martin Berkhan’s Lean Gains site for more information about IF. There are others, things like every other day refeeds (EOD refeeds) which are discussed in some detail in my The Bodyrecomposition Support Forums. But all of those approaches are alternating dieting phases (lowered calories, a net ‘catabolic’ state) with gaining phases (increased calories, a net ‘anabolic ’ state).
    But none of those approaches generate a muscle gain to equal the fat loss, at best they generate a small muscle gain in the face of a much larger fat loss (e.g. someone might lose a lot of fat while gaining a pound or two of muscle or what have you). But for the non-beginner/non-returning from a layoff trainee that’s about the best you’re going to get. Potential rates of muscle gain are never going to approach the potential rate of fat loss once folks are past the beginner stage. Even in the beginner stage, it’s generally always easier to lose fat much faster than you can gain muscle.
    So the idea of replacing every pound of lost fat with exactly one pound of muscle will be essentially impossible for the intermediate/advanced trainee. There’s simply not enough fat/the fat cells dont want to ‘give up their calories’ and the ability to stimulate rapid muscle gains isn’t there any more.
    A followup question might be what about fatter but more advanced trainees. Certainly in that situation, fat cell insulin sensitivity/etc. can approach what is occurring with the overfat beginner but there is still the issue of rate of muscle gain being drastically slowed. It’s probably possible briefly at the start of the diet to get some caloric shunting but it’s never going to approach a 1:1 gain in muscle with fat loss; the potential rate of fat loss (1-2 lbs/week) to rates of muscle gain (0.5 lbs/week if you’re lucky) simply doesn’t exist.
    As a final comment, I can say without hesitation that someone will post in the comments that they managed to achieve the above results in some form or fashion. And while there are always going to be exceptions to any generality, that doesn’t tend to disprove the generality. And generally speaking, the above is what happens in the real world.
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    Is it Possible to Gain Muscle While Losing Fat?
    The idea of gaining muscle while losing fat has been a holy grail among people in gyms for years. Unfortunately, the specifics of gaining muscle and losing fat are essentially at odds with one another requiring distinct dietary and physiological states; they simply can't be achieved simultaneously. By alternating periods of dieting and gaining, The Ultimate Diet 2.0 shifts the body from a state where fat loss (without muscle loss) is achieved to a state where calories are preferentially deposited in muscle. When you want to achieve the seemingly impossible, The Ultimate Diet 2.0 is your solution.
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    Comments
    16 Responses to “Adding Muscle While Losing Fat – Q&A”
    Mike Capshaw on December 29th, 2009 1:46 pm

    Lyle,
    Are there ever situations with professional athlete entering into the off-season where the fat loss-muscle gain combo is achievable to some degree?
    Coaches often throw around elaborate stats. Now while in-season to one degree or another is becoming more of a mainstream thing, I would still imagine that you get a number of athletes who, through some combination of hard living, the demands of a lengthy season, crappy diet (possibly with a fair amount of alcohol while on the road), and possibly some degree of de-training (although I suppose that depends on where they started and what they managed to get in throughout the season).
    I’m just curious if the potential for rebound gains/losses once a more controlled and “optimal” regimen is re-established come the off-season *at least for sports where this is applicable to any significant degree)
    I would suspect it would still not be to the degree seen with an overfat beginner, but I am just curious if this is one situation where things may line up to make it more feasible than usual.
    And while I am at it, I want to pass along a hearty thank you for all of the great content in 2009. And I hope that 2010 brings you much success and ends up being your best year yet.
    Eric on December 29th, 2009 2:21 pm

    Lyle,
    Is this one of the things in which you and Alan disagree about? I’m referring to the “culking” approach.
    lylemcd on December 29th, 2009 2:30 pm

    Mike: I think that is more akin to the situation I described above: someone who was in great shape who gets out of shape and then gets back into shape. But they aren’t improving upon their previous season’s shape. They are just getting back to where they were before they got fat and out of shape in the ‘off-season’.
    Eric: I think if you look at culking at Alan has it set up, it’s simply a very very very mild version of some of the more extreme EOD/IF stuff. A bit of a surplus on weights days a bit of a deficit (or maintenance) on non-weights days with some cardio. As well, if you look at the time frames involved….it takes forever to achieve what I think can be done much faster with more direct/focused approaches. So fine in 2 years you end up 10 lbs muscle heavier and 10 lbs fat loss lighter. Which you could do in maybe 30 weeks if you dieted and gained in alternating fashion. And which certainly isn’t what people are hoping for when they ask about ‘gaining muscle while losing fat’ (usually they want to shift 10-20 lbs fat into 10-20 lbs muscle in a 10-20 week period or some absurdist nonsense).
    Alan Aragon on December 29th, 2009 2:56 pm

    The level of aggressiveness of the method of surplus or deficit depends on the individual’s goals & current status. Some folks don’t necessarily care about not getting significanty fatter while bulking, but a good portion of my clientele wants to (or in some cases, like actors & models) need to look good all year round. Thus the alternation of looking somewhat chubby while bulking before leaning down really isn’t an option. On the other hand, I think that people in general think I’m opposed to putting on any fat at all while bulking, or they think I’m not into the idea of separate cutting or bulking cycles, which isn’t true. With some clients, I choose a very specific & aggressive focus. For example, I’m building a plan for a natural BBing champ that’s specifically geared toward off-season gains. After that phase is done, it’s cutting time. With others, it’s more of the culking/recomp scenario involving less agressive surpluses or deficits. Not everyone gets the same treatment, because everyone is at a different place in their development, and people’s goals/objectives differ. One thing I want to get clear is that I’m not opposed to traditional cutting & bulking alternation, it’s actually best for some, and I do go that route with certain client cases that it’s well suited for. And I don’t disagree that the culking effect happens to a more pronounced degree in beginners with more fat to lose & more muscle to gain.
    Jad on December 30th, 2009 10:42 am

    I love this topic, I’ve lived it!
    Thanks for your input Lyle—-and Alan!
    I’ve went from 160 pounds, untrained/out of shape, to 160 pounds lean/fit & muscled in under 5 months. Changing body composition—adding muscle, losing fat is very much do-able at a beginner’s level.
    Rohit on December 30th, 2009 12:34 pm

    Hi,
    Great read. Had a few doubts though:
    1.
    1 pound of muscle burns approximately 600 calorie while 1 pound of fat around 3500 calories, which would mean ‘replacing’ fat with muscle(gaining 1 pound of muscle while burning 1 pound of fat ) won’t be possible, right? (Or does it require higher calories to create 1 pound of muscle?)
    2.
    Also, by what mechanism does the ‘replacing’ muscle with fat (also beginner-like muscle gain; does fascia has anything to do with it?) occur in those returning from a lay-off (those who are reasonably lean ie. not overfat at all)
    Tim Berzins on December 30th, 2009 6:31 pm

    Lyle,
    What is it about the detrained state that makes it possible to get back into shape so quickly? What happens physiologically that makes muscle gain faster? I’ve heard of “muscle memory” but no one seems to be able to explain what that means on the cellular level.
    Tim
    julie on December 31st, 2009 1:37 am

    Ah, the alchemy of “turning muscle into fat”. Not very applicable to me, being female, and not into bodybuilding. However, not having studied insulin much, something here you said makes sense to recent experience. I have gone from obese to the edge of normal weight (by BMI), and while I still have a good 20 pounds to go at least, my body is different. I find that when I eat a whole lotta carbs (cake, noodles), I often need a nap afterwards, and I’m not really a napper. I was concerned about my blood sugar, though it didn’t make sense that I wouldn’t have blood sugar issues when I was obese, but now 60 pounds lighter, I’m starting to have them, but maybe I am now insulin sensitive. Am I understanding this right? Am I going to have to take a nap any time I eat pizza from now on?
    Eric on December 31st, 2009 3:45 am

    Im assuming this article was based on a “natural” approach, but it got me thinking of less than natural approaches. What type of impact could supplemental testosterone have on this type of partitioning? It would seem that low doses are used to retain muscle while cutting and higher doses are used to build mass in a caloric surplus. Could one conceivebly lose fat and gain muscle while on an anabolic like test? Or do the same rules still basically apply? If so, is this some of the explanation behind a “genetically gifted” lifter/athlete? What if we expand on that thought and look at a bodybuilder stacking anabolics with fat burners like thyroid and clen etc? Is it still just better in the long run to seperate everything and forget about it?
    lylemcd on December 31st, 2009 11:36 am

    Jad: Right, beginners.
    Rohit:
    1. That’s what I said.
    2. Mechanistically, nobody can say what’s really going on. There is something to muscle memory but nobody knows for sure why it occurs.
    Tim: Nobody knows for sure. Just accept it as ‘magic’.
    Julie: Read around on the site, this is addressed elsewhere and not relevant to this article or the comments section.
    Eric: Yes, natural; had I wanted to talk about drugs, I’d have mentioned drugs (they are talked about in the Calorie Partitioning articles I linked). Drugs changes all the rules and a lot of what people think they can acheive comes out of bodybuilders using powerful repartitioning drugs (clen, testosterone, etc). So you’ll hear about contest prep pro bodybuilders losing fat while they maintain weight. What you don’t hear about is their drug stacks. And it doesn’t work for naturals.
    Ned Kock on January 5th, 2010 9:45 am

    I have seen some research suggesting that working out in a cold gym, and generally working out during the winter, tends to help with the fat reduction/muscle gain equation. (Sorry I don’t have the link right now.)
    göran on January 5th, 2010 11:43 am

    Lyle,
    Last fall I i had a cycle where i was cutting and bulking every other week.
    For example:
    Week 1: bulking
    Week 2: cutting
    Week 3: bulking
    Week 4: cutting
    And so forth…
    This experiment i kept doing from august until late november. On the “bulking” weeks i had a small surplus (about 500kcal) every day. On the cutting weeks i had a small deficit (about 500kcal) every day. I used certains keylifts such as benchpress, deadlifts, chins to keep track of my progress. During this 3 month stint i improved my bench from 2 reps at 76 kg to 2 reps at 84 kg. My deadlift from 2 reps at 140 kg to 5 reps at 152,5 kg. My bodyweight was about the same during the whole stint (somewhere between 80-82kg).
    So i guess what i want to ask you is this: Is it safe to say that i gained muscle while loosing fat (or at least keeping it to a minimum)? Do you think that i could have achieved greater gains (muscle + weight on the bar) if i followed a more traditional bulking and cutting approach? Im not so sure… shouldn’t what matters be the total net effect? For example: “My approach” with on week cutting followed by one week bulking for a timeperiod of 3 months would mean 6 weeks of effective cutting and 6 weeks of effective bulking simultaneously. Would the net effect be the same if i focused on bulking for 6 weeks and then afterwards started cutting for 6 weeks?
    I’m very interested in hearing your thoughts on this.
    I have nothing that supports this, but in my mind, “My approach” seems much more logical if one prioritizes staying in decent shape all year round.
    lylemcd on January 5th, 2010 1:49 pm

    Ned: I’d have to see a link to what you thought you saw. Call me skeptical.
    Goran: I can’t say if you gained muscle and lost fat, that’s what body composition measures are for. Strength is a proxy but you can gain strength with no change in muscle mass so it doesn’t mean anything by itself.
    TCO on January 18th, 2010 3:29 pm

    I was a weak overfat individual and gained strength while losing weight. About 40% strength (some of it non-neuro, as I had a base of on/off lifting before getting serious last 6 months). Went from 230 to 160 weight. I think if you are extremely fat or extremely weak (I wasn’t extremely weak, but was “untrained” and was definitiely very fat) that it just makes common sense that you can do both at the same time. My focus was the weight loss and I just did the lifting for health (and got what I got). I don’t think it needs any insulin story to explain it but just a combination of processes.
    I think people get in trouble when they decide that they will stay fat and “lfit to displace fat” (i.e. avoid dieting). Or conversely, they just decide “it would be a waste to lift” and blow that off. The former is a much worse practice than the latter.
    What’s even more bizarre is some who will say that “lifting prevented weight loss” as if a calorie consuming activity could prevent weight loss! It’s more the opposite! Some of them will even insist on this belief in COMBINATION with thinking that it is impossible to build muscle while dieting. I’m life wtf on that…
    Matty on October 6th, 2010 11:18 am

    I’m interested in the fat balance equation, and how this would be affected by an IF approach. For example, fasting from bedtime til lunch, with low intensity cardio + yohimbine, followed by lunch/snack, pre-post workout nutrition & heavy weights (3x per week) , Low to Moderate volume. Essentially catabolic in the AM fast, anabolic in the PM with 500 cal above maintenance.
    Could one burn fat in the morning, and build muscle through the evening?
    Matty on October 14th, 2010 3:22 pm

    In case other readers are interested in my question posed above; Lyle, bless his heart (lol), did reply when I posted the Q in a newer thread. Here’s the copy/paste.
    “lylemcd on October 12th, 2010 12:20 pm
    It’s a good question. Certainly what we know about calorie partitioning and such would suggest that it’s possible, I might suggest that that’s what’s going on with some of
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    I've never understood why many of you frown on fasted cardio. It's not like you get outta bed on and empty stomach and go run hills at top speed or run 30 minutes of HIIT.

    How much muscle do you really believe you're burning when doing fasted am cardio at a "fast walk" pace while in your fat burning zone?

    I believe very little, and many top body builders would argue the same, not to mention much of the documentation I've read to support it.

    Also, the late, great Swolecat based all of his programs on fasted am cardio and I saw tons of great results with people getting shredded or adding lean mass.

    I'm still a believer that whether your're trying to shred or add muscle, that if you're doing cardio as part of your regimen, you should do it first thing in the am at roughly 125-140 bpm

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    LYLE's post = Losing fat and gaining muscle only works if your body is well below your natural limit or you use steroids . If you have any unreasonable amount of muscle and a reasonably low bodyfat its not gonna happen. The more out of shape you are, the easier it will be to lose fat and gain muscle.

    Quote Originally Posted by rissinite View Post
    I've never understood why many of you frown on fasted cardio. It's not like you get outta bed on and empty stomach and go run hills at top speed or run 30 minutes of HIIT. Really? Why not?

    How much muscle do you really believe you're burning when doing fasted am cardio at a "fast walk" pace while in your fat burning zone?
    "fat burning zone" is ALMOST a bunch of bs. Don't focus on the zones too much. As Fire and Base were saying earlier, it's more calories in calories out. If I were to do cardio and my main goal is to not burn muscle, then AM cardio is not what I would do.

    I believe very little, and many top body builders would argue the same, not to mention much of the documentation I've read to support it.

    Also, the late, great Swolecat based all of his programs on fasted am cardio and I saw tons of great results with people getting shredded or adding lean mass.

    I'm still a believer that whether your're trying to shred or add muscle, that if you're doing cardio as part of your regimen, you should do it first thing in the am at roughly 125-140 bpm
    You can do whatever cardio works for you. If I were trying to get super low I would probably do am cardio for a long period of time (1.5hours or more) at a low intensity every day. I don't think cardio torches muscle too much unless you are unreasonably high in muscle mass, or unreasonably low in BF. Either one and your body favors burning sources of fuel that aren't fat stores.

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