More Muscle Without More Fat

Read time: 2 minutes

To build muscle, do strength training. You’ll need to concentrate on two things:

  1. Increase strength of the muscle
  2. Impose local metabolic fatigue in the muscle

This means progresively (and smartly) overload your muscles with more weight, and fatigue the same muscles, or “go for the burn.”

Over the years, with all the knowledge I’ve gained — from reading journals, from smart people like Brad Pilon, and from practical experience — I’ve learned that muscle growth has more to do with gene expression triggered by resistant training than by how much protein or how many calories you eat.

Traditionally, those striving to gain muscle will also increase caloric intake (as observed by bodybuilders in their “off season”), which increases their overall weight, much of it in fat. Then months later they “diet down” to shed the fat, only to reveal between 2 to 7 pounds of new muscle (assuming no pharmaceutical anabolics had been used).

The question is: is it possible to gain muscle without added calories and with them added body fat?

It seems very possible.

Since protein turnover (breakdown and build-up of proteins, including muscle protein) is an on-going activity based on multiple factors, muscle mass then is dependent on the balance of this turnover process: A higher rate of breakdown means less muscle; a higher rate of build-up means more muscle. So the balance of catabolism and anabolism (breakdown and build-up, respectively)) is rate-limited and depends on environmental and biological factors, such as strength training, environmental demands, and internal biological needs (disease states, etc.).

In otherwords, the signaling this protein-turnover balance may come from more demanding factors , than from the calories or protein you eat. So long as you  meet the minimum caloric requirement for basal and daily activities, your gene expression will determine whether you’re protein turnover balance will average out to be anabolic or catabolic.

Case in point, after catastrophic injury, parapelegics tend to resume eating the same calories as before. Yet, while their non-functional legs are observed to atrophy, their upper bodies often develop more muscle mass because of the increased demand on this region. In this scenario, we have in the same body two opposing gene expressions, one for more muscle, one for less.

If, in fact, muscle growth is based on gene expressions, then perhaps muscle growth can occur even in a state of calorie deprivation. This means you may still be able to grow muscles while losing fat, given that the stimuli are present.

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This entry was posted in Dietary Habit, Exercise and Physical Activities, weight Loss. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to More Muscle Without More Fat

  1. Mike says:

    Thanks for putting together this awesome site. I love it! I have started incorporating IF with paleo thanks to your advice. Now I’m hoping to zero in on my training. I was wondering if I could draw on your knowledge for the resistance training routine that you have found to be effective at overloading muscles with more weight and providing the burn to trigger the gene expression for muscle growth. I really appreciate all your work and look forward to more posts! Thanks again!

    • Ryan says:

      I agree, I also just started incorporating the 16/8 IF and would love to hear of some of the strength training routines you use. Your results are just phenomenal!

  2. Johnny from The Lean Saloon says:

    Mike and Ryan,

    This will be the topic of my next post; stay tuned!

    [Currently I’m in the middle of transitioning computers. My last one crashed and I’m doing research on several netbooks. As soon as I’m settled, I’ll have a post up to answer your inquiry!]

    Thanks for reading, guys. Check back very soon.

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