This is a well documented FACT.
Yet most folks want to lose the fat but maintain — or even gain — muscle.
Luckily, resistance training is a potent signal for your body to maintain muscle mass even during extreme diets.
This is also well documented in both men and women, young and old.
And if you want to stack the deck in your favor even more...
Altering your protein intake can also help.
In a recently published study by Dr. Stuart Phillips, 40 overweight young men (average age around 22 and average body fat of 24%) completed an intense 4-week exercise routine while maintaining a 40% caloric deficit (Only eating 60% of the calories they burn in a typical day).
The men were also divided into two group - an average protein intake group and a high protein group that was supplemented with whey protein powder.
The average protein group consumed 1.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight (about half a gram of protein per pound of body weight) while the high protein group consumed double this amount - 2.4 grams of protein per kilogram body weight (about 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight)
Now, these were bigger than average men (200-220 pounds), so the protein intakes were roughly 115 grams per day in the average group and 230 grams per day in the high protein group.
The men's body composition was measured by BIA, DEXA and BodPod (really good ways of measuring changes body composition)
After 4 weeks the high-protein group lost about 10.5 pounds of body fat and the average protein group lost about eight pounds of body fat.
Neither group lost any muscle mass, and the high protein group even gained a small amount (around 3 pounds). Every body also became stronger and better conditioned.
So yes - you can lose fat without losing muscle.
And yes, you may even be able to gain muscle while in a caloric deficit. Keep in mind this deficit was BIG and the 6-day per week workout program was INTENSE.
However, I have some other takeaways for you:
1 - This is also interesting support for the idea of ‘bursts’ of weight loss, giving it your all for 3-4 weeks then tapering back to something more manageable.
2- This is also support for the idea that extended periods of time spent in extreme exercise and diet are not good for men or woman. A lot is said about the dangers of extreme dieting for women, but men tend to get left out of the conversation. So it’s important to note that these men saw very drastic reductions in Testosterone by the end of the 4 week period (down into the low 100 ng/dl range). Obviously dieting and exercise is an effective way to lose weight. But extreme dieting and extreme exercise may come with some unwanted hormonal changes. I’m not sure if it was the diet or exercise or combo (most likely) that caused this drop in Testosterone, but it is something to think about if you (man or woman) are one of those people who push themselves super hard everyday in the gym and are severely restricting calories.
3- While this seems supportive of ultra high amounts of protein, keep in mind that even in the face of a grueling workout routine and a 40% reduction in calories the men eating around 100 grams of protein per day did not lose any measurable amounts of muscle.
Bottom line is that I think this is excellent support for the Eat Stop Eat approach.
*24 hour (ish) fast once or twice a week
*Responsible eating on the other days (not super restrictive dieting)
*Aiming for 70-120 grams of protein on most days (Since we're not cutting calories by 40% I doubt we need any more than this)
*Resistance training as the focus of our exercise programs.
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"Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education alone will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan Press On, has solved and will always solve the problems of the human race." - Calvin Coolidge
Srs, do not do this, ever!
Do not attempt this, ever
That guy is no coach
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