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PT said i can build muscles on a calorie deficit

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I met with a FAMOUS personal trainer as I need to hire someone to get me motivated. he is very popular and charges a LOT of money for his sessions. so i went to interview him, I asked him if I can build muscles on a calorie deficit and his answer was YES, I can build muscles on a calorie deficit but i have to eat smarter. then he mentioned something type 1 and type 2 muscles. he said one of them require extra calories and that is what body builders do but i don't need that.

Can I trust him? I have no idea about  different types of muscles... but he seems serious and to my surprise he trains many people in that gym.

your 3 cents?:))

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Well The "types" of muscles are fast twitch and slow twitch...   Fast twich being that hey can do heavy work load for short amount of time and slow twich being like running

Simply put: yes. You can build muscle on a caloric deficit. HOWEVER, the process is much, much slower. As your personal trainer told you, body builders always want a caloric surplus because that will help them achieve their goals faster. If all you want to do is build muscle for your own personal benefit but lose weight (or you don't want to gain weight), then you can still have a modest caloric deficit while lifting weights and in time you will see results.

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It's very difficult for women to gain muscle and lose weight at the same time, and a very inefficient way of doing either.  It also requires a pretty ridiculous diet.  As mentioned above, there is fast and slow twitch muscles, but neither of them have much to do with a calorie surplus or deficit.  You can gain STRENGTH while on a deficit, you will make your muscles look bigger when they are all swollen after the gym and when you flex them...but there isn't one sort of muscle that needs calories and one that doesn't.

I would ask him to clarify what he means, he may really just mean strength and the appearance of bigger muscles (which is usually cause by fat loss, making muscle easier to see), and not mean gain of actual muscle mass.

Get his credentials as well.  Being muscular, knowing how to get big and look good for fitness competitions doesn't mean he has any idea behind the actual science of the human body.  Get him to explain why he thinks you can do this.  If he uses wishy washy explanations that don't make sense to you, they probably don't make sense.

actually, he said that i can build muscles while on a calorie deficit and that is the opposite to what has been said here several times. I don't know. also, he doesn't look muscular at allLaughing he looks like an average person but I think looks alone are not everything. 

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It is possible to gain muscle and lose weight at the same time with a calorie deficit, I know this because I have done it. I stated my diet plan in August and since the beginning I have been monitoring the changes  with a nutritionist and her High tech body composition scale. I have gained  4.4lbs of muscle and lost 37lbs of fat. But you have to eat very carefully, and not expect huge gains of muscle.

I hope it helps.

it is virtually imposible to gain muscle in a calorie deficit environment.   very very hard to do.  everything has to be perfect, right amount of cals right amount of intensity.  Almost no one can do it. 

the body prioritizes it's metabolics needs based on level of importance as it relates to survival.  building new tissue is not a neccessity for survival.  your body will make enzymes and new proteins used for metabolic purposes and help maintain muscle but it is almost impossible to gain muscle without excess cals available from diet.


That is a huge misconception about fitness.  he probably says do sit-ups to tone your stomach too when really he should advise eating less cals and work hard regardless of what type of exercise youre doing.  cuz that is the only way to lose subcutanious fat that limits muscle definition.


message me if you need any other info ii will be glad to answer any questions.


my name is kevin and im am ACSM-CPT and Kinesiology student at ASU.



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They show before and after body scans (IDEXA) on the biggest loser, that show the muscle gained on the show. (I am all about small weekly losses)

I know it is an extreme example, but they must have a deficit and yet they produced really decent gains.

Why can't the body access its own fat to build muscle when your intake is less than your output?

now, I am really getting confused. I have been reading the fitness forum for a quite a while and as far as I understand from my readings that you can't build muscles on a calorie deficit.

melkor?? your 3 cents?:)

I'd definitely listen to melkor!

I'm not going to weigh in on the debate but I'm curious why building new muscle would be your goal?  I'm assuming that since you are wanting to be in a calorie deficit that you have weight to lose.  You can weight train in a deficit and gain strength and more importantly preserve the muscle that you already have while losing a greater percentage of fat then you would lose if you were in a deficit without weight training.   This might be a more realistic goal than gaining muscle while simultaneously losing fat.

It could be that the trainer is telling you a "white lie" in order to motivate you to do the type of workout that would give you the most benefit.

 There are circumstances where it's possible to have a calorie deficit and gain muscle.

 If you're returning to exercise after a prolonged absence - long enough to have grown deconditioned and lost some muscle mass - it's possible to regain your old levels of muscularity fairly rapidly compared to how long it took you to gain it in the first place. With some care with your nutrition and something resembling a 'lean recomposition' plan with only intermittent calorie deficits it's possible to use this to shed fat and gain muscle simultaneously, but the process takes longer and is less efficient than separate fat loss and muscle building phases. Leleia had some notable successes with Lean recomposition-style training and diet, but she's really a lot more unusual than she gives herself credit for in that department.

 A complete beginner to exercise can and frequently do add a couple pounds of muscle in their first 6-8 weeks of doing resistance training even while in a significant calorie deficit and without special care with nutrition since it's such an unfamiliar metabolic stimulus to your system. If you're clever with your training and diet or under competent supervision these newbie gains can be extended in duration and consequently magnitude - a bit.

Neither of those apply to most 'famous personal trainers' - a lot of them owe their personal results more to Anavar than any training knowledge. (It's entirely possible to gain muscle and lose fat when you're relying on steroids to make up for any deficiencies in your nutrition and training....)=

 That's neither here nor there though. The question is - is he right for you? Granted that he's popular and all, but do you feel like you can work with this guy? That's really the question you should be asking - you're looking for help with your motivation. If you don't get a good vibe off this one, perhaps someone less famous and more enthusiastic will be a better match for you.

Bottom Line...YES it is possible....but not practical and annoyingly hard if you are already fit.

Building muscle and losing fat at the same time (for a non-beginner) is like riding 2 horses at the same time. Is it possible?... sure, maybe, I guess.  Would it be much easier to just do one at a time? yup.

What's the point in lifting weights while losing weight if there's little posibility of gaining muscle while on a calorie deficit?  I can burn hundreds more calories than weight lifting and in less time by just running.

Many people here have mentioned weight lifting as part of weightloss... but why if gaining muscle is not likely?

I've never completely understood this.  There'd be one camp saying lift heavier weights and another saying you can't (or it's unlikely) you'll gain muscle.

Given my limited knowledge of muscle, how can you gain strength without also at least gaining some muscle mass in the process?  I thought the muscle was somewhat injured and had to fix itself when doing serious lifting and that was how you built muscle and strength.

Is muscle mass and strength independent?  How so?  Will there be some magic number I'll hit when lifting that will stop growth (not herculean growth but normal non-chemical enhansed growth)?

I have noticed muscle gains and tons of increased strength while simultaneously losing weight (on a calorie deficit).   I always eat whatever calories I burn exercising (say I burn 600, instead of 1700 calories that day I may have 2300.. which is still under what I would eat to maintain my weight).

Whatever the case this is the most confusing subject I've had to face on this site.  I know enough to know what works for me (counting calories, exercise, etc)... but I never quite understood why you can't build muscle (or it's uber difficult) while on a calorie deficit.  I'm coming from a mostly sedentary life.

I think when MOST people say weight-loss...they mean "FAT-LOSS"....that's what I gather anyways....why would they say oh I can't wait to loose all this's usually fat they talk about.

Original Post by nightc1:

What's the point in lifting weights while losing weight if there's little posibility of gaining muscle while on a calorie deficit? It's not easy to gain muscle on a caloried deficit, but it's really easy to lose muscle on a deficit  I can burn hundreds more calories than weight lifting and in less time by just running What happens during the exercise isn't as important as what happens the other 23 hours of the day.


Given my limited knowledge of muscle, how can you gain strength without also at least gaining some muscle mass in the process? When lifting weights you can increase the size of the muscle fibers (make your muscles bigger) or increase the number of muscle fibers recruited for the lift (make muscles stronger).  You don't need a calorie surplus to recurit more muscle fibers. 


Check out what happens when you do and don't lift weights in a calorie deficit:

D, DE, and DES demonstrated a similar and significant (P <= 0.05) reduction in body mass (-9.64, -8.99, and -9.90 kg, respectively) with fat mass comprising 69, 78, and 97% of the total loss in body mass, respectively. -
Kramer, Volek et al. Influence of exercise training on physiological and performance changes with weight loss in men.

and Hunter : Resistance Training Conserves Fat-free Mass and Resting Energy Expenditure Following Weight Loss. In the Kramer study, a third of the weight loss in the diet-only group was muscle(2.98 kg, or 6.5lbs) and the diet+cardio exercise group also lost significant muscle(1.98kg or 4.35lbs), while the diet+cardio+strength training group mostly retained theirs, losing 0.297kg or just shy of 0.6lbs of muscle.

 If you're starting from completely sedentary, this might happen: resistance training versus endurance training (Westcott, W., Fitness Management. Nov., 1991.) - in addition to the effect on fat loss, Westcott documents the phenomenon known as 'newbie gains' where beginners to exercise can add muscle even in a calorie deficit. Newbie gains are real, pretty useful, and unfortunately don't last ;)


Original Post by fourfolks:

Why can't the body access its own fat to build muscle when your intake is less than your output?

Nutrition 101: you need proteins to build protein (muscle) so you can't make muscle from frat - you can use the fat for energy, which might free up the dietary proteins for muscle building,


If it helps, here are my stats (And I'm not a newbie I have been training hard for 2 years)


August 13th 2008- December 12 2008

Total body water 39.0l  -  40.7l

protein 10.3Kg -  11.0Kg

minerals 3.97Kg  - 4.09Kg

Body Fat Mass 31.0Kg - 15.9Kg

Body mass free of fat  53.3Kg - 55.8Kg

Weight  84.3Kg  - 71.7Kg

Skeletal muscle mass  29.1Kg -  31.1Kg        &nb sp;   

BMI 27.5 -  23.4                                                                

Body fat percentage 36.8% - 22.17%                 

All of this with a daily calorie deficit

If you've never previously engaged in resistance training you're still a lifting newbie, no matter how much cardio you've done. Just like I'm still a cardio newbie no matter how much lifting I've done ;)

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