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gross

Gaining strength while living in a calorie deficit

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From my experience, which has been losing a lot of weight while weight training at the same time, yes.  But only to a certain extent, and depending on your previous experience with weight training.  I hadn't lifted weights in years, so I was able to gain strength while I was losing.  I feel like I have been able to gain muscle, but I have come to realize, until I lose down to my goal weight, it will be hard to REALLY put on muscle and gain the strength I want.  My two big goals by my 50th birthday in April are to get down to 200 lbs, and have a combined lift of 8oo lbs in squats, dead lift, and bench.  Not sure I can do both at once, but I am going to try.

 

So, long story short, possible, but difficult.  :suspicion:

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It is certainly possible to gain strength because that can come about by training your central nervous system and not have much at all to do with gaining actual muscle mass. It is much less likely to gain muscle mass while on a deficit for any siginifcant period of time. Hence, the traditional approach of bodybuilders and others to go through bulking and leaning out phases, rather than try to always be recomping. The bulking phases focus on gaining muscle mass, along with some fat because it's nearly impossible to do otherwise, and the leaning out phases focus on hanging onto as much of that muscle as they can while losing fat.

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Yes, it is possible. I'm doing it right now at a deficit of roughly 750 cals. per day. I still have a lot of excess fat. Don't overthink it; just do it. You can always reevaluate and adjust later, again and again.

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It depends where you're at. The leaner you are and the further along you are in strength training, the harder it is. If you've got a lot of extra weight and you're a true beginner, you can make a ton of progress, in part because a lot of strength gains in those early stages are really neurological adaptations, technique and just plain learning to get under a heavy bar and keep powering through.

 

At some point, that slows way down, and when that happens varies among people. But that doesn't make strength training while eating at a deficit pointless - among other things, it will help you retain muscle mass (which will make a huge difference in how you look), burns some calories, and as you develop technique, you learn to use your muscles to their fullest. So when the time comes to eat at a surplus to pack on muscle, you'll actually be able to make the most of it. 

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I kinda think this is the right place to ask the question. I'm at one of the lowest I've been since highschool (under 175) but still over 20% body fat (around 40 lbs based on my math) Can I eat calorie deficient and still out on muscle if my diet is right? I'm thinking that if I maintain around 1700 calories and focus on protein heavy diet that I may still be able to show gains while losing fat till I get my body fat % to a certain point. Can I do both out should I focus on one it the other (for me it would be cutting body fat to about 15% before I start looking for strength gains)

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I kinda think this is the right place to ask the question. I'm at one of the lowest I've been since highschool (under 175) but still over 20% body fat (around 40 lbs based on my math) Can I eat calorie deficient and still out on muscle if my diet is right? I'm thinking that if I maintain around 1700 calories and focus on protein heavy diet that I may still be able to show gains while losing fat till I get my body fat % to a certain point. Can I do both out should I focus on one it the other (for me it would be cutting body fat to about 15% before I start looking for strength gains)

Gain strength, yes. Put on muscle, no.

Some people when obese can gain a little muscle when cutting, but that is still minimal, and a fraction of what one gains when actually in a calorie surplus.

But strength is not at all related to muscle mass until you have been training a while. Eventually muscle cross sectional area will be your limiting factor for strength. But for the first 6-9 months (or more), how efficiently you can use your existing muscles will be a much bigger factor for strength than how much muscle you have.

For muscle gains, that happens a lot more efficiently (read, less fat gain) when you reach the point where muscle cross sectional area is the main limiting factor for strength.

Focus on cutting body fat with your diet. Train as if you are trying to gain. Lose the fat first. Any muscle you gain is a bonus.

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