Is losing muscle when cutting a myth?

Discussion in 'Dieting / Supplement Discussion' started by Niels, Jun 14, 2019.

  1. Niels

    Niels Blue Belt

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    Do you actually lose muscle when you start cutting?

    If i think about it logically, why would your body ‘eat’ muscle first and then fat? When you need muscles more than fat.

    Is losing muscle imposible when cutting as long as i maintain my protein intake?

    Or can anyone explain this to me?
     
  2. Renard

    Renard Black Belt

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    You always lose some amount of muscle mass whenever you're in a calorie deficit. You can mitigate it by keeping your protein intake very high. Keep your fat intake fairly low, and put the rest in carbs. If you lower carbs too much your performance will go down.
     
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  3. MandirigmaFit

    MandirigmaFit Blue Belt

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    Depends on where you start, but the leaner you get, the more lean tissue you will tend to lose.
     
  4. THEfightsAREfixed

    THEfightsAREfixed Master Servant

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    You lose everything when you cut wtf you mean
     
  5. Niels

    Niels Blue Belt

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    Even my rare shiny Charizard pokémon card?
     
  6. wufabufa

    wufabufa Black Belt

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    That's the first thing to go, brah.

    You'll just be left with a bunch of Jigglypuffs if you don't keep your protein high enough.
     
  7. steroid-doc

    steroid-doc Purple Belt

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    No its not a myth , you loose lean body mass when loosing bodyfat in a calorie deficit . whether it be from bone density , organ shrinkage or tissue loss.

    You can mitigate it with taking gear, slow diet , enough protein to maintain existing muscle.
    I dont really eat carbs when dieting mainly fats/protein, this gives me better results after 25+ years of cutting bulking but i have a sedentary job and fats are better for satiety.

    If your body needs energy requirements in excess of what you can produce by breaking down fats in a certain time period (i.e anaerobic activity) in the absence of glucose/glycogen whether it be from carbs of protein you will break down muscle tissue in order to maintain blood sugar levels , fat cant be broken down very quick compared to glucose , otherwise we would just eat protein and nothing else and be shredded in a matter of a few days. Obviously there are a lot of variables in all of this , ammount of body fat/muscle memory/now lean to start / genetics etc
     
  8. ocean size

    ocean size Black Belt

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    Everyone has covered the practical aspects: typically you will lose some muscle, but you will lose less: 1. the fatter you are, 2. the more protein you get, 3. the lower your caloric deficit is, 4. if you are doing resistance training- low intensity cardio and 1:1 HIIT help as well.

    I'd add: 5. adequate sleep- people on the same diet that got 5.5 vs 8.5 hours lost 55% less fat.

    You asked about the reason though:
    Why does it scavenge from muscle when muscle is a requirement?

    First, you don't need all the muscle you have- look at some modern hunter gatherers to get an idea how much is required to be a healthy active human. Especially if you aren't trained and have high body fat- obese people have low quality muscle, which is why strength is maintained when they diet and lose muscle mass- the remaining muscle can do the job fine after some remodelling.

    What is required is essential amino acids for maintenance of various body processes and muscle is the best place to scavenge these. This is why consuming enough protein is important, to provide amino acids so they aren't taken from muscle.

    At a deficit, the body is getting less energy than it needs. Therefore the balance needs to come from tissues.

    Muscle is expensive to maintain energetically. So if the the body doesnt 'think' the amount of you muscle you have necessary, using amino acids from muscle for energy is a win win for the body. Keeping some inexpensive fat tissue around to burn later makes sense. This is why resistance training will help, so your body 'decides' more muscle is necessary to keep around.

    Then again this is all hand waving that sounds logical, the same kind of thinking is used by keto advocates to say 'if you are running on fat instead of carbs all you will burn is fat' yet somehow low carb diets aren't much more muscle sparing than high carb as long as high enough protein is maintained. Whatever the real.underlying processes, the five points above are supported by evidence.
     
  9. Ilk

    Ilk Green Belt

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    Basically it is possible to transform your body, or in other words lose weight while gaining muscles but only under 2 conditions - you are a newbie lifter and you lift intensive enough to grow muscle; or you are way over weight in which case the body can fuel from the stored fat without looking concerned.
    Otherwise yes - you are going to lose muscle. This is why body builders take a long approach for cutting weight before a competition. They do not really do it drastically, but over a long period of time. In this way they are able to protect their hard gained muscle.
     
  10. DarkneT

    DarkneT LIVERPEWL Platinum Member

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    You lose muscle for sure
    But If you keep it in a decent range you actually appear more muscular to the eye

    No one likes that fluffy look anyway, get lean
     
  11. weirdflex

    weirdflex White Belt

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    Biology always follows the logic of survival of genes first. The exception of this is human behaviour which has gone on a tangent either because our brains got too big or because God said so.

    Muscle mass uses up huge amounts of calories even at rest, even when you are sleeping. It is a luxury your body only adds when there is demand and sufficient calories to sustain it.
    If you remove either the demand or the calories your body starts to shed it.

    Your body prefers to store fat because energy = survival. Fat is your bodies long term energy store.

    Think of muscle as engine size/displacement in a car. And fat as your fuel tank. In a survival situation you'd want the smallest functioning engine and the largest possible fuel tank. Get it?

    In the case of losing weight, if you keep the demand (exercise) high as you drop calories your body will keep 100% of the muscle up to a point. If you are a beginner in terms of lifting weights/loading your body somehow then it is actually very possible to lose weight and increase muscle at the same time.

    This is because in that scenario the fat sedentary person is way under their baseline muscle mass for an active person. Your body will quite easily put on this nominal amount of mass and hold onto it, at least while your young and full of the right hormones.

    There are some other more complicated things that affect bodycomp like gene activation and testosterone being turned into lady hormones if you are a fat ass.
    More info on that here;

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/10342671/
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2019
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  12. flikerstance

    flikerstance floridaman Double Yellow Card

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    im always skinny as fuck when i cut t 170 lol
     
  13. Niels

    Niels Blue Belt

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    But that's mainly waterweight right? Which is also stored in muscles, so you'd seem skinnier, but also more defined
     
  14. physioboy

    physioboy White Belt

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    Depends on a few factors, like genetics (if you're skinny genetically, your body is constantly fighting you to get back to skinny IME), resistance training etc

    Defo true that if you don't train at all, and you lose weight, you'll lose muscle mass.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6315740/
     
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  15. Niels

    Niels Blue Belt

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    Well, I'm fucked. I haven't gained a whole lot of muscle since I started training (for 1 year now), so if I'd stop training, which I'm not planning on would I lose it all?

    Or would I keep it if I'd do only some muay Thai training and stop lifting?
     
  16. physioboy

    physioboy White Belt

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  17. Niels

    Niels Blue Belt

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  18. John Cena

    John Cena Purple Belt

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    It takes alot of energy to maintain muscle, muscle also weighs more than fat. Ideally, we would want the body to use fat first

    your body is on a deficit and it needs to pull from it's reserves. Lets say you have a back pack full of bricks and jello. The bricks being muscle and the jello being fat. The bricks will use up ALOT of energy to carry, the jello uses less energy. Which one do you off load first if you are not receiving enough calories to sustain the expenditure.

    To minimize muscle loss there are 2 important concepts to implement.

    1. High protein. Aim for 1g per body weight. Some say that this is excessive and you'd be fine with 1g per lean body mass but I'd lean on the side of 1g per bw just to be safe.

    2. Keep the weight loss to about 1-2lbs a week. Anything more than this and there is a high potential that you'll be losing muscle. Weigh yourself every morning and take the averages of the week. Track your macros and taper down slowly
     
  19. physioboy

    physioboy White Belt

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    Im in maintenance mode for strength etc at the moment (just had 2nd kid). Do squats, cleans and push press once a week in thr gym. Tabata interval on the bag 3 or 4 times a week for fitness
     
  20. Niels

    Niels Blue Belt

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    Congrats on the kid
     
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