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Building muscle without gaining fat

by (768)
Updated about 2 hours ago
Created October 18, 2010 at 1:19 AM

If I eat 3000-4000 cal/day of only paleo foods and eat very little (if any) carbs, is it realistic to expect to gain only muscle without gaining fat, provided I work out diligently? I think I have heard in the past (not in a paleo context) that building muscle without putting on some fat is virtually unachievable.

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0 · September 15, 2013 at 9:57 PM

Nice back track. You were trying to be a smartass.

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17136 · September 15, 2013 at 3:37 PM

Spam isn't paleo, go away!

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103 · February 02, 2012 at 2:03 PM

That is impressive results, can you tell me what you mean by 4 hr window and what body fat are you? I'm going try something similar and need the advice.

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1710 · December 08, 2010 at 4:48 PM

Patrik I was just kidding brother. I meant to include myself in the "Paleo-Hack nerds" category and I didn't mean to offend anyone who doesn't embrace the category "nerd" as their own. And I still think that people who claim they can build muscle without adding fat (including Kamal) are kinda blowing smoke. You'll always add a little fat with muscle... although your BF % may actually go down, your total fat will go up.

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22913 · October 19, 2010 at 11:00 AM

Sorry yes, no appreciable sources, none would be virtually impossible but most all foods less than 2% omega6

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2399 · October 19, 2010 at 6:33 AM

I'll nitpick. No Omega6 as in sources that have a large percentage of Omega6/as in "artificial" Omega 6 ? Meat and eggs do have some Omega6's and despite not eating any products which are high (15%+ of the fat profile) in Omega6 (no oils, no nuts), I still get quite a number in FitDay.

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22913 · October 18, 2010 at 5:33 PM

Ive had great results only Training fasted. And only eat after if hungry after. My body is awesome at telling me when it's time to eat meat!

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22913 · October 18, 2010 at 5:14 PM

Smaller stops me from eating when not hungry. I'm honestly not hungry again after powering thru those calories...

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1242 · October 18, 2010 at 4:57 PM

Have you tried bigger IF windows? If so, how much benefit did you see from shortening it?

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24523 · October 18, 2010 at 4:18 PM

You can build muscle without adding fat along with it, by employing a cyclical or targeted ketogenic diet. While the rate of muscle increase will be lower than a typical bulk, it will be a positive number. Martin's pal Lyle McDonald has inspired countless people to do this. I recorded my own experiences on his forum almost ten years ago, along with DEXA readings for bodyfat.

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24523 · October 18, 2010 at 4:15 PM

You can build muscle without adding fat along with it, by employing a cyclical or targeted ketogenic diet. While the rate of muscle increase will be lower than a typical bulk, it will be a positive number. Martin's pal Lyle McDonald has inspired countless to do this.

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10502 · October 18, 2010 at 3:43 AM

Easy with the "Paleo-Hack nerds" comment. Next time I see something like that, you're banned, bro. -Head Paleo-Hacks Nerd Patrik

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851 · October 18, 2010 at 1:54 AM

best thing you can do in that regard is take in the most of your calories within the 2-3 hours before and 2-3 hours after your workout. But other than that, its basically calories in, calories out. The reason that people say its hard to put on muscle without putting on some fat is that it is way easier to put on muscle if you are in a caloric surplus. But in a caloric surplus, putting on some fat is inevitable. Thats why its the best to take in the most of your calories around workouts - calorie cycling.

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8 Answers

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22913 · October 18, 2010 at 3:58 PM

IFing to a four hour window daily, 3000-4000 calories, ONLY when im hungry. Eating NO Fructose, NO Omega 6, NO Processed, and treating Grains like im a Celiac...

ive put on 20 pounds of muscle and maintained my visible abs.

I eat Meat, mostly grassfed steak, eggs, pork, and some potatoes post workout if Im "Really Hungry" My vegetables are limited, usually dark greens, well cooked.

I have morning coffee with heavy cream, and sometimes cheese on my meat/potatoes.

im back up to 200lbs from 180, much more buff, and didnt lose my abs. While eating starchy carbfilled potatoes.(peel them first)

The takeaways here are... Yes you can gain muscle and lose fat while eating TONS of food.

  • Only eat when hungry. Should only be once a day if powering thru 3000-4000 calories.

  • No Fructose

  • Sleep WELL

  • Workout at least 4 days a week

  • Only eat real food. Starch seems to be OK, if insulin is sensitive. Post Workout is best.

I should mention, the HUGE meal BUFFETs are sooo awesome for mental/mood. I get to pig out on REAL FOOD ONLY. and Feel GREAT for it.

tell the naysayers, bugger off, just because they dont know how to do it, doesnt mean it cant be done.

You do have to workout hard, you do have to be picky about what and when you eat... but you can do it and have awesome and even fast results.

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22913 · October 19, 2010 at 11:00 AM

Sorry yes, no appreciable sources, none would be virtually impossible but most all foods less than 2% omega6

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1242 · October 18, 2010 at 4:57 PM

Have you tried bigger IF windows? If so, how much benefit did you see from shortening it?

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1
22913 · October 18, 2010 at 5:14 PM

Smaller stops me from eating when not hungry. I'm honestly not hungry again after powering thru those calories...

84666a86108dee8d11cbbc85b6382083
2399 · October 19, 2010 at 6:33 AM

I'll nitpick. No Omega6 as in sources that have a large percentage of Omega6/as in "artificial" Omega 6 ? Meat and eggs do have some Omega6's and despite not eating any products which are high (15%+ of the fat profile) in Omega6 (no oils, no nuts), I still get quite a number in FitDay.

95ef9c154b9b24a3f41a44ec0275fd33
103 · February 02, 2012 at 2:03 PM

That is impressive results, can you tell me what you mean by 4 hr window and what body fat are you? I'm going try something similar and need the advice.

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273 · October 18, 2010 at 3:37 AM

I am not too big on counting calories, but 3k to 4k cals per day seems to be quite alot of edibles, especially if your not going to be eating much carbs. I would recommend that you cut out counting calories and focus on eating quality lean meats, slow burning carbs ( leafy greens, which are full of nutrients and fiber; carbs are not the enemy ), and good fats. You should eat according to how you feel and in the manner that best suites your training needs. You will definitely make strength gains if your eating paleo and lifting/training intelligently. I have made great stregnth gains in my routines of bodyweight and powerlifting while eating paleo. If you want to gain massive amounts of muscle mass, and gain size, that is a different matter though. What kind of training and workouts are you doing? This question will probably help people to better answer your question. Also, it is healthy and natural to have some fat on the body, my bodyfat is at 9% and I see no need to reduce it any further. hope this post is useful to you.

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1710 · October 18, 2010 at 2:54 AM

Your question is a timeless, classic one. And Paleo-Hack nerds cannot answer it. Read http://leangains.com/ if you want this kind of advice, or better yet, reconsider your goals. Other relevant points of view on this issue come from such blogs as 70sbig and Chaos and Pain. Basically, if your plan is to build muscle, you need to lift heavy things and eat a lot of food. You will not build muscle without adding fat along with it.

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24523 · October 18, 2010 at 4:15 PM

You can build muscle without adding fat along with it, by employing a cyclical or targeted ketogenic diet. While the rate of muscle increase will be lower than a typical bulk, it will be a positive number. Martin's pal Lyle McDonald has inspired countless to do this.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7
24523 · October 18, 2010 at 4:18 PM

You can build muscle without adding fat along with it, by employing a cyclical or targeted ketogenic diet. While the rate of muscle increase will be lower than a typical bulk, it will be a positive number. Martin's pal Lyle McDonald has inspired countless people to do this. I recorded my own experiences on his forum almost ten years ago, along with DEXA readings for bodyfat.

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13
10502 · October 18, 2010 at 3:43 AM

Easy with the "Paleo-Hack nerds" comment. Next time I see something like that, you're banned, bro. -Head Paleo-Hacks Nerd Patrik

Bdcb2101fd3f1853cfd645094d8ad086
1710 · December 08, 2010 at 4:48 PM

Patrik I was just kidding brother. I meant to include myself in the "Paleo-Hack nerds" category and I didn't mean to offend anyone who doesn't embrace the category "nerd" as their own. And I still think that people who claim they can build muscle without adding fat (including Kamal) are kinda blowing smoke. You'll always add a little fat with muscle... although your BF % may actually go down, your total fat will go up.

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0 · December 24, 2013 at 5:58 AM

Maybe this'll help, Check out this dude who ate 5000 calorie per day with a very low carb diet

http://live.smashthefat.com/the-21-day-5000-calorie-challenge/

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15 · September 15, 2013 at 7:21 PM

I was 247 at my heaviest, 6' 1.5" at my heaviest was 23% bf. 1 year and 9 months I now walk at 215 8.46% bf per skinfold test last week. I went from a 38 waist to a 33 now. I myself dont worry about calories, I worry about volume [portion] I appreciate my BMR and use that as a baseline and built on with my training. I recently did a 12 week MCT test which Im still on and I lost over 10lb which IMO tipped my over the edge. Never been this lean in my life. My diet has been calorie restrictive, 90% paleo. I do Intermittent fasting consisrtently but varied, I also believe has worked. I do it 2 days a week sometimes more but follow how I feel.

I also have been softly using food combining with my eating/fueling which has been interesting

Whats odd when I deloaded and did my MCT experiment and I got bigger? I was eating more carbs and little bit of starch. Only thing I did is I normally surf quite a bit, and did. I dont consider it such a metabolically stimulating modality for me to suddenly cut near 2% bf... + Ive been surfing for 30 years. Wasnt that. I think the ketogenic effect of MCT [shows merit with myself]

What were the things that I think got me there?

Sprints, I do them up a hill, walk down 1 minute recover 15 burpees. Boom x 8. They suck. The neuroendocrine response per studies is notable. For me I think its truth.

Lift 2 days a week. Heavyish

More calorie dense foods have me bigger. Eat how you want to be. I also eat semi relaxed in social enviroments, when by myself I eat very clean

I do functional fitness but proportional to long term goals but go to 90% intensity only. I go hard and dont kill myself. Im trying to build up, not break down. There is no panacea, and Im a lover of biohacking buts it always comes down to consistency and intensity.

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0 · September 04, 2013 at 2:26 AM

But tell me the timing that how much time must remain in the sleep when to take the dinner dear ? http://www.alphagenix4u.org

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17136 · September 15, 2013 at 3:37 PM

Spam isn't paleo, go away!

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668 · October 18, 2010 at 3:39 AM

Honestly, short term, you are probably going to put on some fat. You can limit this by timing your eating habits. Get some protein before a work-out and protein and, dare I say, some carbs, after a work-out, you can make the best use of the nutrients you ingest and put them to work at repairing tissue. Make sure you are lifting heavy objects and limiting your cardio work. I know some bodybuilders that will do exactly 12 minutes of intense cardio a day but no more. You need to prevent your body from going into a catabolic state (where it is breaking down tissue) and push an anabolic state. Another thing you can do for this is simply by keeping your body guessing. Do a routine for a few weeks then change it up. Change up the order, the reps, the number of sets, the rest period. Some days don't have protein before the work-out, some days skip a post work-out shake. If you're into IF, you can use that to your advantage. If you pay attention to the food you are eating and don't eat a CRAZY surplus, the amount of fat you will put on will be minimal. If you are looking to add 10-20 pounds of muscles, a bit of fat won't be as noticeable and you can also use your diet to cut some of those extra fat pounds off down the road.

4000 calories seems like a lot if you are looking to limit your fat gain. I don't know what you do for a living but I am pretty active and work out regularly and I shoot for around 3000 calories a day. I'm 5'10 200 with a goal of being 185 to give you a point of reference. 4000 calories will definitely help pack on extra muscle weight but you may be going overboard with that figure, the 3000 calorie level might work out better.

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-6 · August 14, 2013 at 12:05 PM

Only eat when hungry but don't eat much and don't end your starving as some of starving should remain. Anyhow thanks for sharing this excellent material man. Do pay me a visit (website removed).

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