I was recently asked about lowering calories on non-lift days during a muscle gain program. There were also some questions regarding the famous and effective strategy of carb-cycling for the same purpose. If you’re interested I will cover carb-cycling at a later point…today’s topic is calorie (energy) balance and how it affects muscle gain and fat loss.
You see, in the simplest form, muscle gain requires MORE calories than you burn in given day. This is called a SURPLUS. Fat loss is on the other end of the spectrum, requiring a DEFICIT – LESS coming in than going out.
Energy IN VS Energy OUT.
Think about your bank account…
- If you make $1000/month, but spend $2000/month, you’re in a deficit.
- On the other hand, if you make $1000/month, but spend $500/month, you’re in a surplus.
Your bank account can’t grow significantly if you’re always in a deficit. Likewise, if you’re always dumping tons of money into your bank account, don’t expect it to shrink magically!
Gaining muscle and losing fat are all about balancing your energy (calories are units of measure that quantify the amount of energy contained in foods).
When it comes to chasing goals, you’ve got to pursue them with everything you’ve got. And if you’re keeping one foot in one direction, and one the other direction…you’re not going to move very far!
That’s where the rabbits come into this analogy. You’re chasing 2 rabbits (fat loss & muscle gain) that ran away from you in opposite directions. If you chase them both simultaneously, you’ll catch neither. But if you focus on one at a time, you’ll have much better results. Building muscle and losing fat are the same way.
I can tell you from personal experience, chasing both at the same time will yield decent results if you do everything right every day. Yes, it can be done. But when 2 years have gone by and your strength hasn’t increased, your scale weight is the same, and you don’t look any different…you’ll quickly realize that you’ve been spinning in circles and have ZERO rabbits to show for it!
I made that mistake. I’m trying to help you AVOID IT!
If you want to tread water, maintain the status quo, or stay the same…then by all means, chase 2 rabbits at once. But if you want to make serious progress and change your body, pick a rabbit and stop at nothing to get it! (#normalsucks)
Pick the ONE goal that will help you the most and GO GET IT!
Tip: If you’re a male and weigh less than 180pounds you probably don’t need to lose fat:)
“Abs on skinny guys are like boobs on a fat chick – they don’t count.” – Shelby Starnes