Is it possible to gain muscle eating at a deficit?

I'm 5" 10 175 but a fat 175. I have a bad shoulder and back and I'm only 28. I don't want to deal with theae problems forever and thinking that building up muscle might not only help relieve them but make me look good. I am still in the age window where it is easier to gain muscle right? Is it possible to keep on losing weight but gain muscle at same time? Or should I keep pushing for lower weight and start trying to gain muscle once I start maintenance? I wouldn't mind 175 as final weight if it was a muscular 175.

Replies

  • viren19890
    viren19890 Posts: 778 Member
    Depending how much patience you have- sometimes people go for recomposition instead of cutting fat down which means -some how magically (sorry don't know the science here) but body loses fat and builds muscles and weight stays the same but a very long drawn out process.

    Other is drop down to reasonable body fat % 10-15 and then eat 100-200 cals over maintenance to build lean muscle.

    Also if you are beginner to lifting then you can lose fat and gain muscle both at same time- (I don't know what constitutes a beginner though).

    Make sure whatever workout you do- you figure out your back and shoulder first. Because the muscle building exercises like Squats, Deadlifts and bench press- all stress back and shoulders one way or other.

    Good Luck
  • navyjen
    navyjen Posts: 1,043 Member
    My trainer told me no. Has me eating 2000 calories a day. But don't start lifting with an injury that you don't get a physician to clear you for first. Get your body fat down first and figure out your injury then as the above poster said increase your calories.
  • ulcaster555
    ulcaster555 Posts: 1,150 Member
    Some pros say its either getting leaner first then build up, because you may not see the build up because of you fat %, its quite the downer.
  • RGv2
    RGv2 Posts: 5,788 Member
    At your ht/age/wt, a recomp is the way to go. Just talk to your doctor about the resistance you can do.

    Recomping isn't magical, it just has a really small window for inaccuracies. Your defict needs to be razor thin (like 5-10% at most). That's a big reason it takes a long time, you're not giving your body massive blocks to build with, as well as not cutting at large deficit either.
  • WendyLaubach
    WendyLaubach Posts: 518 Member
    I don't know about major bulking up, but I can tell you that I've gained muscle over the last six months as I've shed 64 lbs. I say that on the basis of visibly larger muscles and increased capacity for weights, etc. Admittedly some of what I'm seeing may be muscles that were present but hidden under fat--still, if what you want is to look more lean and muscular, that counts, right? Never be afraid of dropping weight even if your end game is to look and feel more muscular. For one thing, it will be a heck of lot easier to work out once you're lighter.
  • Quasita
    Quasita Posts: 1,531 Member
    I think that if you're okay with a muscular 175, you might try focusing on resistance training as your primary exercise, with peppered in cardio. I absolutely agree with the above poster though, to get the back and shoulder sorted. Even if you used machines and only lifted for say, major muscle groups in the legs, thinking you'll be working just the lower part of you, it could throw your back out badly... Trust me, I've done it myself. A good trainer should be able to work with directions from a physical therapist to help you develop a good program for your goals.

    As for building on a deficit, I think that really depends on sedentary level and such before you start. Like, if you are just sitting around doing nothing and you start moving and walking, you build muscle regardless of your intake, simply because your body HAS to, in order to support your activity. However, I'm guessing that you're not quite that sedentary, so your exchange of fat pounds for muscle pounds will probably require you be much closer to maintenance than most people set at, at the very least.
  • RGv2
    RGv2 Posts: 5,788 Member
    I don't know about major bulking up, but I can tell you that I've gained muscle over the last six months as I've shed 64 lbs. I say that on the basis of visibly larger muscles and increased capacity for weights, etc. Admittedly some of what I'm seeing may be muscles that were present but hidden under fat--still, if what you want is to look more lean and muscular, that counts, right? Never be afraid of dropping weight even if your end game is to look and feel more muscular. For one thing, it will be a heck of lot easier to work out once you're lighter.

    Increased strength doesn't mean increased muscle mass. You can get stronger without building muscle. Also, when you uncover muscle, it can "look" larger when really it isn't. Odds are that you probably gained a little when you started, but the muscle that you preserved started to "look" bigger as the fat came off. Pretty common.
  • SezxyStef
    SezxyStef Posts: 15,270 Member
    RGv2 wrote: »
    At your ht/age/wt, a recomp is the way to go. Just talk to your doctor about the resistance you can do.

    Recomping isn't magical, it just has a really small window for inaccuracies. Your defict needs to be razor thin (like 5-10% at most). That's a big reason it takes a long time, you're not giving your body massive blocks to build with, as well as not cutting at large deficit either.

    x2
  • KathyApplebaum
    KathyApplebaum Posts: 188 Member
    edited May 2016
    Recent studies have shown that it's possible, just hella hard to do. Lots and lots of protein is the key. reference
  • SezxyStef
    SezxyStef Posts: 15,270 Member
    Recent studies have shown that it's possible, just hella hard to do. Lots and lots of protein is the key.

    not really, doing a progressive load lifting program and eating at least 0.8 grams of protein per lb of bodyweight and a small deficit is the key...
  • srecupid
    srecupid Posts: 660 Member
    Yeah I should definitely see a doctor. Last doctor about the back and shoulder stuff. Last doctor said something about some spinal curviture and the shoulder I'm pretty sure is RSI from work.
  • HamsterManV2
    HamsterManV2 Posts: 449 Member
    edited May 2016
    srecupid wrote: »
    I'm 5" 10 175 but a fat 175. I have a bad shoulder and back and I'm only 28. I don't want to deal with theae problems forever and thinking that building up muscle might not only help relieve them but make me look good. I am still in the age window where it is easier to gain muscle right? Is it possible to keep on losing weight but gain muscle at same time? Or should I keep pushing for lower weight and start trying to gain muscle once I start maintenance? I wouldn't mind 175 as final weight if it was a muscular 175.

    I think you should cut first. As an absolute novice, you are able to cut to lose fat and gain muscle/strength at the same time. Eat at a deficit (TDEE minus 500 calories for 1lb real weight loss per week), and lift 3 times a week (starting strength, stronglifts, ICF 3x5, or greyskull LP). You will still build muscle and look overall more aesthetically pleasing. Once you lose enough bodyfat, go back on a bulk and then you can build even more muscles more effectively.

    Honestly I think strengthening your back and core will help your back issues. So many people say that lifting cured their daily pain once they got the hang of it (make sure your form is correct though!). Proper form squats and deadlifts, plus planks will do wonders for your back. Look up Allan Thrall How to Squat/Deadlift/etc. for information on proper form, plus stretches to get you there.

    For your shoulders, do Face Pulls 2 to 3 times a week (3 sets of 12-15 reps) at the end of your workout. Those who are in front of a computer too much or do too many chest workouts have shoulders which are rolled forwards - facepulls strengthen the back of your shoulders and returns it to proper position, eliminating pain and poor posture. Look at this video for more information. Short version - you have a tight chest and weak back (relative to the chest). Also I like to warm up / cool down with this - I use an elastic band, but you can use a towel, broomstick, etc. The tighter you are, the wider you need to grip. Your goal is to make your grip more narrow. Do 20 reps in the morning and at night to help loosen your shoulders.
  • SezxyStef
    SezxyStef Posts: 15,270 Member
    srecupid wrote: »
    I'm 5" 10 175 but a fat 175. I have a bad shoulder and back and I'm only 28. I don't want to deal with theae problems forever and thinking that building up muscle might not only help relieve them but make me look good. I am still in the age window where it is easier to gain muscle right? Is it possible to keep on losing weight but gain muscle at same time? Or should I keep pushing for lower weight and start trying to gain muscle once I start maintenance? I wouldn't mind 175 as final weight if it was a muscular 175.

    I think you should cut first. As an absolute novice, you are able to cut to lose fat and gain muscle/strength at the same time. Eat at a deficit (TDEE minus 500 calories for 1lb real weight loss per week), and lift 3 times a week (starting strength, stronglifts, ICF 3x5, or greyskull LP). You will still build muscle and look overall more aesthetically pleasing. Once you lose enough bodyfat, go back on a bulk and then you can build even more muscles more effectively.

    Honestly I think strengthening your back and core will help your back issues. So many people say that lifting cured their daily pain once they got the hang of it (make sure your form is correct though!). Proper form squats and deadlifts, plus planks will do wonders for your back. Look up Allan Thrall How to Squat/Deadlift/etc. for information on proper form, plus stretches to get you there.

    For your shoulders, do Face Pulls 2 to 3 times a week (3 sets of 12-15 reps) at the end of your workout. Those who are in front of a computer too much or do too many chest workouts have shoulders which are rolled forwards - facepulls strengthen the back of your shoulders and returns it to proper position, eliminating pain and poor posture. Look at this video for more information. Short version - you have a tight chest and weak back (relative to the chest). Also I like to warm up / cool down with this - I use an elastic band, but you can use a towel, broomstick, etc. The tighter you are, the wider you need to grip. Your goal is to make your grip more narrow. Do 20 reps in the morning and at night to help loosen your shoulders.

    I agree with this part. I have lots of ex military friends who screwed their back in Afgan...they do deads etc to get their back up to par and pain is less.

    However I noticed that my Rotator cuff tendonitis is aggravated by my lifting...so be wary of any shoulder issues.

    I suspect I need to do isolation lifts more...
  • itsbasschick
    itsbasschick Posts: 1,584 Member
    i've been doing light lifting for my shoulders - side and front raises, light benching - and after years of pain, not only is the pain slowly going away but my lifts are getting heavier and i developed muscle you can see and feel while eating at a deficit.

    btw, i had two torn rotator cuffs, and suggest starting REALLY easy. i started with no weight at all - just holding up my arms till the muscles got tired. i wouldn't do anything that feels heavy without talking to a physical therapist about it.
  • rollerjog
    rollerjog Posts: 154 Member
    if it was me i would get look at just to make sure its ok to work out, if you already have bad back and shoulder and you work out and hurt it more than it is you could be out for a long time, being in a deficit and gaining muscle, at 175 5"10 little to no exercise maintenance calories would be around 2100 or so, lets say you worked out 3 days a week your maintenance calories would be around 2400 or so , if you were in a 500 deficit that would put you at 1900 calories, in order to gain weight you have to be in a surplus, so if you worked out 3 days a week and your maintenance was 2400 you would have to eat more than 2400 calories say like 2600 calories a day and then adjust from there, Happy journeys Good Luck
  • jamacianredhair
    jamacianredhair Posts: 230 Member
    Yes you can, it is a slow process but it will work. Make sure you get your protein in and I personally recommended drinking creatin to help with the repair process.

    My husband started out at 175 and now weighs in at 157-160 very muscular and healthy. This did take a year so you have to put in the work and be patient it will pay off in the end.

    He eats between 1500-2000 calories a day depending on what we are working on. Just listen to your body and on days you lift eat more, you'll need it.
  • rollerjog
    rollerjog Posts: 154 Member
    if you really want to know if you can gain muscle and loss fat in a calorie deficit go get a hydrostatic body fat test get dunked in water, at that point you will have a good base to start with, then train in a calorie deficit then get tested every 3 to 4 month until you reach your goal, thats the only real way to find out if your losing fat and gaining muscle in a calorie deficit, good luck
  • mulecanter
    mulecanter Posts: 1,754 Member
    28! Oh to be 28 again. You bet you can build muscle. I'm no expert but I suspect if you are a novice weight trainer then eating a bunch more to increase muscle mass will only result in increased fat. You have to be a real gym rat and work out like a fiend in order to get dramatic results from high protein diets. I'd suggest maintenance calories with emphasis on protein and weights--and patience. Don't give up on cardio though. I subscribe to balanced fitness training for all muscles including the heart. All the above cautions on your back/shoulder--ditto.
  • RodaRose
    RodaRose Posts: 9,574 Member
    See a physical therapist to help you with the back and shoulders. Maybe certain abdominal work will help as will certain pool exercises.