Do you need muscle to cut?

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    Do you need muscle to cut?


    I've been lifting for a few months now, so obviously i don't have that much muscle, but have some. I'm 5'6 152 and i have a little gut. Although, you can see my top abs a bit. Honestly, i just want a cut body type, low b/f and healthy/fit looking. Not so much of a body builder look.

    My question is, if i go on a cut and lose the b/f, will i still look alright since i obviously haven't developed much muscle? I mean, do you need muscle to look good when going on a cut? From what I've read, body fat determines abs and you cannot spot reduce. I understand this, but i don't really see myself losing much fat anywhere else other than my abdominal.

    So, if I'm going for that cut look, should i continue on lifting and cut? I don't rely on cardio, i rely on weight lifting for fat loss. I do 15mins of cardio at 8 speed on the treadmill 2x a week. But, other than that i do a FBW 3x a week. I'm eating slightly under my calorie maintenance, but not a lot.

    Thanks for the help!

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    You can set whatever fitness goals you want for yourself. Sounds like if you did a cut right now, you'd lose some fat, but yeah, you wouldn't have much muscle underneath.

    A lot of people go on bulk diets to try to gain lean muscle mass and then eventually try to cut the fat and keep most of the muscle.

    Higher amounts of muscle mean a higher RMR, which means you're burning more calories just going about your daily living. So the more muscle you have, the easier it is to keep the fat off and the easier it is to lose fat.

    Hope that helped
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    Well, yeah that makes sense. But, it also takes time to build muscle and i believe 1lb of muscle is an additional 65 calories burned a day...But, you have to put on fat as well. Keep in mind I'm an endomorph, so the fat really packs on. Lets say i gain 2lb of muscle a month. (That's probably about right) That's 130 more calories my body is burning a day. But, i also just put on 3-4lbs of fat. I continue to do this for another month and gain another 2lbs of muscle and 3-4lbs of fat. (minimal) That's 260 extra calories burned a day and 7-8lbs of additional fat. At this point, i feel like i need to lose weight. I go on a cut and lose about 2lbs of muscle, but 6lbs of fat...Ok, the end result is me weighing more than i did to begin with and only burning an additional 130 calories per day. That's roughly how many calories are in a banana...This doesn't seem to logical unless your a body builder. Not to mention you need to slow down cardio and eat like a pig in order to gain weight...(not something a fit person wants to do, lol)

    So, i assume if i went on a mild cut and continued to lift, my body should tone up and not gain any muscle, but lose fat...(few have gained muscle on a deficit) Wouldn't this be optimal?
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    You could recomp (gain muscle while losing fat). You could set your calories to maintenance on workout days and on off days set it down to 200-500 deficit. This has worked very well for me and several others that I know. I've lost around 6% Body Fat and maintained weight. I've gained a lot of muscle and definition. It is somewhat slower than cutting, but I prefer it since I gain muscle at the same time.
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    Quote Originally Posted by babywifey View Post
    You could recomp (gain muscle while losing fat). You could set your calories to maintenance on workout days and on off days set it down to 200-500 deficit. This has worked very well for me and several others that I know. I've lost around 6% Body Fat and maintained weight. I've gained a lot of muscle and definition. It is somewhat slower than cutting, but I prefer it since I gain muscle at the same time.
    From what I've heard, read, and studied this is impossible. If this was true, trust me i would do it...

    The only way to gain muscle is to eat at a surplus...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zr1 View Post
    From what I've heard, read, and studied this is impossible. If this was true, trust me i would do it...

    The only way to gain muscle is to eat at a surplus...
    You don't think this is possible? If you read any of Resolve's, Irish Cannon's or my threads you will see that we have done this exact thing that you are calling impossible. It is the body builders dream and, while it is difficult, it can be done.

    Would you call going from 23% body fat to 16-17% body fat while maintaining weight of 160 lb impossible? That is a 11 lb decrease in fat, and an 11 lb increase in muscle. And this is exactly what I have done.
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    I believe it is possible, especially for newbs. I definitely did both when I first got serious years ago. But I also think it is rare, and difficult to achieve.
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    Quote Originally Posted by babywifey View Post
    You don't think this is possible? If you read any of Resolve's, Irish Cannon's or my threads you will see that we have done this exact thing that you are calling impossible. It is the body builders dream and, while it is difficult, it can be done.

    Would you call going from 23% body fat to 16-17% body fat while maintaining weight of 160 lb impossible? That is a 11 lb decrease in fat, and an 11 lb increase in muscle. And this is exactly what I have done.
    If you have over 20% body fat, it's pretty easy to lose...I'm just stating from books and everything I've ever read on fat loss. Do i believe you, sure...Although, lets see you do the same thing when your at 14% body fat...If your over 20% body fat, your not very fit and fat loss is a joke. Your metabolism is also working harder when your fat, therefore normal activities require more calories burned, because your out of shape.

    For instance, me typing this message. If i was fat, i would be burning more calories right now, because it's harder for my body to just be awake doing "something." Many people seem to believe that just because your "fit", means that your metabolism works faster...This is inaccurate, because the more fit you are, the harder it is to get fitter and gain LBM. Therefore, if your eating at a deficit, your not giving your body enough fuel to gain muscle mass...
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    What kind of answer are you looking for then? You asked for advice, they give it, and you shoot it down. Seems you already have made your mind up on what you need to do.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zr1 View Post
    My question is, if i go on a cut and lose the b/f, will i still look alright since i obviously haven't developed much muscle?
    Probably not. I used to wonder the same thing and I've ultimately concluded that even though I've reached 3-4% in my prime shape, I did not hold enough muscle to look very impressive. My abs were ridiculous, but how often do you really get a chance to show that off without being a toolbag.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zr1 View Post
    Keep in mind I'm an endomorph
    Uhm, I'd definitely pack as much muscle on as quickly as possible, make sure most of those gains are permanent, and then when you start cutting weight you'll lose just a little of the muscle and look impressive.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zr1 View Post
    If you have over 20% body fat, it's pretty easy to lose...I'm just stating from books and everything I've ever read on fat loss. Do i believe you, sure...Although, lets see you do the same thing when your at 14% body fat...If your over 20% body fat, your not very fit and fat loss is a joke. Your metabolism is also working harder when your fat, therefore normal activities require more calories burned, because your out of shape.

    For instance, me typing this message. If i was fat, i would be burning more calories right now, because it's harder for my body to just be awake doing "something." Many people seem to believe that just because your "fit", means that your metabolism works faster...This is inaccurate, because the more fit you are, the harder it is to get fitter and gain LBM. Therefore, if your eating at a deficit, your not giving your body enough fuel to gain muscle mass...
    You are right in that the higher BF you are the easier it will be to drop fat. But you fail to take into account that I am a girl. The average girl is of 25% BF, while the average guy is approximately 15-18%. Starting my recomp at 23% BF for a girl translates to being 16-18% as a guy. Being 16% BF as a girl translates to about 11-12% BF if I were a guy. If you are looking for guys who recomp at a low body fat percentage check out Resolve or Irish Cannon or Viking Inc.

    As to the second paragraph you are right to an extent. The more you weigh the more calories it will take to maintain your weight, but lb for lb muscle requires more cals to maintain than fat. Therefore if you have 2 people that weigh the same amount the person who has lower BF will take more cals to maintain weight simply because of their higher LBM.

    There is a big difference between being fit and having more lean body mass. A cross country runner can be considered fit even though they have next to no muscle.

    Also, I am not telling you that you will be gaining muscle on a cal deficit. I am saying that in eating maintenance level calories on lifting days you are providing your body with enough fuel to maintain your weight. Provided your training is intense and sufficient to grow new muscle you will gain LBM and lose BF simultaneously. On off days I recommend a slight cal deficit in comparison to your lifting day calories simply because you aren't expending as many cals and therefore don't need to take in as many.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zr1 View Post
    From what I've heard, read, and studied this is impossible. If this was true, trust me i would do it...

    The only way to gain muscle is to eat at a surplus...
    It is definitely possible. I've been doing 3x fasted morning cardio with a sizeable amount of BCAAs, and lifting hard and have been gaining strength in all my lifts. I really pack my nutrients around my workouts, and could probably get a stronger recomp effect with some HIIT but I'm happy with my progress.
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    Quote Originally Posted by babywifey View Post
    You are right in that the higher BF you are the easier it will be to drop fat. But you fail to take into account that I am a girl. The average girl is of 25% BF, while the average guy is approximately 15-18%. Starting my recomp at 23% BF for a girl translates to being 16-18% as a guy. Being 16% BF as a girl translates to about 11-12% BF if I were a guy. If you are looking for guys who recomp at a low body fat percentage check out Resolve or Irish Cannon or Viking Inc.

    As to the second paragraph you are right to an extent. The more you weigh the more calories it will take to maintain your weight, but lb for lb muscle requires more cals to maintain than fat. Therefore if you have 2 people that weigh the same amount the person who has lower BF will take more cals to maintain weight simply because of their higher LBM.

    There is a big difference between being fit and having more lean body mass. A cross country runner can be considered fit even though they have next to no muscle.

    Also, I am not telling you that you will be gaining muscle on a cal deficit. I am saying that in eating maintenance level calories on lifting days you are providing your body with enough fuel to maintain your weight. Provided your training is intense and sufficient to grow new muscle you will gain LBM and lose BF simultaneously. On off days I recommend a slight cal deficit in comparison to your lifting day calories simply because you aren't expending as many cals and therefore don't need to take in as many.
    I would rather be the runner who looks really lean and cut with low b/f, because I'm not a body builder. More of a person who wants to be "fit" and healthy. To me, going on a bulk and eating a crazy amount of food is not really "healthy." What's wrong with just eating normal and lifting weight, you know? (Unless your trying to lose fat) It's not good for us to consume all this saturated fat to bulk up and cut down, etc...Eating a normal diet and exercise sounds like the way to go. I wonder if people have tried this? lol

    What is your point in saying that a person who has more muscle requires more calories per day? I know this. Muscle burns fat. Every extra pound of muscle is about an extra 65 calories burned a day. So yes, the lower b/f person with the same weight would require more calories to maintain his/her weight. But, this is irrelevant to the analogy i was referring to about a fat person compared to a thin person.

    I see your point on the workout days. But, i think you view it different. I eat more calories on workout days, because your burning more calories, so you want to eat what you burned. When your not working out is when your body is rebuilding and starts to need the fuel. Technically this would be on your off days and when a surplus would matter for optimal muscle development.

    Do i believe this? I have no idea...(still confused) Like i said, just what i have read.

    Honestly, i'm reading this book called: Eat Stop Eat. It has to do with fasting 2 days out of the week, then eating whatever you want (within reason) on the other 5 days. This theory has been proven to speed up your metabolism and not lose muscle gains...How? I have no idea...Do i believe it? Yep, because he has everything documented and plenty of references. This goes against everything i've ever heard...Eating 5 times a day, don't skip meals, you will slow muscle growth, starvation mode, etc. He proves every theory and how it is beneficial for the body. Honestly, it sounds like something i would try on a cut...

    I'm not trying to argue with you in anyway. People say one thing and another scientist says another. I think it all boils down to the amount of calories you consume week to week, month to month, year to year, etc. It's the accumulation of what you have eaten year round, not so much the pizza and cheesecake you had that week. I've also read that your body can only use so much protein in a week, so their is no need to eat 1g of protein per 1lb of body weight each day, because your body couldn't possibly use that much...

    Lol, it just seems like not one person can ever be right.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zr1 View Post
    I would rather be the runner who looks really lean and cut with low b/f, because I'm not a body builder. More of a person who wants to be "fit" and healthy. To me, going on a bulk and eating a crazy amount of food is not really "healthy." What's wrong with just eating normal and lifting weight, you know? (Unless your trying to lose fat) It's not good for us to consume all this saturated fat to bulk up and cut down, etc...Eating a normal diet and exercise sounds like the way to go. I wonder if people have tried this? lol

    I think you'll find anyone who knows what their doing on a bulk, especially in the forum, consume less saturated fat, more complex proteins and carbs, more vitmains, minerals, good cholesterols, good fats, and a hell of a lot more water than the average person. Any fat gained during bulking isnt a result of bad eating or unhealthy habits- just a simple excess of good calories, easily lost at the end of the bulk. Overall someone who bulks properly will be intaking diet far more healthy than most americans.

    Secondly, in regards to your original question, as none of us can see you or your physique, we really dont know, its a matter of personal taste, be happy with what you like, not what others like. It seems your worried about cutting without heaps of muscle, yet resentful of anyone who advises you to gain more muscle. I think you should just cut, see how you look, and keep recomping from there.

    Regards,
    Nathan
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zr1 View Post
    I'm not trying to argue with you in anyway. People say one thing and another scientist says another.
    Lol, it just seems like not one person can ever be right.
    You're right, no one is 100% correct and it seems like you enjoy a good debate; however, understand that no one is telling you what you have to do. These are just suggestions that people are offering from their own personal experience, take it or leave it.

    This a great forum to share advice (sounds like you have some good advice yourself). Take it with a grain of salt and try not to be so defensive, you may find something that goes against what you've always known to be true and it actually works for you.

    I do hope that you accomplish your goals here, let us know how things work out for you. We like to hear of your successes.

    Good luck!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zr1 View Post
    From what I've heard, read, and studied this is impossible. If this was true, trust me i would do it...

    The only way to gain muscle is to eat at a surplus...
    I am an intermediate to intermediate/advanced lifter and i am doing this right now. You never read any real evidence it can't be done, just people on the message boards repeating this over and over. If you are a beginner this can be easily done, i don't think their are too many national level competitors or pros who can pull it off, but how many of them are on this board. Honestly if i were you i would concentrate on training, eating right, and getting enough rest and you should be fine. You will definately get leaner as you gain muscle as long as you are not eating a huge surplus of cals.
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    you are spending way too much time trying to do math, and looking for scientific "proof" of something that works and not enough time working out. Guess what? Everyone's body chem is unique, so even with the BEST studies it only shows AT BEST there was a statistically significant difference. Statistically significant could be .5lb of fat over 8 weeks, depending on measurements, etc.

    so instead, get a grip on reality, write yourself a plan for april, then for may change only diet, for june change workout/cardio style but stay with mays diet, then for june go back to april's diet. Then july start over again with different diet/workout. Its the only way you'll know what works best for your individual chemistry. Had a long conversation with Hugo Rivera about this a while back He kept notes and no matter how poorly a specific month was going, he stuck with it the full month, then switched.... And logged everything meticulously
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    Quote Originally Posted by EasyEJL View Post
    you are spending way too much time trying to do math, and looking for scientific "proof" of something that works and not enough time working out.

    This is probably the smartest thing i have read in a long time on this board. Hmm, 41 years young, not surprising it comes from someone with a ton of experience.
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    Quote Originally Posted by jcp2 View Post
    This is probably the smartest thing i have read in a long time on this board. Hmm, 41 years young, not surprising it comes from someone with a ton of experience.
    actually I only have around 2-3 years experience bodybuilding, and at first I asked some of the same type of questions "how many calories extra per day would 4 leviathan and 6 dcp burn" until I realized that the only good answer is "more than if you didn't take them".

    Plus you have to realize its a marathon and not a sprint, so over calculating only leads to disappointment anyhow
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    you don't "need to" but it would look alot better if you were cut w/ muscle. Ever see marathon runners, cut but skinny as hell, not what I'd want. I would do a slow cut and focus on lifting to at least maintain muscle mass.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Liquid13 View Post
    What kind of answer are you looking for then? You asked for advice, they give it, and you shoot it down. Seems you already have made your mind up on what you need to do.
    Yeah, that's the impression I'm getting.
  

  
 

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